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Incumbents Win Across ABQ School Board Race

Hannah Colton / KUNM
Whittier Elementary is in APS board District 4.

Three school board seats in New Mexico’s largest district were up for grabs in this week’s election, as leaders across the state are still grappling with educational inequities surfaced by a lawsuit last year. Ballots were counted Tuesday night, and voters in Albuquerque re-elected all three sitting school board members. 

Two-thirds of voters in southeast Albuquerque cast their ballots for incumbent Barbara Petersen.

Her challenger was Verland Coker. Decades younger than the other candidates and seeking more fundamental changes to the school system, Coker said he assumed he wouldn’t win his first bid for school board, but plans to try again. 

"I wasn’t here to win, I was here to send a message," Coker said, "to show that there are people who do want change, and that the status quo isn’t enough."

A third District 4 candidate, Laura Carlson, got nearly one-fifth of the votes despite her intention to drop out of the race. By the time she decided to withdraw in September, she said, it was too late to get her name taken off the ballot. 

In the South Valley, incumbent Yolanda Montoya-Cordova beat out Madelyn Jones by a wide margin.

The race was a bit closer on the Northwest side of town, where incumbentPeggy Muller-Aragón was elected to her second term with nearly 60 percent of the vote. Her opponent was Laurie Harris.


Support for KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and from KUNM listeners like you.

Hannah served as news director at KUNM and reported on education, Albuquerque politics, and anything public health-related. She died in November 2020.
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