Residents of North and Barranca Mesas (District 4) are fortunate to have two strong candidates for the upcoming school board election. But, based on my experience as a former school board member for this district as well as former school board president, I concur with our current member, Andrea Cunningham, that one candidate stands out above the other — Melanie Colgan. (https://losalamosreporter.com/2019/10/07/endorsement-of-melanie-colgan-for-school-board/)
I’ve known Melanie Colgan for more than a dozen years, and throughout that time I’ve been amazed by the extent to which she has poured her talent and energy into the youth of our town. As president of the Barranca Elementary PTO, she was the originator and driving force behind the Bobcat Bonanza, the school’s biggest fundraiser for five years straight. Subsequently, she represented our neighborhood on the LAPS Parent District Council, took an active role on the last school-bond-referendum committee (2017) , and served on the building-design committee for the spectacular renovations now taking place at Barranca. In the broader community, I’ve seen her engage as a Girl Scout Troop Leader, a Kiwanian, a member of Barranca Pool Board of Directors, a basketball and softball coach, and an elementary and mid-school religious-education teacher. In short, sixteen years of grassroots volunteering with our children and teachers has prepared her for this step.
A heath educator herself, Ms. Colgan organized, developed, and now directs the hugely successful Certified Nursing Administrator Program at UNM-LA, while also teaching at Northern NM College as an Assistant Professor in their RN nursing program. Her experience and education as a medical professional brings a valuable perspective to current issues in the district, including those related to student mental health, special needs, and gender identification. Moreover, as a teacher at UNM-LA and Northern, Ms. Colgan has a unique window into a too-often-overlooked demographic at Los Alamos High — that student searching for vocational training and a career right here in Northern New Mexico.
Beholden neither to special interests on the part of the administration nor the union, Ms.Colgan brings to the position integrity, an open mind, an attentive ear, an inquiring intellect, and genuine alacrity in the service of our families and teachers, along with an uncommon amount of common sense. Equally important is what she doesn’t bring, a private agenda.
A school board member in New Mexico is called to wear many hats — representative, trustee, policy maker, advocate (and devil’s advocate), adjudicator, negotiator, supervisor (of the superintendent), budget analyst, salesperson (and, occasionally, psychologist!). With Melanie Colgan, you get the complete package.
If you haven’t made up your mind about this election, I encourage you to take a look at Ms. Colgan’s Facebook page (Melanie Colgan for School Board). I think you’ll like what you see.
LA School Board, 2011-2015.