BY RICHARD SKOLNIK
I write to endorse Lauren Coupland for the School Board for District 3, for the reasons noted below.
In my view, Lauren’s main opponent in this race, Christine Bernstein, has not served the community well as a member of the School Board. The main role of the School Board is to hire a superintendent. Yet, the School Board of which Ms. Bernstein is a part failed at this task, in a manner that cost us educationally and financially. In addition, it appears that Ms. Bernstein participated in the near silence of the of the School Board on matters related to COVID and chronic absenteeism, two matters of exceptional importance to our children’s learning. Third, Ms. Bernstein’s recent letter to the community on the school meals program was heartfelt but reflected a poorly thought out approach to the work of the School Board. She does not seem to understand that the School Board should have ensured that the breakfast and lunch program was set up from its inception with careful monitoring and evaluation. Lastly, Ms. Bernstein has been part of a School Board which appears to have consistently failed to listen to the community, such as on school calendars, or deal fairly and competently with key educational issues, like the schooling of dyslexic children across our system.
By contrast, Lauren Coupland shows strength in all of the above areas. First, I have not met any member of the community, outside LAPS, who has such an in-depth knowledge of our schools. Second, Lauren has been from the start of the pandemic better informed than all but a handful of people about COVID and evidence-based approaches to trying to keep our children healthy and in school. In addition, Lauren has consistently sought to help the schools better serve the diverse needs of our children and to do so in the fairest possible ways. I have also been impressed that Lauren knows what she knows and knows what she does not know. Despite her exceptional knowledge base, Lauren consistently reaches out to people more expert than she, in hopes that she can bring to Los Alamos “best practices” from a range of settings. Lastly, Lauren is unrelentingly forthright. She is also unrelentingly willing to engage with leaders of our school system and leaders of health and education at the state level. On many occasions, Lauren has shared with me or exchanged views with me on evidence-based and well-articulated notes that she prepared for the New Mexico Department of Health or the New Mexico Department of Education, always oriented towards enhancing the learning of all of our children. No one on our School Board appears to come close to the level of Lauren’s involvement in such matters.
I share Lauren Coupland’s deep affection for Los Alamos. I also share her strong desire to see Los Alamos improve the quality of our schools, for all of our children, in the fairest possible ways. In my view, Lauren has the drive, talents, and manifest commitment to doing so in a manner that can significantly raise the value added of our School Board.