Santa Fe Public Schools Board President Richard Polese announced this morning that he will not run for reelection in 2011.
According to a letter sent to SFR this morning, Polese will instead focus on "the wellness challenges facing my family in the years just ahead." Polese, who has served SFPS' District 2 (Acequia Madre, Atalaya, El Dorado and Wood Gormley) since 2007, also owns a small publishing company, Ocean Tree Books. He became school board president in March.
Polese was the lone objector to the board's controversial May vote to consolidate three schools--Alvord, Kaune and Larragoite--into Alameda Middle School and to later consolidate Acequia Madre Elementary School into Atalaya. At the time of the vote, the Santa Fe New Mexican quoted Polese as calling the plan "a prescription toward mediocrity."
Here's Polese's decision not to run for reelection, in his own words:
2011 SFPS Election Announcement
Richard Polese, President
Santa Fe Board of Education
To: Santa Fe’s Education Community
With considerable regret I have chosen not to seek re-election to the Board of Education in 2011. I know what is about to be required of me: I will need to take care for the wellness challenges facing my family in the years just ahead.
This will make for increasing demands on my resources, time and attention. However, following the February election and new board composition in March, you may expect me to continue advocating for key issues that directly affect the success of our young people. Naturally, I hope that all others who aspire to serve will embrace these points:
1) Greatly increased parent and community involvement will be needed at every one of our schools. The new economy demands that we embrace the positive examples in a number of our exemplary schools to nurture participation and grow hands-on public school site activism to new levels throughout Santa Fe.
2) Children’s needs are different. SFPS is committed to do our utmost to serve each one in the best way, whatever their background, limitations, personal challenges or abilities. For Santa Fe’s young people, one size does not fit all. I continue to support strongly our variety of school campuses, large and small, with choices of academic opportunity, as well as the school district’s laudable interzone transfer policies.
3) I encourage innovations and initiatives that attract, excite and retain students-- especially for our mid-high and high school age young people. Student retention must continue to be a top priority, even if we have to seek some answers from far away.
4) SFPS needs better foresight--better advance planning and research. We need to invite the willing talents here to help us envision longer-term plans for public education, not just immediate quick fixes. I hope our new board will move rapidly to convene a skilled local committee to begin to address this essential task.
You can expect me to be engaged in new ways in these and other issues affecting the well-being our young people, despite my limitations, in the months to come.
As your Board of Education president during the campaign season, it will be inappropriate for me to publicly support or endorse specific candidates in the election.
I am so very grateful to the people of District 2 and throughout Santa Fe who have expressed support for me personally and for the stands I’ve taken on the public education issues facing us. It means so much to me to hear your thoughtful and frequently enthusiastic words of encouragement and support. Thank you!
SFPS board elections will be held on Feb. 1, 2011, at the same time as elections for Santa Fe Community College. The deadline for filing to run in one of the three open districts (1, 2 and 4) is Dec. 21.