On Wednesday, the Alamogordo Public Schools Board of Education met to discuss multiple items, including the installment of the new superintendent Dr. Kenneth Moore, the passage of a “resolution” regarding mask-wearing at schools, and the election of new “officers.”
With a group of three out of the five members, Judy Rabon, Ryan Sherwood, and Carol Teweleit, voting for a change in leadership, despite a new term not being upon the Board, the three members removed President Angie Cadwallader and replaced her with Rabon. Cadwallader has been a fierce advocate for school mask choice, against transgenders infiltrating girls’ sports, and against the racist Critical Race Theory.
The said reasoning behind the change in leadership given was that “because of COVID” they “decided to leave it the way it was.” But despite the board agenda clearly stating “officers” to be elected in the plural, the board voted only for a new president, with Teweleit, who serves as secretary, nominating Rabon with support from Sherwood.
Board Member Anthony Torres, a local pastor, voted with Cadwallader against the installment of a new president. Despite boos and much opposition from the audience at the meeting, Rabon repeatedly told the attendees to quiet down as she took the president’s chair.
Following the installment of Rabon, with the crowd furious, the board continued down the agenda, with the proposal of a resolution to “respectfully request” Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to keep parents’ and students’ choices in mind when giving New Mexico Public Education Department guidelines. The weak language did not go as far as other school boards, such as that of Floyd, New Mexico Municipal Board which passed a resolution not requiring staff or students to be forcibly masked at school.
Before the vote, Sherwood, evidently flustered by the angered crowd, claimed he was a “conservative” and leaned on his Military service to defend his votes. He claimed he was offended people did not think of him as a “patriot” for his bad votes on the School Board.
Torres voted against the resolution while Cadwallader abstained. After Torres voted against the resolution, the audience applauded.
During public comment, many residents said they were disappointed with the Board, such as the Republican Party of Otero County Chair Amy Barela talking about how elected leaders must follow the will of the people, quoting famed diplomat Alexis de Tocqueville, who wrote “Democracy in America.”
Dr. Roger Black commented on how the Board opened themselves up to “liability” and had assumed “responsibility” for health mandates they were promulgating and enforcing.