BELEN — The Belen Board of Education made efficient work of selecting a candidate to fill the vacant District 1 seat on the board during a special meeting this afternoon.

Joanne Silva
Appointed to District 1, Belen Board of Education

On a 4-0 vote, the board members chose Joanne Silva as the newest member. As an appointee to the board, Silva will serve until the 2025 local election cycle. If she wishes to retain the seat, she will have to run for the office.

The board initially had three candidates to interview the Friday, Jan. 26, meeting — Silva, Pamela Golliheair and Megan Malcom-Morgan. Golliheair was not at the meeting when it began and after interviewing Malcom-Morgan and Silva, Board President Aubrey Tucker said Golliheair had emailed him directly, asking if she could do the interview via Microsoft Teams.

He made the decision to not deviate from the in-person interview format to keep all the candidates on “equal footing,” Tucker said. “If we have a deviation for one, we have to offer it for all.”

During her interview, Silva said during her career, she’s had the opportunity to work with different people across many districts and agencies.

“I think that has given me the ability to listen, to collaborate with others, which is a very beneficial part of my background and skills,” she said. “I have worked at the middle school, high school, post secondary and preschool levels. The knowledge I have gained learning from parents, kids, teachers and the community, has provided me with life-long learning. Those are skills that allow me to work very well with others in the community.”

Read next Thursday’s News-Bulletin for more details from Silva’s interview.

Julia M. Dendinger | News-Bulletin photo
Shortly after being appointed to the Belen Board of Education District 1 seat, Joanne Silva, left, took her seat on the dais to review paperwork for her new position. Silva will serve on the board until the 2025 local election, then she will have to run for the seat if she wants to retain it.

Silva has been a service coordinator with the New Mexico Department of Health’s Los Lunas Community program since 2022. Prior to that, from 2020 to 2022, she was an investigations worker with the Los Lunas Children Youth and Families Department office, and she was the director of special education for Belen Consolidated Schools from 2019 to 2020.

From 2017 to 2019, Silva was an education diagnostician for BCS and the interim director of special education for the district. She served as assistant principal at Belen High School from 2013 to 2017 and was the La Promesa Elementary principal from 2010 to 2013.

Silva’s work history in education stretches back to 1991 and includes time as an instructor at The University of New Mexico, teaching at Mountainair High School, as well as several teaching posts with BCS and LLS.

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Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.