Early Childhood Education Leader Announces Run for APS Board

Early Childhood Education Leader Announces Run for APS Board

Crystal Tapia-Romero: “APS needs new leadership. We can do much better for our kids.”


ALBUQUERQUE – Crystal Tapia-Romero, an early childhood education leader and small business owner, announced today that she is running for the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education, District 5, which encompasses much of Westside Albuquerque.

A life-long resident of Albuquerque, Tapia-Romero is a West Mesa High School graduate and a proud mom and step-mom of APS graduates. Tapia-Romero is the founder and executive director of the New Mexico Early Learning Academy (NMELA) and has more than 20 years of experience in early childhood education. Her education centers provide high-quality early childhood services to Albuquerque children and families; in fact, NMELA recently earned national recognition as a 5-star (highest quality) provider and is among just the 7% of early childhood centers nationwide to receive National Early Childhood Program accreditation.  

“Helping children learn and succeed in the classroom has been my life’s work,” said Tapia-Romero. “It takes high expectations, an emphasis on quality education practices, clear goals, and excellent teachers. I’m looking forward to bringing my unique perspective – as a small business owner, early childhood education leader and advocate, and mother – to the APS Board.”

Tapia-Romero is currently the policy chair for the New Mexico Childcare & Education Association and sits on the Governor’s Early Learning Advisory Council. She’s also previously been involved in the Parent-Teacher Association, has worked at Central New Mexico Community College as an early childhood coach, and serves on the board of the Western Heights Learning Center.

“APS needs new leadership. As a parent, educator, and life-long resident of Albuquerque, I’m concerned about the direction and management of our public schools, and I know this concern is shared by many Westside families,” continued Tapia-Romero. “We can do much better for our kids. The district should spend education dollars more wisely, better support our teachers, lift the academic performance of the district, and train and recruit inspirational school leaders who will set high expectations and be given greater autonomy to improve student learning.”   

Tapia-Romero has long felt that APS lacks agility and has operated too much like a large bureaucracy, a sentiment that only deepened as the APS Board stumbled through its pandemic response and re-opening discussions. 

“Leadership matters. I’m running to be a strong voice for our children and families; they’ll be at the forefront of every decision I make. I want to ensure our children receive an equitable and outstanding education that will prepare them for a great career, college, and life,” concluded Tapia-Romero.

Crystal is married to Ricardo Romero; between the two of them, they have three children. In their spare time, they enjoy volleyball and camping.




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