West board member: I was 'blindsided'

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By David Giuliani

A West Las Vegas school board member said Thursday she was “blindsided” by the district's music director, Arenell David Arellanes, who took swipes against politicians in announcing that he was leaving for a new job.

Arellanes, who was recently recognized as the National Music Educator of the Year by the National Association of High Schools, has signed a contract with Albuquerque’s Sandia Prep for next school year.

He said he was leaving, in part, because of the recent actions of the school board, which voted against renewing its contract with Superintendent Jim Abreu. Arellanes decried the influence of politics in the district.

However, West Las Vegas board member Caroline Lopez said that since she joined the board in 2007, the board has backed the music department “enthusiastically.”

“I have never had any contact with Mr. Arellanes, except to praise him and the choir,” she said.

“Several months ago, well before we acted on Dr. Abreu’s contract, Mr. Arellanes informed the district that he was leaving to Albuquerque for financial reasons,” she said. “I am surprised that now he gives other reasons for his departure, and I can’t understand where he's coming from or why he chose to leave this way. I was truly blindsided by his comments. I do wish him well, however."