Linda Thomas, a first-term member of the Oracle Elementary School District Governing Board, has been named 2013 Advocate of the Year by the Arizona School Boards Association. Thomas, recognized for her “community-oriented, grassroots activism and hard-charging attitude,” received the award Nov. 8 in Tempe at a legislative workshop co-hosted by ASBA, the Arizona Association of School Business Officials and the Arizona School Administrators Association.
“Our advocacy award winner this year is a real fighter,” said Geoff Esposito, ASBA’s governmental relations analyst and leader of the association’s advocacy network. “A retired Air Force colonel who spent her whole life around the military, Linda Thomas knows what it means to serve. And although she may be new to her school board, she’s jumped in head first, building partnerships on her board and a diverse coalition to fight for Oracle’s budget override.”
Thomas was also commended for attending each of ASBA’s lobby days in 2013, working on behalf of local candidates who support public education, and bringing attention to issues that are important to her through her blog.
“These are the exact types of behavior that are critical to building the advocacy strength of our organization, and we appreciate Linda immensely,” said Esposito. “Without the voices of our members speaking out loudly in their communities, we would not be able to build the capacity necessary to effect the change we need in Arizona’s education policy.”