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Oro Valley couple helps Vail teacher cover costs of Arizona teacher’s license


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  • Natalie Luna Rose/Vail School District

Vail School District

Steve and Diane Uhl from Oro Valley surprised chemistry teacher Hillary Stacey with a check for $1,217 at Empire High School in Vail School District on July 15.

The couple said they were motivated to help Stacey by a recent op-ed piece about her struggles to obtain a teacher’s license in Arizona.

The check will cover those expenses.

Oro Valley couple helps Vail teacher cover costs of Arizona teacher's license HillaryStaceyHugHP

Chemistry Teacher Hillary Stacey hugs Steve Uhl after he and his wife Diane presented her with a check to cover her expenses converting her Montana teacher’s license to an Arizona teacher’s license. Photo courtesy Vail School District

On the Vail School District’s Facebook page, a brief about the donation says “I hope the Uhl’s generous act inspires you as much as it did us.”

A few weeks ago chemistry teacher Hillary Stacey wrote to Vail School District Superintendent Calvin Baker to tell him about the money and time she was spending to get a teaching license in Arizona (after she had already paid $400 for a license from her home state of Montana).

Baker was already troubled the expense out of state teachers were incurring and her e-mail prompted him to write an op-ed, which was published by the Arizona Daily Star.

“If Hillary does everything correct the first time and finds the least expensive classes, it will cost her a minimum of $1,217 in fees and tuition (plus her time, gas and related costs) to convert her perfectly good teaching license in Montana to a teaching license in Arizona. All the hoops she must jump through will not make her a better chemistry teacher. The experience is simply taking her time away from her students, money out of her pocket, and wind out of her sails,” Baker wrote in the op-ed piece.

Baker also wrote that “A change in the law could grant full reciprocity for teacher licensing. A tax on the sale of Arizona’s abundant natural resources (and birthright of our young citizens) would take care of the teacher salary issue.”