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Public schools’ excellence recognized at conference


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  • Tracey Benson/Arizona School Boards Association

PHOENIX—Nearly 600 school board members, superintendents and other public school leaders from throughout the state gathered in Phoenix Dec. 11-13 for the 56th joint annual conference of the Arizona School Boards Association and the Arizona School Administrators Superintendents’ Division.

Conference attendees had the opportunity to choose from 35 educational sessions addressing issues critical to public school leadership, and hear inspiring and informative messages from several keynote speakers, including Dr. Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University. A five-session orientation track for new school board members also was offered.

In addition, the people and programs in Arizona’s public schools that exemplified excellence in education in 2013 were honored with awards. Honorees hailed from districts large and small throughout the state.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Carolyn Warner, a three-term Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction and lifelong public education advocate, received the ASBA Barbara Robey Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding contributions in support of public education and ASBA’s mission through servant leadership over an extended period of time.

View ASBA’s video tribute to Carolyn Warner

Governance and Leadership Awards

For the first time in a single year, two school district governing boards were presented ASBA’s annual Lou Ella Kleinz Award of Excellence for demonstrating the most outstanding educational leadership this year. The award, which is highest honor the Arizona School Boards Association bestows on a governing board, went to the Baboquivari USD Governing Board and the Benson USD Governing Board. Members of the Baboquivari board are Verlon Jose, Sara Mae Williams, Sylvia Hendricks, Ella Mae Greasewood and Marlene Gonzales. Members of the Benson board are Robert Bernal, Frank “Chic” Maldonado, Brett Barney, Anita Choate and Kelly Johnson.

View the Baboquivari video tribute

View the Benson video tribute

ASBA also named a three-member “all-star team” of school board members from throughout the state. Recipients of the 2013 ASBA All-Arizona School Board Award were Mari Alvarado, Alhambra ESD; Robert Ethridge, Altar Valley ESD; and Barry Sharp, Ash Fork Joint USD. This is the highest honor ASBA bestows on individual board members.

View All-Arizona School Board video tribute

Recognition for Training

Individual board members and full governing boards that have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to pursuing training in leadership, governance and issues related to public education were also recognized. Sixteen boards received the ASBA Total Board Award, which is granted to a governing board when at least a quorum of members has received 36 hours of voluntary training. Thirty-five individual school board members received recognition for having completed more than 120 hours of voluntary training throughout their years of board service. Karen McClelland, who serves on the governing board of the Sedona Oak Creek Unified School District, had the highest total training hours (449.5); she received the Master of Boardsmanship Fifth Cluster Award. (A complete list of boards and individuals recognized for their commitment to training is available upon request.)

Awards for Programs that Advance Student Achievement

School programs from throughout the state that have shown outstanding successes in student achievement were also honored with ASBA Golden Bell Awards.

Recipients of 2013 ASBA Golden Bell Awards were:

Elementary (pre-K through grade 6) Category

First Place: Flowing Wells Inquiry Science Initiative
Centennial, Davis, Douglas, Hendricks, Laguna, Richardson Elementary Schools, Flowing Wells Unified School District

Runner Up: Arizona Ready-for-Rigor Project

Gadsden Elementary School, Gadsden Elementary School District

Middle Years (Grade 4-9) Category

First Place: Cougar Skills for Success Mentoring Program

J. O. Combs Middle School, J. O. Combs Unified School District

Runner Up: No award presented

High School (Grades 9-12) Category

First Place: All Wranglers College and Career Ready
Wickenburg High School, Wickenburg Unified School District

Runner Up: Transitions—A Valued Role for Every Student

Vail High School, Vail Unified School District

District-wide Curriculum Delivery and Accountability Category

First Place: College and Career Ready Clinic Program   

Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology (CAVIT)

Runner Up: K-2 Literacy Toolkit

Higley Unified School District

(Images of Golden Bell Winners are available upon request)

Student Honors

Student achievement was celebrated at the conference as well.

ASBA named the winners of the annual Jack Peterson Student Photography Contest, who demonstrated excellence behind the lens. The theme of the statewide student photography contest, which drew approximately 300 entries,  was “Arizona Outdoors.” The 2013 winners in the grades 9-12 category were:

  • First place: Daba Yague, a senior at Pinnacle High School (Paradise Valley USD).
  • Second place: Jose Coronado, a senior at Amphitheater High School (Amphitheater USD).
  • Third place: Andrew Kingsbury, a senior at Lake Havasu High School (Lake Havasu USD). 

The 2013 winners in the grades K-8 category were:

  • First place: Spencer Scher, an eighth-grader at Madison Meadows Middle School (Madison ESD).
  • Honorable mention: Evan Ziker, a seventh-grader at Sonoran Trails Middle School (Cave Creek ESD). 

View/download the winning contest images

ASBA’s Jack Peterson Scholarships, presented annually to high-performing high school seniors who plan to pursue college degrees in education, were awarded to:

  • Amanda Grimshaw, Tanque Verde High School, Tanque Verde USD  Photo
  • Dakota “Cody” Hays, St. David High School, St. David USD  Photo
  • Sydney Knight, Greenway High School, Glendale Union HSD  Photo

ASBA’s Hispanic-Native American Indian Caucus presented the new Panfilo H. Contreras Honorary Scholarship to deserving Hispanic and Native American Indian students for their post-secondary education. Receiving scholarships were:

  • Kevin Gutierrez, Gila Bend High School, Gila Bend USD  Photo
  • McKenna Parker, Window Rock High School, Window Rock USD  Photo
  • Beatriz Ortiz, Flowing Wells High School, Flowing Wells USD (no photo available)

The Arizona School Boards Association is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting elected local governance of public education and continuous improvement of student success by providing leadership and assistance to school district governing boards statewide. ASBA represents more than 1,000 school board members and more than 1 million Arizona children.

Contact:         Tracey Benson, Director of Communications, Arizona School Boards Association, 602.254.1100 x 106, tbenson@azsba.org