When governing board member Linda Abril struggled to complete high school in her youth, the last thing she ever imagined was that a school would one day be named after her, years later. The Phoenix Union Governing Board on March 5, approved a recommendation to re-name Suns-Diamondbacks Education Academy to Linda Abril Education Academy when the small alternative school moves to a newly constructed building for the 2016-2017 school year.
“I thank everyone for this awesome honor, all those connected to the District, past and present, who dedicated their lives to our children, and the constituents of my ward for supporting me so that I might have the privilege of serving our community,” Abril said. “My mother used to say, ‘never forget where you came from,’ and I dedicate this to the Grant Park barrio where I grew up. It is still a struggling neighborhood. I hope in some small way, that this will give them hope. Mom, I hope I made you proud.”
The Suns-Diamondbacks Education Academy, which began in 2001, has helped hundreds of students at risk of dropping out, make up credits and earn diplomas through an accelerated, targeted and personalized approach.
With the success and popularity of the school, it has outgrown two leased locations and will move into its own building located on the Metro Tech High School campus.
Suns-Diamondbacks currently has over 200 students, and with graduations each semester, almost 1,500 students have earned their high school diplomas there.
Abril has been a champion of alternative schools during her 20-plus years on the governing board.
She is the third-longest serving board member in the 120-year history of Phoenix Union, serving her sixth term. She was appointed to the governing board in May of 1994 and won elections in 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 and was unopposed in 2014 representing Ward 5 in the northwest part of the district.
Abril’s ward includes Alhambra, Maryvale and Trevor Browne High Schools. She was board president in 2011-2012 and in 2002 and was the Board Clerk three times, totaling eight years.
“Linda Abril is a Phoenix Union treasure. She is a tireless advocate for students, an incredible supporter of teachers, faculty and staff and a true champion for the City of Phoenix,” Superintendent Kent P. Scribner said. “The Linda Abril Education Academy is a fitting tribute to an amazing woman whose legacy is undeniable.”
In her tenure, she has worked with five superintendents and 25 different board members.
“I truly believe in the saying, that good things happen to good people,” Principal Rick Beck said. “After more than 20 years of dedicated service to our district’s employees, families and community, she has definitely earned this great honor. The Suns-Diamondbacks Education Academy’s staff members are extremely excited about our future name, building, and location. Thank you Linda Abril.”
This is the third Phoenix Union School named after a governing board member. Trevor G. Browne High School was named in 1972 after Trevor G. Browne, M.D., who was a school board member from 1946-1970. Alternative school Bostrom was named after the Reverend William D. Bostrom, who served on the school board from 1960-1978.