Don Fletcher

Don Fletcher

Don Fletcher

Age:  59

Immediate Family:  I have been married to Christine Fletcher for 35 years. She is a teacher and specializes in early elementary reading programs.  We raised our four children who are all currently married, with seven different college degrees amongst them.

Community:  I have lived in Ahwatukee/Foothills area since 1987 which is part of the Tempe Union High School District.  I currently live in the Lakewood community.   

Educational Background:  I have a Bachelor’s Degree with a Major in Political Science and Minor in English Literature, and a Juris Doctor Degree in Law. 

Children School:  All my children attended public school, three graduated from Desert Vista High School.

Occupation: For the past several years, I have been a small business owner in Tempe with a payroll for four people.  I practice law as I represent commercial real estate interests and help reorganize financially distressed businesses and individuals.

Community Involvement:  

--Boy Scouts.  I have served in many positions in Boy Scouts for over 20 years.  In one assignment, I have helped over 1,000 young men obtain the Communications Merit Badge. I served as District Leader over the Tempe/Ahwatukee/Foothills area for two years and received District Honor Award in 2012. 

--Families Helping Families Mexico.  I have been Team Leader for 14 years, helping raise money and building homes for homeless famlies in Mexico.   

--Tempe Coalition Volunteer.  Through this organization, I help discourage underage drinking and substance abuse in the community.

--J. Reuben Clark Law Society.  I serve as the probono chairman and coordinate low cost and no cost legal service to low income families of Maricopa County.

--Mentor.  I currently serve as a mentor for young professionals in the American Inn of Court and law students at ASU.  

--Past Site Council Member.  Kyrene Akimel A-al Middle School.

Tempe Union High District Involvement:

--Member of the Mental Health and Wellness Committee.  For the past 18 months, I have attended meetings and assisted in the review of District resources, how to identify needs and improve mental health and wellness of our high school students.

-- Member of the Finance Committee.  During 2017, I participated in the review of future funding needs for the District.

--I have participated in many Board related activities for past two years, including attending a retreat to study mental health and other District priorities. 

Why are you running for school board?

I enjoy making a difference in the lives of the youth of our community.  My 20 years of community service have prepared me to expand and provide greater service to our educational community and to be a Board Member for Tempe Union High School District. A strong public education is vital to the future success of our country and to the strength of our community.  We must prepare our youth for the future economy and encourage them to consider career options in the various trade industries as well as college based jobs.   

Also, I have a family tradition of in public education involvement.  My great grandfather served on a local school board for several years and both of my grandparents were educators. My mother worked for many years in education and my wife has spent her professional life in education. I taught college level classes for 4 years and currently teach continuing education classes in my profession.  With this background, I believe I understand many aspects of education and its value to our future community.

How should a board member carry out their duties? 

Be a good listener.  A board member’s first priority should be to listen to the parents, students, teachers, and administration. It is imperative that a board member work with the administration to ensure we are using our resources and tax dollars effectively.  To accomplish this, a board member should serve on various committees to help solicit opinions to then shape the policies and procedures.

How do you define a school board member's role?

A school board member is a facilitator in the community.  They should listen to teachers, parents, students, and other community leaders. This input will facilitate the formation of policies to improve the educational experience for students.  We also have great resources in our District. We need to constantly research the coming needs of the future generation and help our youth meet those needs with all available resources. I would like to see the District forge better partnerships with our local colleges, professional groups, and trade organizations to prepare our students for life after their high school graduation. I believe we need to do more than simply teaching math, literature, and sciences. We need to help students utilize these subjects and identify careers and build their futures. On a related note, ASU has made great progress with many industries and organizations to build bridges and helps students find careers in the new economy. We need to be doing the same at the high school level.   

What is the most compelling need that is not being addressed by the board right now?

Two areas are of great concern to me. First, is mental health and wellness. Second, is preparing students for their future employment and college.  

As for my concern with mental health, we must complete the work being done by the committee I serve on, and implement policies and procedures to improve our student’s mental health and emotional wellness. We have great resources, but we need to evaluate how those resources are deployed and ensure our counselors and those that work with them have the necessary direction they need.  We also need to address how cyberbullying impacts students’ emotional wellbeing and teach our students responsible use of social media.

What, if anything, should the board do to improve school security?

We were all deeply troubled by what happened in Florida this year at Parkland High School.  What we did not hear much about were the two planned mass shootings that were stopped in the weeks that followed that tragedy in Florida. These anticipated events did not occur due to someone saying something, and the good relationships between law enforcement and the school members. We need to talk with students and encourage them to share information that may stop such events in the future. Part of that dialogue process involves good relationships between law enforcement, student, and school administration. We also need to ensure vital information and tips are received and promptly processed to avoid such situations.

What is the district's most significant achievement in last two years?

Teacher retention.  This has been a big concern over the past several years. Thankfully, in May of this year, the Arizona Legislature decided to give teachers a much-deserved pay raise.  Last year, teachers received a 1% pay raise--and that came after multiple years of no pay raise.  Teachers were demoralized, and we lost too many good teachers that could not survive with low pay and lack of support. I believe the District worked very hard in those difficult years to help keep quality teachers and provide as much encouragement as they could.  Now, we must ensure we are keep our mature teachers in the classrooms. With this pay raise, college students and others will once again be attracted to this rewarding profession.

Why should people vote for you?

I want to dig deep to find solutions. What we do today is not always what we need for tomorrow.  We must constantly look forward and work to prepare our students for what is coming next in our communities and in our economy. I believe with my many years of community experience and service, maturity, and depth of thought, I can apply this background to find solutions to these coming issues and make a significant contribution to Tempe Union High School Board.

What, if anything, should the board do to improve school security?

We were all deeply troubled by what happened in Florida this year at Parkland High School.  What we did not hear much about were the two planned mass shootings that were stopped in the weeks that followed that tragedy in Florida. These anticipated events did not occur due to someone saying something, and the good relationships between law enforcement and the school members. We need to talk with students and encourage them to share information that may stop such events in the future. Part of that dialogue process involves good relationships between law enforcement, student, and school administration. We also need to ensure vital information and tips are received and promptly processed to avoid such situations. 

What is the district's most significant achievement in last two years?

Teacher retention.  This has been a big concern over the past several years. Thankfully, in May of this year, the Arizona Legislature decided to give teachers a much-deserved pay raise.  Last year, teachers received a 1% pay raise--and that came after multiple years of no pay raise.  Teachers were demoralized, and we lost too many good teachers that could not survive with low pay and lack of support. I believe the District worked very hard in those difficult years to help keep quality teachers and provide as much encouragement as they could.  Now, we must ensure we are keep our mature teachers in the classrooms. With this pay raise, college students and others will once again be attracted to this rewarding profession.

Why should people vote for you?

I want to dig deep to find solutions. What we do today is not always what we need for tomorrow.  We must constantly look forward and work to prepare our students for what is coming next in our communities and in our economy. I believe with my many years of community experience and service, maturity, and depth of thought, I can apply this background to find solutions to these coming issues and make a significant contribution to Tempe Union High School Board.

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