cropped view of man giving white card in frame with thank you lettering to woman on blue background

To my Tempe Union Community,

I want to sincerely thank you for giving me the honor to serve on the Tempe Union High School Governing Board for eight years.  I am proud of everything we accomplished and am thankful to our dedicated staff and generous community for all you do for our students.  

I appreciate how kind and welcoming our district, our school sites and our community have been to me. 

A special thank you to those that have reached out to me in the last few days with your thoughtful concern and love. I feel the same.  While disappointed with the results, I was not surprised.  

I was the only candidate whose name was not on our Legislative District Republican or Democrat websites because I believe with my whole heart, school board positions are non-partisan, and candidates should be elected on their experience not party affiliation. 

I am thankful and proud of the  30,000+ community members who voted for me from across the aisle and across the district. 

I want to thank all the candidates for keeping our campaigns civil, which is commendable in today’s world.  

To my existing board members and all the past members I have served with, it’s truly been an honor and privilege to work together with you for the good of our students.  

Congratulations to Berdetta Hodge, Sarah Lindsey James and Armando Montero for winning a seat on the Tempe Union Board.   

I sincerely wish you the best in this new, wonderful chapter of your life.

As I have said many times, I believe in the expertise of our educators, support staff and leaders and hope that whoever is on our board will consult with them often and give thoughtful consideration to their expertise. 

I also understand it is critical that all stakeholders have a role in providing input in decisions. We must work together respectfully and give thoughtful consideration to all input, even if we disagree with their perspective. I have occasionally seen the struggle some board members have had in supporting a decision because of their different political, religious or general beliefs, but thankfully this never prevented them from doing the right thing for our students.    

Finally, I want to share an observation with the hope that readers don’t assume it’s because I lost this election.  

I have seen, in the last three election cycles across our state, a pattern where school board members are sometimes elected almost exclusively based on political party rather than their experience and qualifications for these positions.  

Not discounting the important experiences we have had as students, parents or teachers, might it be more beneficial if interested  candidates first became involved with a district by serving on a stakeholder committee dealing with budgets, hiring and retaining qualified staff or providing academic excellence?

Might this experience provide them with even an inkling of what truly is involved in being a school board member and the important, sometimes unique issues districts face? If board members are truly the stewards for our children, we must return to a time when relevant qualifications and experience are at least given equal consideration in the election of these important roles. 

With that said, I am optimistic about Tempe Union and it’s future in providing excellence in education. I believe our new board will continue to make decisions which focus on providing quality education to all students.

 We are one of the best districts in Arizona because of all of you, and I care deeply about you and wish only the best for our staff, students and community.  

My eight years on this board have truly been a joy and I am a better person because of it. I will never forget the wonderful district leadership as well as our principals, educators, support staff and community I have met and worked with on issues. With much love and respect, thank you for honoring and trusting me as your Governing Board member.  

-Sandy Lowe

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