As I look back on my journey to my position as Governing Board member for Tempe Union High School District, I’m amazed at the valuable experiences I have had in this community.
Each taught me unforgettable leadership skills, what issues are important to our community, the details of school budgets, as well as other critical aspects of providing a quality education.
In the 2007 election, our community voted down a M&O and capital override along with a bond issue for Tempe Union, further hampering our ability to recover from the Great Recession.
So, in 2008 a committee was formed to pass all three measure in November 2008. A daunting task at best, and my first experience on our district committee.
Little did I know that this experience would be the beginning of my love and respect I have for Tempe Union.
We were blessed to have two experienced facilitators, Dick Foreman of Tempe and Mel Hannah of Ahwatukee. I still marvel how these two gentlemen brought together such a diverse group of people with different ideas for the good of our kids.
There were definitely teaching moments for me, like when I naively suggested to the Kiwanis group, if they had to decide whether to vote for a Tempe Bond measure or our district’s ballot measures, vote for education.
I realized quickly after that, the importance of supporting both. Today I love our city and appreciate everything they do for our community, especially in terms of supporting our schools.
In the end, we celebrated the passing of all three measures, a first in Arizona history.
I didn’t truly understand the invaluable lessons I learned over the years from watching many community leaders until I began my time on this school board.
The budget advisory committee provided information on how schools are funded and how to prioritize those precious dollars in providing excellence in education.
The unification committee (whose goal was to create a ballot measure), made up of community members from Kyrene, Tempe Elementary and Tempe Union, gave me insight into how our three districts, as different as we are, share the same goal of wanting success for our students.
Co-founding the non-profit, the Parent Network, which brought school/district leaders from Kyrene, Tempe Elementary and Tempe Union together with parents, highlighted the importance of parents receiving relevant information and having a voice in upcoming decisions impacting their children.
I share some of these experiences because of the impact they have had on how I make decisions today. My 18 years at APS as a research analyst has provided me with problem solving skills supporting strong decision-making abilities.
Committee work has taught me valuable lessons on how to work positively with different types of people and how to work together in a collaborative manner toward consensus.
Visiting our schools regularly has shown me the importance of making sure our teachers, staff and students also have a voice in decisions. I know never to rush decisions, listening to all sides of an issue and making sure decisions benefit our students.
I am honored to serve as your Tempe Union school board member.
If re-elected, I will continue to prioritize academic success for each student, equity in providing not only education opportunities but the individualized support students need, along with improving upon our current mental health support and making sure our teachers and students are always in a safe environment.
I am optimistic of the future of Tempe Union, knowing we will successfully get through this challenging time and will continue to be one of the best school districts in Arizona.