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Staff Reports

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The Maricopa High School baseball team placed two players on Sports360’s Arizona All Academic teams.

Ivan Herrera, who just finished his junior year, was named first team for Division I-II with a 4.3 grade point average.

Jackson Stensgard, who was a sophomore in 2015, was named second team with a 4.22 gpa.

See more information at

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Butterfield Elementary School’s Kathleen Kelley came to Maricopa Unified School District for her first teaching job three years ago. This year she received a Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award.

What is your favorite part of being an educator? Watching the “light bulb” go off with a student. I love watching students explore a new concept and then fully understand it!

Why did you choose education as a career? I’ve wanted to teach since I was in kindergarten. My first class was my eight favorite stuffed animals, and I would play teacher and spend hours grading their papers, giving them tests and putting stickers on their work. I chose education because I have always loved children and wanted to make a difference in their lives.

What were your first impressions of MUSD? My first impression was how new the schools were. Butterfield opened in 2008 and has a lot of technology and is a great facility. Back in Rhode Island a lot of the schools are going through renovations to become as updated as MUSD schools are.

What are the biggest challenges facing Maricopa students today? Large class sizes. The teachers are doing as much as they can to support our students.

What was the best advice you received about your own education? My college professors stressed the importance of being a lifelong learner and being a role model for our students. We need to constantly keep up to date on new innovative ways to help reach all the students in our classrooms.  

What has been the highlight of your career so far? It was this year when Butterfield second grade students participated in a footprints to the past experience with community members. The second grade students had a series of questions to ask the volunteers who were aged 55 and older about life when they were younger. It was a neat experience to organize an event where the students learned so much about how things like technology have changed. It was also great because we had so much positive feedback from the volunteers.

What advice do you give parents? Read with your child as much as you can to help them build their imagination. Talk to your child about their dreams and encourage them to pursue their dreams.

What have your students taught you? Flexibility; that just because something is not on the lesson plan does not mean it isn’t important, and that when a teachable moment appears, to seize the opportunity to stray from the plan. My students have taught me that even though I may sing something off key they enjoy learning through music.

***ADVERTISEMENT***Kathleen Kelley
Hometown: Pembroke, Massachusetts
Residence: Maricopa, since 2012
Education: Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at Salve Regina University (Newport, Rhode Island); currently pursuing master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages at Grand Canyon University
Family: Boyfriend of five years, parents and siblings reside in Massachusetts
Teaching positions you’ve held: Second grade at Butterfield Elementary School
Years in education: 3
First job out of college: Teacher at Butterfield Elementary School
Hobbies: Traveling, gym, shopping at Treasures for Teachers, DIY home improvement projects
Favorite subject as elementary student: Math and science. I enjoyed the hands-on manipulatives in math and using them to solve problems. I loved conducting different experiments in science and watching what happened. 

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More than $2.1 million in scholarships for the class of 2015 was announced at Maricopa High School annual Evening of Honors on Thursday.

Principal June Celaya said the school had come a long way since 2008, when scholarships earned were just over $30,000.

It wasn’t just the graduating seniors in the spotlight. The school recognized scores of underlassmen for academic achievements and awards.

Several seniors earned multiple scholarships.

Among them, Taylor Holz received the Leo and Virginia Cade Scholarship at St. Gregory’s University, the Presidential Scholarship at Grand Canyon University, a Merit Scholarship at Northern Arizona University, an Academic Scholarship and a Promise for the Future Scholarship at Central Arizona College and a South Mountain Community College volleyball scholarship.

Reina Yap earned a Presidential Scholarship at Arizona State University, a $36,000 Lumberjack Scholarship at Northern Arizona University and a $42,000 Wildcat Excellence Scholarship at the University of Arizona. The Academic Scholarship from CAC has the potential to be worth $3,900.

U.S. Military Scholarships (G.I. Bill)
U.S. Army – Antwan Holeman, Andres Padilla, Alan Potter, Ashley Rocha and Justin Smith
U.S. Marine Corps – Rachel Fallacaro, Angel Rendon and Dante Walters

Community Scholarships
Matt Huffman Scholarship – Samantha Dugan
Krysten Diehl Memorial Scholarhip – Erin Canche
Pinal County Federal Credit Union Scholarship – Cheyenne Breese
Maricopa Friends of the Library Scholarship – Tanner Glen and Crystal Turner
Maricopa Chamber of Commerce Sholarship – Andrea Russo, Samantha Dugan, Isabella McCloskey
Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza Scholarship – Victoria Andrade
C-CAP Education Scholarship – Ellen Nguyen
Maricopa Rotary Scholarship – Ellen Nguyen, Victoria Andrade, Samantha Dugan

Community College Athletic Scholarships
Colby CC (volleyball) – Katelin Jensen
South Mountain CC (volleyball) – Taylor Holz
Glendale CC (basketball) – Ashliegh Haley
South Mountain CC (softball) – Victoria Andrade

Central Arizona College
Academic Scholarships

Jasmine Acosta, Shay Barney, Sabrina Bui, Erin Canche, Zachary Chamberlain, Alina Chrosniak, Hannah Coyne, Yanira Ferrer, Tempest Fischbach, Tanner Glen, Anthony Gonzalez, Taylor Holz, Taylor Ireland, Callandra Jacobsen, Alyssandra Jacobsen, Katelin Jensen, Jazmeen Johnson, Tamar Lamy, Hannah Maamo, Aaron Mason, Amethyst Million, Angel Moreno, Anastasia Mullins, Kelly Paine, Benjamin Perry, Katrina Pinon, Luke Spencer, Chandler Stradling, Kyle Thacker, Marcus Thompson, Crystal Turner, Madeline Velasco Munoz, Blake West, Reina Yap
Promise for the Future Scholarship
Valentine Ackerson, Kinda Aiello, Mitchell Allen, Jasmine  Almaraz, Victoria Andrade, Aimmie Banuelos, Ericka Barba Hernandez, Jacob Bradley, Cheyenne Breese, Kourtney Brown, Christian Brunn, Micah Buchanan, Erin Canche, Elisabeth Carpenter, Zachary Chamberlain, Kira Cowing, Samantha Dugan, Kivon Dukes, Rachael Fallacaro, Tempest Fischbach, Samantha Fowler, Gabriela Garcia, Tanner Glen, Kayla Glibbery, Anthony Gonzalez, Ashliegh Haley, Matthew Hall, Rachel Hickey, Talyor Holz, Andrea Ibarra, Taylor Ireland, Katelin Jensen, Eric Johnson, Ian Johnston, Alexis Joubert, Anthony Kalnasy, Makara Kipper, Joseph Koch, Gary Kujawski, Trace Lawrence, Lupe Leon, Daisey Lopez, Hannah Maamo, Andrea Marinakis, Francisco Martinez, Amethyst Million, Angel Moreno, Dominique Mosley, Anastasia Mullins, Yesenia Munoz, Tatyana Muriel, Benjamin Perry, Claudia Portillo, Alan Potter, Majadi Randolph, Ashley Rocha, Savannah Rogers, Andrea Russo, Luke Spencer, Kyle Thacker, Tommy Tran, Crystal Turner, Machaela Usher, Madeline Velasco Munoz and Blake West

University Scholarships
St. Gregory’s University

Leo and Virginia Cade Scholarship – Taylor Holz

Rocky Mountain College
Presidential Scholarship – Madison Gentry

Grand Canyon University
Antelope Scholarships – Jelena Bilaver, Jesus Galaviz, Madison Gentry and Eric Johnson
Faculty Scholarships – Andrea Ibarra, Savannah Rogers and DaQuan Tyler
Dean Scholarships – Erin Canche, Samantha Fowler, Gabriela Garcia and Madeline Velasco Munoz
Provost Scholarship – Elisabeth Carpenter
Presidential Scholarship – Taylor Holz

Arizona State University
Obama Scholarships – Richard Luong and Madison Gentry
Academic Achievement Scholarships – Madison Gentry, Luis Beltran Martinez, Yesenia Munoz and Alexis Williams
University Scholarships – Daisey Lopez and Luke Spencer
Dean Scholarships – Sabrina Bui, Erin Canche, Tamar Lamy, Richard Luong, Kelly Paine and Pablo Vasquez
Provost Scholarships – Elisabeth Carpenter, Alyssandra Jacobsen and Crystal Turner
President Scholarships – Hannah Coyne and Reina Yap

Northern Arizona University
NAU Merit Scholarships – Sabrina Bui, Zachary Chamberlain, Taylor Holz, Taylor Ireland, Destinee King, Luke Spencer and Madeline Velasco Munoz
Dean Scholarships – Christian Brunn and Samantha Fowler
Lumberjack Scholarships – Erin Canche, Hannah Coyne, Samantha Dugan, Tempest Fischbach, Tanner Glen, Lupe Leon, Kelly Paine, Crystal Turner and Reina Yap

University of Arizona
Wildcat Excellence Scholarships – ($8,000) Erin Canche, Samantha Fowler, Taylor Ireland and Madeline Velasco Munoz; ($16,000) Jasine Acosta, Alyssandra Jacobsen, Callandra Jacobsen and Kelly Paine; ($32,000) Reina Yap.

Special Awards and Honors

AP Scholar with Honor – Tempest Fischbach
Female Academic Athlete of the Year – Kira Cowling
Male Academic Athlete of the Year – Zachary Chamberlain
Marines Scholastic Excellence Award – Reina Yap
Top 2.5% among Hispanic/Latino PSAT regional testers – Kyle Salazar and Ethan Smythe

Female Athlete of the Year – Kourtney Brown
Male Athlete of the Year – Elisha Donaldson
Army Female Scholar Athlete – Kira Cowling
Army Male Scholar Athlete – Zachary Chamberlain
Marines Athlete of the year – Elisha Donaldson

MHS Dedication Award for Perfect Attendance – Alfred Abraham, Beatrice Berthiaume, Luas Durovka, Kelly Franklin, Ricardo Garcia, Rylie Gociak, Craig Holmes, Thiraphat Kongpinta, Denice Montero, Favour Odubamowo, Rachael Perez, Devin Parady, Claudia Portillo (all four years), Shane Quinby, Hunter Towery, Leilena Young, Jeanice Zepeda, Austin Zimmer-Terrell

Fine Arts
John Philip Sousa Band Award – Anthony Kalnasy
National School Orchestra Award – Jason Baxter
Semper Fidelis Award for Musical Excellence – Jennifer John

Congressional Community Service Award – Samantha Dugan and Erin Canche

Academic Letter
Academic Excellence Year One

Freshmen – Carlos Aguilar-Negrete, Danielle Anderson, Moises Barraza Zavala, Tristen Bitter, Sara Brock, Joycelyn Cabrera, Megan Carr, Nicole Carpenter, Kevin Coutre, Marquell David, Kenya Gay, William Gilmore, Kobe Gladysz, Trevor Goettl, Natausha Hall, William Henderson, Kaitlyn Hendricks-Ryberg, Amber Hennigar, Alessandro Hernandez-De La Pena, Dylan Hill, Joshua Hoctor, Maria Jimenez, Porter Jones, Ivie Keene, Erick Abel Mazon, Abigail McMillian, David Montero, Rylee Moore, Ravour Odubamowa, Carter Paine, Haley Petersheim, Joseph Reyes, Hyrum Sherwood, Reece Thompson, Katherine Vu and Zachary Woods
Sophomores – Amanda Allen, Gabrielle Berquist, Rachel Blakely, Nicole Carpenter, Juan Carrillo, Eden Castellanos, Lillian Chitwood, Pamela Crabajales, Cody DiCenzi, Matthew Dinh, Kassidy Erick, Joeseph Ferland, Rylie Gosiak, Sarah Ledbetter, Melissa Martinez, Blanch Romo, Tucker Schaefer, Henry Shrock, Jackson Stensgard, Bricet Torrecillas, Lauryn Vela, Krysten Walker and Jacob Ybarra
Juniors – Beatrice Berthiaume, Cristaly  Betancourt-Sanchez, Cierra Cureton, Amanda Deiulio, Elizabeth Gallon, Seth Hendrickson, Lauren Hovland, Sky Johnson, Skye Kincaid, Mariah Leach, Victoria Lissy, Christeena Lorayes, Ashley Lynn, Taylor moore, Joann O’Hare, Mormon Olivas, Frank Olvey III, Andrea Perez, Jaleesa Rodriguez, Kyle Salazar, Josephine Sherwood, Janel Small, Shiloh Thompson and Fiona Tupponce
Seniors – Jasmine Acosta, Shay Barney, Christian Brunn, Sabrina Bui, Karen Cameros, Erin Canche, Zachary Chamberlain, Yanira Ferrer, Kellie Franklin, Gabriela Garcia, Taylor Holz, Taylor Ireland, Alyssandra Jacobsen, Callandra Jacobsen, Destinee King, Hanna Jeenah Maamo, Isabel McCloskey and Madeline Velasco-Munoz

Lamp of Knowledge
Academic Excellence Year Two

Sophomores – Alfred Abraham, Briana Barba, John Blodgett, Tyler Curtis, Lauren Davis, Sidney Eaton, Morgan Gentry, Joie Mary Guela, Teancum Hoopes, Rachael Perez, Alexis Skiffington, Kennedy Wiemiller and Jeanice Zepada
Senior – Kourtney Brown

Bar I
Academic Excellence Year Three

Juniors – Tatiana Castro, Torrent Fischbach, Geovana Garcia, Siena Garcia, Savannah Hull, Alison Korittky, Denice Montero, Cierra Reynolds and Hunter Towery
Seniors – Tempest Fischbach, Tamar Lamy, Kelly Paine and Katrina Pinon

Bar II
Academic Excellence Year Four

Seniors – Tanner Glen, Crystal Turner and Reina Yap

Academic Achievement
Freshmen – Tayler Alonzo Taggart, Fides Marianna Bernales, Myka Borunda, Adia Carr, Trevor Casper, Donovan Cutrara, Kamaria Davis, Benjamin Diaz, Teresa Flores, Federico Lopez, Dianna Mollinedo, Diana Nguyen, Ariana Sauceda, Diamond Sims, Benjamin Smith, Logan Spaulding, Micha West and Mason Williamson
***ADVERTISEMENT***Sophomores – Christian Anderson, Roxanne Baxter, Noah Baxter, Xander Benitez, Melissa Bracamonte, Megan Clayburn, Sean Guerrero, Jacob Hagan, Alyssa Hollingsworth, Carolynn Hoover, Jacob Loomis, Setera Miller, Annie Nguyen, Stephanie Palafox Salazar, Katherine Siebert, Michael Silva, Jacob Sorenson, Sky Stamps, Dylan Stradling and Destiny Valenzano
Juniors  – Ricardo Alvarez Gomez, Annely Arriola, Benjamin Busby, Annalyn Concepcion, Bailey Downey, Shyann Dugan, Ganella Esposito, Jennifer Gastelum, Bianca Guzman, Michael Herbig, ivan Herrera, Mysia Hudson, Ashley Jackson, Esequiel Jauregui, Johnny Johnson, Anya Lundstrom, Jessica Melgarejo, Ashley Riecken and Austin Rosefield
Seniors – Luis Beltran Martinez, Cheyenne Breese, Elisabeth Carpenter, Alina Chrosniak, Kira Cowling, Samantha Fowler, Madison Gentry, Makara Kipper, Gary Kujawski, Daisey Lopez, Richard Luong, Amethyst Million, Dominique Mosley and Yesenia Munoz

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Four years ago, Matt Metcalf left a position at Maricopa Elementary School and took a teaching job at Sequoia Pathway charter school. In 2012, he became the elementary school’s assistant principal, which did not stop him from later also teaching a fourth grade class. This year, on Jan. 1, he was named interim principal.

What is your favorite part of being a principal?
I truly feel blessed to have the opportunity to work with the wonderful families we have here at Pathway. I feel that my favorite part of being a principal is the interaction with the students. The true highlight of my day is walking into the classrooms and asking the students to teach me about what they are learning, and seeing the pride in themselves and the joy in their eyes when they get a chance to show off what they know.
Why did you choose education as a career?
I never intended to become a teacher until my senior year of high school. I had a teacher named Mr. Monnette for chemistry. He was the father of a friend of mine from eighth grade. He made me realize that some teachers really do want to take the time to get to know students and truly care about how they are doing. He gave me advice about the future and convinced me that one teacher can make all the difference in a student’s life.

What were your first impressions of Sequoia Pathway?
I interviewed for a fourth grade position at Pathway when they had just opened the new building. I was impressed with the philosophy of “every child is known,” as this is what I had always tried to do to create a connection between myself and my students. I was excited to work at a place where they truly understood that knowing the students is the best way to understand their individual needs. Coming over to Pathway is the best career decision I have ever made.

What are the biggest challenges facing Maricopa students today?
I feel that one of the toughest challenges facing students are the ever changing expectations in education. The standards have changed, the testing is new and now they don’t have to pass AIMS in order to graduate. I realize that the system is doing what they feel is right for our students, but it is our students that are caught in the middle. I really do not care what test the students take as long as the expectations are set and understood by all. In every job I have ever had, I had a specific job function and set of duties. If we truly want to prepare our students for the future they need to know – and deserve to know – what we expect from them.

What was the best advice you received about your own education?
The best advice I have heard about my own education came from my mother. At one point when I was deciding on my major in college she off-handedly commented, “College is expensive and what is the point in paying that much money to get a degree in something you do not love. It’s like standing in line for hours to see a movie you know that you will hate.”

What advice would you like to give parents of elementary school children?
In these days of high-stakes testing, elementary school should be a place where students smile when thinking about going to school. They should have fun as well as learn.  Finally, there are right and wrong schools for each student. Each family must find the school that fits their child and brings them the most joy.

What have your students taught you?
I have learned so much from my students over the years. These students have so many different experiences and they just want the chance to share them with someone. I have learned that they just want a chance to be heard and to have someone, outside their family, listen to them and share their joy, pain and excitement.  As an educator, I have learned patience, understanding and that my time is important to me, but to others it is something I can give and receive the gift of a smile in return.

***ADVERTISEMENT***Matt Metcalf
Hometown: Phoenix
Education: Master’s degree in Education
Family: Loving wife with three children (Justine 20, Jordan 17 and Jackson 9)
Teaching positions you’ve held: Fourth grade, fifth grade and third grade in the Kyrene District, at Maricopa Elementary School and Sequoia Pathway.
Years in Education: 14
First job out of college: Teaching a 4th/5th combo class taking over for a teacher who quit a few weeks into the school year
Hobbies: Sports and cooking
First year with current school: 2011
Favorite subject when you were in elementary school? Math and history. “My favorite thing to do when I was in fourth grade was to mentally solve multiplication problems.”

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Ellen Nguyen, a 2015 graduate of Maricopa High School, was honored at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference.

Industry leaders representing more than 600 businesses, corporations, trade associations and unions recognized students for demonstrating excellence in 100 hands-on occupational and leadership competitions, such as robotics, criminal justice, aviation maintenance and public speaking. All competitions are designed, run and judged by industry using industry standards.

Nguyen was awarded a Skill Point certificate in Culinary Arts.

Skill Point certificates were awarded in 86 occupational and leadership areas to students who achieved a high score defined by industry. The Skill Point certificates were introduced in 2009 as a component of the SkillsUSA Work Force Ready System.

Top student winners received gold, silver and bronze medallions. Many also received prizes such as tools of their trade or scholarships to further their careers and education.

The SkillsUSA Championships is for high-school and college-level students who are members of the 360,000-member SkillsUSA organization. SkillsUSA just completed a year-long 50th anniversary celebration.

***ADVERTISEMENT***"More than 6,000 students from every state in the nation came to compete in the SkillsUSA Championships," said SkillsUSA Executive Director Tim Lawrence. "This is the SkillsUSA partnership at its best. Students, instructors and industry representatives are working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce and every student excels. These students prove that career and technical education expands opportunities."

According to the U.S. Department of Education, students who take three or more career and technical education (CTE) programs in high school are more likely to attend college and stay there to graduate. Visit

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Citing "professional commitments," Leslie Carlyle-Burnett has resigned from the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board.

She submitted a letter of resignation to MUSD April 3. Carlyle-Burnett, a senior planner for the Ak-Chin Indian Community, was appointed to the board in January 2012 to fill a seat vacated by Geoff Goddard. She won election to the seat that year, and her term ends in 2016.

"My years of service to the MUSD Governing Board have been rewarding and fulfilling and I appreciate that I had the opportunity to serve," she said in her letter of resignation. "My professional commitments have taken a different direction. It has truly been a privilege and honor to have served on the MUSD Governing Board."

The letter has not yet been received by the Pinal County School Superintendent's Office. Once it is received, County Superintendent Jill Broussard will put out notices and the school district will post notices for any interested applicants.

The county superintendent reviews applications and appoints someone to fill the seat until the next election, which is 2016, according to the county superintendent's office.

***ADVERTISEMENT***Carlyle-Burnett will be recognized for her contributions at the April 22 meeting of the MUSD Governing Board.

"Ms. Carlyle-Burnett was an excellent board member and she worked hard to create excellent schools for our students and to improve educational services to the entire community,” Superintendent Steve Chestnut said. "She has been a big part of our drive for excellence in student academic programs. Her leadership helped us to win the 2014 School Board of the Year from the Arizona School Board Association."

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Arizona Basketball Coaches Association
Girls Basketball Coach of the Year

Division I – Ty Dumas, Dobson
Division II – Kati Burrows, Maricopa
Division III – Justin Smith, Page
Division IV – Bruce Consier, Phoenix Christian

AIA 2014-15 Division II Basketball
Girls All Division Second Team

Sydney Harden, Sahuaro
Brianna Lehew, Thunderbird
Najiyyah Pack, South Mountain
Lexy Ram, Ironwood Ridge
Danae Ruiz, Maricopa
LeeAnne Wirth, Seton Catholic

Maricopa Honorable Mentions
Tiara Edmond
Ashliegh Haley


AIA 2014-15 Division II Section IV Basketball
Girls All Section First Team

Sarah Barcello, Seton Catholic
Adriana Barnes, Williams Field
Molly Bustamante, Camp Verde
Danae Ruiz, Maricopa
Jenn Wirth, Seton Catholic
LeeAnne Wirth, Seton Catholic

Girls All Section Second Team
Tiara Edmond, Maricopa
Ashliegh Haley, Maricopa

Liz Holter, Seton Catholic
Jayden Karchner, Queen Creek
Kendyl Payne, Queen Creek
Angelicah Tso, Marcos de Niza

Maricopa Honorable Mentions
Sydni Callis
Jamila Rodgers
Tyra Williams
Raegene Womack


AIA 2014-15 Division II Soccer
Boys All Division
Maricopa Honorable Mentions
Pedro Olivares
Benjamin Perry
Christian Ramirez
Mitchell Zieglgansberger

AIA 2014-15 Division II Section VI Soccer
Boys All Section First Team

Jacob Carlson, Ironwood Ridge
Fredi Chacon, Mountain View Marana
Joshua Davis, Ironwood Ridge
Grant Hubble, Catalina Foothills
Hagen Hyatt, Catalina Foothills
Benjamin Perry, Maricopa
Prince Pohi, Catalina Foothills
Christian Ramirez, Maricopa
Caleb Sanchez, Canyon del Oro
Justin Stoermer, Mountain View Marana
Jeremy Siwik, Catalina Foothills
Ruben Torres, Canyon del Oro
Galen Vincent, Catalina Foothills

Boys All Section Second Team
Fredi Chacon, Mountain View Marana
Brandon Le, Catalina Foothills
David Martinez, Poston Butte
Duke McAllister, Mountain View Marana
Tanner Nickles, Ironwood Ridge
Pedro Olivares, Maricopa
Nick Reyes, Mountain View Marana
Payton Rudnick, Catalina Foothills
Guillermo Sainz, Flowing Wells
Dominic Sealy, Marana
Cisco Uriarte, Marana
Galen Vincent, Catalina Foothills
Zane Wade, Catalina Foothills
Mitchell Zieglgansberger, Maricopa

***ADVERTISEMENT***Maricopa Honorable Mentions
Ivan Mendez
Parker Villareal


AIA 2014-15 Division II Wrestling
170 Sixth Place
Kenny Gay, Maricopa

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Maricopa Wells Middle School is applying for a 21st Century Community Learning Century Grant for 2015-16.

According to Principal Rick Abel, the grant is worth $120,000-$140,000 a year for five years. It would pay for after-school and Saturday activities. Abel said those include academic activities, tutoring, character-building segments and more.

Charter funding had been paying for those activities until this year, when charters were removed from the district schools.

If you have questions or suggestions about the grant, please contact Principal Abel at 520-568-7103 or

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Five people have applied for the vacant position on the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board, including some former candidates.

The seat came open with the resignation of Leslie Carlyle-Burnett. The appointment is made by Pinal County Superintendent Jill Broussard and will run through the next available election, in November 2016.

• Joshua Judd, a former Marine military policeman and educator in another district, has three children enrolled at MUSD and has been an active advocate for education issues.

• Rhonda Melvin, a homemaker with an associate’s degree in early childhood development, was a candidate in the 2014 school board election. Her three children attended MUSD.

• Marlene Pearce is a parent who sought an appointment to a vacancy on the city council in 2012. She is executive assistant for Pinal County Supervisor Anthony Smith.

• Leon Potter ran for the school board in 2012 and is a former member of the Maricopa City Council. A tax advisor, he has children in the district. He is president of the Maricopa Rotary Club.

***ADVERTISEMENT***• Jaysie Sheppard is a former teacher who was also a candidate for the school board in the last election. She played professional basketball in the WNBA and is president of the ministry TPA HOOPS.

Interviews will take place next Tuesday, according to Brenda Katterman, administrative clerk III at the County Superintendent’s Office. Pending a background check, the successful applicant could be announced by the end of next week.

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The Maricopa Rotary Club recognized its students of the month at the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board meeting Wednesday night. From left: Maricopa High School senior Ellen Nguyen, gold medal recipient in the American Chef Federation Culinary Competition, junior Anastasia Stamatis, who is enrolled in Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology’s dental assistant program, Maricopa Wells Middle School eighth grader Katelyn Dayley, president of the MWMS National Junior Honor Society, and MWMS eighth grader Alayja Reynolds, who was a November Rotary Student of the Month with a 4.0 grade point average and a member of the National Junior Honors Society. Not pictured is Justin Russell, a Desert Wind Middle School eighth grader with a 4.0 GPA.

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The purpose and scope of Galileo testing will be explained during the next meeting of the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board.

The board meets Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the district office.

Rick Neilson, director of assessment and data, is set to provide an overview of Galileo testing, which is meant to measure how well students are mastering content and the how effective the teaching is.

Neilson will cover the scale score and cut score aspects as well as benchmarks. He will explain the intervention alert and provide a look at a quiz builder.

Also on Wednesday’s agenda, Desert Winds Middle School Principal Renita Myers will update the board on her school’s math and language arts goals.

***ADVERTISEMENT***Superintendent Steve Chestnut will provide an update on the work of the Budget Committee. Human Resources Director Tom Becket will summarize the work of the Certified Salary Committee.

Business Services Director Aron Rausch will provide financial reports for November and December.

Personnel issues that require approval include the resignations of high school teacher Jacob Gomez and custodian Margeaux Edwards, and the hiring of sixth-grade teacher Gail Gray.

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Maricopa Unified School District has a change in its location for the Mobile Health Clinic.

Starting Feb. 4, the clinic will move from the district office to the Banner Medical Health Clinic, 177900 N. Porter Road (behind Walmart). According to MUSD, the move is an effort to increase the visibility of the mobile clinic in another part of the community.

The clinic is every Wednesday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. the last appointment is at 3:30 p.m. All uninsured children ages 0 to 18 living in or near Maricopa are eligible. For an appointment, call 480-412-6344.

The Sun Life Smile Mobile is coming to MUSD in February.

School-age children in kindergarten and first grade will be coming home with consent forms for parents to sign giving permission for the classroom education, exam and varnish. Every child will receive a free goodie bag.

Infants with teeth and children up to 5 years old may receive services at the mobile dental clinic before and after school hours.

***ADVERTISEMENT***Feb. 2 – Maricopa Elementary School
Feb. 5 – Saddleback Elementary School
Feb. 11 – Santa Rosa Elementary School
Feb. 19 – Butterfield Elementary School
Feb. 25 – Santa Cruz Elementary School
Feb. 26 – Pima Butte Elementary School

For more information about the Maricopa Unified School District please visit   

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A hundred disc golfers competed at Maricopa Meadows on Saturday in a B-tier pro/am tournament.

Scottsdale’s David Feldberg, who is also the tournament director, scored a 22-under-par 100 to win the open division by four and had low score of the day overall. Feldberg has career earnings of more than $350,000. Paul Ulibarri of Phoenix was second in the 12-man field.

In the Masters division, Sam Russ of Chandler won at -12. He was just two ahead of Jav Kowalski of Maricopa, who won the division at the inaugural tournament last year.

In the Grandmasters division, Michael Williams of La Mirada, California, won by seven with a -7.

The Advanced division was the most populated competition, with 25 players. Justin Bennett of Glendale won with a score of 116, just one ahead of Patrick Whelan of Mesa and Mustafa Bilenler of Glendale. Cedar Brenner of Maricopa was 20th, and Jacob Hill of Maricopa finished 21st.

***ADVERTISEMENT***Jeff Meyers of Gilbert won the Advanced Masters division with a -6. Rene Garrido of Maricopa placed seventh with a +14. Paul Brenner of Maricopa placed ninth.

In the 20-player Intermediate division, Jacob Holmes of Gilbert won with a 14-under-par score of 106. He was four ahead of Ray Hernandez of Maricopa and Quentin Riddle of Tucson. Robert Reynolds of Maricopa finished seventh. Jesus Torres of Maricopa was in 13th place.

Savas Kucukaslan of Webster, New York, won the Recreational division with a score of +4.

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The Maricopa Dukes baseball organization will hold tryouts for their 8U, 9U, 10U, 11U, 12U and 13U teams on Sunday at Copper Sky Regional Park.

All players interested in trying out for the program must check in from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Tryouts start promptly at 8:30 a.m. Tryouts will last approximately two hours and will cover all aspects of baseball including throwing, fielding, hitting, running and attitude.

The Dukes program is looking for new players who have baseball experience and are looking to take the next step. They are looking for players with previous experience on club teams or in youth baseball organizations for the 2015-16 season.

The Maricopa Dukes are a club baseball team that based in Maricopa but plays throughout the greater Phoenix market against competitive teams. The season will include play in a minimum of four tournaments with possible out-of-state travel to California, Nevada or New Mexico in the summer.

The Dukes are looking for kids and families who are seeking out a positive, character-building youth baseball experience while learning the skills, tactics, and strategies of the game and desire to improve as a player.

If you are unable to attend on June 7 but are interested in the team, please email to make other arrangements or for more information on tryouts and the Dukes Organization.

The Dukes Machine pitch team ended in third place overall and were invited to play in PONY Pinto Allstars. However they decided to decline the invitation since the kids were only 6-8 years old and had been playing for nine months straight.  They needed a break.

***ADVERTISEMENT***The 9U team won the PONY championships and are playing in the Arizona PONY State All Stars Tournament mid-June with a chance to advance to California for regionals and ultimately the PONY World Series.   

The 12U and 11U teams came in first and second, respectively.  Eight players from the 11 and 12U teams will also be playing in the Arizona PONY State All Stars Tournament mid-June with a chance to advance to California for regionals and ultimately the PONY World Series for their age group.

Visit or like them on facebook for more information.

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On Wednesday at 10: a.m. and 7 p.m., Superintendent Steve Chestnut will host an informational meeting for Maricopa Unified School District parents and guardians.

The meetings will be held in the Governing Board room at the MUSD District Office, 44150 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway.

Topics will include the 2015-16 MUSD budget, an update on the new elementary gifted program, and information about the new AzMERIT state testing system.

The content presented at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. will be identical.

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Sean Walsh of Keller, Texas, and Gonzaga University dominated the field at the Saguaro Amateur at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club.

Walsh shot 67 the final day for 15 under par. He won by five shots. Rico Hoey and Shotaro Ban, both from California, tied for second at 10-under.

"It was a great tournament,” Walsh said. “I really enjoyed the guys in my group the first two days. We really fed off each other the first day. … I was able to keep the ball in play and hit some good iron shots. That is what helped me the most this week more than anything.”

After the start of the tournament was delayed because of heavy frost on Jan. 1, Walsh shot a 65 his first day. He followed that up with a 69 on Day 2.

On the final day, Walsh's 67 included four birdies and an eagle on 16 with a lone bogey on 17.

“Playing today with Rico (Hoey), Ben (Doyle), and Chase (Hanna), I knew it would be a competitive day,” Walsh said. “Rico and Ben were hitting it close all day. Coming down the stretch I knew I had a little wiggle-room but also knew I needed to stay aggressive. The difference was when I hit a 4-iron to 20 feet in two on 16 and made the putt for eagle."

The top Arizona finisher was Colton Yates of Scottsdale, who tied for 11th place. He shot 64 on Sunday. It tied the tournament record held by two players—Grayson Murray from 2014 and Ben Doyle from this year's second round.

Kolton Lapp of Mesa and John Souza of Phoenix finished tied for 25th with scores of 216.

Defending champion Taylor Moore of Fayetteville, Arkansas, had a closing 67 to tie for fourth place with Britain’s David Snyder.

Walsh had a two-shot lead over Chase Hanna going into the final round, but Hanna stumbled and Walsh pulled away.

"It is a great way to start 2015, and it gives me a lot of confidence,” Walsh said. “My goal for this week was basically I just wanted to come out and hit off grass. Winning gives me the confidence I can go low against a great field. I was fortunate to make a couple more putts than the other guys."

On the six-hole #miniDUNES course, participants also played a shootout, with Chris Korte of Littleton, Colorado, tying the course record at 14 (-4) and winning a #miniDUNES flag signed by Fred Couples.

1. Sean Walsh (Keller, Texas) 65-69-67—201 (-15)
2. Rico Hoey (Rancho Cucamonga, California) 71-66-69—206
 Shotaro Ban (San Jose, California) 70-70-66—206
4. David Snyder (Somerset, Kent, U.K.) 67-72-68—207
 Taylor Moore (Edmond, Oklahoma) 72-68-67—207
6. Max McGreevy (Edmond, Oklahoma) 71-68-69—208
7. Ben Doyle (La Jolla, California) 73-64-72—209
 Nick Heinen (Edmond, Oklahoma) 73-66-70—209
 Luke Vivolo (Carmel, California) 71-67-71—209
10. Andrew Whalen (Ephrata, Washington) 73-67-70–210

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At the Arizona School Boards Association’s annual business meeting Dec. 11, Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board President Torri Anderson was elected secretary of the association.

Anderson has been on ASBA’s board of directors and will now serve as secretary of the executive committee. Jesus Rubalcava of Gila Bend becomes the ASBA president. Kathy Knecht of Peoria was voted president-elect, and Julie Bacon of Paradise Valley was elected treasurer.

“It’s going to be great working with cases, and the ASBA staff is great,” Anderson said.
The ASBA is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that provides training, leadership and essential services to governing boards statewide.

“I think me being on the board will help Maricopa,” Anderson said. “It will be amazing for me to learn what goes on at other districts.”

In January, ASBA hosts a series of Board Operations and Leadership Training Seminars (BOLTS) in Tucson, Phoenix and Flagstaff for newly elected and continuing school board members to learn “the mechanics of effective boards.”

***ADVERTISEMENT***The ASBA Board of Directors comprises the five-member executive committee as well as one currently serving school board member from each county in the state (county directors), with the exception of Maricopa and Pima counties, which have two county directors each due to their much larger populations.

County directors are typically elected by peers from their own county; appointments are made when mid-term vacancies occur.

Also represented with seats on the board are ASBA’s Black and Hispanic-Native American Indian caucuses, and any Arizona school board member who serves on the board of the National School Boards Association. ASBA is a federation member of NSBA.

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Six football players from Maricopa High School were honored by the Arizona Interscholastic Association for their gridiron feats during the past season.

In the statewide Football Coach’s Poll, wide receiver Elisha Donaldson, a 6-3, 185-pound senior, was a selected for First Team in the Rams’ section and division. He had 1,264 yards receiving on 55 catches. That included 11 touchdown receptions, three of those in one game against Arcadia.

Elisha had an average gain of 23 yards per catch. He scored 70 points for the Rams. Besides an earlier All-Section selection, he was the team's overall player of the year.

Also drawing notice in Division III for MHS were honorable mentions linemen Kenny Ball and Chad Cochran, running back Johnny Johnson Jr., quarterback Aaron Owens and defensive back Geovanni Walker.

The Rams, coached by Chris McDonald, were 4-6 overall, 3-2 in conference play.

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Butterfield Elementary won the boys and girls divisions in the sixth grade Maricopa Unified School District cross country meet on Thursday.

Five teams competed. Santa Rosa Elementary did not attend. The meet was at Maricopa High School. The competitors ran 1.6 miles.

The Butterfield boys scored eight points and the girls scored nine. In cross country, the lowest score wins as the numbers of the order of finish of each runner are totaled.

By winning the boys race in 12:14, Taylor Stolle gave Butterfield one point. His teammates, Jovanni Fontes, Jacob Villegas and Marco Gonzalez, finished third, fourth and fifth to keep the scores low.

Angel Luna of Pima Butte Elementary finished second in 12:34 for the boys.

In the girls race, Shelbee Becroft won for Butterfield in 12:41. McKenna Hiam of Santa Cruz was second, Katleen Mangen of Butterfield was third, Jahniqiua Gilndore of Santa Cruz was fourth, and Taryn Meyers of Butterfield was fifth.

1-Butterfield 8
2-Pima Butte 25
3-Maricopa 50
4-Santa Cruz 54
5-Saddleback 64

1-Butterfield 9
2-Santa Cruz 15
3-Pima Butte 42
4-Maricopa 54
5-Saddleback 69

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Members of the Maricopa Wells Middle School girls volleyball team played in the Ak-Chin Adult Co-Ed Volleyball Toy Drive Tournament Dec. 5-6.

To enter the tournament each player was required to bring a toy or a blanket. They were also required to have females and males on the team. The Maricopa Wells players brought blankets for the drive and invited dads Jecksen Quiones (coach) and Rick Abel (principal) to compete.
They comprised one of 18 teams in the tournament.

“The Ak-Chin Indian Community, the Ak-Chin Youth Council and I want to say thanks to the Maricopa Wells Volleyball Team for participating and supporting our yearly toy and blanket drive,” coach Ann Marie Antone, Ak-Chin Indian Community Middle School advisor, said.

All donated toys go to kids and families who are less fortunate and all of the donated blankets will be given to elderly community members.

***ADVERTISEMENT***The Maricopa Wells team won their first match and dropped the last two matches. Most importantly, they had a great time.

The MWMS girls hosted their last home game of the season on Dec. 9. The varsity team defeated Mountain Vista Middle School, 25-14, 25-15. Coach Antone played all of the eighth grade girls in one team to let them say goodbye to the MWMS court one last time.

The varsity team will be heading to Apache Junction Saturday. They are tied for first place in the league with Cactus Canyon.

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For the sixth year, Duane Clouse, DDS, of Treasured Smiles Dentistry partnered with elementary schools in the Maricopa Unified School District to stock the shelves of the F.O.R. Maricopa Food Bank.

This year, the “Feed Our Families Food Drive” brought in 8,864 pounds of food stuffs. Treasured Smiles staff members and Dr. Clouse gathered the food Nov. 21 and presented it to F.O.R. Maricopa.

Saddleback Elementary had the largest ratio of food poundage per student with a total of 1,784 pounds. That earned them a prize of $1,000.

This week, Clouse and his staff presented the check to the school staff and students.

“We would like to thank all the students, parents and staff for their efforts in participating with the ‘Feed Our Families’ food drive this year,” Clouse said. “It is a great way for all to get involved in helping those less fortunate and a great way to help the community.”

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Tanya Graysmark started Graysmark Academy out of a room in her home in 2006.

“I had my own kids around that age, and there was no preschool in Maricopa at the time,” Graysmark says.

She was working part time as a special education consultant in the Phoenix area and finishing her master’s degree when she came up with the idea to start her own school.

“I initially put up an ad in Curves and up at the Post Office, and I had my first eight kids within a week,” Graysmark says.

She quickly had to move the private, tuition-based preschool program out of her home and into its current location in the Maricopa Business Center on Honeycutt Road.

According to Graysmark, the popularity of the academy with parents and students motivated her to apply to become a charter school. She started the Holsteiner Agricultural School in 2011 to teach kindergarten through sixth grade students.

“We opened Holsteiner due to the need to continue our program for parents and students that were not able to afford tuition and a private program,” Graysmark says.

Graysmark and Holsteiner are connected and have a similar academic philosophy that includes Saxon Math and Houghton Mifflin curriculum for reading and writing. The school incorporates agriculture in its science program.

“Maricopa is rich in agriculture,” Graysmark says. “There are many farms in Maricopa, and the University of Arizona Agricultural campus is here. There is a lot of farming history in the area.”

Graysmark prefers a hands-on approach.

“Our program of instruction is based on cooperative learning, differentiated instruction and problem based learning,” she says. “We have lots of hands-on learning and movement in the classroom; our students have fun while they learn.”

Graysmark says the atmosphere at Graysmark and Holsteiner is very family-oriented: “Many of our families have grown up in our program. We are their home away from home. Our oldest students are entering their senior year in high school this year and they come back to visit often.”

Graysmark and Holsteiner continue to grow and may consider moving to a bigger space to in the future. Graysmark is in the process of opening an academy in Minnesota.

She has been in education for nearly 30 years and working with kids is her driving force, especially those with special needs.

“I am always cheering for the underdog” Graysmark says. “I really enjoy working with special education kids, and I am up for the challenge of making them better students, learners and more compassionate friends.”***ADVERTISEMENT***

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The Maricopa Unified School District budget override failed by a large margin Tuesday. Fifty-eight percent of voters (2,698) opposed the measure and 42 percent (1,929) supported it.

The results are unofficial.

Come back later in the day for more information and analysis.

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Aaron Owens
Junior quarterback
Maricopa Rams
When did you start playing sports? 7 years old
What was the first sport you played? Basketball
Would you like to play football in college? I would like to play quarterback in college, but it doesn’t really matter. I’ll play wherever they want me to play.
What are your plans after you graduate? Other than playing football, I have not thought about it much.
What is your dream career? Coach
What is the best part about playing quarterback? I like being a leader for the team, being part of an explosive offense.
What three people, past or present, would you like to have dinner with? My grandfather (Ronnie Owens), Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers quarterback) and Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins quarterback)
Team: University of California Bears
Favorite athletes: Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns quarterback and former Heisman Trophy winner at Texas A&M
School subject: PE
Moment as MHS football player: Twice this season, our games have come down to the final minutes, ended in exciting finishes (losses to Tempe and Williams Field)

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The Maricopa High School Marching Rams earned a sixth-place finish, “Excellent” rating and right to compete in the State Marching Festival with its performance at Arizona State University Band Day Saturday.
The Arizona Band and Orchestra Directors Association Division II State Marching Festival is Saturday at Hamilton High School in Chandler.
The Marching Rams moved up to Division II, which has bands with 65 to 94 members, last year. 
“This is the band's first season in Division II, and this is a huge success for our students,” MHS Director of Music Ivan Pour said. “We invite everyone to attend the state festival this weekend and see and hear these wonderful students.”
What: ABODA Division II State Marching Band Festival
When: 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 1 (Rams perform at 10:15 a.m.)
Where: Hamilton High School, 3700 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler
How much: $10, children under 5 free

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Rhonda Melvin and her family moved to Maricopa in 2006 when her husband Patrick was named Maricopa's first police chief. Though she has never held elected office before, Rhonda Melvin is ready for the challenge.

"Now that my children are away in college or gainfully employed, I look forward to additional volunteer opportunities," she said.

Age: 47

Family: Husband Patrick Melvin, three children (Jasmine, Patrick ll and Lorenzo)

Education: Associate’s degree in early childhood education/sociology from Maricopa Community Colleges District

Occupation: Homemaker

School kids attend: Kids attended Desert Wind Middle School and Maricopa High.

Hobbies: Supporting the activities of our children, reading, volunteering, going to the spa.

Community service: Against Abuse annual gala, my church

Maricopa resident since: 2006

Why are you running?
Being an Arizona native, I attended some of the best public schools within the community in which I lived. I’m running because I firmly believe that all residents of Maricopa, if they choose, deserve an educational system that will educate, equip and empower their children for their future.

What qualifies you for the position?
I’m a concerned resident who desires to help improve the educational system in Maricopa, my community.

What do you hope to accomplish during your term?
Assisting and supporting the efforts of the MUSD to provide quality education in the city of Maricopa.

How will you accomplish that?
Information and knowledge is power. I feel informing parents of the importance of parental involvement and volunteerism is very important.  MUSD can’t do it all by itself. I will be an advocate for parental volunteerism in the classroom time-permitting. I will also be an advocate for reducing barriers for parental involvement and volunteerism in the district.

What are the three biggest challenges facing MUSD?
Retention, Retention, Retention! Retention of quality teachers, faculty, staff and our students are huge challenges of the district and the future of not only the MUSD but the city of Maricopa.

What will you do to overcome them?
Collaborative partnerships, working to improve without a personal agenda. My children have graduated and aged out of MUSD and have continued their higher education now. However, I truly have a love for our community children and for the future of our community. We have to invest in our children if we want our children to be successful. Overcoming this challenge isn’t impossible; our governing board, administration and the residents of Maricopa can assist and work together for the greater good of the community. 

***ADVERTISEMENT***Do you support MUSD's effort to pass a budget override?
Approving the override will provide the help and assistance our teachers need and our children deserve. It will allow for smaller classes, additional skilled paraprofessionals and increased academic programs. The Override will assist in preparing and equipping our children with the tools necessary for success beyond MUSD and in a higher educational environment if that is the student’s choice. I want our children to have that choice. So, do I support the override, absolutely! 

Click here to access Q&As from other school board candidates.

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Gina Chaffin is in her second year leading Santa Cruz Elementary School and 18th in education. Her first 11 years were spent teaching second, fourth, fifth and sixth grades, and she was an assistant principal five years before taking over for the retiring John Flores as principal of Santa Cruz.

“I started out as an art major in college,” Chaffin said. “I had a professor who taught me that I could learn to do anything. I felt I had a calling to educate others at that point.”

Chaffin was born and raised in the Phoenix area and received her bachelor’s in elementary education from Northern Arizona University, and her master’s in educational administration and supervision from Arizona State University.

She began her educational career in Michigan working for the Michigan State University Cooperative Extension, providing students with information to help job performance, raise their family and build their communities.

“I worked with students ages 5 to 19 in a variety of settings,” Chaffin said.

Chaffin brings that knowledge and perspective to her work as principal of Santa Cruz.

“I believe the most effective strategy for being an educational leader is to share the leadership,” Chaffin said. “It is vital to get input from all stakeholders when making decisions. When everyone feels as though they’ve had a voice, they will be more supportive of change and improvement.”

Chaffin’s approach is working. Santa Cruz went from a C school with 111 points on the Arizona Department of Education Report Card to a B grade, improving by 18 points, after Chaffin’s first year at the school.

“We’re very proud of the progress at Santa Cruz, and Gina’s leadership was a big part of the improvement along with the great staff at Santa Cruz; it was a real group effort,” Superintendent Steve Chestnut said. “We are grateful to have Gina.”

Connecting with children and making a difference in their lives is the most rewarding part of working in education for Chaffin.

And creating a safe environment his her top priority: “I hope the most important thing Santa Cruz students have every day is a feeling of safety. Not just physical safety but safety in taking risks when learning. It is when we feel safe and are able to take risks that we learn the most.”***ADVERTISEMENT***

Gina Chaffin
Santa Cruz Elementary School

Education: Bachelor’s degree in elementary education (Northern Arizona University), master’s in educational administration and supervision (Arizona State University)
Family: Daughter, 6-year-old grandson
Hobbies: Hiking, kayaking, camping, reading and yoga
Most memorable moment as an elementary school student: When my seventh grade teacher told me I should be a writer and suggested I publish a story I had written. (That is still one of my goals, to be a published author.)
Most interesting thing a student has been called to the principal’s office for: Students get called to the office every morning so they can howl like coyotes on the morning announcements. They love it!
Favorite subject: My favorite subject as a student was art. As a teacher, it was math. I struggled with math when I was in school. It became my favorite subject to teach because I can relate to the kids are struggling with it as I did.
Actress who would play you in a movie about your life: Sandra Bullock
Three people with whom you’d most like to dine: Harriet Tubman, Anne Frank and Helen Keller 

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Gary Miller sees sustainability as Maricopa Unified School District’s No. 1 challenge and reducing costs as the key to improving school letter grades. Miller is one of five candidates for two seats on the school board.

Age: 41

Family: Wife Jolene, two boys in third and fourth grade, two foster children in second and fifth grade.

Education: I earned a bachelor degree in political science from the University of Kansas and graduated Magna Cum Laude from my master’s degree program in social work from Washburn University. After earning my master’s degree, I graduated Summa Cum Laude from ASU in 2012, earning a doctor of behavioral health degree.

Occupation: Health information technology consultant and principal of pro-bono national research project.

School kids attend: Pathway; foster kids attend Butterfield

Hobbies: Traveling, college basketball, studying Shin-Shin Toitsu Aikido.

Community service: I serve on the City of Maricopa Board of Adjustments and chair the Pinal County Republican Club Teenage Republicans. I currently facilitate a community foster care support group for parent resource providers.

Maricopa resident since: 2005

Why are you running?
My motivation derives from a desire to measure and improve outcomes for our school system as much as possible by focusing on the “A” solutions while addressing the district's financial problems, to retain quality teachers, and to be involved with the district while I have school-aged children.

What qualifies you for the position?
The fundamental responsibility of a governing board member is to balance the budget, create policy and manage the superintendent. My conservative framework will help guide me to balance the budget. My background and education in public policy, healthcare, research, quality control, community outreach and prior board experience will indeed add value to the MUSD 20 Governing Board that will enable me to help measure outcomes and improve the district’s overall letter grade.

What do you hope to accomplish during your term?
I follow Pareto’s Principle (80/20 Rule), that 80 percent of the effect is produced by the vital few 20 percent of the causes. I believe increasing access and develop a continuous quality improvement plan are the two causes within my professional competence that will help produce the greatest effect for a more sustainable MUSD 20. I hope to improve MUSD 20 strategies and/or policy that will help remove institutional barriers to academic success as well as putting more dollars in the classroom versus the administration.

How will you accomplish that?
I believe that the ideal solution is to increase access and quality management to reduce the costs associated with the operation of MUSD 20 that will naturally improve the district wide letter grades. I will help to improve student access to adequate healthcare and social services, transportation, technology that includes assistive technology, individualized education programs, honors courses and will never vote against access to all day kindergarten. I also value and support access to after school academic and athletic activities that are prevention interventions to help curve teen pregnancy, truancy and the student dropout rate.***ADVERTISEMENT***

What are the three biggest challenges facing MUSD?
1. Sustainability of MUSD 20 over time.
2. Ratio of dollars spent in the classroom.
3. Access.

What will you do to overcome them?
We need to continue and build our culture and tradition(s) within MUSD 20 on many levels so that there is not a disconnect between the administration, teachers, staff, students, their family and the community as well as our community. I believe continuous quality control (CQI) will help guide the district to better manage the flow of operation for a more sustainable future.

Do you support MUSD’s effort to pass a budget override?
I do support the budget override. The money will be spent in the classroom and in return will help reduce class size. The surgeon general reports that 1 in 5 youth experience a mental health condition, so I calculated the ratio of students per classroom that experience a mental health “condition” in each MUSD 20 school. Reducing the ratio of students per classroom will naturally reduce the average number of students per classroom that experience a mental health condition.

Click here to access Q&As from other school board candidates.

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Maricopa Rams senior Elisha Donaldson is one of the leading wide receivers in the state.


GPA: 3.0
Favorite subject: Math
Favorite team: Seattle Seahawks
Favorite athlete: DeAnthony Thomas

When did you start playing sports?
When I was 6 or 7 years old.

What was the first sport you played?
I ran track and played football in the fall for the Rainier Beach Community Center back in my hometown of Seattle, Washington.

What are your plans after graduation?
To attend a four-year college to play college football and major in mathematics or aerospace engineering.

What is your dream career?
My dream career is to be a first-round draft pick and play professional football or be an aerospace engineer.

What NFL player does your game most resemble?
Calvin Johnson

What is your No. 1 goal this season?
I want to have 80 to 100 catches, 20 touchdowns and 1,500 yards.

What is the best part about being a senior team captain?
Being the No. 1 receiver.

What has been your favorite moment as a Rams football player?
Playing with my friends since freshman year and having better coaching now. 

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A former chemistry teacher at Maricopa High School, Jaysie Sheppard is hoping to re-join the district – this time as a board member. Sheppard believe the leadership skills she developed as a professional athlete would be an asset to the board and the community’s youth.

Age: 33
Family: Nicholas Sheppard, my wonderful husband, two kids of my own and two kids from my husband.
Education: Bachelors in communication and currently in school for my Masters in biblical studies.
Occupation: Wife, mother, teacher, mentor, chaplain minister, church volunteer, and I volunteer for several non-profits.
School kids attend: Still have students when I was teaching at MUSD that I mentor but none of my own.
Hobbies: Basketball, football, writing.
Maricopa resident since: 2011

Why are you running? To help support our community and be a voice for our youth here in MUSD.

What qualifies you for the position? I believe no one is truly qualified, but I know what I can bring to the board. As an ex-professional athlete, I grew to have strong skills in leadership, communication and work ethics. When I became a staff member as a chemistry teacher in 2012 at Maricopa High I brought these same skills to our students and in which motivates us all to want to succeed. I believe that with my strong in faith Jesus Christ, these skills will continue support and protect your youth for the best opportunity to succeed with excellence at MUSD and beyond with me on the governing board.

What do you hope to accomplish during your term?
I hope to accomplish an integrity of excellence in education amongst us all not only within our youth but also within our community.

How will you accomplish that?
I will like to accomplish this by focusing on programs for early childhood development and more mentoring programs other than sports that will support our youth in all grade levels, not just high school. Also being more involved in our county and state educational boards, in which laws are passed. This will give me the opportunity to inform our community on what’s going on in the state about our education in Arizona and what we need to do for the better of our children.

What are the three biggest challenges facing MUSD?
I believe the problems we have at MUSD is not bridging the gap between the city and the schools, between the youth and teachers, and lastly between the board and citizens. We have to all come together and find a strong communication level with no division, understanding that it all affects everyone in some way even if you do or don’t have students at MUSD.

What will you do to overcome them?
I believe with me on the board leading by example seems to help motivate others. The ideas I have can only start a spark but the fire doesn’t burn without action. We have great citizens that are willing to take action. For example, our wonderful seniors citizens, stay at home moms, or even our veterans, they are willing to volunteer and take action, and I’m willing to support them in that, for the better of our community.***ADVERTISEMENT***

Do you support MUSD's effort to pass a budget override?
As a former long-term substitute teacher at MUSD I was able to see perspective of classroom sizes as a teacher not as a student and a parent. If we are able to minimize the classroom sizes by hiring more teachers, giving our students more one on one with our teachers, I am sure by passing this override will give our students a greater opportunity in the classroom and for success in future education. I hope we all support the board’s decision to minimize our classrooms and strengthen our education for the better of our community. Education is the future for all of us not just our kids.

Click here to access Q&As from other school board candidates.