Robert Downey MUSD
Robert Downey is sworn in as the fifth member of the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board by Judge Lyle Riggs as Downey's wife, Jane, looks on. Photo by Jay Taylor

The Maricopa Unified School District returned to full strength Wednesday night as Robert Downey was sworn in as the board’s fifth member by Judge Lyle Riggs.

Downey fills the seat vacated in September by longtime member Patti Coutre, who resigned to take an administrative position with the district. His term runs through Dec. 31, 2022, completing Coutre’s term.

Downey said he is looking forward to beginning the work of helping students in Maricopa reach their potential.

“I’m excited to contribute,” he said. “I’m excited to find out where I can take my experience as a youth getting educated, and guided, and counseled by teachers and other people in the schools. It helped me as a youth to become the person I became and convinced me that I could be better than I originally thought I could be.”

A Maricopa resident since 2017, Downey is a retired IT executive who most recently spent 20 years with Honeywell in Chandler. He said he knows he has some catching up to do but is eager to get to it.

“I’m still learning how the school systems and the district works here,” said Downey, who attended school while still living in Ireland. “I suspect there will be things I bring from my experience and how the government and teachers worked together to give me the life that I have. Which is a good life.”

Board president Ben Owens said Downey’s presence on the board is welcome.

“I’m excited to be back to five board members and looking forward to benefiting from his experience and background, and what he’ll bring to the students of Maricopa,” Owens said.