School board members sworn in, Coutre elected president


Before its Wednesday session, the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board saw newly elected and re-elected members Dr. Gary Miller, Patti Coutre and AnnaMarie Knorr sworn in by Judge Lyle Riggs.

With her chair already stationed near the center of the dais, Coutre was elected board president for the year, with Knorr as vice president. Both votes were unanimous.

"My approach to leadership will be what it has always been on the board, to be a collaborative person," Coutre said. "We're all there for the same reason, to make this an A school. Whatever I can do to facilitate that, I will do."

In the November election, Coutre, a church secretary, was the top vote-getter among the five candidates for two four-year terms. Miller, a health information technology consultant, was very close behind her.

Knorr was an appointee to the board during the previous cycle and ran unopposed for the remaining two years of the seat.

Most of the Maricopa City Council and several other elected officials were on hand for the event.

Also at the meeting:

Saddleback Elementary Principal Felicia Williams updated the board on her school’s achievements. Saddleback’s enrollment of 671 students is pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. The student body is 38 percent Hispanic, 28 percent Caucasian, 16 percent Native American, 11 percent African-American and 3 percent Asian/Pacific Islander. Of the K-6 students, 24 percent are in special education programs.

Williams said the school set goals of 75 percent of students improving reading and math results by three points this year. In math, kindergarten and sixth grade have already exceeded that goal. In reading, kindergarten, first, second, fifth and sixth grade have met the goal.

***ADVERTISEMENT***The board approved hearing officers to oversee student expulsion and teacher termination hearings.

Superintendent Steve Chestnut updated the board on the budget committee’s priorities list. Included among items at the top were elementary school counselors, reduced class size and a cost of living raise.

The board approved several hirings, but there are still two vacant teaching positions.