ASBA Connect E-News


HNAIC Business Meeting + Officer Elections – Dec. 2, 5 p.m.

All members are invited and encouraged to attend the Hispanic-Native American Indian Caucus Annual Business Meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 5 p.m. on Zoom. Caucus officers for 2021-2022 will be elected at the meeting. 

Below is the link to view the meeting agenda as well as the slate of candidates (with candidate statements) from the HNAIC Nominating Committee based on applications received from interested caucus members. Agenda and Slate of Candidates 12-2-2020.pdf 

The slate is:

  • President: Eva Carillo Dong, Sunnyside USD
  • Vice President – Native American: Juan Buendia, Baboquivari USD
  • Vice President – Hispanic: Cesar Aguilar, Balsz ESD

No applications were received for treasurer or secretary. Eligible caucus members may run from the floor for those positions at the meeting. Per HNAIC bylaws, those who run must, at the time of election:

  • Be a currently serving school district governing board member.
  • A paid member of the HNAIC. (If you received this email directly, you are a paid member.)
  • In good standing with ASBA.

If elected, the individual must be serving on their board throughout their term (2021 and 2022) to hold the office.

The HNAIC Annual Business Meeting is open to all ASBA members. Per HNAIC bylaws, only paid, voting members of the HNAIC may vote.

If you would like to become a member of the HNAIC, please email Jolene Hale at

Complete ASBA member survey by Dec. 10 and you could win $100

How can you earn $100 in 12 minutes? Just complete the ASBA Membership Survey, then enter your name in the drawing for a $100 gift card. (Once you submit the survey, the link you will use to enter will appear on the screen.) Please note the survey is for school board members only.

Complete the survey:

The drawing will take place on Friday, Dec. 11, in plenty of time for one lucky person to enjoy some holiday shopping on us.

Already completed the survey? You can still enter the contest by clicking on the link below and following the directions:

Being on a school board is certainly not all rainbows, unicorns and glitter …but you are making a difference

Written by Ann O’Brien, ASBA President-Elect

After I won my first very contested school board election in 2014 (seven candidates for two seats), many people offered me condolences instead of congratulations. I could NOT begin to understand why the ‘I jumped into the deep end with the sharks’ attitude. I had just been elected by my Deer Valley USD community to advocate for the 33,000+ children in my district, and I wanted to celebrate winning my election. When I finally dared to ask why the condolences, I was told being on a school board was the most vitriolic elected office. Vitriolic…what the heck did that mean. I knew the word did NOT sound good. As I suspected, not only was it not good…it was worse than that! Bitterly scathing and caustic. What had I gotten myself into!?!

Well, I ran and won a second term in 2018, so either I am a glutton for punishment, or all those people really did not know what they were talking about. I believe it is the latter! Being on a school board is certainly not all rainbows, unicorns and glitter. However, it is all about the children. And, there is nothing more wonderful or important than Arizona’s kids!

Congratulations to our school board members elected in November! Welcome to the elite club of Arizona School Board Members! There are 223 school districts in Arizona with approximately 1,000 board members serving nearly one million children. You will join your fellow board members to ensure our kids attend the best schools and receive an education to prepare them for a successful and productive future.

Here are a few tips to help you navigate your School Board Member Adventure.

Keeping your eye on the ball is the first step to being a successful board member. Arizona’s kids need us to be focused on what is best for them. That doesn’t mean to not consider the staff or community. It does mean that decisions are about how we ensure our districts’ students will be given the best education. I learned from another school board member to schedule a school visit the morning after meetings. These visits with your district’s students will remind you why you are a board member especially after a difficult meeting.

You don’t know what you don’t know. Be open minded and willing to learn. Make sure you ask questions before board meetings, during board meetings, and in between board meetings. Find, if you don’t already have them, people you trust to answer your questions. Who do you trust to ask questions about the budget, curriculum, human resources, etc.?

Take advantage of professional development opportunities through the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) or your County Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Office. ASBA has delivered more webinars in 2020 with crucial information than ever to our members. New board member resources can be found here, New Board Member – Arizona School Boards Association (

If 2020 taught us nothing else, it screamed at us all to be nimble. The rules are different now. Actually, the rules are constantly changing, and probably will continue to for some time. We are literally building the plane while we are flying it. Be nimble, flexible and extend grace!

Enjoy your time on the board! My journey as a board member has taught me so much. More importantly, I have met children, families, community members and other board members who have forever impacted me. This is the proverbial “stop and smell the roses.” Sometimes we do not always see or hear about it, but you are making a difference.

Finally, I and the 2021 ASBA Board of Directors are here for you. We have decades of board service amongst us and will gladly answer your questions or listen when you need an understanding ear. You can find our contact information here, Board of Directors – Arizona School Boards Association (

While we are excited to welcome our new members, I want to extend my deepest gratitude to those whose service will end later this month. Thank you for all the time, energy, and heart you dedicated to your students, staff, and their families especially in this most difficult year. I wish you all the best in your future adventures!

Who are the ASBA 2021 slate of officers? Check the Voting Guide and attend the Annual Membership Meeting

The slate of officers for 2021 were released to members on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, via the ASBA Voting Guide to ASBA Officer Positions.  

Per ASBA Bylaws, the ASBA Nominating Committee put forth a slate of candidates. The slate consists of one or more nominees for each office. All individuals who applied were moved forward by the nominating committee. The deadline to apply for one of the three officer positions was Nov. 5, 2020.

ASBA will hold its Annual Membership Meeting on Dec. 3, 2020, from 3-4:30 p.m. in conjunction with the ASBA-ASA Annual Conference. This will be a virtual meeting and is open to all ASBA members.

Membership Meeting Agenda

The agenda will consist of:

  • A state of the association overview
  • A preview of priorities for 2021
  • The election of a president-elect, treasurer and secretary to the ASBA Board of Directors

Who Should Attend?

Individuals from all ASBA member boards are encouraged to attend. The registration form is below. Anyone registered to attend the ASBA-ASA Annual Conference will be automatically registered to attend the Annual Membership Meeting.

Who May Vote for Officers?

All ASBA district member boards may assign a delegate (and an alternate) to attend the meeting and cast their board’s vote in the election of officers for the ASBA Board of Directors.

If you’re not sure if your district has a delegate or who that person is, contact Gina Moss at

New superintendent searches open in December

ASBA is excited to conduct superintendent searches for the Baboquivari Unified School District which is set to open December 11 and for the St. Johns Unified School District which is set to open on December 14. More information on these two positions will be available on ASBA website under Executive Search. For questions or additional information, please contact Katie Link at

ASBA leadership coins awarded to board members for leadership and advocacy efforts

Written by Steven Chapman, ASBA President

The work and role of elected school board members has fluctuated over the years based on what individual and collective boards were willing and able to do. Ultimately, school board members are the elected representatives of their community who set the direction for the district, determine budget priorities, and are the best advocates for their community.

In 2018, the Executive Committee of ASBA wanted to find a way to recognize individual board members who go above and beyond in their role as an elected leader in their community. This was the start of the President’s Leadership Coin. This coin is awarded by the President of ASBA to those who exemplify the areas of Leadership, Equity, Advocacy and Development.

This year has been a challenging year for elected school board members, administrators, educators, and of course our students and parents. At the onset of the pandemic, and throughout this year a group of school board members has worked to push our Governor, Superintendent of Public Instruction, and our legislature to take the needed steps to keep students and staff safe, while providing resources and flexibility where needed for school boards to make local decisions that are best for their districts. Their work brought medical experts to the conversation and built up the support of over a thousand educators, community members, and elected board members in no time at all. They brought attention to the fact that local school boards are making these decisions, and that school board members should have a seat at the table with our state leaders.

In recognition of their leadership and advocacy efforts for their elected colleagues and students across the state, I award the President’s Leadership Coin to the following:

  • Board President Kristel Foster, Tucson USD
  • Board President Monica Trejo, Tempe ESD
  • Board Clerk Adam Lopez Falk, Alhambra ESD
  • NSBA Black Council Chair and Board Vice President Devin Del Palacio, Tolleson UHSD
  • ASBA Coconino County Director and Board Member Kara Kelty, Flagstaff USD
  • ASBA Black Alliance President and Board Member Lindsay Love, Chandler USD
  • ASBA La Paz County Director and Board Member Monica Timberlake, Quartzsite ESD

Thank you to these members for their dedication to our public school students, and for showing what impact locally elected officials can have when they work together.

AZEdNews Breaking News: Lack of staff closes some schools; Researchers recommend COVID-19 shutdown

Five Scottsdale Unified schools are closed due to a lack of staff, and the community is in the COVID-19 substantial spread category of the Maricopa County Public Health Department schools dashboard….Read full article here.

Upcoming ASBA Events

January 6, 2021, 4-5 p.m.: Wednesday Webinars: Focus on Communications: How to Use Storytelling as a Powerful Advocacy Tool

January 20, 2021, 4-5 p.m.: Wednesday Webinars: How to Create and Use an Equity Lens to Shape District Decisions

Plus more! You can find all Wednesday webinars on the ASBA webpage, Can’t view the webinar live? No problem. Go ahead and register and you will receive the recording automatically by email so you can view it later. There is no cost to register for this webinar.  We encourage advance registration.

Save the Date: Virtual Board Operations & Leadership Training Seminar

January 29, 2021 & February 12, 2021

BOLTS professional development seminars are provided in Phoenix, Flagstaff and Tucson which focus on leadership topics for school boards and super­intendents. An administrative assistant track is also provided. Registration opens December 7. View video now!


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More schools return to online learning as COVID-19 cases rise

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