ASBA Connect E-News


ASBA supports the critical work in local governance

By Dr. Sheila Harrison-Williams, ASBA Executive Director

School boards are perhaps the oldest incarnation of elected governance in our state, dating to the days when local residents banded together to provide for the education of their children. They have served as a success story of local cooperation and partnership between government and the community for a common purpose since before statehood. It is often said, the government closest to the people governs best. It doesn’t get any closer to your neighbors than the school board. Over the past year, you have been faced with unimaginably difficult decisions and for that Arizona owes its gratitude to you.

ASBA is Arizona’s champion for local control and community-based decision making. We have been since our founding more than 70 years ago. Our allegiance is to Arizona and our commitment is unwavering for a simple reason: When local decision-making thrives and governance is strong, open and effective, students win. That means Arizona wins.

Just as it has been for decades, our job each day here at ASBA is to support Arizona school boards and the individuals who serve on them as they do the important work of engaging with and listening to all members of their communities and taking action that meets local needs and leads to excellent outcomes for their students.

What does that mean for an association of school boards like ours in today’s world – and, most importantly, in today’s Arizona?

First and foremost, ASBA is a service organization dedicated to meeting the ongoing, operational needs of Arizona school district governing boards in three core areas:

  • Providing training and leadership development.
  • Providing products and services that support district success.
  • Representing and advocating for the diverse
  • needs of our membership.

These are the reasons we were founded by a group of school board members from throughout the state back in 1949, and they remain at our core today.

Policy services is a valued example of this. ASBA model policies provide district boards the foundation necessary to operate a school system in compliance with state and federal laws and court and regulatory action. It’s our privilege – and, we think, our responsibility – to offer access to this service to our members. When school boards come together to share the cost of necessary services like these through an association like ours, more precious dollars can be put towards supporting student success. Our pricing equity model also levels the playing field, enabling small rural districts to have these same critical, top-notch services as their large urban and suburban counterparts.

Our Academy of Board Development is another excellent example – and one unlike

any other available in the state. School boards have unique requirements and responsibilities. A multitude of educational opportunities, offered through the Academy of Board Development, enable board members to select and attend workshops, conferences and events at which they can build knowledge, skills and understanding in areas that are important to them as they support their communities through board service.

Advocating for a legislative, regulatory and legal environment in which local school boards have the autonomy and resources to carry out their vision for their schools and communities is another important area of our work, and it has been from the start.

Today, we are focused on the pressing issues of teacher and staff shortages, capital facilities, special education, transportation, and accountability, just to name a few. Those are the issues that unite us and make joining together as an association of school boards so impactful.

From the start of the association and to this day, we also have been advocating for local control, the institution of the school board itself and the community members who are elected

or appointed to serve their communities on school boards. It’s no secret that school boards have been faced with decisions in recent years that have been tougher than they ever could have imagined.

At times like these, an association of school boards from around Arizona – community leaders who are learning, working, growing and advocating together around the things that unite them – is more important than ever. Standing strong together in this moment is of paramount importance to the health and well-being of our local public schools, and also to the very institution of school boards.

That brings us back to you, our members. At ASBA, we make it a practice of saying, “ASBA is your association.” You, Arizona’s school boards and school board members, are our owners. In all of this work, we never lose sight of the fact that we are an organization governed by locally elected school board members from every county in Arizona and operated for the benefit of school boards throughout Arizona.

We are your association, and we are here to serve you.

Registration and rooms for the ASBA Summer Leadership Institute open Monday, April 18!

This summer conference encourages school boards and super­intendents to get away together to help expand their learning on diverse topics and current educational issues.

Come early on Thursday, June 9 and attend the special Pre-Conference on “Understanding Our Students.”

Don’t miss out! Back by popular demand, keynote speakers DJ Vanas and Bill de la Cruz return in person to inspire members at this two-day conference. Come hear DJ Vanas speak Friday, June 10, on “Explore the Six Roles of the Tip of the Spear Leadership” and on Saturday, June 11, Bill de la Cruz will present on “Division, Discourse and Dialogue.”

Special invite for ASAP members! An administrative assistant track is created especially for superintendent and board administrative professionals. 

Get a sneak peek at session topics:

Gathering Impactful Feedback

Building Welcoming Environments

Making Use of Feedback Data

Representation in District Decision-Making

County Conversations

Policy Review: What is it and How Does it Help?

Plus, ASBA Advocacy Network Information and Update Session and much more to come

The ASBA Black Alliance and Hispanic Native American Indian Caucus will also be meeting!

More information will be available for reservations at Little America, Flagstaff. Registration opens April 18 and closes May 31.

Meet our new conference sponsors Panorama Education and Gnosis IQ!

All details can be found on the ASBA website.

Meet ASBA Maricopa Co-County Director

Meet Sophia Carrillo Dahl, new co-county director for Maricopa County and board member in the Creighton Elementary School District.

Check out fall and winter ASBA events

New calendar of events!

Download the ASBA 2022 Calendar of Events and make sure to add fall and winter events to your calendar. All events can be found on the ASBA website. Download the NEW Calendar of Events.

ASBA celebrates Cesar Chavez Day with resources for school districts

Cesar Chavez was born on March 31, 1927, in Yuma, Arizona and dedicated his life to being a civil rights and farm labor leader. He committed his time to what he called “la causa” (the cause), which aimed to improve working and living conditions for farmworkers. He became a leading voice in civil rights and, along with his partner Dolores Huerta, founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) which greatly increased awareness around the problems that farmworkers face.

Cesar Chavez’s legacy has been celebrated on his birthday for decades, but Cesar Chavez Day was not born until President Barack Obama declared March 31 a national holiday in his honor in 2014. “As farmworkers and laborers across America continue to struggle for fair treatment and fair wages, we find strength in what Cesar Chavez accomplished so many years ago. And we should honor him for what he’s taught us about making America a stronger, more just, and more prosperous nation,” said Obama when advocating for Cesar Chavez Day in 2008.

Now, we continue to honor Cesar Chavez Day to remember his teachings and appreciate all of the impactful feats he accomplished. On March 31, ASBA will honor the legacy of Cesar Chavez with a day of service for staff.

ASBA has also created a dedicated webpage with a list of resources that school districts can use to honor Cesar Chavez as a board, in the classroom or with your community.

Superintendent position opening in Phoenix ESD

ASBA is your one-stop-shop for superintendent searches. Currently there are superintendent positions openings in Phoenix ESD. View all positions.

You still have time! What do your policy and employee handbook have in common?

Register for today’s webinar, March 23, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.: Wednesday Webinars: District Policy and Your Employee Handbook

Did you know ASBA offers an employee handbook model document that addresses conditions of employment and related topics important to district employees? Learn why handbook and policy language is important.


If you can’t attend the webinar live, receive a recording directly to your email by registering for the event in advance. All events can be found on the ASBA website.

There is no cost to register for this webinar.  We encourage advance registration.

Receive a recording directly to your email by registering for the event. All past webinar events can be found on the ASBA website archives.

ASBA Events and Webinars

Upcoming ASBA Events

COMING SOON – Summer Leadership Institute, June 9-11

Registration opens April 11, 2022

View all ASBA events on the ASBA website.

Upcoming ASBA Webinars

April 6, 4 – 5 p.m. Supporting Our Students: Disrupting the “School to Prison Pipeline

May 17, 5 – 6 p.m. Webinar: I am on the Ballot…Now What?

November 17, 5 – 6 p.m. Webinar: I Was Elected…Now What?

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 these webinars.  We encourage advance registration.


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