ASBA Connect E-News



Relaunch Alert: Barbara Robey Award Celebrates Extraordinary Board Leader

ASBA President Monica Trejo presents James Love with the Barbara Robey Award at the ASBA-ASA Annual Conference in December 2022. Photo by ASBA

We’re thrilled to announce the relaunch of the Barbara Robey School Board Member of the Year Award, celebrating outstanding leadership in our education community.

This award recognizes elected school board members who go above and beyond to drive positive change and growth in their local school districts. 

Nominations are now open!

About the Award: 

The award honors Barbara Robey, who for more than three decades was a servant leader and advocate for Arizona public education and the children of our state as ASBA Director of Governmental Relations and through her long and respected history of public service both as a school board member and as the mayor of Litchfield Park, Ariz. In 2007, Mrs. Robey became the first recipient of the award. She passed away in 2014.

What’s New:

Redefined Criteria: The award criteria have been elevated to spotlight leaders who exemplify exceptional qualities, from adaptability to community engagement, making a lasting impact on education. 

Empowering Communities: Our revamped award highlights those who foster growth within their local school district communities, ensuring a brighter future for the next generation. 

Get Involved: Know an exceptional school board member? Nominate them today and help us honor their dedication to shaping the educational landscape. 

View Details: 

Important Dates:
Nominations close: Aug. 29, 2023 at 5 p.m.
Recipient selected: Sept. 5, 2023
Recipient and nominator notified: No later than Sept. 12, 2023
Video production: October and November 2023
Award presentation: Dec. 7, 2023

The ASBA Board of Directors selects the recipient at its September meeting. The Board of Directors is composed of five executive officers that make up the Executive Committee, 17 County Directors – one for each county in Arizona and two for Pima and Maricopa Counties due to their higher populations and the chairs of the ASBA Hispanic-Native American Indian Caucus and the ASBA Black Caucus.

Join us in recognizing those who lead the way in education. Nominate now and let’s shine a spotlight on their remarkable contributions! If you have questions, please contact Kristi Sisk, ASBA Chief of Staff in the Office of the Executive Director at or 602-254-1100. All award details can be found here

From Page USD Board to ASBA Presidency: Driving Positive Change in Education

ASBA Board President Desiree Fowler

ASBA is delighted to officially announce the appointment of Desiree Fowler as the new President of the ASBA Board of Directors, effective immediately. President Fowler, who previously served as ASBA President-Elect and is a dedicated member of the Page USD school board, will be formally inducted into her new role during the ASBA-ASA Annual Conference at the Annual Business Meeting on Thursday, December 7, 2023.

President Fowler brings a wealth of experience and dedication to her new position. She has been an invaluable member of the ASBA Board of Directors, having served in various capacities, including Secretary and Treasurer. Additionally, Desiree has demonstrated a deep commitment to fostering inclusivity and equity as the President of the Hispanic Native American Indian Caucus and committee member on the ASBA Equity Committee, and as an active member of the ASBA Black and Rural Alliances.

With an impressive six-year tenure on the Page USD school district governing board, President Fowler’s leadership has been instrumental in driving positive change within the educational landscape. She has held the position of board president over three terms within the past seven years, exemplifying her dedication to the betterment of the school community.

President Fowler’s commitment to representing border town and Native communities is at the heart of her work. Understanding the unique challenges and demographics of Arizona’s rural and urban school districts, she strives to ensure that all students have access to a quality education that prepares them for a bright future. Her advocacy efforts have not only inspired students but have also encouraged them to find their voices in state and national advocacy initiatives, including participation in the ASBA Advocacy Day student panel.

Hailing from the Edgewater clan, born from the Redhouse clan, with maternal and paternal grandfathers belonging to the Mexican People clan and Bitterwater clan, President Fowler’s background and cultural heritage enrich her commitment to creating positive change in the educational landscape.

“I am honored and excited to assume the role of ASBA President. ASBA has given me the tools and knowledge I need to be a strong advocate for public schools and equitable education,” said President Fowler. “My experiences on the Navajo Nation in Coppermine, AZ, have taught me the importance of representing and serving the underrepresented rural and urban Native communities. Together, with the support of ASBA and our fellow board members, we will work towards creating a strong foundation for our future leaders.”

ASBA is confident that under President Fowler’s leadership, the organization will continue to champion the rights of students, advocate for equitable education, and pave the way for a brighter future for all Arizonans.

Unleash Your Imagination: ASBA Invites Students to Enter Artwork Contest

ASBA First Annual Student Artwork Contest

Share your students’ creativity with Arizonans statewide with the ASBA’s First Annual Student Artwork Contest. Art created by pre-K through 12th grade students in ASBA member districts is eligible for the contest.

The theme for this year’s contest is “Imagination Unleashed.” We encourage students to explore the boundless world of their thoughts, dreams and ideas. From fantastical creatures to futuristic cityscapes, the possibilities are endless.

Find out more and submit your students’ entries through an online form on ASBA’s website at between Aug. 1, 2023 and Oct. 31, 2023.

The finalists’ artwork will be selected to be displayed at the ASBA-ASA Annual Conference, on the walls of the ASBA office in Phoenix and will be showcased in the ASBA Journal Magazine, ASBA Connect e-newsletter and on ASBA social media. 

Selected student winners will receive a $100 Visa gift card and a $100 donation to their school’s art department and/or art program. 

ASBA visits Tohono O’odham Nation’s Back-to-School Extravaganza – ‘Believe Bigger, Aim Higher’   

ASBA staff and schoolboard members visited the Tohono O’odham Nation Sells District’s Wecij Hemajkam Program Back to School Event. Thank you to Tohono O’odham Nation Sells District Chairman Juan C. Buendia for inviting us!  

Community members, school leaders and staff, board members, students and their families shared a meal, took part in water activities, learned more about available resources and received backpacks, school supplies and haircuts during the July 21st event “Celebrating Education – Believe Bigger, Aim Higher.”

Students and families learn more about available resources at the at the Wecij Hemajkam Program Back to School Event   “Celebrating Education – Believe Bigger, Aim Higher.” Photo by Jade Frazier/ ASBA

The event prioritized “the need for not only the student but the families to come together and genuinely give all the best that they can – especially when it comes to education,” Sells District Chairman Buendia said.

“For our heritage, the Himdag to Tohono O’odham has genuinely been about what can each person learn from one another to be able to be successful. That’s what we want to infuse into the entire community,” Chairman Buendia said. “This is the moment that I am hoping we can continue on into the future to get everybody feeling good about what it means as a community to decide this is how we’re going to be great, and this is what we’re going to do.”

The event brought people together to share their experiences, motivation and the importance of reclaiming educational opportunities through self-empowerment with community support and encouragement.

Not everyone has a good experience and that was highlighted, “but there’s always something that we can learn from and something that can be shared,” said Chairman Buendia, who also serves as ASBA Hispanic Native American Indian Caucus Chair.

The event was a great way to celebrate the beginning of a new school year.

“For our culture and our heritage, summertime is our new year. It’s a renewal of the entire effort that we’re going to put forward,” Chairman Buendia said.

Visit ASBA social media channels to view a recap video covering the event. 

Your Delegate, Your Voice Shapes ASBA’s Political Agenda

A school board delegate receives a clicker to vote with before the 2022 ASBA Delegate Assembly. Photo by Jade Frazier/ ASBA

ASBA reminds members to review the draft agenda to shape ASBA’s 2024 political priorities and select their board’s delegate in August.

Your board can help craft ASBA’s advocacy stances by registering your district’s delegate. Registration opened July 10.

Your delegate will represent your district at the Delegate Assembly, a critically important meeting where the views of your district can be shared. The draft agenda will be the basis for discussion and final approval during the official Delegate Assembly on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023 at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn, following the ASBA 47th Annual Law Conference.

The 2023 Delegate Assembly will determine the positions of the Arizona School Boards Association for any Special Sessions and for the Second Regular Session of the Fifty-Sixth Legislature.

ASBA thanks district member boards for exercising their ASBA membership rights and submitting suggestions to shape ASBA’s 2024 political priorities. As you know, your input to the Legislative Committee is critically important.

ASBA Governmental Relations staff facilitated this process by submitting your proposals to the ASBA Legislative Committee, which considered them for the 2024 ASBA Political Agenda at their June 2, 2023 meeting. The committee then created a draft document circulated to all governing boards and superintendents later that month.

This draft agenda is a policy document. It is referred to as the political agenda within the ASBA bylaws; however, you will note that the content is 100 percent focused on education policy issues within Arizona, and is used by ASBA to pursue public policy goals that support district schools across the state.

Thank you for your active participation in ASBA. If you have any questions, please call Chris Kotterman, ASBA Director of Governmental Relations, at 602-254-1100 or 800-238-4701 or email him at

Save the Date, Find Your Location & Celebrate at ASBA County Meetings   

School board members take part in an activity during the 2022 ASBA County Meetings. Photo by Jade Frazier/ ASBA

Save the date and find the location for your ASBA County meeting! Register now for county gatherings transformed into truly special events with music, dinner, discussion, celebrations of learning and leadership, prize drawings, and so much more. Members told us how much they enjoyed their new county meeting. You won’t want to miss it.

We sure hope to see you at your 2023 ASBA County Dinner and Meeting from 5-7 p.m., with check-in beginning at 4:30 p.m. The exception is the Navajo/Apache/Coconino County meeting, which will be from 9:30 -11:30 a.m. with check-in and a light breakfast from 9 – 9:30 a.m. Registration for this member-only event is $40.

Tuesday, Sept. 19: Graham-Greenlee County at Duncan USD
Wednesday, Sept. 20: Gila County at Payson USD
Tuesday, Sept. 26: Yavapai County at to be determined
Thursday, Sept. 28: Pima County at Flowing Wells USD
Saturday, Sept. 30: Navajo/Apache/Coconino Counties at to be determined
Monday, Oct. 16: Maricopa County at Tempe UHSD
Wednesday, Oct. 18: Pinal County at Casa Grande ESD
Tuesday, Oct. 24: La Paz County at Bicentennial UHSD
Wednesday, Oct. 25: Yuma County at Gadsden ESD
Thursday, Oct. 26: Mohave County at Bullhead City ESD
Wednesday, Nov. 1: Santa Cruz County at Nogales USD
Thursday Nov. 2: Cochise County at to be determined

Cutting Costs, Keeping Talent: Meet ASBAIT’s Board That Helps You Do That   

ASBAIT’s 2023-2024 Board of Trustees

Ensuring your employees have the best health insurance coverage options while meeting your school’s long-term strategies to control costs and improve employee health and well-being plays a critical role in your district’s success and keeping top talent.

The Arizona School Boards Association Insurance Trust, or ASBAIT, was established in 1981 by the Arizona School Board Association in response to Arizona school administrators’ desire to obtain comprehensive health benefits at reasonable costs.

“We looked at several different trusts and options and ASBAIT had the richest plans for the least cost, but they also had all those value adds – the culture of caring and the incentives they offer our employees,” said Marcie Rodriguez, chief financial officer for Cave Creek USD. “A happy, healthy employee in the classroom is the best thing for our kids.”

Welcome the people who help make that happen, your 2023-2024 ASBAIT Board of Trustees.

Congratulations to new officers (top row from left to right) Chairwoman Crystle Nehrmeyer, Oracle ESD Superintendent, Vice Chairman Mark Aguire, Liberty ESD Board Member, and Secretary C.J. Beckstrom, Buckeye ESD Business Manager.

Thank you ASBAIT trustees for your continued service, including Robert Devere, Tombstone USD Superintendent, Desiree Fowler, Page USD Board Member, Dan Contorno, Marana USD Business Manager, Marcie Rodriguez, Cave Creek USD Business Manager, Paul Roetto, Saddle Mountain USD Board Member, and Troy Thygerson, Dan Hinton Accommodation District Superintendent.

Welcome to new trustees (bottom row right and far right) Mayra Zuniga, Nogales USD Human Resources Director, and Dr. Ashley Hodge, Roosevelt ESD Board Member.

ASBA Events and Webinars

Upcoming ASBA Events

ASBA 47th Annual Law Conference 
Sept. 6, 2023 – Sept. 8, 2023 (Register July 10, 2023 – Aug. 18, 2023)

ASBA Delegate Assembly
Sept. 9, 2023 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Registration opens July 10, 2023)

ASBA County Meetings 2023 
Sept. 18, 2023 – Nov. 2, 2023  (Register July 7, 2023 – 1 week before the meeting)

ASBA-ASA 66th Annual Conference 
Dec. 6, 2023 – Dec. 8, 2023 (Register Oct. 16, 2023 – Nov. 22, 2023)

ASBA Annual Membership Meeting at ASBA-ASA Annual Conference
Dec. 7, 2023

View all ASBA events on the ASBA website.

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