PHOENIX—Nearly 500 school board members, superintendents and other public school leaders from throughout the state gathered in Phoenix Dec. 14-16 for the 54th joint annual
conference of the Arizona School Boards Association and the Arizona School
Administrators Superintendents’ Division.

Conference attendees had the opportunity to choose from 40 educational sessions addressing issues critical to public school leadership, and hear inspiring and informative messages from several keynote speakers. In addition, the people and programs in Arizona’s public schools that exemplified excellence in education in 2011 were honored
with awards. Honorees hailed from districts large and small throughout the state.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Former Arizona state legislator and lifelong public education advocate Ruth Solomon received the ASBA Barbara Robey Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding contributions in support of public education and ASBA’s mission through servant leadership over an extended period of time. Solomon currently serves on the governing board of the Pima County JTED.

Governance and Board Training Awards

The Altar Valley Elementary School District Governing Board was honored with the Lou Ella Kleinz Award of Excellence as the school board that demonstrated the most outstanding educational leadership this year. This is highest honor the Arizona School Boards Association bestows on a governing board. Members of the Altar Valley board are Robert Ethridge, Chris Isabel, Patricia King, Sharon Nicholas and John Williams.

ASBA also named a five-member “all-star team” of school board members from throughout the state. Recipients of the 2011 ASBA All-Arizona School Board Award were Scott Ferris, Antelope Union High School District; Louie Gonzales, Sunnyside
Unified School District; Anne Greenberg, Paradise Valley Unified School District; Jesus Rubalcava, Gila Bend Unified School District; and Darlen Spiegel, Topock Elementary School District. This is the highest honor ASBA bestows on individual board members.

Individual board members and full governing boards that have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to pursuing training in leadership, governance and issues related to public education were also recognized. Seventeen boards received the ASBA Total Board Award, which is granted to a governing board when at least a quorum of members has received 36 hours of voluntary training. Sixty-one individual school board members received recognition for having completed more than 120 hours of voluntary training throughout their years of board service. Bob Cassa, who serves on the governing board of the San Carlos Unified School District, had the highest total training hours (423.5); he received the Master of Boardsmanship Fifth Cluster Award. (A complete list of boards and individuals recognized for their commitment to training is available upon request.)

Awards for Academic Programs that Support Student Achievement

School programs from throughout the state that have shown outstanding successes in student achievement were also honored with ASBA Golden Bell Awards.

Recipients of 2011 ASBA Golden Bell Awards were:

Elementary (pre-K through grade 6)

First Place: “Solano Writing Project,” Solano Elementary School, Osborn ESD
Runner Up: “Elevating Cognitive Level and Engagement through Thinking Maps,” Corte Sierra Elementary School, Litchfield ESD
Middle Years (Grade 4-9)

First Place: “Honors Mathematics Program,” Osborn Middle School, Osborn ESD
Runner Up: “Community Action Team,” Barcelona Middle School, Alhambra ESD
High School (Grades 9-12)

First Place: “CatsCARE,” Cienega High School, Vail USD
Runner Up: “Project Graduation: The Digital Advantage,” Sunnyside USD
District-wide Curriculum Delivery and Accountability

First Place: “Extended School Year,” Balsz ESD
Runner Up: “24/7 School House,” Flowing Wells USD
Student Honors

Student achievement was celebrated at the conference as well, when ASBA awarded its annual Jack Peterson Scholarships to high-performing high school seniors who plan to pursue degrees in education in college, and named the winners of the annual Jack Peterson Student Photography Contest.

Scholarships were awarded to:

Erika Vander Hulst, Mountain View High School, Marana USD
Fatima Alvarez, Antelope Union High School, Antelope UHSD
Megan Ostrenga, Fountain Hills High School, Fountain Hills USD
The theme of the statewide student photography contest was “Arizona Landscapes” and the 2011 winners were:

First place: Ashley Marie Cope, a senior at Benson High School (Benson USD), for “Turquoise Hills Golf Course.”
Second place: Stephanie Hernandez, a sophomore at Raymond S. Kellis High School (Peoria USD), for “Slide Rock, Sedona, Arizona.”
Third place: Nicole King, a junior at Fountain Hills High School (Fountain Hills USD), for “Grand Canyon from the Edge.”
Honorable mention: Tessa Branyan, a senior at Gilbert High School (Gilbert USD) for “Canyon de Chelly,” and Paige Lucero, a fifth-grader at Manzanita Elementary School (Kingman USD) for “Friends.”
Superintendent Awards

The Arizona School Administrators Superintendents’ Division also presented awards during the conference to the top superintendents in the state. Receiving ASA All-Arizona Superintendent Awards were:

Small district: Don German, Aguila ESD
Medium district: Dr. Jeff Smith, Balsz ESD
Large district: Dr. Denise Birdwell, Higley USD
Calvin Baker, superintendent of Vail USD was named Arizona’s representative for the American Association of School Administrators National Superintendent of the Year program.

(Images are available of all award winners.)

The Arizona School Boards Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting community volunteer governance of public education and continuous improvement of student success by providing leadership and assistance to school district governing boards statewide. Governing boards representing more than 1,200 school board members and more than 1 million children belong to ASBA.