The latest recipient of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence is Elaine Parrish, Administrative Specialist at Tarver School. Elaine started in the Cartwright District in 1989 as the Office Aide at Starlight Park School. In 1996, she became the School Secretary at Starlight. In 2001, she helped open Tarver School as the Administrative Specialist. Her nomination states, “Elaine was nominated for this award for providing exemplary customer service to our students, parents, staff, and school guests. She works tirelessly to assist anybody who walks into the Tarver Office. She is the face of Bret Tarver School by welcoming students to our school with a friendly smile, shows them our Tarver video and gives the parent and student a tour of our school. She takes great pride in providing exemplary customer service and doing whatever it takes to meet our stakeholders’ needs. One of Tarver’s parents stated, ‘I feel special when I see her and I am sure everyone would feel that way. Words cannot explain how valuable Mrs. Parrish is and how she has an amazing impact on our school. As a 1st year principal at Tarver, Mr. Soto stated that ‘Mrs. Parrish has been instrumental in supporting the school’s mission and has made my transition go very smoothly. On behalf of the entire staff, we appreciate all you do.’”
The latest recipient of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence is Dana Cox, Lead Facility Maintenance Technician at Downs School. Dana started in the Cartwright District in 1996 as a Sweeper at Sunset School. In 1997, he transferred to Downs where he served as a sweeper for one year, the cafeteria custodian for several, and has been the Lead Facility Maintenance Technician since 2002. His nomination states, “Dana demonstrates outstanding characteristics that every agency hopes to find in an employee. He is consistent, hardworking, and above all, committed to Downs and the Cartwright School District. Dana shows pride in his work each and every day, always going above and beyond the call of duty. One example of this is demonstrated by his organization of a Student Service Committee. Dana recruits students to volunteer their time each day beginning at 7:00 AM. With Mr. Cox’s supervision, these students have taken ownership in ensuring our campus is clean and safe. Dana has shown them the proper way to raise and lower our flag, as well as giving them countless other skills which not only benefit our school, but help to prep these students for life. His principal Jane Ardell stated, ‘I tell Dana every day, he makes my life easier, and the students’ and staff members’ lives safer.’”
Wendy McMinn and Family
The latest recipient of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence is Wendy McMinn, Music Teacher at Palm Lane School and her family. Her nomination states, “Wendy McMinn and her family are truly dedicated to the Palm Lane School community. Wendy’s two incredible daughters and her wonderful husband give a great deal of time supporting Wendy, the school, and some of our new teachers. Wendy’s family is at every performance, helping Wendy set-up and then staying to make sure all the tables are set-up and ready for lunch the next day in the cafeteria. Her entire family comes to our evening events to help run the games/activities. At thebeginning of the school year, her family has come in to help go through the cabinets to clean and organize for the new teachers. The entire family is incredible and has hearts of gold. Wendy and her family make sure that the new special area teachers have someone to support them at anytime, both personally and professionally. Her principal Deby Valadez stated, ‘Wendy is willing to help anybody, anytime. She is an all-around great person.’” Congratulations and thanks to Wendy McMinn and her family!
At the Governing Board meeting on February 13, 2013, the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence was presented to Kim Eick, Monitor at Davidson Elementary School. Kim started in the Cartwright District in 2007 as a Crosswalk Guard/Monitor at Davidson. Her nomination states, “On November 29, 2012, astudent in Mrs. Uttech’s 3rd grade class began choking on food while in the cafeteria. Kim Eick approached the student while on cafeteria duty and applied the Heimlich maneuver until the student was able to dislodge the food. Her quick response of acting above and beyond the call of duty saved this child from harm. Kim’s co-workers describe her as ‘someone who is always at school, reliable, dependable and extremely committed to her job.’” Congratulations Kim!
At the Governing Board Meeting of January 23, 2013, the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence was presented to Pam Floyd, Science Teacher at Desert Sands Middle School. Pam started in the Cartwright District in 1996 as a Science Teacher at Sands. Her nomination states, “Pam has been a fixture at Desert Sands for the past 17 years and has served as the Science department chair for 10 of those years. Science is inher blood. Combining her love of science and gardening, Pam planted the seed for her latest project some five years ago. It began as a simple garden to teach students about science and blossomed into a full-fledged beautification project. Pam diligently sought partnerships through grants, having her students hold penny wars and digging deep within her own pockets to see her vision come true. Additionally, Pam organized a gardening club for students who are the caretakers of the garden. As the heat bears down on the garden over the summer, Pam continues to give her personal time, up to 3 or 4 times weekly, to see that the thirsty plants have water, as she weeds and seeds the garden. Pam is a positive asset to Sands and is loved by her students who regularly return to visit her. Her Principal Dr. Randy Mahlerwein said, ‘Pam dedicates a lot of her personal time to her students. You can count on her everyday to do her best for her kids.’” Congratulations Pam!
At the January 9, 2013 Governing Board Meeting, the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence was presented to Paul Bateman, Energy Education Administrator at the District Office. Paul started in the Cartwright District in 1998 as a 6th Grade Teacher at Holiday Park School. He served as a teacher at Holiday until transferring to his current position in July of 2011. His nomination states, “Paul routinely works 60 hour weeks, including nights, weekends, school breaks and holidays auditing our buildings for energy saving opportunities. He has worked closely with Buildings & Operations to correct many air conditioning, irrigation and sprinkler-scheduling issues, water leaks and other fixable problems that have cost the District thousands of dollars over the years. Since Paul was hired into this position, the District has seen an average savings of over $30,000 per month in utility costs. This is an amazing accomplishment and speaks to Paul’s dedication. Paul’s friendly, enthusiastic attitude is contagious. He is able to produce extraordinary results without being demanding. Paul is an honest, hard-working employee with impeccable personal and work ethics. His supervisor Zeek Ojeh stated, ‘Paul has a passion for what he is doing and it translates into great results in his work. He is truly a unique, rare individual and we are so fortunate to have him on our staff.’”
December’s Superintendent’s Award of Excellence winner is LuAnne Blaich, Counselor at Estrella Middle School. Luann started in the District in 1991 as a Language Arts Teacher at Estrella. In 2004, she became a counselor at Estrella. Her nomination states, “Ms. LuAnne Blaich isexceptional in her position as a 6th, 7th & 8th grade counselor. She arrives to work early and leaves late on almost a daily basis. She assists the Estrella Middle School Administration, office staff, and teachers in numerous areas, as well as carries out the daily responsibilities of her contract in which she services students and parents. She participates in making the CUTS program successful and strives to keep the campus safe and bully free in her position as the Bully Prevention Coordinator. She was the first counselor responsible for implementing and coordinating Zero Hour with Trevor Browne High School and she helps students and parents make decisions regarding the PUHSD magnet program. She is the only counselor that participates in the ‘Be a Leader’ Foundation. LuAnne also covers classes at times due to teacher absences and never turns away anyone when they need assistance. Her principal Nick Radavich stated that words cannot describe the impact LuAnne makes on everyone at Estrella Middle School.”
Vanessa de la Trinidad
A November recipient of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence is Vanessa de la Trinidad, 8th Grade Student at Desert Sands Middle School. Vanessa was nominated for this honor for demonstrating exceptional leadership. Her nomination states, “Vanessa has shown a tireless desire toward community service. She began this journey at CompuGirls at Arizona State University and brought it back toSands. CompuGirls is a program sponsored through the School of Social Transformation at ASU. It provides young women from under-resourced districts, access to technology and the Internet. Through a social justice issue, girls are taught self-concept, while using culturally-relevant practices. Vanessa’s project was an iMovie and podcast to increase awareness about recycling. After participating in this program, Vanessa came back to Sands with a desire to be involved. She joined Student Council and the Garden Club and is continuing to look for socially-relevant community issues and new avenues at Sands. Vanessa is a positive role model for both the students and staff at Desert Sands and in our community.” Congratulations Vanessa!
One of November’s recipients of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence is Jaziel Olmeda, 8th Grade Student at Atkinson Middle School. He was nominated for this honor for demonstrating leadership and courage while fighting his second round of cancer. His nomination states, “Jaziel is a strong young man who has shown tremendous amounts of courage, strength and a sense of humor while undergoing the ordeal of childhood leukemia. One year ago, he was diagnosed with leukemia for the second time and required a bone marrowtransplant. In preparation for the transplant, Jaziel was placed in the home school program. Even though he was sick frequently, he never wanted to miss his home school appointments as he knew how important his education was. Throughout his treatment and recovery, Jaziel worried about what would happen with his education and frequently sent messages to his teachers to reassure that he was doing well. He took the AIMS test and met the standards in reading and math. Jaziel was expected to remain in the home school program this year but returned to school in August. Jaziel plans to be a pediatric oncologist when he grows up because he will be able to relate to the kids he would work with. He has the greatest sense of humor and is always willing to laugh and have a good time. He knows how important his education is and doesn’t let anything get in his way of learning.” Congratulations Jaziel!
Congratulations to Glen Simmons, P.E. Teacher/Athletic Director at Marc T. Atkinson Middle School for receiving October’s Superintendent’s Award of Excellence. Glen started in the District in January of 1982 as a Physical Education Teacher at Frank Borman Junior High School. He served 18 years at Borman until moving to Atkinson when it opened in 2000. His nomination states, “Glen Simmons continues to do a tremendous job as the Athletic Director for Marc T. Atkinson Middle School. All of the success of our athletic program is due to Glen. He has given up countless hours each week, during the summer months, and over breaks to ensure that ourathletic program is top notch. He takes much of his own time to interview coaches, counsel student athletes, meet with teachers about grades, and assure that his coaches have everything they need in order to be successful. Glen has many admirable qualities such as honesty, integrity, character, pride and a strong work ethic. However, one that is most admirable is his high expectations. He continually holds all athletes accountable, both behaviorally and academically. Glen is always willing to do whatever it takes to guide students in the right direction, whether it is tutoring or a stern talking to. He has done this with countless students over the years and has impacted the lives of thousands over his 31 year career. His Principal Scott Winters stated, “While the nomination for this award focused on Glen’s role as Athletic Director, it is not the only area in which he excels. He is a positive role model on a daily basis for both students and staff. When we need a positive message delivered to staff or students, Glen is the person we go to. Everyone on our campus knows and respects him and his students not only respect him, they love him.”
Heatherbrae and Sunset are Reward Schools
The criteria for schools achieving these prestigious Title I Reward labels are:
- earned an "A" letter grade
- met Annual Measureable Objectives (AMOs)
- above average achievement and growth among their Bottom Quartile students
- a current year graduation rate greater than 80%
- an 'A' or 'B' letter grade
- above average growth for all students
- above average achievement and growth among the Bottom Quartile students
- high schools with growth in graduation rate of greater than 10% over the past three years
At the Governing Board meeting on September 26, 2012, the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence was awarded to Dora Candelaria, Language Acquisition Administrative Coordinator for the Educational Services Department at the District Office. Dora started in the District in 1988 as an English as a Second Language Aide at Peralta School She transferred to the District Office in 1992 as a Secretary in the Educational Services Department. Dora was nominated for this award for providing exemplary customer service. Her nomination states, “Dora has worked in the Cartwright School District for 25 years and has supported the district in many capacities. She is very experienced in the use of technology and using various software programs that are beneficial to the job at hand.However, she is always willing to spend extra time outside of her position to tutor or train many of the specialists in creating their own products (i.e. spreadsheets, student lists etc.) She has infinite patience for people who are learning their job. Dora can be the calm in the storm when things get hectic. Her vast amount of knowledge is eagerly shared with anyone who needs it. She is happy and pleasant, even if it is the hundredth time she has answered the same questions. Dora often completes tasks that are outside of her job description but rather than directing one to someone else, she drops what she is doing to offer assistance. Her passion for our English Language Learner population is highly commendable. Due to the vast amount of knowledge and experience that Dora has, her supervisor Sonia Bustamante, stated that they are concerned about Dora’s upcoming retirement. They are trying to absorb as much of her knowledge as possible before she retires and leaves a big hole in the smooth operation of her department.”
Spitalny Elementary School Receives A+ Distinction
Congratulations to Justine Spitalny Elementary School for being named an A+ school by the Arizona Educational Foundation. On Thursday, May 24th, Spitalny held a celebration for staff, students and their families.
To receive A+ distinction, schools must submit a written application that requires many hours to complete. The application requires schools to show proof of parent and community involvement, a description of the current programs and practices, demographic information, along with the principal’s vision and commitment to excellence. Winning schools must demonstrate sustained high achievement or significant improvement. Those schools chosen for A+ distinction are recognized for their superior ability to meet the needs of their student populations. Schools designated as A+ retain their status for three years and then they may reapply for the A+ award.
Congratulations to the students, staff and families of Spitalny School for being named an A+ school!
Congratulations to Tammy Osborne, Student Records Clerk in the Administrative Services Department at the District Office for being a recipient of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence. Tammy started in the District in 1991 as a KinderKare Aide at John F. Long School. In 1994, she moved to the District Office as the Receptionist and then in 1998, she became the Student Records Clerk. Tammy was nominated for this award for providing exemplary customer service. Her nomination states, “To say that Ms. Osborne exceeds the expectations of the Cartwright School District would be an understatement. Her services to colleagues and the community have far exceeded the requirements of the job.As a result of the Dream Act, Ms. Osborne has taken on quite the challenge from parents and previous students requesting records to assist them in completing the application process. She has dedicated herself to coming in early and staying until the late evening hours in order to prepare the mass requested records in a timely manner. Ms. Osborne also attended on her own time, a community forum regarding the Deferred Action to obtain facts about how the program works. Her phenomenal work ethic, inspiration and caring attitude for the community does not go unnoticed by those around her. Her supervisor Dr. Rebecca Osuna said, “Tammy is self-motivated, requiring little to no supervision. So far this year, Tammy has processed 901 student records requests relating to immigration. She provides exceptional customer service and is extremely patient and friendly to all who come in contact with her.”
Congratulations to Lorain Marquez, 5th Grade Teacher at Cartwright School, for being a recipient of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence. She was nominated for this award for providing exemplary leadership. Her nomination states, “Lorain has a passion for running. She brought this passion to our school by organizing a run club and creating the first annual Yee-Haw race. The Cartwright Run Club meets three times per week whereby students run laps with their friends and teachers. Even parents have started to walk alongside their children. For the Yee-Haw fun run, she worked diligently seeking donations. As a result, the run was available to all children who wanted to participate for free. She designed the race as an obstacle course for kids. It was inspired by a popular series of races that involve running through obstacle courses that foster teamwork and the determination to never quit, but really it is just plain old fun. She obtained donations from local businesses and secured volunteers from Luke Air Force Base, the Phoenix Fire Department and the Phoenix Police Department. She deserves this award for not only building lasting partnerships with diverse members of the community, but also for providing fun and bringing a wonderful fitness opportunity to the students at Cartwright. These will be memories that have a lasting impression for our students.”
Congratulations to Lindsay Rodgers, 4th Grade Teacher at Sunset School, for being a recipient of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence. Lindsay started in the District in August of 2008 as a 4th Grade Teacher at Sunset School, her current assignment. She was nominated for this award for providing exemplary leadership and customer service. Her nomination states, “Lindsay Rodgers organized the Sunset Rededication event, which was a very time consuming endeavor. She also is responsible for starting a Girl Scout troop at Sunset School. She took all the necessary classes to become a Girl Scout leader so that Sunset students could have a Girl Scout troop. She holds meetings every Friday after school and has taught her Girl Scouts responsibility and good citizenship. Lindsay mentors new teachers at her grade level and supports other new teachers at Sunset by talking and doing things with them both inside and outside of the school. She is a grade level leader, a member of the Site Extended Leadership Team and the Parent and Community Involvement Chairperson. Her principal Kristi Wells had this to say about Lindsay, “I highly recommend Lindsay for this honor. Her efforts go far above and beyond and she does it with grace and kindness, never taking credit for all that she does. All of this is done while keeping up with her classroom duties at the highest level with good results for her students in her room and her grade level.”
Congratulations to Marilyn Johnson, Bus Driver in Transportation, for being a recipient of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence. Marilyn is new to the District, having started as a bus driver in November of 2011. She was nominated for this award for her recent act of heroism. Her nomination states, “On February 24, 2012, Marilyn Johnson’s motherly instincts kicked in and she saved thestudents on her bus from possible harm. On the morning of February 24th, a pit bull ran onto the bus. Ms. Johnson was able to get most of the students off the bus while the pit bull chased a young child to the back of the bus. Marilyn followed the dog to the back of the bus, picked up the child and proceeded to kick the dog while running to get them both off the bus to safety. She received bites and bruises on her leg and the child endured bites and bruises on his foot. Ms. Johnson’s heroic act saved this young child, as well as the others in her care on bus 13, from being seriously injured by this pit bull. Her colleagues in Transportation describe her someone who will help anyone who is in need. She is extremely dedicated to her job and a very sweet lady.”
Congratulations to Betsy Ruiz, ELL Teacher’s Aide at Estrella Middle School, for being a recipient of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence. Betsy started in the District in 2005 as a Bilingual Aide at Estrella. She was nominated for this award for providing exemplary customer service and leadership. Her nomination states, “Not only has Mrs. Ruiz demonstrated great attitude and helpfulness for the ELL and ILLP students, she has never hesitated to help any teacher who asks.Mrs. Ruiz has never shied away from giving a little extra help to make sure the students can complete their work in an acceptable manner. Moreover, her ability to work with the regular education students is also greatly appreciated. Her demeanor and attitude are amazing and ALWAYS positive. Mrs. Ruiz is a true partner to any teacher with whom she is working. During professional development meetings, she has provided ideas and ways to help the ELL students succeed by suggesting ways to better connect and develop understanding specific for English Language Learners. Her principal Nick Radavich had this to say about Mrs. Ruiz. “She is a pleasure to work with on campus. Mrs. Ruiz is one of those special employees who require no attention from administrators. She is always on time, never misses, and works extremely hard.”
Congratulations to Oralia Leon, Parent Liaison at Borman School for being a recipient of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence. Oralia started in the District in 2005 as an Administrative Assistant at Borman. In 2007, she began serving as the school’s Parent Liaison. She was nominated for this award for providing exemplary customer service.
Her nomination states, “Ms. Leon is an excellent example of everything the district wishes for in their employees. She is a person who exudes positivity and compassion. She not only helps our parents but she helps our administrators, teachers, custodial staff, students and our community. No task is ever asking too much and even when asked something last minute, she will find a way to make it happen. She has created innovative ways of connecting the school with families and helping teachers facilitate relationships between parents and teachers in order to promote academic success. There have been many occasions where she has helped with holding parent meetings, translating documents, making phone calls and copying materials for our professional developments. The secretaries have also benefitted from her generosity due to her assistance with checking in late students, covering the front office when someone is out ill and getting materials for new students. Ms. Leon also helps out our community in so many great ways. She holds monthly coffee talk meetings, oversees the parent volunteers, seeks out resources for families in need, as well as informs parents of upcoming events that could benefit them. These are only a few examples of her generosity.”
Congratulations to Lynette Matthews, 3rd Grade Teacher at Palm Lane School. Lynette started in the District in 2005 as a 3rd Grade Teacher at Palm Lane. She was nominated for this award for providing exemplary leadership and customer service to her students and her school. At first glance, one might wonder how running an after school dance club would warrant a nomination for the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence.Being a firm believer that exposure to the arts is incredibly important for children in that it allows them to connect with learning in ways that traditional academics do not, Lynette sought to offer such an opportunity to the students at Palm Lane. She singlehandedly organized an after school dance club that has bolstered the participating students’ social, personal and academic success. Lynette spends countless hours of her own time choreographing routines and creating the most amazing costumes. The students adore her, and return long after leaving Palm Lane to keep her abreast of their current dancing and educational successes. The parents have come to wait in expectation for the recitals and fill the cafeteria to maximum capacity when they arrive, and the staff members have come to treasure the unique contribution that she provides to making Palm Lane such a special place. Lynette is a dedicated teacher both inside and outside the traditional classroom. She is a teacher who pours her passion into what she does. Her principal Deby Valadez said, “Lynette is someone who definitely gives it her all and she does it for only one reason – the love of the kids. Her only goal is for students to be successful and she wants nothing but the best for them.”
Congratulations to Barbara Swerdfeger, Special Education Teacher at Estrella Middle School, for being chosen as the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence winner. She is a Special Education Teacher who has been a vital part of the Estrella Middle School staff for the past 28 years. Barbara makes it her responsibility to be well-versed in Special Education law. She shares and clarifies Special Education instruction and helps teachers understand the Special Education process.Barbara played an essential role in making AYP in several Special Education subgroups by meeting the confidence interval and safe harbor in 2010 and 2011. No other middle school in the District has accomplished this. She was a guiding force in the Special Education collective inquiry and collaboration team and helped define the Special Education program at Estrella Middle School. Barbara frequently dedicates her personal time to tutoring students, sparking their interest in education, and guiding them to achieve their personal endeavors. She donates hour and hours of off-contract time and off time card time to research and plan ways to differentiate instruction to meet each of her students’ academic and behavioral needs. Her compassion and patience with students is contagious and breeds a fertile learning environment. Barbara is an indispensable asset to our campus and her presence will be irreplaceable.
Congratulations to Roseann Anaya, Library Clerk at Tarver School, for being chosen as the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence winner. Roseann was nominated for this honor for her exemplary customer service to the students and staff at Tarver School. Roseann started at Tarver School in July of 2007 as the School Library Clerk which remains her current assignment. Mrs. Anaya is aware of the PLC shared responsibility for student learning and regularly goes above and beyond to provide a warm, caring environment for student learningShe designed a reading incentive program for students in which students receive prizes for the books they read. There is also a pizza party at the end of the year for students reaching particular milestones. Mrs. Anaya purchases all of the prizes awarded throughout the year. Some of the other ways she goes above and beyond are: she attended a teacher training on how to do a book read aloud so that she can use this skill when she reads to classes in the library; she opens the library early in the morning for students and greets them with a smile and kind words; and she always shares her love of reading with the students. Mrs. Anaya’s library is always decorated with bright, beautiful posters and bulletin boards and provides a welcoming environment for students and staff. She is described as follows: “One of Mrs. Anaya’s greatest traits is her level of self-initiative. She is always thinking of ways to improve the delivery of services to students and teachers.”
Congratulations to Angel Medina, 7th Grade Student at Raul H. Castro Middle School, for being chosen as one of January’s recipients of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence. Angel was nominated for this honor for his commitment to innovation in technology, dedication to academic excellence and his exemplary leadership skills. As the director of the Castro Connection Morning News, Angel continues to arrive early to school in order to learn the production software to run the show. He also shows high academic performance in every class, every day, as well as participating in extracurricular activities. He is an outstanding trumpet player in Castro’s band. Angel is also very active in the community through his activities with his church. He is described as “inquisitive, dedicated and intelligent.” He is dedicated to the success of the Castro Connection Morning News and has dedicated a large portion of his personal time to the program. Angel sees this program as an opportunity to promote a positive message about life as a Castro student. Beyond this, Angel has gone above and beyond to increase his leadership capacity. He attended the Raul H. Castro Leadership Institute and is currently raising money so that he can attend the People to People Ambassador Program in Washington, D.C. on February 14, 2012. We wish him the best in this and all future endeavors.
Congratulations to Mary Spangenberg, 2nd Grade Teacher at Spitalny School, for being chosen as December’s recipient of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence.Mary was nominated by her colleagues for her exemplary leadership. In 1999, Mary started in the District as a 2nd Grade Teacher at Spitalny. Whenever a new teacher arrives at Spitalny, Mary introduces herself, offers her assistance and provides the teacher with extra teaching materials that she has bought on her own, as a welcoming gift. Mary participates in every school committee and in after school functions, even when not required to attend. Mary shows up to school early every morning and stays late everyday with a smile on her face preparing her lessons or helping out in the front office when short of assistance. Spitalny is a fine arts magnet school with no funding. Mary successfully writes grants to fund the artist-in-residence program. Mary also collects coke cap products to raise money for costume or needs for our fine arts program and equipment for P.E. She organizes fundraisers for our Read Across America Night program and the RIF program to provide books, bookmarks and pencils for our students and families to take home and read together. These are just a few things that she does to raise the standards and academic level of our students. Mary is a spectacular teacher who loves teaching and making a difference at our school. Her principal, Dr. Rachel Saunders, said, “Mary is so dedicated and committed to our school and the Fine Arts magnet program. She actively pursues grants that allow us to integrate fine arts into our curriculum and for our after school program. Mary is an exceptional person who is very thoughtful.”
Congratulations to James Green, Monitor at Sunset School, for being chosen as this month’s recipient of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence. Although James is new to the District, having started in August of 2011, he has distinguished himself through his outstanding customer service and leadership at Sunset School. While his job is to monitor students in the bus area and to help in the cafeteria, James has stepped out of his job description to be a technology resource to teachers. James operates projectors for staff meeting presentations. Additionally, he taught the entire 2nd grade team how to use Google docs to create, modify and share common assessments. His principal Kristi Wells describes him as follows: “James likes to be involved and is one of the first to volunteer for various endeavors. His outstanding efforts are a key component to the strong success of our interventions and overall student achievement.”
Congratulations to Chris Rodriguez, for being selected as a recipient of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence. Chris Rodriguez, Director of Business Services, started in the District in July of 2001. Throughout the years, Chris has provided outstanding customer service to all. Chris always has a positive attitude when working with concerns, complaints or difficult situations. Chris conducts professional development forums for administrators on school finance and the budget. Her supervisor, Zeek Ojeh, described Chris as follows: “She is a dedicated public employee with the utmost integrity. Chris always has the best interests of the District at heart. That is evident in her interactions with the public, her peers and her staff members. Chris is a true leader and you know that because the people who work for her are very respectful and truly love her.” Congratulations Chris!
Congratulations to Camilla Barrow, for being selected as a recipient of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence. Camilla is a parent volunteer at Marc T. Atkinson Middle School. Although, Camilla is new to the Atkinson family she plays a vital role. As a volunteer, she comes in almost every day to assist teachers in making copies, stapling, sorting, cutting, - whatever needs to be done - so that teachers have more time for planning and working with students. Camilla does this without complaint and with a smile on her face. Camilla is currently facing her own struggles and battles, yet she continues to come and help the staff at Atkinson, setting aside her worries at home. She expressed great pride and appreciation for the support she and her son receive from the Atkinson staff and for the great job they do for all students every day. Camilla stated that she has never received an award or anything with the word excellence in it and was very honored by the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence. She expressed her belief that every staff member at Atkinson should have the word “excellence” after his/her name. Congratulations Camilla!
Congratulations to Janet Ashenfelter, Rosa Linda Duron, Becky Hughes and Jooyeon Williams, for being selected as recipients of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence. Until recently, these four outstanding teachers were the Learning for Independence (LFI) Cluster at Starlight Park School. Rosa Linda has since transferred to the position of Special Education Support Specialist in the Special Services Department at the District Office. Janet, Rosa Linda, Becky and Jooyeon received framed plaques at the September 28, 2011 Governing Board meeting. The LFI teachers continually support the academic achievement of their children and involve the entire school community in these efforts. They have provided the school community with a spectacular winter holiday program for the past three years, which has grown to be an expected part of the school-wide holiday celebration. In addition, the teachers have begun a garden on the school property where flowers and vegetables grow. The garden is supported through community donations solicited by the teachers, and is visually appealing with planter boxes made from tires and blocks, which are decorated by the students. The LFI teachers consistently challenge themselves to provide the most well-rounded, influential academic experiences for their children. They were nominated for this award by their Principal Kris Kurtz who describes them as “heartfelt teachers with really hard jobs”. Ms. Kurtz described them as “sincere and genuine who truly care about and look out for their students.” Congratulations Janet, Rosa Linda, Becky and Jooyeon!
Congratulations to Virginia Arroyo, Crosswalk Guard/Cafeteria Monitor/Sweeper at Spitalny School, for being selected as a recipient of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence. Virginia received a framed plaque at the September 14, 2011 Governing Board meeting. Peggy King, Assistant Principal at Spitalny School nominated Virginia for this honor due to her amazing act of heroism. Recently, Virginia was helping a student cross the street in the crosswalk when a van went through the crosswalk without stopping and struck Virginia. She put herself in front of one of our students and although neither was hurt, Virginia's selfless act saved this child from harm. Virginia was described by Ms. King as a perfectionist who works hard, is committed to helping Spitalny School, and one of the most pleasant people you will ever meet. Congratulations Virginia!
Congratulations to Brittany Balog, 4th Grade Teacher at Peña School and Marchelle Hasan, 3rd Grade Teacher at Spitalny School, for being chosen as semifinalists in the Rodel Exemplary Teacher Initiative. Best wishes to Brittany and Marchelle as they continue in this competition. We are very proud of both of these outstanding teachers!
Congratulations to Alma Sotelo, Language Services Coordinator in the Community Relations Department, for being selected as a recipient of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence. Alma received a framed plaque at the May 25, 2011 Governing Board meeting. Meri Simmons, Director of Community Relations nominated Alma for this honor due to her exceptional customer service skills and exemplary work ethic. While Alma’s primary responsibility is to provide translation for District publications and interpretation assistance, she always goes way above and beyond. On any given week, she willingly gives up time with her family to provide interpretation at District events, i.e. Governing Board meetings, Citizens Advisory Council meetings, and awards nights, many times with several evening events in the same week. Alma is also the first to volunteer to do something for our community. As part of our Community Clean-up Day, Alma spent a Saturday morning and part of the afternoon painting a resident’s house. Alma provides exceptional customer service to everyone – students, staff, parents, and community members. Congratulations Alma!
We also want to congratulate the members of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence Honor Roll. Although not chosen as this month’s recipient, these individuals were nominated for the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence and are to be congratulated for their outstanding efforts. The Honor Roll members are: Aide Meza, Parent Liaison at John F. Long School and Allison Mooney, Student at Peña School.
Tarver Elementary School Receives A++ Distinction
Congratulations to Bret R. Tarver Elementary School for being named an A++ school by the Arizona Educational Foundation. Three years ago, Tarver received the A+ distinction in this competition and then reapplied this year. Recently, they were notified that they have achieved the tremendous honor of being an A++ school. On Friday, May 6th, Tarver held a celebration for staff, students and their families.
To receive A+ distinction, schools must submit a written application that requires many hours to complete. The application requires schools to show proof of parent and community involvement, a description of the current programs and practices, demographic information, along with the principal’s vision and commitment to excellence. Winning schools must demonstrate sustained high achievement or significant improvement. Those schools chosen for A+ distinction are recognized for their superior ability to meet the needs of their student populations. Schools designated as A+ retain their status for three years and then they must reapply for the A+ award.
Congratulations to the students, staff and families of Tarver School for being named an A++ school!
Congratulations to Joyce Nerdig, Functional Academics Teacher at Estrella Middle School, for being selected as a recipient of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence. Joyce received a framed plaque at the May 11, 2011 Governing Board meeting. Estrella Middle School Principal Nick Radavich nominated her for this honor because of her exemplary leadership abilities. Over the past 12 years, Joyce has raised over $290,000 by running the snack shack at lunch and after school. All of the money she has raised has been used to benefit the students and staff at Estrella. Joyce is described as being “very dedicated, always on time, and takes very good care of her students.” Congratulations Joyce!
Congratulations to Cindy Valle, 7th grade student at Marc T. Atkinson Middle School, for being selected as a recipient of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence. Cindy received a framed plaque at the April 27, 2011 Governing Board meeting. Cindy was nominated for this honor by her teacher Mrs. Fischer-Williamson for her high academic achievement and excellent leadership skills. Cindy not only exhibits high academic achievement but also exhibits outstanding leadership qualities above and beyond the classroom. Cindy is described as someone who volunteers her services to teachers and students and puts herself second constantly. Congratulations Cindy!
Congratulations to Wanna Wattanawat, Kitchen Manager at Peralta School, for being selected as a recipient of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence. Wanna received a framed plaque at the April 13, 2011 Governing Board meeting. She was chosen for this honor for providing exceptional customer service and leadership. Wanna has worked for the Cartwright School District for 13 years, with the past four as the Kitchen Manager at Peralta. She is an exceptional staff member with a great attitude who really cares about kids. Wanna is extremely well-liked by the cafeteria staff, as well as the staff and students of Peralta School. Congratulations Wanna!
We also want to congratulate the members of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence Honor Roll. Although not chosen as this month’s recipient, these individuals were nominated for the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence and are to be congratulated for their outstanding efforts. The Honor Roll members are: Brian Collier, Counselor at Castro Middle School and Vicky Zaragosa, Parent at Sunset School.
Congratulations to Sara Crawford, Instructional Technology Specialist, for receiving the Dr. Alejandro Perez Scholarship. This scholarship is a competitive process and is given to the successful applicant who is pursuing either a Master’s or Doctorate Degree in education administration. Sara Crawford was this year’s recipient and was awarded a $5,000 scholarship at the Arizona Hispanic School Administrators’ Annual Conference on April 18, 2011. Congratulations Sara!
We also want to congratulate the members of the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence Honor Roll. Although not chosen as this month’s recipient, these individuals were nominated for the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence and are to be congratulated for their outstanding efforts. The Honor Roll members are: Amy Green, School Psychologist at Sunset School; Jessie Ortega, Monitor at Tomahawk School; and Ruby Chavez, Administrative Assistant at Castro Middle School.
Congratulations to Tina Merlina, 3rd Grade Teacher at Bret R. Tarver Elementary School. She was recently named a 2010 Rodel Exemplary Teacher by the Rodel Foundation. As part of her well-deserved honor, she will mentor six (6) student teachers. She will also receive an award of $10,000. We are very proud of Ms. Merlina!
Congratulations to the following teachers for successfully completing the rigorous process to become National Board Certified Teachers. Our newest National Board Certified Teachers are: Alison Beedy, 6th Grade Teacher at Estrella Middle School; Susan Deviny, 5th Grade Teacher at John F. Long Elementary School; Candace Hill, 5th Grade Teacher at Palm Lane Elementary School; and Victoria Perkins, 3rd Grade Teacher at Davidson Elementary School. We are very proud of Ms. Beedy, Ms. Deviny, Ms. Hill and Ms. Perkins.
Cartwright School District proudly announces that it received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its comprehensive annual report. The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of government accounting and financial reporting.
Congratulations to the following schools for making Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) under the Federal program "No Child Left Behind." They are: Cartwright, Heatherbrae, Holiday Park, John F. Long, Peña, Peralta, Spitalny, Starlight Park, Sunset, Tarver, Davidson and Tomahawk.
Three schools received a “Performing” label. They are: Davidson, Glenn L. Downs, and Palm Lane.
This year's results show the following gains:
Grade 3 - 7%
Grade 4 - 3%
Grade 6 - 15%
Grade 7 - 10%
Grade 8 - 8%
Cartwright School District received a “Thank You” from the U.S. Census bureau for being at the top of their list of partners that provided assistance to the community during the recent Census update. Dr. Jacob Chavez, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services; his Executive Coordinator, Elza Ramos; Family Resource Center Director Irene Rivera; and the District’s parent liaisons worked closely with the U.S. Census Bureau to distribute information to the public and encourage participation in the Census.