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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Elections Bring New Board Members for Local Elementary School Districts

The Laveen and Roosevelt elementary school districts have new governing board members who will take their seats for the first time in January 2007.


Laveen was one of dozens of Arizona school districts that faced having its governing board election canceled due to lack of governing board candidates, but it instead has two new governing board members, Susan Sanborn and Sarah Zembruski, who came in as write-in candidates. Each of the women will take on two-year terms. Isaac Serna will be returning to the governing board for four years after being reelected over Randy Schiller in the election.


As the new board is ushered in, Laveen will continue to face the area’s continued strong housing growth. District administrators measured 20 percent growth this year. After breaking ground last month for its newest school site, Desert Meadows, the district plans to open the doors of its newest completed school, Trailside Point Elementary, next month. Trailside will be the district’s fourth elementary school and will host 1,000 students.


At Roosevelt, incumbent Betty Thompson was reelected to the governing board for four years, while Jimmie Munoz, Jr., who led the Roosevelt election, will come onto the board as a new addition. Munoz is also the son of Norma Munoz, who has had a cumulated 10 years on the Roosevelt governing board. Norma Munoz was a Roosevelt board member from 1994 through 1998, and then was elected back onto the board in 2000. Other candidates for the Roosevelt election besides incumbent Betty Thompson included Charles Fanniel, Helen Hill, Greg Linaman, and former Roosevelt school board member Bill Wiess.


Munoz will step into the seat currently held by board president and six-year veteran Ben Miranda, whose term ends later this month. Munoz said he will not be trying to enforce his mother’s ideas as far as how to run the school district, now will he try to fill Miranda’s shoes when he finally joins the school board in January. “I wanted to see if I could go in there and make a difference," he said. "I’m going to bring a new perspective from a new generation to the board.”


Miranda’s leaving may be cause for alarm as he takes with him his aggressive views and leadership pull on how to improve the district’s long-ailing academic performance. Under the guidance of Roosevelt Superintendent Dr. Mark Dowling, the district is slowly designing and implementing several measures to help students meet Arizona’s academic yearly progress. While the majority of the measures focus on improving student performance, they also bring emphasis to administrative accountability, both on the school-site and district-wide level—accountability that Miranda has long been hoping for. Miranda was one of the first and strongest advocates of redesigning the district’s curriculum to ensure that all students across the district were being taught the same material to effectively and efficiently improve student achievement.


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