Volume 39, Number 5, Dec. 13, 2010

Brad's photo
Newspaper and television crews attended the Guerrero assembly to see Brad Breuer receive $25,000 from the Milken Family Foundation.

National Educator Award

Brad Breuer won the $25,000 National Educator Award from the Milken Family Foundation. Breuer teaches fourth grade at Guerrero Elementary. Despite significant challenges, his students achieve at very high levels.

"I was shocked. I think 'overwhelmed' would be an accurate way of putting it," Breuer told Mesa Agenda.

"It's beginning to sink in a bit, because I don't go through the range of emotions that I did at first. I am truly honored, and I feel so blessed.

"This award is a testament to Pedro Guerrero Elementary School. I work with very effective teachers who could've easily met the criteria for this great honor. Also, I have to give credit to all the co-workers who supported me during my almost four years here at Guerrero. Without their influence, I would not have become the teacher I am today."

Watch the video

Dec. 14 public hearing on recess

The Arizona Legislature is requiring each school district to review elementary recess and consider creating a policy on structured activities instead of free play. A public hearing is set for 7 p.m. Dec. 14 in the Board Room, 549 N. Stapley Drive, Mesa. The hearing will be part of the board meeting, which will be broadcast on demand. Read more about the issue, and express your opinion.

Arizona Arts Education awards

Devlin photo

Matt Devlin of Rhodes Junior High is congratulated by Rod Castillo, MPS creative and performing arts director.

MPS swept the state honors for leadership in the arts. Matt Devlin won the 2010 Administrator Award, and Suzie DePrez won this year's Superintendency Award from the Arizona Alliance for Arts Education. Devlin is principal of Rhodes Junior High. DePrez is the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

"Creative and performing arts have long been a vibrant tradition in our district. We appreciate this recognition from the alliance. Congratulations to Matt and Suzie for these well-deserved awards," said Mike Cowan, superintendent.

Summer high school supervisor job opening

Jan. 7 is the deadline for MPS employees to apply for the position of high school summer school supervisor. The job starts on or before Feb. 14 on a year-per-year basis. Send a letter of interest to Tot Wallace, community education director. See the job posting.


  1. Arizona secondary teaching certificate
  2. at least three years of successful teaching experience preferred
  3. specific administrative experience through internship and/or previous employment
  4. a minimum of six graduate hours in educational administration

National board certification

Robson Elementary teachers Tammy Wilson, second-grade, and Suzanne Price, first-grade English language development, earned national board certification.

"This was a way to show myself that all those years of teaching and training gave me the skills I needed to accomplish national board certification," Price said. Wilson added, "It allowed me to collaborate with great educators, to take time to look at all the current literacy research and to reflect on why I come in every day to do this job. I do it for my students!"

How you can earn your national board certification

Career Ladder's precandidacy class, Jan. 4 through Feb. 22, will help you prepare. MPS will provide financial incentives and professional leave. For more information, contact Barbara Stout, career ladder specialist. Phone (480) 472-0384, or e-mail mbstout@mpsaz.org. Register online.

National board certification is open to preschool through high school teachers. Research indicates that teachers who earn this prestigious certification demonstrate significant improvement in their work, based on the nation’s highest teaching standards. Studies show that children who work with nationally certified teachers make higher gains on achievement tests.

National Board Certification overview 
Precandidacy class and registration information

Employees of the Month

Temme photo

Walt Temme of Mountain View High is honored by Steven Peterson, MPS school board clerk.

Steven Peterson, school board clerk, presented Educator and Classified Employee of the Month awards in November.

Watch the Take Time for People presentations during agenda item 7 in the board meeting video. Nominate someone where you work for making a difference in MPS and in the lives of students and staff. Click the winners' names to read their tributes:

  • April Freund, special education assistant, Special Education Department
  • Becca Fuller, Family Tree preschool teacher, Adams Elementary
  • Ed Quesada, facility assistant, Crismon Elementary
  • Walt Temme, director of orchestras, Mountain View High

Southwest Airlines, Phoenix Suns contest

Seventh-graders are invited to enter the Symbol of Freedom art and essay contest sponsored by Southwest Airlines and the Phoenix Suns. The deadline for entries is 5 p.m. Jan. 7. Winners will receive trips to Boston, Mass. Read more.

'MPS Happenings' TV program

See the December and January episodes of "MPS Happenings" on demand. Or watch at 8 p.m. weeknights on Cox cable television channel 99. Get a firsthand look at the dynamic people and exciting events at schools and departments districtwide.

Segments range from the $25,000 Milken award presentation at Guerrero Elementary and the NFL Play 60 celebration at Whitman Elementary to a holocaust survivor at Irving Elementary, the District Music Festival hosted by Westwood High and Veterans Day events throughout MPS.

School highlights

Bush Elementary

Students, staff, friends and families gathered for a Veterans Day assembly to unveil a memorial bench and portrait of the late Francis "Grandpa" Hogan. The WWII veteran devoted 12 years to Bush as a crossing guard and kindergarten playground aide. He was interviewed about his military memories by sixth-graders each year. Hogan was buried on Veterans Day in 2009.

The patriotic assembly featured comments, the band and orchestra and a Marine color guard. The theme focused on service to family, school, community and country.

Cardinals at FieldField Elementary

Three years after her invitation, the Arizona Cardinals' Big Red mascot visited Gina Ucci's first-graders, read to them, and brought cookies and milk.

The youngsters made Cardinal headbands to wear, and Ucci used the event to kick off her classroom presentation on teamwork. The children helped her create a bulletin board by making suggestions about what a good sport does.

"It was great for our Character Counts curriculum," Ucci told Mesa Agenda.

BMX teamMendoza Elementary

Mendoza students selected Kent Ashton, principal, Arlee Ross, second-grade teacher, and Felice Davis, third-grade teacher, to participate in this Perfection on Wheels stunt.

At the BMX show by Perfection on Wheels, riders thrilled students with tricks, including 20-foot-high jumps, twists, turns and back flips. They also delivered positive messages on safety, hard work, education and healthy lifestyles.

The event rewarded all the kids for their help in raising $13,000 this fall to help fund a mobile computer lab and a variety of activities that will promote student achievement.

Mountain View High

Bill Mellyn and Mark Sandomir, Mountain View chemistry teachers, won the Innovation Heroes award and $500 each from Science Foundation Arizona. They were nominated by student Dixit Patel.

Red Mountain High

The agronomy team won a bronze medal, and the environmental and natural resource management team won a silver at the National FFA Convention. Red Mountain also landed a 3-Star National Chapter Award. Advisers are Ray Gless and Tyson Sorensen.

Rhodes Junior High

The World Studies Academy hosted a GeoSummit to celebrate Geography Awareness Week. This year's theme was "Freshwater Issues." Each homeroom created exhibits on a country's culture, geography, customs, holidays and freshwater issues for a Country Pavilion. Schoolmates toured the pavilion and noted observations in their GeoJournals, which guided them with questions in a scavenger-hunt format.

The summit also included an assembly conducted by Arizona Project WET titled "H2 Oh . . . I Get It!" on the connection between surface water and groundwater, pollution and conservation.

Salk Elementary

Salk will host a Car Show for Cancer on March 26. Family fun will feature rods, customs, bikes, games, prize drawings, food and entertainment. To enter your vehicle in the show or for more information, contact Humberto Keeme at stepbystep@cox.net. Proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society.

Skyline High

Shaun Barrowes will perform with the Skyline Jazz Band, Supernaturals choir and Ascension dance company at 7 p.m. Jan. 15 in the auditorium at 845 S. Crismon Road, Mesa. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for students with school ID. Proceeds will benefit the Skyline Performing Arts Department. Read more.

Stapley Junior High

Rich Ganley photoStapley Junior High's Rich Ganley was lauded as MPS Volunteer of the Month in November by Mike Nichols, school board member.

Rich Ganley, Volunteer of the Month, helped create the Stapley Survivor Challenge. It focuses on truth, trust, respect and responsibility. It features a month of team-building activities at lunch time.

Ganley provides a master of ceremonies, entertainment, kickoff T-shirts for staff, and incentives and rewards for students.

Watch item 5 on the school board meeting video to see Ganley's award presentation. Nominate a volunteer where you work.

Volunteers of the Month receive $50 Target gift cards and books titled "Heart of a Volunteer" from Mesa Foundation. They receive certificates, tributes, key chains and mugs from MPS.

Taylor Junior High

SAE International presented its 2010 Award for Teaching Excellence to Karen Rascon, Advancement Via Individual Determination and English teacher, and Trish Merrill, English teacher (now at Dobson High). The award recognizes their creative use of A World in Motion, which brings science, technology, engineering and math to life in the classroom. Each teacher received $500. Taylor won $1,000.

Westwood High

Math Club members won first place and $2,000 for Westwood at the Marquee Math Competition sponsored by Salt River Project and the Arizona Cardinals. Westwood teens placed second overall at Northern Arizona University's High School Math Day.

Two students came in 10th individually, and one took ninth place at Chandler/Gilbert Community College High School Math Day. Maureen Magnusson sponsors the Math Club.

Whitman Elementary

Whitman grantWhitman won Arizona's $10,000 Back to Football Friday grant from the National Football League. The funding is part of the NFL's Fuel Up to Play 60 campaign to encourage health eating habits and an hour of physical activity each day.

Following the check presentation and an inspirational message, students participated in fun fitness activities.

Whitman also received autographed Cardinal footballs, photos, water bottles and T-shirts.

District highlights

Food and Nutrition

Catering photoA Westwood High advanced culinary arts student benefits from firsthand experience, thanks to the Food and Nutrition Department.

Food and Nutrition was hired to cater Mesa Community College's Rose Garden Fundraiser, featuring gourmet appetizers, entrees, sides and desserts.

The elaborate banquet required extra help from high school students who work at the MPS catering kitchen part time or study culinary arts in the district's Career and Technical Education program.

"Working at this event provided students an incredible opportunity to gain experience and to apply the skills they are learning in a real-life setting. Partnering with education creates a win-win situation for everyone," said Lara Weidinger, food and nutrition area supervisor.

Health Services

Health Assistant Appreciation Day is Jan. 26. Health assistants serve a vital role by providing injury assessment, emergency care and clerical support. "Many skills are required, such as administering medication and complex diabetic care, as well as many other procedures that require advanced training," said Nadine Miller, health services director. "Please take a moment to acknowledge the health assistant at your school."

2010-11 special days and observances   

Mesa Foundation

The Mesa Foundation for Educational Excellence awarded $40,032 to fund 51 classroom minigrants. Each fall, teachers may submit proposals for up to $1,000 for innovative projects that enhance student achievement at all grade levels and in all subject areas.

Salute the Troops

Students and staff throughout MPS helped Southwest Ambulance collect more than 650 pounds of leftover Halloween candy and 150 letters to benefit military personnel through Operation Gratitude on Veterans Day.

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