Volume 47, No. 5, Nov. 29, 2018

Photos of Marcie Hutchinson and Jenny Richardson

Congratulations to our new board members

On Nov. 19, the Maricopa County recorder's office posted the final results from the Nov. 6 election. Congratulations to Marcie Hutchinson and Jenny Richardson, who won the two open Governing Board seats.

Mrs. Hutchinson and Mrs. Richardson will be sworn in at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 19, in the Governing Board Room at Curriculum Services Center.

Thank you to outgoing Governing Board President Ben Smith for your service on behalf of our students and schools. 

Open office hours with Dr. Conley

Dr. Conley will be hosting open office hours 3:30-4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 4, in the North Conference Room at Curriculum Services Center. Employees, parents and community members are encouraged to stop by.

Please join us as we recognize  Governing Board President Ben Smith for his four years of dedicated service to Mesa Public Schools. 4-5 p.m., December 11 2018 Governing Board Room, 549 N Stapley Drive, Mesa, AZ 85203

Please join us at a celebration for Governing Board President Ben Smith

Please join us on Tuesday, Dec. 11, as we recognize Ben Smith for his four years of service to the Mesa Public Schools Governing Board.

The reception will be 4-5 p.m. in the Governing Board Room. Employees, parents and community members are encouraged to attend.

Zaharis running club earns national media acclaim

Last month, Zaharis Elementary PE teacher Mindy Przeor and a group of her students ran the New York marathon. Runner's World captured their story online. Way to make us proud, Zaharis runners!

Customer Service Rockstars

Satisfied customers continue to take time to recognize school and district staff for stellar customer service.

The schools and departments that received the most responses in October were:

  • Crismon Elementary, 88 responses
  • Porter Elementary, 61 responses
  • Hale Elementary, 22 responses

Customers praised fantastic service from staff, including this comment from a parent at Bush Elementary. "Love this school. Been an open enrollment family here for 10 years. Can't say enough about the office staff. Would highly recommend this school to anyone and everyone!"

An online customer service form is available on the district home page. Consider placing a link on your school or department home page.

Way to go, Mesa!

Mesa Public Schools beat Gilbert Public Schools in the Battle for the East Valley step challenge. District staff averaged 414,600 daily steps, over Gilbert's 370,226 daily steps.

In total, Mesa Public Schools staff logged 248,709,915 steps and GPS staff logged 169,623,983 steps in the Move It, Maricopa challenge. Way to go!

We look forward to sharing a photo of GPS superintendent Shane McCord in his #oneteam shirt in a future issue of Agenda.

Plan ahead for winter break

First semester ends Dec. 21, kicking off winter break. Students return Jan. 7. School-based administrators and short-term employees will be off work Dec. 24 to Jan. 4. No absence requests are necessary.

The short-term employee group includes:

  • all certificated employees, contract or hourly
  • full-time classified employees and supervisors not on 12-month contracts
  • most part-time, temporary and substitute classified employees
  • student workers
  • substitute teachers

All other 12-month staff are off work Dec. 24 to Jan. 1. If you're in this group and plan to take Jan. 2-4 off, you're required to submit an absence request in TimeClock Plus or iVisions (administrators and supervisors). This group includes:

  • Department administrators
  • All classified employees and supervisors on 12-month contracts
  • Part-time classified employees hired to work 12 months

District administrative offices will be closed Dec. 24 to Jan. 1. Human resources and employee benefits will close at 2 p.m. Dec. 21 and will be open 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Jan 2-3, and 7:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Jan. 4.

Review jury duty policy

Have you been summoned for jury duty? Governing Board policy GBBD-R (7) contains guidelines for jury duty leave. Find more information on page 8 of the employee handbook.

Cue the applause

Photo of Roger LymanCongratulations to the district schools and staff recognized for perfect attendance at the Nov. 27 Governing Board meeting. The top five schools were Whitman Elementary, Whittier Elementary, Superstition High, Franklin at Alma and Webster Elementary. Franklin at Brimhall's Kymra Donaldson was recognized for five years of perfect attendance. Franklin East's Judy Hertzog and Red Mountain High's Eric Miller received awards for 10 years of perfect attendance.

Mesa High English teacher and speech and debate coach Kevin Berlat received a 2018 Don Crabtree Distinguished Service Award from the National Speech & Debate Association. The award recognizes coaches who have demonstrated a commitment to service above and beyond their own teams. This is the second time Berlat has received the award, representing 120 service credits during his career.

At a special ceremony Nov. 13, 22 district teachers were honored by the Masonic Lodge. Congratulations to Eisenhower Center for Innovation's Abigail Arvanites, Highland Arts Elementary's Amy Lahavich, O'Connor Elementary's Bonnie Patterson, Taylor Junior High's Bryon Howard, Keller Elementary's Courtney Coker, Pomeroy Elementary's Dana Lamoreaux, Mesa Academy's David Alexander, Kino Junior High's Diana Coleman, East Valley Academy's Dylan-Lacey Fleisch, Holmes Elementary's Emily Evans, Taft Elementary's Hannah Berk, Westwood High's Jane Dutcher-Pagel, Porter Elementary's Kaitlin Good, SHARP's Kourtney Jefferds, Wilson Elementary's Linda Tomlinson, Dobson High's Mary Ruegge, Johnson Elementary's Michelle Noe, Longfellow Elementary's Robin Watson, Carson Junior High's Roger Lyman (pictured), Sousa Elementary's Sara Weitman, Skyline High's Steven Benitez and Mendoza Elementary's Rhonda Collins. Read tributes to each teacher on the district Facebook page.

At the Nov. 13 general administrators meeting, Taft Elementary Principal Russ Heath, Longfellow Elementary Principal Monica Mesa, and Food & Nutrition director Loretta Zullo were named the Horace Mann Rulers of the Month.

Rita Bracamonte-Rodriguez, McKinney-Vento homeless liaison, was named Homeless School Liaison of the Year by the Arizona Housing Coalition for all she does to help students and families who are experiencing the challenges of homelessness.

Congratulations to science teachers Brittney Oden (Rhodes Junior High) and Kimberly Lind (Dobson High), who were recognized by the Arizona Science Teachers Association. Oden was named 2018 Middle School Science Teacher of the Year, and Lind was named 2018 Novice Teacher of the Year. Both were recognized for their innovative and engaging teaching practices.

On Oct. 26, 22 district teachers were recipients of $5,000 classroom/school grants from Fiesta Bowl's Wishes for Teachers program. Congratulations to Adams Elementary's Steve Madaras, Bush Elementary's Rachel Werdebaugh, Dobson High's Samuel Buchanan, Edison Elementary's Paige Rowley, Emerson Elementary's Elijah Kinder, Entz Elementary's Cory Trout, Franklin at Brimhall's Marian Bass, Hale Elementary's Linda Tomblin, Jefferson Elementary's Tina Boulton, Las Sendas Elementary's Libby Micela, Lincoln Elementary's Ali Smurawa, Madison Elementary's Lori Flake, Mendoza Elementary's Janet Spicer, Mountain View High's Jason Wright, O'Connor Elementary's Bonnie Patterson, Porter Elementary's Amber Amaya, Red Mountain High's Michael Peterson, Roosevelt Elementary's Alysia Torres, Sirrine Elementary's Christina Paul and Elizabeth Peco, Westwood High's Jenny Valle and Wilson Elementary's Joleen Amerman. Learn more about their wishes on the district Facebook page.

Photo of Nic Parker and Maria Bencomo

Earlier this year, Arizona Health Zone provided 25 elementary schools with $87,500 of new recess equipment through its CATCH Kids Program. Schools that received CATCH Kids equipment (worth $3,500 each) are: Adams, Crismon, Edison, Emerson, Field, Franklin West, Guerrero, Holmes, Hughes, Irving, Jefferson, Kerr, Lehi, Lincoln, Lindbergh, Lowell, Madison, Pomeroy, Porter, Roosevelt, Salk, Sirrine, Washington, Webster and Wilson elementary schools. Schools must have a 50% or higher free and reduced lunch percentage to qualify.

Congratulations to the staff recognized during Spotlight Recognitions at the October and November Governing Board meetings. Educator Who Makes a Difference: Fremont Junior High PE teacher Alana Raizer, Sousa Elementary PE teacher Sara Weitman, Adams Elementary special education teacher Michelle Fowler, Porter Elementary kindergarten teacher Tina Lang, Hughes Elementary first-grade teacher Julia Sumler and Bush Elementary fifth-grade teacher Marni Mastin.

Employee Who Makes a Difference: Fremont Junior High resource center specialist Barbara Nelson, Taft Elementary lead custodian Fabian Ortiz, Poston Junior High counselor Issra Benmansour, and NAEP account specialist Eleanor Beeson.

Customer Service Champion: Custodial area support Dalia Angel Avila, Fremont Junior High general clerk Kristin Makinen, Sousa Elementary office specialist Becky Oberfield, Adams Elementary office specialist Joyce Greek, Porter Elementary office specialist Anahi Nosek, Poston Junior High facility assistant Randy Marriott, ELAD content specialist Christina Weber, Hughes Elementary office specialist Maria Bencomo (pictured with Principal Nicolas Parker) and Bush Elementary secretary Lynette "Queen" SmithSee all honorees and view spotlight videos on the communications & marketing web page.


Send news to:

Heidi Hurst, communications & marketing supervisor


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