Volume 47, No. 13, May 24, 2019

Students holding up congratulatory signs for Class of 2019Have a great summer!

Whether you're off for break or working hard all summer, thank you for helping to make 2018-19 a successful school year. Enjoy your time off, and we'll see you in August.

Summer movie ticket sales

Due to an unexpected rush on movie tickets at the end of the school year, the district's supply of Harkins VIP Gold tickets is currently on back order. Tickets will be available by early June. AMC tickets are currently available.

From June 7 to July 12, AMC and Harkins movie ticket sales at the Administrative Services Center will be available Monday through Thursday. To purchase tickets, visit the ASC receptionist between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Employees and retirees can purchase AMC or Harkins VIP Gold tickets for $8.50. Check and cash are accepted as payment. Please bring proof of district employment or retirement.

Learn more about the budget increase election

On April 23, the Governing Board voted to place a 15% maintenance and operations budget increase, or override, on the Nov. 5 mail-in only ballot. The district will share factual information about the budget increase with the community this fall. Get a sneak preview of an upcoming budget increase fact sheet.

Balance of contract checks

Certificated contract employees and classified supervisors working less than 12 months will receive balance of contract pay on the regular paycheck that follows their last day of work for 2018-19. Teachers with a last contract day of May 24 will be paid June 6. 

Incentive update

Employees eligible for the pay-for-performance plan will receive their pay July 11 if goals have been met. Goal results will be finalized in June. As a reminder, employees must have been hired on or before Feb. 1 and be employed through May 23.

Unsure if you're eligible? View information for schools, departments and pay-for-performance plan guidelines on the educational services webpage. Questions? Classified employees may contact Christi Chapman at 480-472-0420. Certificated employees may contact Deb Herman at 480-472-0404.

Flexible summer work opportunities at A New Leaf

Our community partner A New Leaf has a variety of summer positions available. Looking for a flexible summer gig where you can make a positive impact in the community? Complete the interest form. Learn more about A New Leaf at turnanewleaf.org

Save the date - Educator Preview Night

On Aug. 22, our friends at Mesa Arts Center are hosting a special free event just for Arizona educators. Attendees will enjoy refreshments, live music by Grammy Award-winning cellist Zuill Bailey and advance information about upcoming student-friendly events. The school with the greatest participation will win a free arts experience. Learn more and RSVP on the Mesa Arts Center website.

2019-20 administrative hires

At the May 14 Governing Board meeting, new administrator appointments were announced. Administrators will assume their roles July 1.

  • Jill Benza, incoming principal at Shepherd Junior High. She is currently an assistant principal at Mountain View High.
  • Aimee De La Torre, incoming principal at Longfellow Elementary. She's currently principal at Eagleridge Enrichment Program.
  • Gretchen Kaiser, incoming area director in special education. She is currently assistant director of special education in Paradise Valley Unified School District.
  • Michael Karpinski, incoming principal at SHARP. He is currently a behavior specialist at Wyandotte Public Schools in Michigan.
  • Dr. Renea Kennedy, incoming director of teaching & learning. She's currently principal at Shepherd Junior High.
  • Monica Mesa, incoming principal coach. She's currently principal at Longfellow Elementary.
  • Lynette Michalski, incoming director of assessment. She previously served as superintendent at Window Rock Unified School District. 
  • James Turner, incoming area director in special education. He's currently principal at SHARP.
  • Amy Uchacz, incoming director of professional development. She's currently director of assessment.
  • Adam Unrein, incoming principal at Smith Junior High. He's currently an assistant principal at Skyline High.
  • Dr. Laura Victor, incoming principal at Wilson Elementary. She's currently a dean of students at Scottsdale Unified School District.

Cue the applause

Carson Junior High has been designated as an AVID Schoolwide Site of Distinction. The honor is awarded to a small subset of school campuses that illustrate a commitment to equity and opportunity, provide rigorous academic opportunities for all students, and demonstrate superb instructional practices across the board. Congratulations, Cougars!

Mesa Public Schools will receive the 2019 Public Health Service Award from Arizona Medical Association and the Arizona Department of Health Services at a June 1 ceremony. The district is being honored for extensive efforts regarding public health issues. 

John Trezise, Hermosa Vista Elementary principal, was named an Exemplary Principal by Maricopa County School Superintendent Steve Watson at a surprise school celebration May 10. 


Send news to

Heidi Hurst, communications and marketing supervisor

Submit an award or recognition or tell us about a special event via our good news form.


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