549 N. Stapley, Mesa, AZ


1. Review of Agenda Items
The Board briefly reviewed the agenda. 

2. Review of Governing Board Calendar
The Board briefly reviewed its calendar through November 2016. The October 11, 2016, meeting was cancelled due to October Break.

3.  Presentation on Enrollment and Staffing
Dr. O’Reilly and Dr. Holmes made a presentation on enrollment and staffing.

Dr. O’Reilly reviewed the District’s projected enrollment for the 2016-2017 school year and the data used to project enrollment. District enrollment is nearing the projected number of 63,061 in kindergarten through 12th grade. There are a total of 64,453 students enrolled in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Smaller cohorts entering the lower grades and larger cohorts moving through the upper grades will impact the District’s enrollment for many years.

Dr. Holmes provided a summary of certificated and classified employee vacancies. There were 68 full-time classified vacancies (new hires) and 596 part-time vacancies filled this summer. There are 41 current classified full-time vacancies and 5,782 current (full-time and part-time) classified employees. 

There were 396 certificated vacancies filled this summer. There are currently 118.9 vacancies and long-term subs teaching in those classrooms. There are a total of 3,915 certified staff.  

There are over 100 student teachers in the District and Human Resources is looking to recruit them to teach after they graduate. 

4. Discussion on the 2017 ASBA Political Agenda
The Board discussed the 2017 Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) 2017 Political Agenda. They gave direction to Board Member Smith as he is the Board’s representative at the ASBA Delegate Assembly. 

5. Updates from Board Members/Superintendents
The Board directed the superintendency to explore the costs and feasibility of an ASU prep academy, high-tech academy, or Consolari school. They also asked that Mrs. Sylvester-McCarroll and Mrs. Williams supervise this endeavor and hire consultants if necessary. Discussions and possible proposals will need to move forward before the next bond election.

Dr. DePrez informed the Board that the draft reading and math standards are ready for review.


1. Minutes
On the motion of Mr. Nichols, the Board unanimously approved the certificated and classified personnel requests, including an addendum.

2. Personnel Requests
On the motion of Mr. Smith, the Board unanimously approved the certificated and classified personnel requests, including an addendum.

2. Consent Agenda
On the motion of Dr. Whiting, the Board unanimously approved the consent agenda according to the recommended action for each item.

3. Superintendent's Report
Dr. Cowan reported on the following:

New principals to the District were introduced via video:

  • Tom Brennan, Skyline High School
  • Patty Christie, Rhodes Junior High School
  • Christy Cuddy, Highland Arts Elementary School
  • Dr. Tony Elmer, Carson Junior High School
  • Thomas Heminger, Lindbergh Elementary School
  • Dr. Renea Kennedy, Shepherd Junior High School
  • Robby Meldau, Eisenhower Center for Innovation
  • Greg Mendez, Riverview High School
  • Kelly Osburn, Franklin West Elementary School
  • Dr. Greg Reid, Johnson Elementary School
  • Denise Sandy-Sanchez, Kerr Elementary School
  • Bill Schultz, Entz Elementary School
  • Nonie Sundve, Patterson Elementary School
  • Kirk Thomas, Mesa High School
  • Jennifer Echols, Mesa Distance Learning Program

Each of these leaders is engaged with staff and community to ensure we maximize students' learning experiences and achievement.

Many community organizations share their generosity at this time of year to help ensure that students experience a successful start of school. Boeing collected backpacks and school supplies for students at Guerrero, Keller, Jefferson, Redbird, and Roosevelt elementary schools; Carson Junior High School; and Westwood High School. The Mesa Chamber of Commerce surprised Jefferson Elementary School with supplies to start the new year off right.

In September, Mesa Public Schools will be recognized in Washington D.C. by the U.S. Department of Education for Mesa Public School’s commitment to creating equity at the highest levels in our schools; including enrollment in advanced placement and International Baccalaureate courses that reflect the District’s diversity.

In addition to the award, Dr. Cowan will participate in a Superintendents Advisory Council to advise Equal Opportunity Schools and the Lead Higher initiative on national strategies regarding diversity and achieving proficiency in academic excellence.

Lourdes Mejia, Keller Elementary School fourth-grade dual language teacher, has been named a state finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching by the National Science Foundation. This recognition is the highest award that a kindergarten through 12th-grade math or science educator may receive for outstanding teaching. 

Reta Yanik, Westwood High School agricultural science teacher, completed the 14th Annual DuPont National Agriscience Teachers Ambassador Academy (NATAA) in Des Moines, Iowa this summer. Each year, approximately 20 teachers are selected to attend the prestigious academy to engage in and explore state-of-the-art teaching concepts to implement in their classrooms.

Last year, 16 Mesa schools were recognized as Civic Engagement Schools by the Arizona Department of Education. This year, 19 District schools will be recognized. Sirrine Elementary School; Summit Academy; Carson, Fremont, Kino, Stapley, and Taylor junior high schools; East Valley Academy; and Mesa, Mountain View, and Skyline high schools earned the School of Merit designation. Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies; Franklin, Rhodes, and Shepherd junior high schools; and Dobson High School were named Schools of Distinction. The two District schools receiving the Schools of Excellence designation will be recognized later in the recognitions portion of the meeting.

The District’s Communications and Marketing Department works behind the scenes to promote and enhance District programs and services. This summer the communications and marketing team received two awards from the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA). They received the Golden Achievement Award in recognition of Exemplary Public Relations for their Comprehensive AzMERIT Statewide Communications Package, and an Award of Merit for Distinguished Achievement in category of School District Magazine for Achieve Magazine, fall/winter 2015. 

4. Staff Recognitions
Loretta Zullo, director of food and nutrition, was named the 2016 Director of the Year by the School Nutrition Association of Arizona. She was recognized at the 70th Annual National Conference of the School Nutrition Association for her contributions as a school nutrition director. Loretta’s efforts are numerous and include managing an effective and fiscally sound meal program. She and her team of professionals serve more than 18,000 breakfasts and nearly 40,000 lunches every day.

Kay Schreiber, Arizona Department of Education college and career ready state school counselors coordinator, helped to recognize the Dobson High School advisement team. The Dobson High School advisement team, which includes Jeni Nye, John Boggess, Laure Romero Jones, Christi Mussi, Zach Sumnicht, and Theodora Nelson, was one of 76 departments across the country honored as a Recognized ASCA Model Program at the American School Counselor Association’s annual conference. Dobson was the only Arizona school to earn the 2016 award and it is the school’s second time to receive the honor, which is valid for three years.

Red Mountain and Westwood high schools earned the Civic Engagement School of Excellence Award, which is the highest level civic engagement recognition from the Arizona Department of Education. This honor recognizes and supports the important role of schools in ensuring that students are informed and engaged citizens. Red Mountain and Westwood high schools, along with the earlier mentioned schools, will be recognized at an award ceremony on September 16, Constitution Day.

5. Presentation on Points of Pride Program
Mrs. Hollands made a presentation on the Points of Pride Program. The program, which was launched in July, provides highlights of individual school awards, special programs, community activities etc. Educating staff members of their school and District accomplishments and strengths provides great customer service and encourages parents to seek out their neighborhood schools. Parents trust school staff to help them make the best decision regarding the education of their student. 

6. Hearing and Adoption of the 2016-2017 Employee Incentive Plan
Dr. Lesar provided an overview of the employee incentive plan for the 2016-2017 school year. Per ARS §15-977 the Governing Board must adopt a performance-based compensation system at a public hearing. Dr. Lesar reviewed the guidelines for the incentive program as well as the school and department incentive plans. The focus of the incentive plan includes:

  • Unprecedented excellence in education.
  • Develop highly educated and productive community one student at a time.
  • Close the achievement gap.
  • Align improvement efforts with the District’s strategic initiatives.

The Board may modify elements of the plan and/or consider additional elements when adopting a performance-based compensation system.

On the motion of Mrs. Richardson, the Board unanimously approved the adoption of the 2016-2017 District Incentive Program as presented, which includes the school incentive program and the department incentive program, where the Governing Board has exercised their legal authority to modify and include additional elements for the District’s incentive program.

7. Call to the Public
A video on the call to the public procedures was shown.

There were no speakers at this time.

The meeting adjourned at 8:21 p.m.