Governing Board


Ben Smith, memberPresident

Ben Smith joined the Governing Board January 2015. He and his wife, Jill, have three children - one in middle school and two in elementary school. Ben is a program manager and educational technology consultant. Born in Utah, he attended Lincoln Elementary School in Mesa before moving to Scottsdale in fifth grade. Ben earned his bachelor's degree in business management from Arizona State University, and completed his MBA at Ottawa University.

Ben has been involved in education for most of his professional life by consulting and supporting technology implementation for public, private and charter schools across the country. In addition, Ben currently serves as committee chairman for the Fiesta Bowl. His term expires Dec. 31, 2018.


Elaine Miner, memberClerk

Elaine Miner began her current term on the board January 2017. She previously served eight years, including two as president. She also served on the State Superintendent of Public Instruction's AIMS Advisory group and Arizona Reading Leadership Advisory Board.

Elaine holds a bachelor's degree in home economics education and recently retired from her family-owned business. Thirty-year residents of Mesa, Elaine and her husband, Don, have three sons who graduated from Mountain View High School. Three of her grandchildren currently attend district schools. Her term expires Dec. 31, 2020.



Steven Peterson, president


Steven Peterson became a member of the Governing Board in January 2009. Steven and his wife, Julie, have eight children. Their children include college graduates, Westwood High graduates and currently enrolled district students. An accountant, Steven earned his master’s degree in accounting from Brigham Young University.

Steven has lived in Mesa for twelve years, during which he has been an active volunteer at Westwood High as an assistant cross country coach and a member of the school’s parent group. Steven has served as a member of a Grand Canyon Council Committee for the Boy Scouts of America and as a youth leader in Venture Scouts. Steven's Governing Board term expires Dec. 31, 2020.


Jenny Richardson, clerkMember

Jenny Richardson began her Governing Board service January 2015. She and her husband, Randy, grew up in Mesa Public Schools, both graduating from Westwood High School. They are the parents of six children, all of whom are graduates from or current students in the district. Jenny received her degree in elementary education from Brigham Young University, and taught for several years in grades 1 through 3, before "retiring" to stay home with her children.

Jenny has served in her children's school communities, working on numerous committees and organizations. She has also been involved in educating families and voters about educational issues that appear on their ballots through the Mesa Chamber of Commerce. She believes great schools make great neighborhoods and great cities, and is happy to serve the schools she loves. Her term expires Dec. 31, 2018.


Kiana Sears, memberMember

Kiana Maria Sears joined the Governing Board January 2017. A resident of Mesa for more than 20 years, she is a proud wife and mother of two daughters who graduated from Red Mountain High School and attend Arizona State University. Kiana Maria served as an Art Masterpiece volunteer, a Girl Scout leader and a foreign exchange parent. She holds a master's degree in public administration.

Kiana Maria is an avid ASU Sun Devil, community advocate and experienced public policy creator and implementer. She has contributed to critical laws, committees and organizations such as Children's Action Alliance, Arizona State Senate, Arizona Corporation Commission, East Valley NAACP, East Valley Martin Luther King Parade and various charities of the United Way. Kiana Maria believes "every single child deserves an opportunity to learn and to access a quality education." Her term expires Dec. 31, 2020.