Employee newsletter, May 11, 2022

Upcoming events

Congratulations to our 2022 retirees

Congratulations to our 2022 retirees. Stay tuned for our special retirement issue of Mesa Agenda next week. 

2022-23 employee compensation plan

This morning, Superintendent Andi Fourlis shared the 2022-23 employee compensation plan, which includes pay increases for all eligible employees. Download a printable version of the plan.

Summer board meetings

Governing Board meetings held during summer break begin at 5 p.m. Find agendas and more information on the district website.

Last chance to join the Medical Leave Bank

Enrollment in the Medical Leave Bank closes May 15. Find more information on the benefits website or call 480-472-7222.

Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Find tips and resources from our wellness department.

Sign up for Yoga, Mindfulness and Meditation, a self-care workshop for educators. The workshop meets in person May 31-June 2 at Historic Irving, with an asynchronous workshop June 3. Educators will earn eight recertification hours for participating. Learn more and register on GROW.

Employees and their dependents receive eight counseling sessions at no cost from Uprise Health. The confidential counseling sessions are available in person, or via video or telephone. Uprise Health also provides resources including financial help, legal services, and child and parenting support. Call 1-800-395-1616 or visit uprisehealth.com/members and enter access code MESAUSD to see all resources.

2022-23 administrative appointments

At recent Governing Board meetings, several school and district leaders were announced for the 2022-23 school year. Congratulations to the following:

  • Maria Barker, incoming dean at Field and Longfellow elementary schools. Barker is currently dean at Longfellow and an instructional coach in the special education department.
  • Josh Buckley, incoming dean at Jefferson and Wilson elementary schools. Buckley is currently Title I specialist at Jefferson Elementary.
  • Alisa Bullock-Grotting, incoming director of early learning. Bullock-Grotting is currently director of early childhood programming at an Oregon school district.
  • Jessica Cobley, incoming dean at Edison and Lehi elementary schools. Cobley is currently Title I specialist at Edison Elementary.
  • Candace Fern, incoming team leader at Kino Junior High. Fern is currently a special education teacher in Chandler Unified School District.
  • Rachel Hassan, incoming team leader at Poston Junior High. Hassan is currently a district gifted & talented teacher.
  • Susan Jenni, incoming director of human resources. Jenni is currently principal at Booker T. Washington Elementary.
  • Claudia McKim, incoming dean at Eisenhower Center for Innovation and Hughes Elementary. McKim is currently a fourth-grade teacher at Eisenhower.
  • Holly McLaughlin, incoming team leader at Mesa Virtual Campus. McLaughlin is currently Title I specialist at O'Connor Elementary.
  • Racquel O'Connor, incoming team leader at Carson Junior High. O'Connor is currrently director of exceptional student services in the Miami Unified School District.
  • Renee Regoli, incoming assistant principal at Dobson High. Regoli is currently assistant principal at Queen Creek High School in the Queen Creek Unified School District.
  • Devon Rothlisberger, incoming dean at Lincoln and Lindbergh elementary schools. Rothlisberger is currently dean at Lincoln.
  • Steve Tannenbaum, incoming principal at Red Mountain High. Tannenbaum is currently principal at Willliams Field High School in the Higley Unified School District.

Literacy endorsement

Arizona legislators passed ARS 15-501-01 requiring kindergarten through fifth-grade teachers to obtain a literacy endorsement. Teachers entering the profession must earn the endorsement by 2025, while current teachers have until 2028. A recommended option is the completion of 90 hours of ADE-approved training.

Mesa Public Schools is in the process of training all kindergarten through fifth-grade teachers and teachers of reading over the next few years in LETRS® (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling). This suite is professional learning that takes place over two years, and provides educators and administrators with deep knowledge to be literacy and language experts in the science of reading. This training will fulfill the requirement for the literacy endorsement training. If you are interested in joining the next cohort beginning January 2023, please contact your principal or Erik Von Burg, teaching & learning director.

In addition to required training, all endorsement holders will be required to pass the Foundations of Reading Exam via the Arizona Department of Education.

Another option is six credit hours at a college or university comprising the following:

  • Three semester hours in the science of reading instruction, including systematic phonics instruction.
  • Three semester hours in reading instruction, including assessments, instructional practices and interventions to improve student reading proficiency for struggling readers, including students with the characteristics of dyslexia.

Mesa Public Schools in the news

Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies English teacher Caroline Chung-Wipff was interviewed by Fox 10 about her student writing assignment that seeks to boost animal adoptions at local shelters.

azfamily/CBS 5 visited Eisenhower Center for Innovation to promote the AZ529 savings plan contest.

Ranchers' Roundup included an article about Rhodes Junior High's student growth and success.

The May issues of Up Close included an article about Eagleridge Enrichment Program.

Mesa Tribune featured retiring Mesa High teacher and wrestling coach David DiDomenico.

View our 2021-22 archive of media coverage.

Cue the applause

Gina Ucci, Scott Cumberledge and Steve WatsonHughes Elementary second-grade teacher Lauren Cluff and Carson Junior High PE teacher MaryJo Cannon have been named to the 2022-23 Maricopa County Superintendent Teacher Advisory Team (STAT). STAT is an initiative to increase teacher voice and include classroom practitioners in discussions around education practice and policy.

Maricopa County School Superintendent Steve Watson visited Field Elementary to recognize first-grade teacher Gina Ucci as a Super Teacher. Ucci (pictured, center, with Superintendent Watson, left, and Principal Scott Cumberledge, right) has served Field for more than 38 years.

Dobson High English teacher Kim Klett was accepted into the first cohort of Learning for Justice's Teaching Hard History program. She was one of 32 teachers selected nationwide out of a pool of over 400 applicants. Klett's showcase lesson for the project was on Native American boarding schools.

Congratulations to the 2022 Wellness Award winners. Wellness Champions are audiology's Suzy McDowell and Adams Elementary fourth-grade teacher Del Somers. The Healthiest Site award was given to Emerson Elementary. Learn more about our 2022 Wellness Award winners.


Send your news to:

Heidi Hurst, communications & engagement director

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