1. Can you please describe your work and how public policy impacts how you manage your organization?
I have the privilege of being the proud Superintendent of the Roosevelt School District. We have 20 learning communities, over 1,000 employees, and serve roughly 7,500 beautiful young people in South Phoenix. Public education is the proverbial example of the intersection of public policy and practice. Whether funding, facilities, or performance metrics, public policy continues to be a vehicle and driver of our educational system. Being active, involved, and civically engaged is paramount for educational leaders to prevent policy from happening “to us” and instead, working “for us” in an effort to realize the mission and vision of our community and provide high quality experiences for our students and staff.
2. How has the Fellows Network been useful to you?
As a Fellow, I’ve been fortunate to connect with a phenomenal group of individuals from varying industries, perspectives, and political affiliations. The one thing that is a commonality amongst the group is the desire and relentless pursuit of improving our state of Arizona. As a recent graduate of the Flinn-Brown Fellowship, I’ve leaned on the relationships that have been curated to seek expert advice, make professional connections, and provide additional resources and support for the students and families that I serve in Roosevelt. This all happened as a result of my cohort experience. Knowing that there is access to a vast network of several hundred Fellows is an invaluable resource that can’t be quantified.
3. What do you see as potential opportunities strengthening civic health in Arizona?
It is never too early to learn about civic engagement. Whether intentionally developing opportunities for young people to be engaged with efforts such as school level participatory budgeting or creating democratic systems in our schools, the future of our state’s civic health starts with young people. Additionally, it is never too late to have your voice be heard. This can be accomplished by voting, running for elected office, or raising awareness around an area of passion. We ALL have the power to influence change, no matter what history tells us.
If you missed a Fellows Spotlight, you can view them on the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership website now.