Gov. Jan Brewer, two state lawmakers and a long-time education advocate were honored Aug. 6 by the Arizona Association of County School Superintendents for their efforts on behalf of K-12 public education.
Brewer was named Arizona Statewide Friend of Education, the second time she has received that award. Sen. Kimberly Yee, R-Phoenix, and Rep. Doris Goodale, R-Kingman, were named Educator of the Year in their respective chambers, and Chuck Essigs, director of government relations for the Arizona Association of School Business Officials, received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
In a press release, Brewer stated, “Education is the reason I became involved in public service more than three decades ago, and I recognize that our county school superintendents are a critical partner in this shared effort to improve learning and student performance.”
Looking ahead, Brewer said, “Whether or not you refer to it as Common Core, it is clear Arizona must continue to move forward with more rigorous standards. As a state, we must also address the costs associated with the new assessment and the technology demands that go along with it. Arizona also must continue to pursue reform of the school finance formula so that we’re rewarding school performance and innovation. These discussions are ongoing at the state and local level, but I believe strongly that we cannot be satisfied with the status quo.”
Yee, chair of the Senate Education Committee, said she would “continue to advocate for additional school safety funding to properly fund our School Resource Officer Program and ensure that the funding goes to schools with high incidence rates.”
Goodale, who heads the House Education Committee, said her plans for the next legislative session will be to focus on parental involvement with their children, teachers and schools. She also said Career Technical Education (CTE) and Joint Technological Education District (JTED) courses “are the best drop-out prevention programs.”
Essigs, whose role in education dates back to 1967 when he was a New Jersey high school teacher, has served in numerous roles, including deputy associate superintendent, Arizona Department of Education; assistant superintendent, Mesa Public Schools; and as a staff member with the Joint Select Committee on Tax Reform and School Finance of the Arizona Legislature. “The state needs to move to where K-12 public education is adequately funded, where we don’t show up on national reports at the bottom or just one or two places from the bottom,” Essigs said.
The awards ceremony took place at the association’s annual retreat in Show Low, according to association president Don Covey.