Dr. Birdwell Photo

Dr. A. Denise Birdwell

Position |  Superintendent
Phone | 480-484-6120
Email |
Executive Admin Coordinator | Sondra Como

A. Denise Birdwell, Ed.D. - Biographical Information

Dr. Birdwell joined SUSD in 2016, armed with more than 30 years of experience as an educator. She most recently served as Superintendent in the Higley Unified School District, an Arizona Department of Education "A" District. Dr. Birdwell has also served as a teacher, coach, athletic director, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent and associate superintendent. Among Dr. Birdwell’s many awards: Visionary Leader 2014 - Gilbert Chamber Excellence Award, Arizona Circle of Excellence - 2014 AdvancED Arizona, Horace Mann 2011 ASA Dynamic Ruler Award, Arizona School Administrators All-Arizona Superintendent Award 2011-2012,

Arizona School Administrators 2007 Outstanding Superintendent Fine Arts Award, American Association of School Administrators 2006 Richard D. Miller National Award and the 2006 Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Arizona School Administrators Association. She holds a Doctorate in Educational Administration and Supervision from Arizona State University, a Masters of Arts in English from Northern Arizona University and a Bachelor of Science in Education from Mayville State University in North Dakota.

Conversations with the Cabinet

Conversations with the Superintendent

This school year, Scottsdale Unified School District created new opportunities for parents to connect directly with the Superintendent, Dr. Denise Birdwell, through a series of forums. Now, we’re expanding those opportunities to include assistant superintendents and other members of the SUSD Cabinet.

Quarterly morning meetings held in every learning community address topics outlined below. Additionally, once each semester, we invite parents, teachers, staff and community members to attend evening forums that include information specically tailored to each learning community. There will be an opportunity for Q&A at all of these forums.

Click here to download information flyer

Superintendent Letters

12-2017 | English | Spanish
11-2017 | English | Spanish
10-2017 | English | Spanish
09-2017 | English | Spanish
08-2017 | English | Spanish
07-2017 | English | Spanish
06-2017 | English | Spanish
05-2017 | English | Spanish

Superintendent History

PDF Download

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Leadership Team


Dr. Sitton Photo

Dr. Pam Sitton

Assistant Superintendent of Personnel and Specialized Services
Admin Assistant |  Joy Lingol
Phone | 480-484-6169
Email |

Biography - Click to Expand
Sitton brings 29 years of educational experience to SUSD. She has been with the Scottsdale Unified School District for 10 years as the Executive Director for Elementary Schools and the current Assistant Superintendent of Personnel and Specialized Services. Pam spent 10 years as a classroom teacher and 10 years as a building administrators prior to joining SUSD. She has a Bachelor and Master of Elementary Education from Governors State University, a Masters of Educational Leadership from ASU, and a doctorate of Educational Leadership from Capella University.
Responsibilities - Click to Expand

Personnel Management, Human Resources, Specialized Services

Dr. Nance Photo

Dr. Steve Nance

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services
Admin Assistant |  JoAnn Cano
Phone | 480-484-6159
Email |

Biography - Click to Expand

An educator for 40 years, Dr. Steve Nance began his career spending several years as an elementary classroom teacher in Iowa. He has been an elementary school principal in both Iowa and Arizona, including 15 years in Scottsdale as principal at both Sequoya and Pima Elementary Schools. While at Pima, Dr. Nance was named by the Wallace Foundation as a member of their Circle of Honor, recognizing the top 1% of principals in Arizona. When Arizona began labeling schools, Pima became the first Excelling Title I school in the state. Dr. Nance also served as assistant superintendent in two other Arizona districts before returning to Scottsdale in 2016. He holds a BA and MA from the University of Northern Iowa and a Ph.D. from Iowa State University.

Responsibilities - Click to Expand

Curriculum, Professional Development, Grants Management, Program Development

Dr. McCauley Photo

Dr. Anna McCauley

Assistant Superintendent of Accountability and Instruction
Admin Assistant |  JoAnn Cano
Phone | 480-484-6159
Email |

Biography - Click to Expand

Dr. Anna McCauley brings 22 years of experience in education to the Scottsdale Unified School District. She has been an English teacher, volleyball coach, department chairperson, assistant principal, and principal at the high school level. Prior to joining SUSD, Dr. McCauley spent 8 years as a Director of Research and Assessment in another Arizona school district and had been appointed Assistant Superintendent for the 2016-2017 school year. In her prior role as a Director of Research and Assessment, she was invited to assist on the ADE’s Accountability Advisory Group and was identified by the Arizona Republic as a leader among a handful of other east valley leaders “to watch” in 2012. Dr. McCauley earned two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Arizona, a master’s degree from Northern Arizona University, and a doctorate from Arizona State University. During her doctoral studies, she was awarded the Merwin Deever Fellowship Award and participated in International Field Studies in Mexico and England.

Responsibilities - Click to Expand

Data Analysis, Instructional Improvement, Program Assessment, State Records Compliance

Dr. Johnson Photo

Dr. Cecilia Johnson

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Leadership
Admin Assistant |  Laurie Abdo
Phone | 480-484-6102
Email |

Biography - Click to Expand
Dr. Cecilia Johnson brings to Scottsdale Unified School District over 20 years of experience in educational leadership. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana State University and Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Purdue University. Dr. Johnson’s career includes secondary art teacher, high school administrator, elementary principal, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, and superintendent of schools. Most recently, Dr. Johnson worked as an Associate Superintendent for the Arizona Dept of Education. During her tenure, she served on several national councils and boards, providing her expertise nationally to shape education policy and practice.
Responsibilities - Click to Expand

Leadership Supervision, Administrative Training, College & Career Partners and

Laura Smith Photo

Laura Smith

Chief Financial Officer
Admin Assistant |  Jill Olivas
Phone | 480-484-6147
Email |

Biography - Click to Expand
Prior to joining the Scottsdale Unified School District, Laura spent the last 13 years in school business administration. There is very little she has not seen in Arizona school finance. She brings expertise, efficiency and accuracy to the Scottsdale team. Laura also has a Master's degree in elementary education from Arizona State University, and B.A. From the University of Texas. As an Arizona native, Laura was a proud student of the Scottsdale Unified School District.
Responsibilities - Click to Expand

Budget Planning, Financial Management, Business Services, Internal Auditing

Louis Hartwell

Chief Operations Officer
Admin Assistant |  Deanna Reed
Phone | 480-484-6184
Email |

Biography - Click to Expand
Mr. Hartwell joined SUSD armed with more than 30 years of experience in business performance management, supply chain, construction, financial services, technology, digital transformation and is a PMP professional. He was most recently CEO of two separate Artificial Intelligence finance software companies for EMEA in the UK. Prior to that, he was a Partner with KPMG with Global PMP responsibility. He was also a principal partner for a consulting firm leading project management for Arizona schools construction and construction remediation.
Responsibilities - Click to Expand

Bond & Override Management, Forecast Planning, Facilities Management, Asset Management

Michelle Marshall Photo

Michelle Marshall

General Counsel
Paralegal |  Louise Quezada
Phone | 480-484-6181
Email |

Erin Helm Photo

Erin Helm

Public Information & Marketing Officer
Phone | 480-484-6254
Email |

Biography - Click to Expand
Michelle G. Marshall has served as the General Counsel for SUSD since 2008. She previously served as a senior trial attorney for the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and as an attorney in the Labor and Employment section at one of Arizona’s largest law firms. She earned her B.A. from the University of Arizona, and her J.D. from Stanford University. She also is a member of Scottsdale Leadership (Class 30), and serves on the Martin Luther King Planning Committee for the Board of Scottsdale’s Community Celebrating Diversity.
Biography - Click to Expand
Erin Helm brings 18 years of communications experience to SUSD. She was an Emmy-award winning TV news producer before answering a new calling in education. She has a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri, Columbia. She also has media contacts across the state of Arizona to help Scottsdale schools tell their stories. In addition to her work with SUSD, Erin is a published children’s book author (under a pen name) and is frequently a guest speaker for schools in the U.S. and overseas.

Leadership Team

Sondra Como
Executive Admin Coordinator to Superintendent & Gov. Board

Sheryl Rednor
Executive Director of Teaching & Learning

Dr. Milissa Sackos
Executive Director of Support Services

Diane Bruening
Executive Director of Special Education

Debbie Ybarra
Executive Director of Elementary Education

Nancy Hudson
Director of Early Childhood & Community Education

Dennis Roehler
Director of Facilities Management

Jeff Cook
Director of Transportation


Susan Doyle
Director of Human Resources

Patti Bilbrey
Director of Nutrition Services

Nathan Slater
District Athletic Director

Carol Pollack
Director of Instruction and Professional Development

Mai-Lon Wong
Director of Gifted & Accelerated Programs

Michael Roberts
Director of Elementary Curriculum & Instruction

Dr. Kristopher Treat
Director of Secondary Curriculum & Instruction

Dawn Schwenckert
Director of Special Education


Tara Gonyer
Director of Special Education (Compliance)

Kris Costanzo
Director of Payroll

Debi Spaulding
Chief Systems Officer

Clif McKenzie
Administrator on Assignment

Nathan Johnston
Coordinator of Fine Arts

Shannon Crosier
Manager Budget & Position Control