Superintendent's Letter January 2018

We were glad to welcome back your students this week from what I hope was a pleasant break from routine for your families...

Superintendent's Letter January 2018

Posted by SUSD Web Admin - 2018-01-10 08:22:48

Dear Scottsdale Unified School District Family,


We were glad to welcome back your students this week from what I hope was a pleasant break from routine for your families. 


A new year provides all of us with the opportunity to lay out what we want to achieve during the next 12 months, as well as to reflect on what we could have done better during the previous 12 months.  Here at SUSD, 2018 will find us squarely behind our outstanding teacher force as we work together to ensure the success – today and tomorrow - of our 23,000 students.


How we accomplish that continues to evolve, as best practices, new resources and refreshed commitment come to the fore.  We pledge to perform this work in a highly collaborative, transparent manner that is mindful of multiple and, sometimes, competing perspectives.  Let the privilege of this work begin!


At next week’s Governing Board meeting, we will celebrate the long and arduous work undertaken over the past few years by 10 SUSD teachers who recently achieved National Board Certification.  They are:


Jennifer Antrim

Mountainside Middle School

Bonnie Bezon

Kiva Elementary School

Kristina Dieball

Laguna Elementary School

Jennifer Dukelow

Arcadia High School

Patricia Malley

Cochise Elementary School

Michelle Peacock

Saguaro High School

Heather Robinson

Desert Canyon Middle School

Cathy Saraniero

Cocopah Middle School

Julie Sparks

Desert Canyon Elementary School

Bert te Velde

Mohave Middle School


We will also honor seven SUSD teachers whose Board Certification has just been renewed for another 10 years:


Allison Bosworth

Hopi Elementary School

Megan Kraatz

Redfield Elementary School

Jennifer MacColl

Chaparral High School

Alicia Majercin

Pueblo Elementary School

Brenda Nelson

Cherokee Elementary School

Donna Sheber

Cherokee Elementary School

Mary Pasco

Cocopah Middle School


National Board Certification is a demanding, advanced teaching credential established in 1987 by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.  The certification process is regarded as the


finest, single professional development program in the U.S. to recognize and reward excellent teachers.  We are so proud of this group’s accomplishment and all of our NBCTs, and are most grateful to the SUSD Foundation and the Charro Foundation for helping fund their endeavors in recent years.


Not to be overlooked are the Candidate Support Providers of current and retired SUSD teachers who helped this Class of 2018 through the multi-year process toward certification.  Many thanks to Susan Leonard, lead CSP (Ingleside); retirees Mary Zongolowitz and Bobbie Faulkner; and current teachers Abbey Bobbett (Laguna), Debbie Hawkins (Laguna) and Tammy Andreas (Cochise).  Thank you, all!


Lastly, I want to make sure you know about a couple annual events coming up this month: 


Tomorrow, Jan. 11, Saguaro High School hosts the district’s annual “MLK Youth Voices” program, celebrating the life and ongoing relevance of the lessons learned from American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  This year’s special guest speaker is peace activist and video journalist Ken E. Nwadike, Jr., founder of the San Diego-based Free Hugs Project. 


Next Friday, Jan. 19 at 9 a.m., it’s the SUSD Spelling Bee at Arcadia High School.  The top spellers from our 24 elementary and K-8 schools will face off for the right to advance to the regional Spelling Bee Feb. 23 in Cave Creek.  The work that these students dedicate to learning the languages of origin, definitions, parts of speech and usage of the words they will be asked to spell is, quite frankly, amazing!


And at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 30, nearly 200 middle grades musicians will tune up their instruments to perform in the combined SUSD 6th Grade and Middle School Honors Orchestras and Bands concert at Saguaro High School.  If you are only able to attend one middle school musical event this year, this is the one.


Here’s to a happy and successful 2018!



Dr. Denise Birdwell