With over 23 years of service in appointed and elected positions, I offer more public sector leadership experience than any other candidate for this office. Helping Pima County and all its citizens to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic will be the main area of focus for the Board of Supervisors moving forward. During the sadness and dysfunction of these extraordinary times, I will draw on my experience as a proven leader in our community and strive to be a source of knowledge, reassurance, and strength. Keep reading to see how I will address specific areas of concern for District One residents and all of Pima County.
The Board of Supervisors is responsible for providing clear direction and all the resources necessary for each county department so that they can provide all our residents the services and supports they depend on. For 19 years, I served five Pima County schools (two within District One) as an administrator. I led those school staffs in providing services and supports to students and their families. That background, coupled with my four years of prior experience as a local elected official, will guide me to take on similar duties as our next District One supervisor. I will ensure that public health and safety are our highest priorities, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and our recovery from it.
As a city councilmember in my Ohio hometown, I was a member of the Finance Committee during my entire tenure. At the start of my second term, I chaired that important committee, working with my colleagues and the mayor to craft the city budget. I also worked with public sector budgets during 19 years as a school administrator, including leading a high school in urban Tucson in coping with the unfortunate budget cuts brought about by the 2008-09 recession. Pima County will need to make tough budgeting decisions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I have the credentials and knowledge needed to lead in this area.
The services provided by our county’s health department have been essential during the pandemic so that our people can be safe and well-informed. As the next District One supervisor, I will ensure that this vital department always has the resources it needs to react to any health care crisis and, even more critically, to be prepared for any future challenges. My background as a school leader shows my support for student health services and a rich health education curriculum. Students deserve outstanding supports in counseling and mental health. This will also be the case for Pima County residents as we cope with the mental health challenges that are part of the pandemic and our recovery from it.
While serving our Pima County public schools as a teacher and administrator since 1991, I had to be an effective communicator. I know that the most essential component of effective communication is being a good listener. Every Pima County citizen has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who have lost their jobs, or have had to shutter their businesses, will need the help of their public servants to recover from these extraordinary times. I will be a visible and approachable presence throughout District One, listening to every citizen about their needs and their expectations for county government.
As someone who worked in partnership with hundreds of blue and white collar colleagues during my career as a school leader, I know how important it is to LISTEN to every employee about the daily and long term challenges they face in their roles. Pima County employees and the unions that represent them deserve more of a voice and a more prominent role as we deal with the rest of this pandemic and our recovery from it. We can not expect to have a robust recovery from this crisis without the full participation of our county workforce.
I led five middle and high schools over my 19-year career as a school administrator. During that time, I helped thousands of students who were struggling with academic, behavioral, and personal problems. As a professional evaluator, I assisted hundreds of employees as they sought to further develop their skills and practices. I led those schools as they dealt with bullying, lockdowns, threats, drug and alcohol abuse, student deaths and many other challenges. My experience as a caring and thoughtful crisis manager will guide me as I help our community to recover from this pandemic and move forward from it.
As a former elected official and school administrator, I know that complex systems like local governments and public schools have many parts that must operate in sync for the public’s needs to be effectively addressed. Pima County, with its multiple departments and thousands of employees, is no different. I will use my proven skills as a systems thinker to provide clear direction and effective oversight to every department and its employees, especially as they provide necessary services and supports essential to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Serving Those in Need
From 2009-14, I was the principal of Catalina High School, a high-poverty school in central Tucson where one-third of the students were English language learners. Over 40 languages and dialects were spoken on our campus. Many of our students were the children of political and economic refugees. We built an inclusive and supportive community for all our students and their families. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is those who have the least who are suffering the most. I will fight for their interests and to serve their needs on the Board of Supervisors. As one example, I would use my knowledge of our county’s educational system to ensure that those who need greater access to learning and training opportunities have those resources.
Rapport and Relationships
Leaders must build and sustain trust with those they serve. For 10 of the 19 years I was a school leader, I served the students and families of Ironwood Ridge High School (2004-09) and Tortolita Middle School (2014-19), both of which are District One public schools. I was also a teacher at Flowing Wells Junior High School (1991-94), which is also a school that serves many District One families. I will use the rapport and relationships I have built with thousands of families in those communities as the foundation for the trust I will build with all District One residents.