Balsz School District

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    Balsz Governing Board Names Dr. George Barnes as New Superintendent! Click here to learn more about him.

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  • Dear Balsz Families & Staff,

    Face coverings are still required indoors at all school campuses and district facilities upon return to school on Monday, January 3.

    The CDC and the Maricopa County Department of Public Health have released new guidance about quarantine and isolation periods. It is the first change to quarantine and isolation guidance since the school year started. 

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  • Parents and Guardians,
    Please scroll down to the Superintendent's Message for information from Acting Superintendent Zeek Ojeh regarding a recent Supreme Court ruling, vaccinations for children 5-11, and TikTok Challenges.
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  • The new Balsz Online Academy is accepting applications! Visit and click "Application and Enrollment" for more information.

    *Note: Brunson-Lee, Crockett, Griffith, & Tillman will not be offering online options for the 21-22 school year. If you would like your child to attend school online, you will need to apply to the Balsz Online Academy.*

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Superintendent's Message

  • December 10, 2021

    Balsz Narrows Superintendent Candidates to Three Finalists

    (Phoenix, AZ) – The Balsz Elementary School District has selected three finalists for superintendent of the district. The governing board will complete final interviews on Wednesday, December 15. Start date for the new superintendent will be pending finalizing contract negotiations.

    “We are pleased to have such a strong group of candidates as finalists to become the next superintendent of Balsz Elementary School District,” said Gail Knight, president of the Balsz Governing Board. “Balsz is a vibrant, active community dedicated to the growth and success of its teachers and students. Our next superintendent will guide our innovative, culturally responsive and community-centered district.”

    The three candidates bring a wide-range of leadership in the education and academic fields. Candidate information appears in alphabetical order.

    Dr. Erica Avila currently serves as the Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning in the Isaac Elementary School District in Phoenix. She provides leadership for instruction and oversees student services, federal programs, school improvement and professional development. She is also responsible for providing resources to support the improvement of student achievement throughout to ensure coherence and alignment. She is outcomes driven and collaborates with stakeholders to create environments where students and staff can thrive. Dr. Avila earned her Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership and Administration from Arizona State University, and has worked in public education for 18 years.

    Dr. George Barnes has served in leadership roles in education for 15 of his 20 years in the profession. He has worked in Arizona as an administrator in schools at all levels and as a professor at the Arizona State University Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. Recently, as an Assistant Superintendent in St. Louis, Dr. Barnes worked within the community adjacent to Fergusson to help address academic and social opportunity gaps by leading with a mentality of schools being the epicenter of change and working hand in hand with community partners to continue the work that is needed.  Dr. Barnes has a Bachelor of Arts in History from Butler University, a Masters’ of Education in School Administration from Indiana University, and a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of Phoenix.

    Dr. Verenice Gutierrez currently serves as the Director of Educational Equity and Access in the Salt Lake City School District. Her personal experience with K-12 education as a second language learner led her to pursue a career in education. With over two decades in education, Dr. Gutierrez has a proven record for educational leadership in providing strategic direction for academic programs, implementing instructional vision for improving student achievement, and providing every student with equitable access to a high-quality education. Dr. Gutierrez holds a Doctorate from New Mexico State University in Curriculum and Instruction, a Masters’ in Bilingual and Special Education, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Admin both from the University of Texas – El Paso

    Media inquiries:
    Steve Carr, The Kur Carr Group, Inc. (; 602-317-3040)
    Karl Gentles, The Gentles Agency, (; 602-920-1808)

    Visit to learn more about the candidates and complete surveys to provide feedback. The surveys will close Monday, December 13th at 8:00am.


    November 3, 2021

    The Balsz Elementary School District appreciates the recent Arizona Supreme Court ruling on the state Constitution's single subject rule, particularly as it pertains to mask mandates. Our district adopted a policy requiring masks on campus in response to the stated desires of our community. Both informally and through a district-wide survey, the Balsz family showed a deep and abiding commitment to making our campuses safe, healthy, and open environments for in-person learning. They overwhelmingly requested masks be required on our campuses for everyone's well-being. It is gratifying to know the District's right to implement policies that make our community safe have been validated by the state's highest court. 

    We also look forward to the more transparent and inclusive state budget process this ruling will create. 

    Finally, we celebrate the decision by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to approve COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 5- to 11-years-old. Thanks to our partners in health, any child ages 5 to 11 in the Balsz community can schedule their vaccine at the Mountain Park Health Center Balsz Pediatric Clinic, located at 1300 N 48th Street, by calling (602) 243-7277.


    October 13, 2021

    Re:  Warning Regarding Recent Tik-Tok Challenges

    Dear Parents/Guardians:

    We are writing this letter to warn you about a string of Tik-Tok challenges and the risks associated with these challenges.  Some of the monthly challenges include the following:

    • October: Smack a staff member on the backside
    • November: Kiss your friend’s girlfriend at school
    • December: Deck the halls and show your b**** [private areas]
    • January: Jab a breast
    • February: Mess up school signs
    • March: Make a mess in the courtyard or cafeteria
    • April: Grab some “eggsz” (theft/stealing)
    • May: Ditch Day
    • June: Flip off front office

    All these items listed above constitute a violation of the Student Handbook and Governing Board Policies related to student conduct.  Several items above also constitute criminal activity, such as assault, vandalism, theft, indecent exposure, and the like. 

    These challenges are not funny and will not be condoned by the School or District administration.  In addition to imposing discipline for any acts of student misconduct, the administration will refer any criminal activity to law enforcement for prosecution.

    Please talk to your children about these Tik-Tok challenges and the consequences and penalties that may result.  We hope that by bringing these concerns to your attention, we can avoid any disruption to our schools and to your child’s education.


    Zeek Ojeh, CPA
    Acting Superintendent

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