• Superintendent's Message December 2019

    Hello, my name is Dr. Jeff Smith, Superintendent to the Balsz School District, and these are my comments for this month.

    Congratulations to board member Todd Schwarz for earning the Master of Boardsmanship award from the Arizona School Boards Association. This award recognizes his attendance at ASBA activities over the past year.

    Exciting News
    I have some very exciting news we just received this week. Congratulations to our newest Nationally Board Certified Teacher, Ms. Paula Watkins. Ms. Watkins is a Reading Interventionist at Griffith Elementary School. For the last two years she has worked very hard for this achievement. Thank you Ms. Watkins for bringing distinction to your classroom, Griffith School and the Balsz School District!

    Rep Longdon Visits Brunson-Lee
    Both Representative Jennifer Longdon and I were recently invited to the Eagle’s Nest at Brunson-Lee to speak with 4th and 5th grade students. We had a great time giving our background in education that led to our present positions. Students had many questions and it was a pleasant time for all.

    Maricopa County Exemplary Principal Recognition
    I am pleased to inform you that Crockett principal, Mr. Sean Hannafin has been nominated for the Maricopa County Exemplary Principal Award. The Office of the Maricopa County School Superintendent honors a select number of principals who have developed a culture of learning, teacher retention, and who have a proven history of raising academic achievement in Maricopa County. We are very happy to support this nomination that honors Mr. Hannafin for his outstanding leadership at Crockett. There will be several selection phases to this award over the next few weeks including a Staff Survey, Video Interview and School Site Visit.
    Please join me in congratulating Mr. Hannafin for his selection and wishing the very best as Crockett School demonstrates why Mr. Hannafin is an Exemplary Principal and why Crockett is an exemplary school!

    Balsz Wins Another Award
    I am pleased that we have once again, been recognized for our outstanding Nutritional Services Department and Sodexo. After a thorough review with ADE staff, Balsz School District was awarded Top Performance in the 2019 Farm Fresh Challenge Gold Award. Congratulations to Tim Leedy and the Sodexo Team for this wonderful achievement!

    Thanksgiving Holiday
    Phoenix Rescue Mission helped 50 families for the Thanksgiving Holiday this year by donating turkeys to families in need.

    Skyline Wishbuilders
    Our friends with Skyline Wishbuilders have once again showed their support for our community by contributing holiday gifts and a $40 gift card to shop at Bashas or Food Cidy for 165 of our Balsz families! Thank you to Skyline Wishbuilders for their generous donation!

    School Re-Branding
    We are beginning the process to re-brand our schools. This will be an opportunity to look at how our schools are represented on their website and other materials for the public. We plan to continue this work over the next two months in time for this information to be included in the School Annual Reports that will be distributed later in the spring.

    Balsz in the News 
    We had a great event with Condoleeza Rice and special guest Cardinals star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald on Tuesday at the Boys and Girls Club. As you may know, Ms. Rice became the first African American woman to hold several positions including United States Secretary of State. The students were excited to meet Ms. Rice, however, a surprise visit from Cardinals star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was truly an exciting opportunity for everyone. Rice and Mr. Fitzgerald shared some excellent advice with students. I have a few quotes below:

    Condoleeza Rice
    Do what you love.
    Take care of yourself, your mind and your body.
    Do the things that are hard, not just the things that are easy.
    Don’t let social media control you, you control it.
    No one had higher expectations for me than me.

    Larry Fitzgerald
    Concentrate on academics.
    Work hard in school.
    We all control our activities, our thought and our actions. Choose your friends wisely.

    Upcoming Events
    I would like to let everyone know about some special events that are scheduled at our schools.
    On December 12th Griffith will host their Holiday Performance at 5:30pm.
    On December 19th Orangedale Early Learning Center will host a Family Night from 3:30-5:00pm.
    On December 19th Crockett will host their Holiday Performance at 5:00pm.
    And on December 20th Crockett will take part in Crockett Gives Back which supports the UMOM Boys and Girls Club Holiday Party.

    Employee Recognition
    Thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate someone for employee of the quarter-we had over 30 nominations. Through random selection, I am pleased to announce the following outstanding employees:

    Classified: Veronica Lecy, Campus Monitor at Brunson-Lee
    Veronica’s nomination spoke to her involvement in the school, not just her regular job duties but also assisting with Playworks Class Game Time. She is constantly looking for ways to make recess fun and safe. She is always visible, and goes above and beyond. She is a committed and caring employee.

    Certified: Lisa Krebs, Librarian/Literacy Specialist at Griffith
    A former student and now employee nominated Lisa for her dedication to hosting events, helping Student Council and PTO, and helping students and staff. Lisa puts others before herself and is very kind to everyone. Thank you Veronica and Lisa for your outstanding work at your schools, and making a difference in the lives of our students and staff!

    Thank you; this concludes my remarks for this evening.