• Superintendent's Message August 2019

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

    We were pleased to welcome 36 new teachers to our district and the orientation included learning about our various systems, employee benefits available, technology, and curriculum that is available in our district. Our newest educators also learned about our emphasis on understanding and adapting to culturally responsive teaching and learning, and adverse childhood experiences. 

    Our annual Welcome Back Breakfast was held on Friday, August2nd at Brunson Lee Elementary School.This is always a fun and exciting time for teachers and staff to catch up with colleagues and meet new colleagues, and learn more about our plans for the school year. It was a very exciting time and we thank our teachers for taking part in our Welcome Back Breakfast.

    We had a very successful start to the school year this last week. Each school has a unique way of orientating students to the processes that will allow students and teachers to be successful throughout the year. So congratulations to all of our schools for successful start to the 2019 2020 school year!

    I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Miss Devon Shehan and Miss Emily Fortunate for stepping into the role of Principal and Assistant Principal at Tillman Middle School as interim administrators. Former principal Chad Smith accepted a position with another school system during the summer and we were very fortunate to have two highly-qualified and capable leaders who agreed to step in to guide the Tillman Warriors staff and students. And so we appreciate everything that Dr. Smith did for our district and we really look forward to the leadership of Devon Shehan and Emily Fortunate at Tillman Middle School.

    The Tillman construction continues. The center portion of the Tillman campus has been raised and this portion of the project is close to completion. The teachers and staff under Ms. Shehan and Ms. Fortunate's leadership have great energy and focus as we prepare for educating students this year adjacent to a construction zone. So you have a chance to go by the site; you'll see busy workers building a brand new Tillman Middle School.

    And more on Tillman Middle School...We're excited that our groundbreaking ceremony will be held on August 20th immediately following our special board meeting to approve Tillman GMP too. Pat Tillman's brother Kevin and his wife Candy will also attend and we have Mayor Gallego has indicated that she will be there, and there will be other many other local dignitaries in attendance. So we welcome anyone who would be willing to or are interested in coming to the groundbreaking ceremony on August 20th.

    I'm pleased to inform you that Mr. Leedy, Our CFO, has a comprehensive annual financial report that has been recognized as a model Arizona School Business Officials plan for use for other school systems. So we're fortunate to have Mr. Leedy as our CFO with all his years of experience and expertise, and congratulations to Mr. Leedy for that recognition.

    We updated the signage of the field at Crockett, which was named after a longtime physical education teacher Mike Brunson. As you may know Brunson Elementary Brunson Lee Elementary was named in honor of Coach Brunson and teacher Ginger Lee when it was opened. Coach Brunson was a beloved member of the Crockett staff and the field is lovingly named in his honor. The field of Crockett formerly had a mural and it has been replaced with the signage that you can see from the street now.

    I'm also pleased the 21st century furniture is now in all of our elementary classrooms. Teachers and students are very excited by the new and innovative classroom design options.

    And we were pleased at our board meeting to have recently to have former Balsz student Luis Ayala, who will be attending college this fall, come and tell us about his experiences at Balsz. Luis credit says his education at Crockett for setting the stage for success in high school. Luis was the Valedictorian at Arcadia High School, and he will now be attending the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. We're very proud of Luis and we congratulate him and wish him the best the best on his future educational journey. And we look forward to having him come back and talk to our students about his experiences in college and to pass along his knowledge and skills to other students as a model.

    And finally, we also have some awards of some distinction for our Board President

    Miss Channel Powe. She was recently recently recognized on three separate occasions during her summer professional development series. Young elected officials recognized Governing Board President Channel Powe at their annual conference with the YEO Progressive Movement Leadership Award for her tremendous contributions to the organization. Detroit President Pro Tem Mary Sheffield honored Miss Powe during the pre-conference Women's Caucus Local Progress Convening. Miss Powe was recognized for her exceptional achievement, outstanding leadership, and dedication to improving the quality of life. And Local Progress surprised Miss powe with their esteemed 2019 Network Builder. Miss Powe is an active member leader of the school board cohort and serves on multiple committees. So thank you to Board President Channel Powe for bringing distinction to the Balsz School District.

    And that concludes my comments for this evening.