Rhoden: it’s time for an educator to have a vote at Scottsdale Schools

I’m running for school board because I believe it is time for change and that I can bring a much needed perspective to our school board.

Dr. Stuart Rhoden

As a former high school teacher, current instructor at Arizona State University, Scottsdale Human Relations Commissioner, and SUSD parent, the needs of our SUSD students and teachers are paramount to me and should be the main emphasis of our school board.

Unfortunately, without an educator on the board, some of the concerns that are raised within our district do not receive the attention they deserve.

There is a lot that needs to be done for SUSD to live up to its rich history of achievement.

As someone who conducts asset based, anti-deficit research, I tend to view the landscape as not half empty, but half full. In the past few years, there have been too many who only see only the deficits within SUSD rather than the assets.

I want to acknowledge the deficits, and work to rectify them, while at the same time building on our assets and by doing both, help to rebuild trust within our district so that I we can all feel proud to send our children to any of our SUSD schools.

The National School Boards Association highlights that less than 20 percent of school board members across the country are educators. As one who has decades of experience as a teacher, educational policy advocate, academic, and current SUSD parent, I feel that too much attention has been spent on the recent bond and override challenges.

And, while these are critical issues that must be addressed — I want to address them — but also bring our focus back to what is happening inside our buildings with teachers and students.  I want to re-energize our teachers, motivate our students, and positively engage our parents to continue to grow SUSD to reach our incredible potential.

The teachers, students, parents, and administrators in our schools all want what is best for our students. I would love to see all students reach their academic, social and vocational goals. As a district, we are fortunate to see the beauty of SUSD at the beginning of every school board meeting each time our students, teachers and schools are highlighted.

While the concerns of teachers and the community that are expressed to the board monthly need to be heard, it is my intention as a board member to not just empathize or dismiss those concerns, but to use my experiences and knowledge to positively act on those concerns and address and solve the problems that exist.

In the following weeks, I will visit every complex within the district to hear your concerns and do my part to help in the rebuilding of trust in SUSD.

No matter who is at the helm of the district, we are individually and collectively the heart, soul and glue of SUSD and when we act together, focused on the future, we will collectively lead ourselves back to excellence.

Editor’s note: Dr. Rhoden is a Scottsdale resident

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