The Tempe Union School District, which includes Marcos de Niza and Corona del Sol High Schools in South Tempe and West Chandler, has overcome the challenges of hiring teachers and plans to open the new school year with full staff, according to district officials.
“We’re in pretty good shape,” said Megan Sterling, TUHSD’s executive director of community relations.
Sterling said the district expects enrollment to be slightly lower than a year ago, “but a lot of that is shaking in the first few weeks of school, so time will tell. “.
Sterling acknowledged that recruiting teachers remains a challenge.
“It’s not like there’s a huge pipeline of people waiting to get into education, and we’re seeing that all over the valley,” she said. “Two and a half years of COVID stressors as well as people thinking they might want to try something different have created hiring and retention challenges.
“We have offered recruitment stipends to all incoming teachers this year. It was very positive. Overall, we feel lucky to be where we are. This will be one of the largest groups of new memory teachers, approximately 135.”
Teachers are not the only ones to be increased. All employees in each category will see an increase.
“There’s excitement in the air. I’m seeing teachers planning like I’ve never seen them plan before,” said TUHSD District Assistant Superintendent of Operations Sean McDonald.
Sterling attributes this to lifting the dark cloud of COVID-19 for the first time in two years.
“Everyone is excited. Everyone just wants to get back to what they know how to do, whether it’s running a school, running a classroom or coaching a game,” she said. “The past two years have been so unique for a variety of reasons. We all want to get back to basics and do what’s best for kids.
CORONA DEL SOL: 2 key leaders join the staff
Kim Saad has been named assistant director of studies and Brian Fleming is the new assistant director of athletics.
Saad returns to TUHSD where she previously served for 20 years as a teacher, department head, deputy activities director and deputy academics director.
More recently, Saad attended Carl Hayden High. She also served as Deputy Director of Queen Creek Unified for five years.
Saad earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona, a master’s degree in teaching English as a second language, and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Arizona State.
Fleming, an educator for 27 years, has served as a teacher, dropout coordinator, dean of students, assistant director of athletics and assistant director of activities.
He coached several sports including football, golf, basketball and baseball, appeared in eight state championships and won over 300 games as a college basketball head coach.
MARCOS DE NIZA: Brent Brown slips into the director’s chair
Brent Brown, who has a long and distinguished career with the Tempe Union School District, returns to his Padres roots as the principal of Marcos of Niza High.
Brown joined Tempe Union in August 1995 as a Spanish teacher and assistant track coach at Marcos.
For 16 years at the school, Brown served as Dropout Prevention Coordinator, Head Track Coach, Summer School Director, Assistant Activities Director, and Assistant Academic Director.
Brown served as Principal of Corona del Sol for five years beginning in May 2011. He then transferred to the TUHSD District Office in the Teaching and Learning Department as Director of Instructional Services. In the spring of 2020, this position transitioned to Director of Federal Programs.
He is originally from Idaho and received his bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young and his master’s degree from the University of Phoenix.
Football stadium gets synthetic turf
Construction began in May on an artificial turf surface in the Marcos de Niza football stadium, which will also be used by the boys’ and girls’ football teams. The project is part of a district-wide initiative to replace all grass pitches with artificial turf, which is considered safer for student-athletes and more environmentally friendly.
The new field should be inaugurated at the beginning of September.