What I Support
OPENING OUR SCHOOLS
Steps to open schools in consideration for the safety of both students and teachers.
1. Mandatory mask-wearing
2. Social distancing on school campus
3. Finding ways to limit class sizes
4. Safe practices in cleaning classrooms and school
5. Follow state and federal guidelines
As a parent of four children, I know and understand the importance of opening our schools and the impact closed schools have on our students.
I support opening our school as soon as the State of Arizona officials allow for it. In doing so, we must provide flexibility for teachers and students. That may involve online or streaming options. Balancing all these interests will not be an easy assignment. Still, we must do all we can for the various parties in the educational experience and provide a safe and nurturing environment.
MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLNESS
We must be vigilant in supporting our youth with their mental health and wellness. My family has witnessed the short and long term effects of what can happen when such issues are not taken seriously. Two of my children unfortunately have had the devastating experience of knowing a personal friend lost to suicide.
I participated and lead discussions in the meetings for the Mental Health and Wellness Committee for Tempe Union High School District. In those meetings, we studied mental health issues and the use of our school resources. As a result of these committee meetings, recommendations were made to the administration.
Tempe Union High School District has done much to address these areas. However, more can be done as parents, students, and others work with school counselors to ensure those in need receive important resources.
I was raised in Wyoming and attended graduate school in Utah. In 1987, I said goodbye to the snow shovels and moved my young family of three to Phoenix, where we settled in the Ahwatukee Foothills area. Christine, my wife, taught elementary school in the 3rd grade during my graduate studies and has been a lifetime teacher since. During the past 33 years, my wife and I have raised our four children here, each attending public schools in the Ahwatukee Foothills area. All four children, Matt, Mark, Sarah, and Catherine, graduated from college, and have seven college degrees.
In addition to my teaching career at the college level and other community teaching experiences, I currently own and operate a small business in Tempe AZ. I must meet a payroll at my law firm, review profits and loss statements, and make my business work for my employees. I frequently donate many hours to helping non-profit organizations with legal matters and those with low income.
● Scholarship Chair, Tempe Union High School Foundation.
Organize activities and raise money for scholarships for high
● Mental Health and Wellness Committee, Tempe Union High
School District. Guide TUHSD on the allocation of resources
for mental health and wellness of students.
● Finance Committee, Tempe Union High School District.
Review and provide community input in TUHSD financial
● 4th of July Committee, Kiwanis Club of Tempe.
Organize community events and raise money for many youth
programs in our community.
● Team Leader—Families Helping Families in Mexico. Leader
of a crew that builds homes for homeless families in Mexico.
● Legal Pro Bono Committee, JRCL Society. Coordinate
distribution of legal services to low-income families in
● Merit Badge Counselor for Boy Scouts. Teach young men in
the areas of Communications, American Heritage, and
Citizenship and Law.
What I Beleive In
VOCATIONAL EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES
The new economy recognizes that many skilled laborers come from the vocational education area. That includes careers in medicine, robotics, graphic design, computer programing, building trades, firefighting, and public officers, and automobile and trucking, to name a few. We must do more to prepare our youth for the future jobs that simply do not involve a college degree.
Furthermore, statistics show that as many as 30% or more graduating seniors will not attend college. They can still earn a good living, support a family, and contribute to our economy through our trade and vocational education programs. We must talk with our students starting in the 9th and 10th grade about vocational opportunities and work with our local trades to form joint partnerships. Through these partnerships and resource allocation, we can better prepare our youth for good-paying jobs and increase their vision of what they can become.
I encourage you to view the following link to the Mike Rowe Foundation, https://www.mikeroweworks.org/ that promotes the trade industries in our economy. For our next high school graduation in May 2021, I will insist on recognition for those students who received vocational and trade training and receive certificates in such areas.
We were all traumatized by school shootings and what happened at Parkland High School in Florida in 2018. This shooting, and others both before and after it, have demonstrated the need for tighter security and use of Security Resource Officers, known as SROs. I support keeping the SROs on our high school campuses for our students' safety and mental health.
At Tempe Union, we are truly fortunate to have highly trained and dedicated SRO, who interact with students and assist our teachers and school administrators. I participated in a recent forum sponsored by Tempe Union and listened to the many positive stories from youth and others that benefit from having SRO's on our campuses. During the discussion, I followed many online comments and saw where some participating demanded the termination of SRO's due to abuse. When I inquired about those who sought such courses of action, such individuals have several negative experiences with SRO. When asked further for examples of such experiences with Tempe Union, none were provided. One participant finally admitted that he lived in another part of our state and had no personal knowledge of Tempe Union.
As we craft policies for our high schools in this area, we should focus on our experiences and our professionals. We should avoid making decisions based upon outside forces who have a different background that simply does not relate to our current situation in Tempe Union.