Candidates looking for school district governing board seats
Prescott, Chino, Mayer and Yavapai College on the ballot
Voters didn’t find school board elections on the primary election ballot in August, but at least four are included on the Yavapai County Nov. 6 General Election ballot, depending on the voters’ residence within district boundaries.
Three school districts in the Quad Cities and Yavapai College have contested elections in which there are more candidates than open seats. Here is condensed information on each candidate, in alphabetical order, provided to the Yavapai County Education Services Agency in their filing documents and 500-word candidate statements.
Prescott has three people vying for two open seats: Deb Dillon, Connie Donovan and Dave Klever. The vacancies came about with the decision not to run for re-election by Greg Mengarelli, Prescott’s mayor, and Maureen Erickson.
Deb Dillon: district resident for six years; retired educator; former high school English and journalism teacher, principal, and director of Alternative Programs three states; current state president of American Association of University Women; curriculum chair and instructor with OLLI, Yavapai College; member of Bond and Override Oversight Committee with PUSD, and Arizona Crisis Team.
“I have a passion for ensuring every student has the opportunity to succeed and to make the most of his/her abilities, both in school and in life. I believe every student, regardless of natural ability, income, family structure, race, gender, or even personality, has a right to the support needed to achieve.”
Connie Donovan: district resident for eight years; high school English teacher in three states; variety of administrative posts, including assistant professor; Illinois state school auditor; textbook author; and director of Title 1 grants and professional development for PUSD.
“I want to assist in empowering our teachers and staff to be the best they can be while facing such challenges as low wages, program cuts, loss of students to charter and private schools, aging buildings, equipment and technology, and unpredictable funding.” She believes educators deserve respect and compensation for training and their impact on students.
Dave Klever: district resident of 14 years; senior software systems engineer; taught IT related courses at Cochise College; business owner; member or served on boards of YMCA, Prescott Area Leadership, Yavapai College Advisory Board for business and computer systems, Prescott Education Advocacy Council; PUSD Bond Oversight Committee Selection.
“Teachers deserve a livable wage and the resources to do their jobs … I pledge to direct funds to do what is best for our students, focus resources into the hands of teachers, decrease class size for optimal academic performance, recruit and retain quality teachers and ensure all students and teachers have access to the best technical resources.”
Chino Valley Unified School District has three candidates, two seats to fill: Paul Hurley, and incumbents Penny Hubble and Cyndi Thomas.
Penny Hubble: resident in district for 13 years; a CVUSD board member since 2010; she worked for the U.S. Olympic Education Center at Northern Michigan University; and owns Penny Hubble State Farm Insurance Agency since 2005. She has served on the Chamber of Commerce, chaired Territorial Days Parade, was active in Big Brothers Big Sister, and is a member of the Lions and Lioness Club, and Elks Lodge 2842.
“I strongly believe in serving the needs of students regardless of their abilities, and in the power of collaboration.” Students will face tremendous national debt and possible elimination of social security; they must be well armed with the best education. She believes in strategic action to provide the best possible educational opportunities the district can afford.
Paul Hurley: resident in district for 21 years; retired school bus driver; 28 years with the State of Arizona as a livestock officer with peace officer certification; 17 years working as a blacksmith and auctioneer.
Hurley wants to make a difference in student safety while being transported to and from school. He is concerned about fiscal expenditures and accountability to taxpayers, parents, students, and school district employees.
Cyndi Thomas: district resident for 14 years; board member since 2015; currently working as assistant Community Services director for the town; member of PTOs, youth sports and service organizations, and a 2010 graduate of Prescott Area Leadership.
“As a parent, I would like to continue to take an active role in the ongoing improvement of our local education system.” She believes the vitality of the community lies in the children and, as such, wants to help facilitate them to grow into responsible mature adults who will be the next leaders of the community.
Mayer Unified School District has four people running for three seats, two of which were vacated by Richard LaRue and Mark Richardson: incumbent Robert Huijkman, Broc Hummell, Kirstin La Rue and
Melissa May. None of the candidates filed a 500-word statement with YCESA, and no photos are available.
Robert Huijkman: resident of Mayer for 13 years.
Broc Hummell: resident of Mayer for 3 years.
Kirstin La Rue: resident of Mayer for 23 years.
Melissa May: resident of Mayer for 6.5 years.
Yavapai College has elections in two districts, each with one seat available. District #1 has two candidates: Wayne Meddaugh and incumbent Ray Sigafoos. District #3 has two candidates: current board member Connie Harris and Paul Chevalier.
Wayne Meddaugh: retired after 21 years in U.S. Secret Service; 10 years with Office of Inspector General working financial crimes investigations; three years with Federal Air Marshals; retired to Prescott 2004; volunteer at YC Performing Arts Center; a Legacy donor.
“I deeply believe in the community college system because had it not been for such a system I would not have been able to fulfil my career goals.” Meddaugh disagreed with the board’s May decision to increase the property tax levy and “the board’s rubber stamping the administration’s proposals without thoroughly investigating them.”
Ray Sigafoos: Yavapai County resident for 49 years; CPA since 1971; YC board member since 2005; served as board member for ERAU, Primavera School, Yavapai Community Hospital Association, Prescott Fine Arts Association, George Phippen Memoria Foundation; charter member of Prescott Frontier Rotary Club.
Sigafoos has been present for the opening of the Career and Technical Education Center, Webb Family Enrichment Center, Southwest Wine Center, and Sedona Center teaching kitchens. He voted to use funds from the sale of a building to lower the property tax levy. He wants a stable, experienced board during the transition to the new president.
Paul Chevalier: Yavapai County resident for 20 years; degrees in government, law and business; 30-year career in business; served on Sedona’s Art & Culture Commission and Community Foundation.
Chevalier represents the Verde Valley and states VV residents make up 30 percent of Yavapai County, but only 13 percent of YC faculty teaches in VV. His goals are to increase access for educational opportunities for VV residents, ensure equitable distribution of resources reaches VV and rural areas, lower taxes and tuition, increase job skills training.
Connie Harris: Yavapai County resident for two years; 34 years in Arizona K-12 public education from teacher to principal, director, associate superintendent; assistant professor, Arizona State University; director of Arizona AdvancED.
Her top priorities are advocating for access to quality learning and enrichment opportunities, extending communication efforts, and ensuring fiscal responsibility and accountability. What board members do “impacts every resident and student in our county … we help improve both the standard of living and quality of life of our residents,” Harris states.
Nanci Hutson and Jason Wheeler contributed to this story.