‘Voice of reason’: PUSD board president says students 'why we are here'
Updated as of Saturday, February 23, 2019 8:04 PM
In a repeat performance, Prescott Unified Governing Board veteran member Tina Seeley was unanimously selected last month to be president for the next year.
A one-time Prescott middle school teacher and assistant principal, the now owner of a 14-agent real estate company, National Realty of Prescott, was first elected to the board a decade ago. From the start, the married mother of two daughters brought a commitment and belief in public education to the role.
Seeley’s time on the board coincided with some of the district’s most tumultuous days. Her first stint as president saw her presiding at contentious meetings of parents and community members making decisions about closing schools and reconfiguring the district to accommodate for declining enrollments.
Unafraid to take a stand, the straight-forward, plain-speaking woman is known as a team player, someone willing to listen to various viewpoints before making up her mind on what she thinks is best.
On Fridays, the Northern Arizona University graduate with a master’s degree in educational leadership meets with fellow district administrators and Prescott High Student Council leaders to garner feedback on district and board decisions.
Seeley’s youngest daughter, Sydney, a senior, is this year’s board representative; her eldest daughter, Piper, is studying as a biology/chemistry major at University of Arizona where she is a member of the United States Army ROTC program.
“For me, she has always been a voice of reason,” said District Superintendent Joe Howard of Seeley who brings the perspective of a district educator and parent. “She’s so well-rounded.”
Seeley’s ability to shepherd the board and district through one of the “toughest times in our history” was critical to the community, Howard said. She managed to enable competing interests to be heard, he said.
“I have huge respect for Tina, and I always have,” Howard said. “She’s great to work with. She understands the system, and the issues we have in Arizona, and that we’re just not where we need to be with the value of education and funding. She provides some real balance.”
Board member John Mackin, who served as president last year, said he admires how well Seeley is able to navigate challenges and her knowledge of district issues.
“She cares about kids, teachers and the schools, and helping them to be the best they can be,” Mackin said. “She is not afraid to speak up, or ask the hard questions others aren’t asking.
“With her longevity on the board, she asks good questions, and she thinks things through and thinks of things that others aren’t thinking because she really understands the (district) ins and outs.”
He has every faith that she will be able to help the district continue in a positive direction, and is capable of coping with whatever unexpected challenges that arrive.
“She’s at a great spot to keep us moving in the right direction because she knows what that is,” he said.
Seeley, 50, appreciates the confidence.
She and her husband, John, an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University graduate who is a captain with the state Department of Public Safety, moved to Prescott in 1992, a place she said she feels “blessed” to live and work.
Seeley’s early childhood was in Arlington, Texas, before she moved to Phoenix. After high school, she attended Northern Arizona University where she pursued her educational degrees.
Though she opted to shift her work to real estate so as to have more flexibility with her growing family, Seeley said she never lost her passion for those who are shaping the future of America. She said she was asked by fellow parents to run for the board so as to have a more pro-education presence there.
In her tenure, Seeley has witnessed the district’s struggles and accomplishments. She is proud of what the district instilled in her own daughters, both of them products of the Prescott High School JRTOC program that has influenced a mutual desire to pursue the military after college.
In her latest role, Seeley said she wants to continue to help the district move forward. She wants to be certain Prescott has a voice in state policies that will impact public education.
Seeley’s background in education and real estate have given her insights she hopes will help her guide the board to make good decisions. Seeley also serves as vice president of the Prescott Area Association of Realtors. She said she sees the school district now operating as a “finely oiled machine, and I just want to keep that going.”
Most of all, Seeley is clear that as a board member, and now president, she never wants to lose sight of the district’s main constituents: the students.
“They are why we are here,” she said.