by Dan Gibson
March 20, 2013
Dear Faculty and Staff,
After much consideration, I have submitted my resignation to the Governing Board effective June 30, 2013. This decision did not come easily, but I believe it is in the best interests of the district that I do so. The timing is right. It makes sense to allow our newly elected board members to work with a superintendent who will be in place for the duration of their first board terms. The sooner that happens, the more likely it will be that you will have a leadership team that provides long-term consistency and the stability that you deserve.
I want to let you know that I am very proud of the work that we have done together. There have been numerous difficult challenges we have faced as a team, but I am always gratified by the resiliency you show and the passion for excellence that guides what you do. We have made significant progress toward making our vision our reality. We have experienced the transformation of our culture which recognizes that together we can accomplish anything. This district is a special place and it is so because of the spirit that drives our mission on behalf of the children and families we serve.
It is a source of personal pride that in the past two and a half years, we have put the district on a positive trajectory — improving student achievement, fixing inefficient business practices, and showing those we serve that TUSD occupies a place of respect in our community.
We have begun to transform TUSD through significant improvements, including:
• Implementing a district goals process that focuses on student achievement and accountability.
• Increasing the number of students meeting or exceeding AIMS requirements and improved schools labels by doubling the number of “B” schools and reducing the number of “D” schools by 40% in 2011-12.
• Improving achievement at the district’s two persistently lowest performing schools through the turnaround model, resulting in Palo Verde showing a 22% improvement in AIMS math scores and Rincon showing an 11.3% improvement in passing grades. Every indication suggests these schools will continue to improve.
• Adopting rigorous mathematics and language arts curriculum that is based on Arizona’s
Common Core standards.
• Raising the quality of instruction, training 4,000 administrators and teachers in the Essential Elements of Instruction to establish a common research-based instructional model. This promises to continue to pay dividends as continued training and mentorship programs are initiated.
• Launching full-day kindergarten at every elementary school, improving the opportunities for all students and increasing kindergarten enrollment by 12% in 2012-13.
• Creating business practices that will reduce systemic obstacles and improve efficiency and effectiveness of operational procedures.
• Being released from Court oversight by successfully completing the requirements of the Consent Judgment related to the procurement action brought against the District by the Attorney General.
• Implementing an E-Rate federal funding plan, resulting in the District receiving more than $10 million in funding, the first time the district received such funding in a decade.
• Launching a technology initiative to bring the district up to 21st Century telecommunications standards by replacing all wide-area and local-area networks, replacing more than 100 mission-critical servers, upgrading phone and data systems, replacing 7,300 aging school computers, and adding campus-wide wireless networks to every school site.
• Launching a customer service plan to provide a high standard of service to the community.
• Establishing a transportation efficiency and accountability management system to ensure all eligible and requesting students are scheduled and routed one week prior to the start of school. Significantly reduced complaints and problems related to transportation.
• Directing resources from closed schools to support quality across all remaining schools and departments.
• Developing a Unitary Plan that will guide the district forward in support of student equity and opportunity.
• Developing community partnerships with local businesses to support student success.
• Developing a set of values and a vision for action through a collaborative approach that defines who we are and what our focus must be - “Delivering Excellence in Education Every Day…Grow, Reach, Succeed!”
These are meaningful improvements that have come to TUSD through the hard work we have done together. I want to express my appreciation to each of you for the energy and expertise you exhibit each day in pursuit of providing a quality educational experience to our students. We are motivated by a common purpose and linked by our desire to do what is right for the thousands of students in our care.
It has been an honor to serve with you and get to know you. I thank you for all you have done and will continue to do in the months and years ahead. I have been pleased to be a part of the TUSD family and will remember the time we spent together with fondness and gratitude.
I know that you will continue to put students first and work as a team to ensure that our efforts to lift our district will continue in order to create the organization that our children, families and community deserve.