State school Superintendent-elect Kathy Hoffman has announced her 14-person transition team, and four of them have Tucson ties.
The team will act as a sounding board on changes to the structure and practices of the Arizona Department of Education, provide historic and policy insights based on their experience, and help vet potential hires.
John Carruth, Hoffman’s incoming chief of staff and the chair of her transition team, is currently the associate superintendent of the Vail School District. Carruth, a native Tucsonan, has worked for the last 30 years at Vail as a special education teacher, director of special education and now as associate superintendent. He says he hopes to foster bipartisan reform in his new role at the department.
Dustin Williams is the Pima County School Superintendent.
Williams, another native Tucsonan, started his career as an elementary school teacher after studying education at the University of Arizona, according to a bio on Pima County’s website. Before serving as county superintendent, he earned his master’s in education from Northern Arizona University, directed a Tohono O’odham Nation charter school and taught sixth grade at Mansfeld Middle School.
Charlene Mendoza is the principal of and a teacher at Arizona College Prep Academy, a charter high school in Tucson. The native Tucsonan began working in Tucson charter schools after graduating from Johns Hopkins University in 1995, according to a blog she wrote for Tucson Values Teachers. Mendoza wrote she was earning a doctoral degree in language, reading and culture from the University of Arizona while working at Arizona Prep .
Sabrina Vasquez is the senior director of state relations for the University of Arizona. Because her job is to lobby for public education issues, she is based in Phoenix.
According to her University of Arizona bio, Vasquez graduated from the UA with a degree in international studies and has a masters in elementary education. She is a former deputy director of the State Board of Education, a 2008 Teach for America alum and public school teacher.
Hoffman said in a press release she is excited to hit the ground running with the help of her transition team.
“I’m honored this incredible group of community leaders, policy experts and current and former educators from across this state were willing to join this team,” Hoffman said. “They come from different backgrounds and perspectives, and each will be instrumental to our success.”