We Support SUSD

NavajoNavajo Fire Brings Out the Best, or ...
How Do You Move a School in One Day?

When a fire broke out early last Wednesday in a storage closet at Navajo Elementary School, an extremely complicated scenario resulted in which 400 students and 75 staff had to find a new home ... and quickly.

The flames had hardly been doused before a team comprised of SUSD Building Services, IT, Nutrition, Teaching and Learning, and Transportation officials, in consultation with Principal Matt Patzlaff, Assistant Principal Angie Keemle, Acting Superintendent John Kriekard and his leadership team started putting together a game plan to re-open Navajo at the vacant Oak Learning Academy ... the following day!

Defying the odds, 24-hours later, it happened: The Oak campus had become Navajo's temporary home-away-from-home.  Classrooms were set up, learning technology was hooked up, students and teachers reunited, and it was back to the business of educating.

And then something totally unexpected happened:  People started dropping off school supplies - pencils, paper, markers, composition books, binders, index cards, tape, books and more.  Everything had had to be left behind at Navajo, so to see the community step up to pitch in has been amazing.  Principals and teachers from other SUSD schools arrived with box loads of supplies.  Other schools' PTOs started online donations efforts.  Areas businesses delivered food. 

EVERYONE became a Navajo Buffalo overnight, and we are forever grateful.
Moving Forward

The 2018-2019 school year got off to a great start on August 7 as SUSD welcomed an estimated 23,000 students through the doors of its 29 schools.  

Students of two of those schools - Hopi and Pima - got to see the inside of their rebuilt campuses for the first time.  Many an 'ooo!' and 'ah!' were overheard as the students navigated the new hallways, moved supplies from backpacks to desks, examined the classroom smart boards, checked out the bottle-filling, drinking water fountains, and explored the playgrounds.

The new schools were made possible by voter passage of the 2016 bond measure.

A special thank you is owed to Building Services Director Dennis Roehler and his staff, and to the construction company crews who did yeoman's work to prepare the two new campuses for opening day occupancy.

Still to come at both schools: cafeterias and gymnasiums.  It is anticipated that those structures will be finished by the time students return from Winter Break.

But Before the Bell Rang ...

It was a busy summer at SUSD, as teachers, staff and administrators took part in various professional development activities to hone their skills, learn new ones and share best practices, all in preparation for the new school year. From Transportation Department mechanics to principals, para-educators to Kids Club supervisors, the summer was spent learning and collaborating.

The summer closed with engaging presentations at Coronado and Desert Mountain High schools by 'America's Educator,' Ron Clark.   His innovative Atlanta, Georgia middle school has completely reinvented the educational opportunities for students across that city's metro area by successfully blending academic rigor with creative teaching and a strict discipline code.  Teachers from all five SUSD learning communities left the presentations inspired to return to their classrooms ... probably with some dance moves to incorporate into their lessons!  

Dr. K. Here for the School Year

The Scottsdale Unified School District's Governing Board voted August 14 to extend the contract of Acting Superintendent Dr. John Kriekard through June 30, 2019, or until a permanent superintendent is hired.

Dr. Kriekard is very familiar with SUSD, having served as principal of Chaparral High School, and Ingleside and Mountainside Middle schools, as well as a District assistant superintendent.  He headed up neighboring Paradise Valley Unified School District as its superintendent from 2003 to 2009.  

In that same meeting, the Governing Board also voted to negotiate a contract with McPherson & Jacobson LLC to conduct the search for a permanent SUSD superintendent.

New Leadership Team Tabbed

Acting Superintendent Kriekard has assembled a group of outstanding educators to help him lead SUSD this school year.  They come from within and outside of SUSD, but what they have in common is the desire to work together with the Governing Board, teachers, staff, the community and each other to deliver on the District's Core Purpose:  To ensure all individual learners reach their full potential.

Dr. Kriekard's Cabinet members are:

Dr. Steve Nance Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services
Dr. Milissa Sackos Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Schools
Dr. Ibi Haghighat Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Schools
Dr. Jed Bowman Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources
Jeff Gadd Interim Chief Financial Officer
Michelle Marshall General Counsel

The Executive Leadership team for 2018-19 is:

Margaret Rehberg Executive Director of Special Education
Sheryl Rednor Executive Director of Teaching and Learning
Dr. Steve Chestnut Executive Director of Support Services
Debbie Ybarra Special Assistant to the Superintendent -
Executive Director of Community Schools

Dr. Amy Fuller Special Assistant to the Superintendent -
Coronado Success Initiative
Dr. Cynthia Bochna Director of Assessment
Dr. Mai-Lon Wong
Director of Gifted & Accelerated Programs
Dennis Roehler Director of Building Services
Brendan Wagner Director of Transportation
Patti Bilbrey Director of Nutrition Services
Nathan Slater Director of Athletics
Debi Spaulding Chief Systems Officer
Amy Bolton Public Information and Marketing Officer

Kiva Gets Gifted Classroom

SUSD has established a Comprehensive Gifted Program (CGP) for highly gifted students at Kiva Elementary School this school year.  The Kiva 5th grade CGP class was added to feed into Mohave Middle School's already-established CGP, then to Saguaro High School, where the district's Math & Science Academy resides. Students need not live within Saguaro's attendance area to enroll in the Math & Science Academy.

Never heard of SUSD's Comprehensive Gifted Program?  The CGP is designed to provide unique educational opportunities to highly gifted elementary and middle school students who possess advanced intellectual, academic, talent or creative capabilities.  The CGP program is founded on thematic interdisciplinary studies, academic rigor, and critical and creative thinking.  Its goal is to provide a comprehensive program that is responsive to the unique academic, creative, social and emotional needs of the gifted child.

Redfield's Gifted Pre-K Academy

The Gifted Pre-Kindergarten Academy (GPA) at Redfield Elementary School, 9181 E. Redfield Rd., Scottsdale, is designed for identified 4-year-olds who have superior verbal and quantitative abilities.  An enriched environment developed on global themes, integrating art, reading, math, social studies and science, nurtures the intellect of these young learners and challenges them in a manner traditional pre-school programming does not.  The tuition-based, full school-day program runs from 8:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

"Young children who have precocious vocabularies and a keen interest in the world around them benefit from our Gifted Pre-K Academy's highly enriched environment," says Dr. Mai-Lon Wong, SUSD Director of Gifted and Accelerated Programs.   "Each year, we work to create unique learning sessions that will challenge and build a child's young intellect."

Enrollment for this year's GPA is still being accepted.   Registration for pre-enrollment testing can be done online at  Testing is administered at Redfield and takes place every school day from 9 - 10 a.m., except on district half-days.

Not sure if the GPA is for your young learner?  Principal Christine Bonow would be happy to show you around Redfield, named an Arizona Educational Foundation A+ School earlier this year.  "You will be amazed by the range of hands-on, project-based accelerated learning activities these young children engage in with their gifted-certified teacher.  I know that the love of learning being instilled in them now is something that will last them a lifetime."

GPA students go on to take part in Redfield's K-5 Comprehensive Gifted Program.   To tour the Redfield's GPA, call (480) 484-4000.


Scottsdale Unified School District values our partnerships with local business.  Businesses now have the opportunity to support SUSD through the purchase of monthly advertising in SUSD newsletters that are distributed to the families of more than 23,000 SUSD students and more than 3,000 employees.

Additionally, SUSD offers several other opportunities for businesses to support the District through event sponsorships and school wish-list fulfillment.

If you're interested in learning more about opportunities to support SUSD, contact the SUSD Communications Department at  

Tax Credit Contributions Benefit SUSD Students

TaxTax Credit

Tax Credit contributions can be made anytime throughout the school year.  Anyone who pays Arizona state income tax can give.  Please click HERE to learn more about making a tax credit contribution to SUSD.

Events Upcoming Events

August 29: Early release - all grade levels - Professional Development
August 30:
SUSD Governing Board Study Session, 3 p.m., Mohave District Annex, 8500 E. Jackrabbit Rd., Scottsdale
September 3:
Labor Day - No school
September 4:
SUSD Governing Board Regular Meeting, 5 p.m., Board Room, Coronado High School, 7501 E. Virginia Ave., Scottsdale
September 10
District Recess - No school
September 19
District Recess - No school



Support your own business by supporting Scottsdale Schools.
We have two monthly newsletters with ad space available - one to the parents of our 23,000 students and one to our 3,000 employees. Every dollar you spend advertising with us goes back into promoting our amazing students and schools!


Scottsdale Unified School District is always looking for new community partnerships.
From sports to science, fine arts to robotics, our school teams can always use more support.
If you are looking for a way to help our students and promote your business at the same time,
ask us about our sponsorship opportunities!

Contact our representative today at 480-484-6223 for more information.