2024 Candidate Statements

Sam Blom

Introduction
My name is Sam Blom and I have been a resident of the Verde Valley for nineteen years. I proudly served for six years in the NJ Army National Guard. My wife and I have lived in the Village of Oak Creek since 2007. For the last six years I coached the boys’ varsity soccer team at Sedona Red Rock High School and three years coached the Middle School COED soccer team. I’ve been a substitute teacher at Big Park School, West Sedona School, and SRRHS. I am now retiring from coaching varsity soccer at Sedona Red Rock HS and the middle school COED team. I’m pursuing becoming a member of the Sedona-Oak Creek Governing Board.
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Education is the most important responsibility we have for the future of our students and our country. I currently volunteer at the West Sedona School and several children that I am helping in the second grade need one-on-one training to improve their English proficiency. I know what it’s like to not understand English as I was an immigrant too. I was born in the Netherlands. My family moved to Midland Park, New Jersey when I was six years old and placed in the first grade. I did not learn English until I went to school.

Experience
Coaching for six years and substitute teaching experience have provided a unique perspective that I will bring to the governing board. Also providing valuable experience is having served on the school board in Midland Park, New Jersey for six years.

Sedona-Oak Creek School District Challenges
The challenges that our governing board faces include keeping our current teachers; attracting new highly qualified teachers by offering competitive salaries; and working with the city government to increase the availability of affordable housing. Another challenge confronting our board is deciding the best course of action for the Big Park School property, as annual costs to maintain that property continue to rise.

Leadership experience
I am currently president of the Verde Valley Senior Center in Cottonwood (“Meals on Wheels”). I was past chair of the Sedona Relay for Life, and a past member of the Arizona PBS Advisory Committee in Phoenix.

Conclusion
Board members need to decide the direction of the school district and be constantly ready for change as new challenges present themselves. The support of ALL students and all staff will be my number one priority. Every decision we make must be made based on the impact on students and staff. Our teachers are in the front line, and we need to support them, including working with the Sedona mayor and council to create affordable housing. I want to make sure we continue to support the arts and sports in education programs. I will always work toward building consensus and thinking outside the norm for solutions to our challenges. I am confident that my experiences as coach, substitute teacher, and volunteer in the SOCSD will enable me to bring a valuable perspective to the governing board.

Andy Fraher

As a native Prescottonian, 1982 alumni of Prescott High School, parent of two graduates of PHS, and now, an experienced PUSD Governing Board Member, I bring a long-term perspective to the PUSD Governing Board – a perspective that understands the importance of consistency, continuity, and community for our students, and the value of our local public schools to the citizens of PUSD.

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I have been greatly influenced by teachers in my lifetime. So much so, that I entered the profession in 1987 after student teaching at Prescott High School. The teachers in PUSD always provided consistency in messaging to us, instilling the belief that we could achieve whatever we set our hearts to with effort and perseverance. This message was backed by the continuity of teachers remaining in Prescott, to educate my siblings, and my daughters, over the years. This consistency and continuity led to the development of a special community, which values our teachers and school staff.

As a PUSD Governing Board member, I have and will continue to advocate for the optimization of District resources to ensure that student needs are met every day. The District will consistently prioritize keeping students safe, engaged, and involved while developing the whole child. We continue to develop our education community by advocating for the restoration of state funding to our schools, allowing PUSD to attract and retain the best teachers, administrators, and support staff.

We have accomplished much over the last 3+ years, through thoughtful and careful stewardship of our limited resources, to bring PUSD’s teacher and staff compensation to a level that helps innovative and engaging professionals to locate here and enrich our beautiful hometown.

I’ve spent my 35+ years in education as a teacher, higher education administrator, volunteer with our local youth, and now as a school board member, working to develop opportunities for students through positive role-modeling and problem solving. These skills will be put to good use in helping PUSD continue to move forward as the bedrock of our local community.

For questions, feel free to email me at andy.fraher4pusd@gmail.com – I will be happy to answer your questions.

I would be honored to have your vote on November 5, 2024.

Randy Hawley 

My name is Randy Hawley, and it has been an honor and pleasure to serve as the President of the Sedona Oak Creek School District Governing Board for the past 8 years. During my 42 years in public school education, I served as a teacher, guidance counselor, Principal and District Office administrator. 
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When my wife and I retired in 2012 (she was a school Superintendent) we moved to our home in the Village. We read with interest about the issues with which the School District was struggling. I finally decided to attend some of the Governing Board meetings and couldn’t understand the discord within the Governing Board and the lack of leadership from the administration. It was very clear that major changes needed to be made. After discussing these issues with my wife, I made the decision to run for the Governing Board in 2016. I was happy to be elected to the Board and subsequently, as the President by my fellow Board members.

I have a commitment to the students of this District and a passion for education. Nothing is more important than educating our children and preparing them for success in their future. In order to do that, it is critical that the Board and District have a clear vision and process for educating our students and a strategic plan that provides a clear direction for the District to follow, After major changes in the District’s Administrative leadership team, we have been able to develop that vision supported by a strong Strategic Plan which has provided a clear direction for the District to follow.

When I was first elected to the Board in 2016, the District had a $3 million deficit. We now have a reserve of 3% and have been able to provide numerous new opportunities and classes for our students. We have also developed a positive relationship with the Community, and our staff works productively with each other and with the parents for the benefit of the students.

I have been honored to serve the District on the Governing Board the past 8 years and would love to continue working with the other Board members, the staff, parents and Community to continue to provide our students with more outstanding educational opportunities that will prepare them for success in their futures.

Inger Johnson

We parents want what’s best for our children. We want our children to succeed in life. I want that for my son and I want that for your children too! That’s why I’m running for school board.
I have been married for 19 years to the love of my life. Together we have a wonderful son who is a Senior this year and will graduate in May. As his parents, it is our responsibility that our son succeeds in life. I get it! That is what every parent wants for their children too! We need to have a quality education system in our country. Education is an American tradition; one might almost say it is an American right! Democracy cannot exist if we do not have an educated populace; one that can read, write, do math and know how to organize their thoughts. Having an educated citizenry is what makes Democracy succeed. If a person cannot read and write, they are at the mercy of others who will do the thinking for them and who may not have their best interests at heart. Literacy and a good education is and always has been the bedrock of our American society.

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It is this deep-seated belief in the importance of education that drives me to run for the school board. I know I can add a lot to the board. I have a good relationship with teachers, administration and staff in the Chino Valley School District having worked in the High School and in the District Office for a number of years. In addition to having a good working relationship with District personnel, I have ample experience in finance and business management. I will bring to the board the experience I gained working for over 20 years within the financial industry, both in banking and having my own business in financial planning before becoming a full time wife and mother.
The school governance board makes financial decisions that directly impact the students, parents and taxpayers. I will work diligently to make sure all three stakeholders receive the greatest return for their investment!
Thank you for considering me for your vote on November 5, 2024 for the Chino Valley School District governance board. Together, let’s ensure that the Chino Valley School District schools are the premier educational institutions that deliver the world-class education that all our students deserve.
For questions, feel free to email me at inger.moljohn@yahoo.com – I will be happy to answer your questions.

Daryl Lassen

Hey, everyone. 👋 I’m Daryl.  Hi. Type in my name, Daryl Lassen, on the Nextdoor search bar and then tap the triangles to see a full BIO of myself and some of my priorities. I am running for Chino Valley Unified School Board November 5. I am an awarded 45 year teacher, counselor, and coach, as well as a former business owner, civic and church leader (Hope Lutheran in Chino Valley), and family man while married to Lynn for 46 years with three children and extended family. Lynn was a pharmacy tech and pre-school teacher. She was a rodeo participant and now competes in agility with dogs. We have many interests and support the U.S. Constitution, including gun rights. We do believe in the Ten Commandments and want to do away with the current permissiveness and teach students critical thinking, independent thought, and life survival skills with sound morals. Teachers AND administration should do the same. Please vote for me in November as a conservative.  Check out the BIO please.  Thank you sincerely, dl.

April Payne

My name is April Payne and I was born and raised in Sedona, Arizona. I attended Brewer Road School and graduated from Red Rock High School, which instilled in me a deep and long standing love of our schools and our school district.  My daughter will be at the high school in two years and my son is currently a second grader at West Sedona School, so I have a vested interest in doing all I can to help insure the health and vitality of our school system.  I think it is important that our school board have a voice that represents our families. I am so happy to listen and learn from our students, our teachers, our parents and our community, and do my best to represent their concerns and interests.  

David Price

Friends, Neighbors and Sedona-Oak Creek School District Community Members,

My name is Dave Price and I am running for the Sedona-Oak Creek School District Governing Board. When an opening on the board occurred in 2022, I met with our district superintendent and board members and was deeply impressed by the district’s dedicated and professional team. So, I applied and was gratified to be appointed to the vacant seat by our county superintendent. It has been an extremely rewarding experience and I have decided to run for the seat in this year’s election.

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The education of our next generation is my personal passion. In addition to my current membership on the school board, I serve on other non-profit and government boards and as a college admissions representative. My experience leading and teaching young men and women in our Armed Forces for many years and as a former university educator and administrator have given me a first-hand, visceral understanding of how important is our public education system in providing our next generation the opportunities and tools necessary to lead fulfilling lives. How prepared they are to continue the academic or vocational educations needed to pursue and achieve their goals as adults will be reflected in their personal success and happiness and in the nation’s future prosperity and economic security.

There have been many improvements and much progress in our school district over the past several years. During my short tenure on our school district team, we have continued a trend of constant improvement and maintained a laser focus on achieving the best possible educational outcomes for every student. We have continued excellent fiscal stewardship and management of taxpayer resources. We have supported our teachers, staff, parents and community. We will need our school board to continue addressing challenges such as the future of the former Big Park Community School; attracting and retaining great teachers and staff; modernizing our curricula; improving our schools’ standings; and maintaining the good relationship with our local community members and governments in Sedona, VOC and Yavapai County. In addressing these and other challenges, my simple litmus test for every decision before the board will continue to be: How will this improve our students’ educations?

I believe our students are our legacy. All of us are stakeholders in their future. Our public schools are a direct reflection of our community. In an age when so many other government bodies have seemingly lowered their standards of behavior and achievement, our district and board have set an example of decency, civility and striving for better. I am very proud to be a member of our current “no drama llama” school board.

I hope you will vote to keep me on this great team

Annie Trujillo Mortensen 

Annie Trujillo Mortensen is a 20-year Paulden resident, whose father was born in Prescott and whose paternal grandparents were lifelong residents of Prescott.

First elected to the Chino Valley School Board in 2016, Annie is currently the only school board member with children enrolled in the School District and has made a commitment to represent those who have children attending school in this district.

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Growing up in the western way of life, Annie is proud to live in this rural part of Arizona and takes great pride in the fact that two of her 5 children have already graduated from high school. She currently has another child attending Chino Valley High School, one attending Del Rio Elementary School and one getting ready to attend pre-school.

Believing that quality education is the best gift we can provide for our children, Annie not only is a strong advocate for all involved in the school system including the students, teachers and the families of the district, but is always available to listen to constituents concerns and comments.

Active in the community and a business woman who understands the need to balance physical conservancy with the needs of the district, she takes all aspects of budget planning seriously and feels her actions speak louder than words on her past performance as a Chino Valley School Board member.

Annie is once again asking for the community’s support in voting for her at the November 5th School Board Election.

If you have questions or need to reach out Annie please free to contact her at  Amortensen@chinovalleyschools.com 

Brandon Watkins

Hello,
My name is Dr. Brandon Watkins, and I am excited to announce my candidacy for a seat on the HUSD School Board. As a fourth-generation local Arizonan and a current administrator working with at-risk youth in the private sector, I am prepared to lead the charge towards providing a better education for our students. My educational background includes an Ed. D. in Educational Leadership, a Master of Science in Agricultural Education, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology/Chemistry has equipping me with a comprehensive understanding of classroom content for both secondary and post-secondary education.

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My dedication to servant leadership, curriculum development, and student achievement is essential for the success of our district. If elected, I will advocate for students and parents, uphold our traditional community values, and promote increased community involvement in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. As the Director of Education, I am proud of the significant improvements we have made within our school system, emphasizing consistency as the cornerstone of growth. Through my experience working closely with teachers, students, and parents, I have honed my ability to instruct and connect with individuals from diverse backgrounds and abilities. My tenure at the community college has underscored the importance of college readiness, further enhancing my perspective on education.

I am confident in my capacity to drive effective change in HUSD as a school board member, prioritizing staff well-being and fostering strong stakeholder relationships to facilitate progress. As a father of four with children in the district, I am committed to upholding our students’ values and ensuring a high-quality education for all. Your support in the November 2024 Election would be greatly appreciated as I look forward to serving our community. If you have any questions or suggestions, please email Dr.watkins4HUSD@gmail.com. Thank you for the support.