5 newcomers, incumbent chase 2 CUSD board seats - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

5 newcomers, incumbent chase 2 CUSD board seats

August 22nd, 2018 development
5 newcomers, incumbent chase 2 CUSD board seats

By COLLEEN SPARKS, Managing Editor


Five newcomers and one longtime incumbent are vying for two seats on the Chandler Unified School District governing board in the Nov. 6 election.

Last week was the deadline for school board candidates to file for the nonpartisan election, which has no primary.

Incumbent governing board member Bob Rice, 66, who was first elected to the Chandler school board in 2002, is seeking a fifth four-year term. He is a retired production manager from Intel Corporation.

Unlike Rice, Chandler school board president Annette Auxier, who has been on the district governing board since 1998, is not seeking re-election. Auxier, 64, said she and her husband, Gary, want to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The other candidates are Joshua Askey, Lara Bruner, Noemy Esparza-Isaacson, Lindsay Love and Jim Robinson.

Askey, 47, is controller for CoAction Group, a medical facilities developer in Chandler. He and his wife, Lisa, have three sons: Cade, 18; Quinn, 17 and Kye, 12. Cade graduated from Basha High School while Quinn is a senior at Basha and Kye is a seventh-grader at Santan Junior High.

“I want to serve on the CUSD Governing Board so that I may help continue the excellent legacy and trajectory of Chandler Unified School District,” Askey said.

“Chandler Unified School District is already one of the best school districts in Arizona,” he added. “I would like to see our best practices and standards move forward and continue to grow, ensuring that we have a wide variety of educational opportunities for all of our students. I want to make sure we as a district are providing the classroom dollars students and teachers need to continue their successful forward progression.”

Askey has bachelor’s degrees in accounting and business administration from Pensacola Christian College in Florida. He came to Chandler 22 years ago. His wife, president of a local women’s group, serves on the Citizens’ Panel for Review of Police Complaints and Use of Force.

Bruner has been a teacher for 26 years and once received the New Jersey Governor’s Teaching Scholar Award, which provided a full scholarship to Rutgers University, according to her Facebook campaign page.

After she graduated from college with honors in psychology and special education, she worked with students with emotional and behavioral issues. Bruner moved to Arizona in 1996 to teach students with special needs. Now she teaches advanced placement and dual enrollment psychology, as well as history classes in the Tempe Union High School District.

Bruner is the creator and director of the Arizona Teaching of Psychology Conference and she has given presentations at national and state teaching conferences. She was one of three psychology teachers to receive the Excellence in Teaching Award from the American Psychological Association’s Committee of Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS) in 2014.

Bruner has three children, and her youngest attends Perry High School. She could not be reached for comments.

Esparza-Isaacson, a singer, visual artist, Spanish teacher and IT professional, has worked in many states with American Airlines, Intel, Texas Instruments, ON Semiconductor and other companies.

She teaches ceramics at Tumbleweed Recreation Center, volunteers as an art teacher at Knox Gifted Academy and teaches Spanish to adults on her own.

She served on the Parent Advisory Council at Knox Gifted Academy last year. She and her husband, Paul, have three children together who attend Knox and Arizona College Prep-Erie Campus. Paul’s daughter graduated from Chandler High School.

Esparza-Isaacson recorded Latin pop music professionally for many years while in the IT field. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in information technology and a minor in music from New Mexico State University. The daughter of Mexican immigrants, she is the first in her family to attend college.

“If I’m elected, I wish to bring a collaborative and common-sense approach to the board,” Esparza-Isaacson said.

“The arts will probably be my champion and flagship issue. I would like them to be more integrated into the schools because it is a pillar of success. I want to look at creative ways that we can have education technology resources. I just want to make sure kids that might not have the emotional support at home will find it somewhere at our schools.”

Love, 33, a licensed clinical social worker, loves working with young people.

A 2003 graduate of Hamilton High School, she manages a team of counselors and social workers who treat adolescents and their families at a nonprofit organization. She also counsels families through a private practice.

Love defines herself as a black woman. She said she would like to see teachers use “less-punitive” approaches and “more interventions” with students.

She also wants to see more diversity among district teachers and lesson plans that are “more sensitive to the cultures that we serve in Chandler. I’m just interested in making sure Chandler serves all students and that we focus a little bit more on that acceptance and diversity, having representation from diverse groups,” Love said, adding:

“We really need to bring in teachers who are skilled long-term, dedicated and make sure that we are paying them and make sure we show them we value the work they do. When one person is struggling or they’re hungry or they’re in need, we need to help and organize.”

Robinson, 46, owns REIMidwest, a real estate development company.

“I am a big believer in our country’s public schools,” Robinson said. “My wife and I both attended public schools, and our three daughters are all currently enrolled in the Chandler Unified School District.

“My family has made Chandler our home for over 17 years and, during that time, we have experienced just how amazing this community and our Chandler Unified School District are. It is full of engaged parents and wonderful, dedicated teachers and administrators,” he added.

He said he wants to be on the board “to ensure we are providing our children with a world-class education; offering an environment that is safe for both our kids and teachers; while properly allocating the additional funding that was approved by our state lawmakers to our teachers and support staff in the Chandler Unified School District.”

Rice and his wife, Margie, have a son and daughter who graduated from Chandler High School.

He worked at Intel for 23 years in various positions and he has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Ohio State University and an MBA from the University of Arizona.

He grew up in Ohio and moved to Arizona in 1974, serving in the U.S. Air Force as a missile launch officer in Tucson before moving to the Valley in 1980. His wife is a former elementary school teacher.

“We’re somewhat competitive in Chandler,” Rice said. “We like to be the best. We like to have our kids come to our schools and not the other schools. We like to think we can educate them a little better, give them the best they can possibly receive.

“I don’t think you should just throw money at school districts. You really have an idea of what you want to do with it, have goals,” he added.

Annette and Gary Auxier grew up in south Scottsdale, moved to Colorado for 10 years and then returned to Chandler in 1990. Gary is a pediatrician and Annette had worked as his office manager before becoming a stay-at-home mother when her children were younger.

Being on the school board has been a great experience, Annette said.

“I feel like I’ve helped maintain a sense of civility,” she said. “We understand that we all bring a different perspective; we use those different perspectives to make it better. It’s been wonderful for me. It’s brought a lot of joy and happiness to me.”

She advised new school board members to “be patient with themselves.”

“There’s a steep learning curve and when you go in look for things that can be improved but understand that people are there to make the lives better for children,” she said. “You don’t get involved in this unless you want to make education a thing that’s better and to make education accessible to all children.”

In the Queen Creek Unified School District, voters will choose two school board members for seats with four-year terms. Incumbent board president Ken Brague is running again for the school board and newcomer Samantha Davis is also running.

The boards for both Tempe Union and Kyrene school districts, which include parts of Chandler, also can expect new faces next year. Two members on each board have decided not to seek reelection.

They are Kyrene board President Kristin Middleton and two-term member Bernadette Coggins and, in Tempe Union, DeeAnn McClenahan and Brandon Schmoll.

Three candidates are vying for the two Tempe Union spots and four will be battling it out for the two Kyrene seats.