Sunday, October 31, 2010

Homecoming! It truly has been one for me!!!

One of the most exciting parts of my job is being able to be a part of high school sports. The Douglas Bulldogs have had a good season with 7 wins and 2 losses. It looks as though they are going to make the playoffs this year. At the home games, I have been able to stand on the sidelines and that has been so cool!!! Our new artificial turf is awesome!!! The facilities here are second to none as far as I am concerned.
The week before Fall Break was Homecoming Week. Lots of festivities happened all week. On Thursday, the annual Homecoming Parade was held with each class sponsoring a float and the Homecoming Royalty presented. The whole town turned out for the parade down G Avenue. The air evac
helicopter started the parade out by flying down G Avenue. I was a judge and got to sit on the upper deck of the Gadsden Hotel. Seeing all of the floats brought back memories of high school when we had two floats being built in our backyard one year and my Uncle Johnny giving up his truck and helping us with the floats!! Teresa went with me to watch the parade.It had been suggested when I interviewed for this position, that maybe I would want to be in the parade with my trike and the pugs. Needless to say, I didn't volunteer for this and no one remembered and I am thankful for that. However, my friend, Lorie who teaches at Gilbert El and is from Douglas, thought it would be funny to try to get one of her friends who is a teacher down here, to decorate my trike. Fortunately, the staff still doesn't know me well enough and know my sense of humor, so she wasn't willing to go there. She did bring the box with the decorations over and I did put them on my trike for some pictures for this post. So thanks, Lorie!!!!
After the parade, a bonfire was held out by "D"
Hill. The Douglas Police and Fire Departments were on hand to assist. The kids were all pumped up and I even got to address the football team!! ONCE A BULLDOG, ALWAYS A BULLDOG!! The parents cleaned up the "D" on "D" Hill and lit it. It looked great!!! (Look carefully at this picture.)
The whole town has been excited about the team. Last Friday's game was filled to capacity. Douglas and Amphi were both undefeated in league play. Unfortunately, Amphi came out on top, but the Bulldogs played a good game!!

Small towns have such great traditions. I had forgotten about so many of them. I continue to feel blessed to be a part of all of this. It has truly been a great experience all the way around for me.

Monday, October 25, 2010

NAPO--My new signature statement!

At the end of September, I was contacted by KGUN television out of Tucson to do an interview. Of course, I am always a bit nervous when the media is involved. I have had a lot of experience with reporters trying to twist what has been said, and trying to make a story!! I didn't think this would be any different, but it was the first time that I have been interviewed and filmed. The reporter and the cameraman came to my office and we spent about 15 minutes "chatting." It started out okay...... The reporter then tried to get me to say something about what had happened previously in Douglas. I was very careful and didn't go where he was headed. I truly felt that he wouldn't ever use the story because it wasn't negative enough. Well, last Thursday it was aired on the 10 o'clock news. I didn't know about it so I wasn't able to see it. However, several people said that they felt it was very positive!!

I got an email from a friend who lives in Tucson over the weekend. She told me that she saw the news and was going to have a pin made for me that says NAPO (NOT A PUSH OVER)!!!! So this is going to be my new signature.....................

Sheila Rogers, NAPO

New mood for a new school year in Douglas - KGUN9 On Your Side, Tucson News, Weather & Sports

New mood for a new school year in Douglas

Reporter: Joel Waldman

DOUGLAS, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Two tumultuous years. It's how many would describe the tenure of former Douglas Unified Schools District Superintendent, Earl Pettit. And, over those last two years, some in Douglas argued a few of its school board members acted more like the children it was supposed to represent.

But, now, many hope "a commitment to excellence", the district's motto, also includes the adults running it. There's a new woman in charge, Superintendent Sheila Rogers.

"I was a teacher, a director, a principal. I've never had any issues of any kind and I'm confident in my abilities to lead this community," remarked Rogers.

Douglas is a community Rogers knows well. Her grandparents settled in Douglas back in 1912 . And, Rogers was raised there too. "I attribute who I am today to being, having grown up in Douglas. And, when I found out this superintendent seat was opened, I felt like it would give me an opportunity to give back to the community that gave me a whole lot," said Rogers.

It's a community that went through a whole lot. Douglas is still healing from the fallout of a nasty battle between former Superintendent Earl Pettit and two current board members, President Chuck Hoyack and member Patricia Lopez. A third, embroiled board member, Ed Rivera, has since resigned.

The frequent verbal smack downs, along with at least one other administrative leave, and a slew of board agendas aimed at picking Pettit apart, ultimately led to his firing six months ago. Pettit, in return, slapped the district with a multimillion dollar lawsuit.

"At this point we still don't really know why Mr. Pettit was targeted? Do you have any idea why your predecessor was targeted?" KGUN9 asked. "I have absolutely no idea!" said Rogers. "And you don't care to know?", KGUN9 pressed. "No, I want to move forward," replied Rogers.

"Do you think the root of the problem with Mr. Pettit and Mr. Hoyack was really just a personality conflict?" KGUN9 asked board member Mario Ramos, Sr., " That's something only Mr. Hoyack would have to answer himself. I don't even want to try to think what the problem was," replied Ramos, Sr..

Some suggest it all started over Stevenson Elementary and its' ELL, or English Language Learners' program. There was a virtual mutiny against it, led by principal Rafael Orrtiz. But, when Pettit called him out on the state mandated program, others, like board President Hoyack started to call Pettit out.

It's a situation the new superintendent tells us is all smoothed out, "I've read a directive and some information from the state department on it. And everything I understand now is fine and they are absolutely following the directives the state department has given us in terms of what we need to do at Stevenson and all the elementary schools in Douglas," said Rogers.

Some say Rogers' was picked because she could be easily picked on by the school board. But, it's a suggestion both she and the board say is silly, "I asked the new superintendent if she was a push over and she said no, do you see her as being one?" KGUN9 asked. "No, I don't think so. She got position because we thought she was best qualified person," added Ramos Sr..

"He (Pettit) ran a tight, tough ship. Do you think you were chosen, in part, because you're a soft person, who can be pushed over easily?" KGUN9 asked. "No, I cant be pushed over easily. But, I have a completely different approach. I do not have a military approach," said Rogers.

A quieter Commander-in-Chief of Douglas schools who hopes to make her voice heard in the classroom, not the boardroom.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Las Vegas Wedding

Last weekend (Oct. 16), we attended the wedding of Paul Rush and Beth Hunt in Las Vegas. Paul is the son of my cousin, Pat. The wedding was small, but oh so nice and so much fun--as always when we all get together!!

We arrived in Vegas on Friday and stayed until Monday. Teresa, Kerri, Patrick and I represented our family. Of course, Teresa never misses a family event!! Friday night Pat had the rehearsal dinner at Buca de Beppo. Lots of stories were told and lots of good times were had.
Paul is a wonderful young man who did such an awesome job of helping Pat take care of his dad, Phil. Phil died almost 2 years ago--in January. I have written a lot about Phil and his wonderful sense of humor. Phil didn't want to miss all of the important events so he was there in spirit, as well as in another form!!! Beth is terrific and is such a perfect match for Paul.
As has become a family tradition, we all danced to Tequila Sheila at the reception. I have decided that this rite of passage has to happen in order to bring the couple good luck--besides that, it is always fun!!!

I always enjoy being around my cousins. I have really missed my Phoenix cousins since I have been down here in Douglas. They have always been just a half hour away and we got together often.

Congratulations to Paul and Beth and thanks for
the great weekend in Vegas. Lots of great memories were made!!

PS--Next time you see Marion, ask her about what mnemonic device she used to remember her room at the hotel!!!!!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

October Memories

Wednesday (October 6) was the eighth anniversary of my mom's death. Today (October 8) would have been her 93rd birthday. It doesn't seem possible that is has been eight years.

Being in Douglas brings back so many memories of her. So many people tell me how much they liked her or tell me a story about her. Even after eight years, she has not been forgotten by so many people here in Douglas.

I know that she would be very pleased that I am here with Teresa. I think that is the only thing that is missing for me is to have her know about this move. I really do believe that she does know and that she had a hand in bringing me down here!!

Last school year, I remember having a conversation with a sixth grade boy who had just lost his mom. I remember telling her that it didn't matter how old you are, losing your mom always hurts.

Every year we have had a tradition of going out to dinner somewhere around this time and telling stories about her. "Those we love are never really gone, as long as their stories are told." I will be in Gilbert this weekend and I hope that we can all go out to dinner and continue this tradition. It is important to me for many reasons--one being that I want Cameron to have these memories of her.

She was a wonderful lady with a great sense of humor and a belief in giving back to the community she lived in. I learned a lot from her and even now, I think I am still learning. Not a day goes by that I don't think about her and miss her and feel fortunate to have had such a great woman as a mom and a role model.

Happy 93rd, Mom!!!