Sunday, September 18, 2011

September Summaries

It has been awhile since I have written anything on my blog--almost a month.  A lot has happened in this past month, but not necessarily things I can write about here!

We usually spend Labor Day weekend at the cabin.  It has become something of a tradition with Kerri, Cam and various friends.  However, this year Cave Creek is still closed because of the fire.  Teresa and I did go up a few weeks ago and it is amazing what rain can do.   It was very green and things are really starting to come back.  However, the massive amounts of rain have caused the creek to change course in many areas.  You can tell where the water has made a new route.  It was just good to see that there  was not damage from flooding at the cabin.
Because Teresa was gone, I had to figure out someplace that was "pug friendly" if I wanted to go anywhere over the weekend.  I did find several places that would accept pets.  The only problem was that the pets have to be very good--no barking, don't get up on furniture.....all of the things that my pugs do!!  I finally decided upon the Triangle T Guest Ranch in Dragoon.  So the pugs and I loaded up and headed to Dragoon which is about an hour from Douglas.  It is in a beautiful spot called Texas Canyon right off of I10 between Willcox and Benson.  The rock formations are amazing!!  The ranch is great with horses and ranch dogs and a saloon right in the middle.  However, the pugs aren't exactly ranch pugs and they didn't take too kindly to being on a leash when the other dogs (and horses) weren't.  We ended up staying just one night because of this.  I would like to go back with Cam as I think he would love the ranch---minus the pugs!!!

September brings the Arizona School Board Association's yearly law conference.  School law is a huge field and I find myself talking to our school's attorney on a regular basis.  The law conference is excellent with much pertinent information.  Bonnie, our assistant superintendent, two of our Board Members, and I went to it this year.  It was at the Camelback Inn which is a beautiful resort.  The highlight of this year's conference was being able to hear Sandra Day O'Connor speak.  What an incredible lady she is!! She is feisty and a hoot to listen to.  She told a story of getting to see Eleanor Roosevelt when she was a young girl.  Justice O'Connor grew up in southeastern Arizona on a cattle ranch.  She went to school in El Paso and the first lady came for a visit.  She talked about how much charisma Mrs. Roosevelt had.  Then she shared how she never told her father that she had met and admired Mrs. Roosevelt because her father was a rancher who never liked President Roosevelt.   

She also shared about her time in the Arizona Legislature.  She told us that she often would have a barbecue at her home with legislators from both parties.  She said that eating and having a beer together enabled them to work together to solve problems in Arizona.  Too bad it isn't that way still!  

She talked about the fact that we aren't teaching our students about government.  She has a website that she has created that allows kids to go on the site and play games to learn about civics.  The website is

We were all excited to see Justice O'Connor.   Bonnie was the most excited because both of her sons are lawyers in California.  She wanted to get a picture of the Judge to send to her sons.  Well, it got even better than that!! I had gone out to get some water at a break and when I came back in, Justice  O'Connor was sitting in the back of the room.  I quickly went to where we were sitting and got Bonnie and my camera.  Justice O'Connor was gracious enough to let us take a picture with Bonnie.

I have had many wonderful mentors in my professional life over the years, especially Leona Shreve and Wally Delecki.  I have learned so much from them in so many ways.  When I moved to Douglas a little over a year ago, I knew I could always call or email them with a question.  However, I have been fortunate to have a great mentor down here in Ray Borane.  Ray has been a long time family friend and was my high school Spanish teacher.  He was the superintendent in Douglas for many years and has a middle school named after him.  He was also the mayor of Douglas for about 12 years and has held positions at the state level in education, as well as advisory boards.  He was the interim superintendent prior to me getting the job.  This past year he has helped me immensely.   A few weeks ago, we were talking about how much different being a superintendent is today.  I have to be involved in every aspect of the district.  Because we are in school improvement, there are a lot of tasks that I have to be involved in that are required by the state and feds.  He offered to continue to help me, but we needed to do it in an official capacity.  So at the last Board Meeting, Ray was hired as a "special assistant to the superintendent" for the whopping sum of $1.00 per year!!  One of his many duties and one that keeps him quite busy is his being a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, Southwest Border Task Force.  And as I told him last week, this makes me feel important--his two BOSSES are Janet Napolitano and me!!!!

There has been a world of difference between this September and last for me.  With a year behind me, I feel much more confident in my ability to be able to do some great things for Douglas Unified.  We are back into the swing of the school year and I am looking forward to some wonderful accomplishments this year!!!