I thank Bobbie O’Boyle, executive director of the Arizona Educational Foundation, for including my list of 2016 inspired leaders in her newsletter. The list includes teacher of the year Christine Marsh.
Retired CEO Russ Perlich deserves more attention in the business community for receiving the Piper Trust Encore Career Prize. The arts and education communities should be focusing a spotlight on him, too. There are probably a million reasons his story should resonate in the Valley.
Unfortunately, Arizona, for all its gifts, assets and opportunities, is stuck in a dreary place of inertia and woe. We talk a lot the lack of business and political leadership with no interest in long-term vision and no patience for long-term goals. We lament there being so few Arizonans in places high and low doing the right things to address foundational cracks in the state. It’s difficult these days for bright lights like Perlich to pierce the darkness.
Briana, a best friend of my daughter, is a first responder. She is a freshly minted teacher beginning her first professional year of school. She’s running toward a crisis. It’s not a burning building; it’s Arizona’s public education system.
Teachers have left Arizona classrooms in droves, causing a critical shortage of educators. Rare is the school district that begins this academic year with a full complement of certified teachers. Many meet classroom needs with long-term substitute teachers.