Candidates for HUSD Governing Board

The Gilbert Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Kristina Reese, Tiffany Shultz, and Greg Wojtovich.

Basic Information


Michelle Anderson

Business: Queen Creek High School

Occupation: High School Physical Science & Chemistry Teacher

Education Background:
Bachelor of Science, Secondary Education and 18 additional hours in Mathematics

Brief summary of employment history:
I have worked in the field of education for over 15 years (High School and Middle School Math and Science Teacher and Human Resources). I have also been employed as the Administrative Assistant to the Higley Governing Board, a Database Coordinator at a local church, and Human Resources Coordinator at a local hospital.

List of community organizations you belong to:
I plan to seek membership of the Williams Field High School Site Council and volunteer as a photographer for the Williams Field High School swim team once the facilities are open and the positions are available.

How long have you lived in the school district?
We have been a resident of the district for 7 years, but our children have been attending Higley schools for 12 years.




Michelle Bugg

Occupation: Medical Device Sales Representative

Education Background: BA in Psychology & English

Brief summary of employment history:
25+ years in the Medical Industry as a Sales Professional

List of community organizations you belong to:
Current:
WFHS Football Booster Club, President, January 2019-Present (Sponsorship 3 years, Level Rep -2 years)
USAFA 2021 Spirt Mission, Co-President, August 2017-Present
USAFA 2024 Spirit Committee, Co-President, July 2020-Present
Past:
SE Diamondbacks LL: President – 4 years (Additional Positions - 4 years)
SE Pop Warner: Board member 4 years.

How long have you lived in the school district? 15 years



Kristina Reese - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

Business: A Child’s Place at The Ranches

Occupation: Childcare Center owner

Education Background: Early Child Care Administration

Brief summary of employment history:
1998 – 2004: General Motors Specialty Group Manager
2005 – Current: Owner of A Child’s Place at The Ranches.
2018 – Current: Consulting for several childcare centers around the state

List of community organizations you belong to: Gilbert Chamber of Commerce, Arizona School Board Association

How long have you lived in the school district? 19 years




Tiffany Shultz - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

Business: Levitate Agency

Occupation: I own a small business in Gilbert. We produce large scale festivals and specialize in marketing and public relations for a variety of clients.

Education Background: BA from Arizona State University

Brief summary of employment history:
Current Position: Owner, Operator Levitate Agency
Past Positions:
Partner, Public Relations Director, UP Agency
Account Executive, Rose & Allyn Public Relations
Producer, Booker, Personality, FOX 10 News

List of community organizations you belong to:

Coronado PTO, Gilbert Chamber of Commerce, PRSA, Event Producers Alliance

How long have you lived in the school district? 13 years



Greg Wojtovich - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

Occupation: Career Advisor / Chandler-Gilbert Community College / Retired 2020. Currently serving as a Higley Unified School District Governing Board Member. Also serve as an active volunteer with other agencies.

Education:
Bachelor of Human Resources
School of Education
Oakland University Rochester, Michigan

Employment / Volunteer Summary:
Lifetime of working with students, teachers and staff in the educational settings including:
Higley Unified School District, Board Member, 6 years
Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Career Advisor, 13 years
Mesa Unified School District, Career Advisor, 1 year
Utica Community Schools / Michigan School District, Board Member, 12 years
Michigan Department of Corrections, Agent 25 years

School District Resident: 9 years

Community Involvement:
Listed below are the many ways I actively serve my community and work tirelessly and collaboratively to serve students.
• Gilbert Chamber of Commerce Community Excellence Award: Chandler-Gilbert Community College Staff Member of the Year
• Chandler-Gilbert Community College Student’s Choice Award, Chandler-Gilbert Community College
• Chandler-Gilbert Community College Keystone Awards for Excellence and Community Engagement
• Advisor to the Chandler-Gilbert Community College Hispanic Student Organization
• Chandler Boys & Girls Club Community Thanksgiving Dinner Volunteer
• Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities National Conference-Chaperone-Participant
• Chandler ICAN Children’s Christmas Wrap Program Volunteer
• United States Hispanic Leadership Institute National Conference-Chaperone-Participant
• Volunteer, Ken Vandehei Memorial Golf Classic Higley Schools Scholarship Program
• Mesa High School Rookie Employee of the Year-2005 (New School Career Counselor)
• Chandler Relay of Life 2014 Committee Member (funds for Cancer Research); Committee Chairperson Chandler-Gilbert Community College Coyote Hero’s Relay for Life Team: Largest Team, Most Spirited Team
• Boys & Girls Clubs, Boy Scouts, Band Boosters, PTA Officer, Soccer Coach, Regional Commissioner for the American Youth Soccer Organization.


Give three (3) of your qualifications/skill sets that make you a leading candidate for Higley Public Schools Governing Board. Explain why these qualifications make you a better candidate than your opponents.


Michelle Anderson
a. I am an educator and have been employed as a teacher in the Higley School District

b. I have years of experience working in the Higley Human Resources Department and as an Administrative Assistant to the Higley Governing Board

c. I have served on multiple district level and school leadership curriculum teams and committees; volunteered on multiple school Site Councils; volunteered for crosswalk; volunteered to provide, pack and deliver food to families during the Red for Ed school closures; and volunteered to pack meals during the Covid-19 school closures.

d. These experiences have provided me with a unique and well-rounded range of qualifications, perspectives, and understanding of the processes necessary for funding, leading, and executing successful educational strategies focused on the academic success and well-being of students and staff. My qualifications include: knowledge and implementation of district policies and procedures; staff relations, hiring and retention; development of Governing Board agendas; orientation of Higley Staff on district policy and procedures; coordination with district office and school staff to provide an engaging and extraordinary educational experience, enabling students to have the knowledge and skills to be confident and capable in their next chapter in life. As a teacher I have experienced how educational leadership affects the students, staff, and community.


Michelle Bugg

a. Communication
b. Accountability
c. Team Player


Kristina Reese - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

(1) I have served on this board for the past 8 years, 4 as Board President. (2) Strong business background. (3) Strong community involvement. My leadership skills and being our board president for the previous 4 years has served us well. I am able to continue the trajectory of growth we have already established. Being in early childhood education, I have insights on current trends and best practices in the way children learn and their environments. Understanding these areas helps me make my decisions with the children’s best interest in mind. Being a community leader and business owner has given me the opportunity to really connect with others. From talking with community members on the football field Friday nights to meeting with other business owners on how they can help support our schools.


Tiffany Shultz - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

Visionary Business Leader
Relationship Builder
Effective Communicator

The district needs someone who can adapt and adjust to situations. I am a small business owner who has represented a variety of industries, clients and festival producer and a leader that knows how to set long- and short-term goals. A key skill is effective communication. It is important to have a school board member that is open and honest and will listen to the voice of the community. These skills will provide the necessary leadership to move the district forward and bring the community together.


Greg Wojtovich - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

Leadership:

I have been honored to and currently serving my 6th year on the HUSD Board of Education. Together, we have made HUSD the number one rating in the state for large districts. Prior to this, I successfully served for 12 years at another award-winning district in a different state.

Experience:

I have worked at both at the high school and at the community college level. I know the challenges and the issues facing students and educators today.

Collaboration:

Perhaps my greatest strength is in bringing people together for a common cause, in this case, student success. I enjoy listening to what the community wants for its students and helping the talented professionals across the district ensure those needs are met.

What is your vision for the school district in 5-10 years?


Michelle Anderson

My vision for the school district is for it to continue to provide safe and exceptional opportunities for students and staff through transparent, community-engaged processes and fiscally responsible decisions. The vision also includes Administrators collaborating with staff to improve employee morale and retention rates, which positively affects students and the community.


Michelle Bugg

4-year plan - Consistent leadership that engages teachers, parents, and community leaders when necessary in developing plans that impact the district – not making decisions in a bubble Ie: Current education plans, fiscal resourcefulness, etc.


Kristina Reese - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

I see Higley Unified School District being the leader in providing our students a successful educational foundation. Making out of the box decisions that benefit our students and the move the educational world forward. Programs that support students social-emotional learning, individualized learning strategies, and technology that advances our educational opportunities to levels that we can’t even imagine today.


Tiffany Shultz - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

I envision a school district where teachers and staff always feel supported and feel their voices are heard. That the budget is widespread, and bi-laws and policies are consistent throughout the district. I would like to see technology that is up to par and available for all. I would like to see life skills classes reinstated in the district and the same programs and clubs open to all students. I envision broader opportunities for students beyond traditional learning. I would like to see programs that bridge the business and education community.


Greg Wojtovich - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

Education is the key to success and future of our country for our children to compete in a global economy. It is important that we maintain our excellent ranking in Arizona and proven “Excellence in Education” continue. We must keep Higley moving forward. Higley is delivering outstanding services and must continue to excel to ensure the vital role education plays in creating a brighter future for our young people and their families.


What actions do you feel will be necessary to help kids catch up in academics and in the social-emotional wellbeing of students as a result of the impact of COVID-19?


Michelle Anderson

“Helping kids catch up” in academics is what educators do already, so we will continue to do what we do best. We will assess and plan based on the evaluated data and implement differentiated instruction and educational strategies. We will collaborate across grade levels and be flexible, yet consistent, in expectations. In addition to the attention to the social-emotional wellbeing provided by classroom educators, the district will need to provide more staff and training for counseling and mentoring of students.



Michelle Bugg

Leadership is a necessary component – leadership cannot only be from the Superintendent’s office down – there needs to be input from our teachers and metal health professionals but also from our parents and students. We cannot continue to “guess” at what is needed – we need to ask. The Governing Board provides oversite & then votes on plan(s) provided.


Kristina Reese - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

This is going to be up to our school professionals. Our educational and psychology professionals will need to determine where our kids are when they return. It is up to our leaders of the district to present a plan to the governing board to approve any and all resources for that plan. What I would be looking for additionally in that plan is the inclusiveness of all our students, even those who chose to remain online learners.


Tiffany Shultz - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

I have every bit of confidence in our teachers. However, some students may need assistance and developing an action plan right now instead of being reactionary will be important. It is important to create a team that can provide resources for parents and students that support individual needs. I believe that students are learning to adapt and overcome during this time which provide important life skills. But I recognize that each student reacts differently, and a one size plan will not work for all. The most important action is anticipating and starting to act right now to develop support.


Greg Wojtovich - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

I’m honored to report that Higley Unified School District (HUSD) students have already risen to these challenging times with over 95% of our students able to participate in online learning this Fall. As a district, we are working on accommodating those students who need additional resources to be successful.

Our teachers have risen to the occasion by embracing new ways to do what they have always done– positively engaging with students in their classrooms, virtual or otherwise.

As a district, we are working to provide additional community resource lists for the students and their families that go beyond what our helpful counselors are able to provide.

I know that nothing can replace being with one’s friends and engaging in all the activities our district has been known for. We look forward to resuming those when it is safe to do so. At HUSD, we know that even though we are alone, we are in this together and will work tirelessly to ensure all students succeed.



What are the top two (2) priorities you would push to accomplish during your term as a member of the Governing Board? How will these priorities further the advancement of education and the schools within your district?


Michelle Anderson

a. There needs to be an audit and possible change to the current staff evaluation procedures and tools. I would also like to suggest the addition of educators (and other staff) having the opportunity to evaluate their Site and District Administrators, like other career fields do. Improving the evaluation process and tools will provide a more consistent, thorough, and honest representation of staff qualities, leading to improved relationships, staff morale and retention.

b. There needs to be more attention to funding and staffing of the Special Education Department. Student accommodations need to be met, but the district is struggling (and sometimes failing) at providing the staff and resources for the student’s academic and personal success. Following and funding the student’s Individual Educational Plans, 504’s and other recommendations will enable the students to properly progress through their K-12 years and better equip educators to provide the instruction and resources necessary for the student’s success.


Michelle Bugg

a. Community engagement @ all sites in HUSD – Stakeholder utilization & accountability

b. Superintendent developing/engaging members of their cabinet through the development of policy and procedure.


Kristina Reese - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

The two priorities for me is strong leadership and student focused decisions. With strong leadership the district will have solid policies, procedures, practices, and accountability. When we have those things, we can easily focus on what is best for our students and their needs. When making decisions about our offerings, we need to ensure everyone is getting what they need. I have been working for the past 8 years to improve the options for those students who want to graduate and go into the workforce. We need to ensure they have assistance, guidance, and support when making these to decisions.


Tiffany Shultz - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

• Consistent and Broad Education Opportunities
By developing broad and consistent opportunities through advanced technology, life skills courses and non-traditional learning environments across the district which will only lead to a diverse, well-rounded children and future work force.

• Teacher and Staff Retention and Support
It is important for all teachers and support staff to feel heard, supported and appreciated. The support staff should feel their role is important and beneficial. They should be adequately compensated for such. Teachers should be given additional training especially with technology in a proactive manner. The district programs and overall learning environment will improve.


Greg Wojtovich - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

College and Career Readiness:
My experience as a Career Advisor at Chandler-Gilbert Community College allowed me to see the big picture as we assist students’ bridge from education to the job market, I see the vital role education plays in creating a brighter future for our young people and their families every day. I know the value businesses place upon having an educated workforce and the prosperity it brings to a town when a business chooses to locate in the area. A strong educational foundation is the way to keep our students moving forward toward a better future.

Technology:
Our world is getting smaller and it is important that our students have the skills / tools to safely connect to the work through technology. It is important that we begin to teach our children at an early age how to navigate the internet with precision and ease to become a positive digital citizen into the future

Given recent events, the health and safety of our students, teachers and staff is my highest priority. All the other priorities mentioned above come a close second


What issues do you see with the current system of funding education in the State of Arizona? What changes, if any, would you propose be made to the current funding system?


Michelle Anderson

The districts are not funded to properly pay staff or fund learning. There needs to be reserves put into place to address the constant changes to state policy and funding. When funding is not appropriate, there is deficiency in efficiency and communication. Our state leaders need to stop holding our district funding hostage to state test scores. We should use national college and career assessments and achievements to evaluate districts. Those scores can follow a student’s next steps after high school.


Michelle Bugg

The system is archaic/flawed. It would have to be rebuilt form the top down – It would take leadership to initiate change.


Kristina Reese - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

The state funding system is archaic and needs updating. For almost 40 years, Arizona has used the same funding model. We fund prisons and inmates more than we fund students and schools. We need to get the schools involved with a complete overhaul of the system. This is not something can be resolved at the local school board level. Our lobbyist that represent school districts will continue to put this as a priority to work with our state elected officials.


Tiffany Shultz - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

I am extremely passionate about public schools and the disproportionate funding provided to charter schools. Charter schools are not held accountable and continue to receive government funding. I would propose that charter schools do not receive the same funding as public schools but if they did, need to follow the same rules.

Teacher and staff funding need to be greatly improved. If we want to have a successful future workforce, we need to attract top teachers and we need to have a substitute teaching “pool” available to continue education when teachers fall ill etc. Overall funding should be completely overhauled.


Greg Wojtovich - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

An educated workforce both attracts and retains businesses to a state. With healthy commerce, there are jobs and opportunities for its communities and everyone thrives.
Currently, Arizona is missing opportunities by consistently funding our schools as it did over 12 years ago. As a state, Arizona ranks 47th in per pupil spending. On some metrics, we fare even worse. Everyone wants to fix the problem. Legislators change laws, but they don’t fund those changes. This means districts don’t even have the funds to train the teachers on new mandates or make the purchases needed for implementation. Education funding needs to be addressed at the state level and it needs to become a higher priority in the state’s budget. I propose it’s time we realize that our students’ success is the key to our state’s ability to grow and thrive.


How would you propose to interact with your constituents (including the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce) to ensure that they understood what was happening at the Governing Board level and had an opportunity to voice their opinions?


Michelle Anderson

The school district Administration and Governing Board need to involve constituents through community-engaged processes like town halls, surveys, public meetings, committees, and councils. Although constituent input and involvement can be exhausting, intimidating, and divided, our community members are stakeholders in the school district and their opinions and experiences are valuable to the decisions for the direction of the district.


Michelle Bugg

At this point – I’m not sure. There is always an opportunity for constituents communicate with Governing Board Members through normal channels. Ie: email and phone. Currently, Governing Board meetings are live streamed. Many things that happen at the District level and discussed in Executive Session – those items are not discussed outside of closed doors.


Kristina Reese - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

I am always available and accessible to the constituents of our district. I am willing to speak to them via phone, in person meeting, email, casual community events, etc. to give them a voice in our schools. The Good Government series where our district and Gilbert Chamber continue to work together for our communities. The annual meetings with Town of Gilbert officials have proven to be extremely beneficial in understanding the needs of our schools and community.


Tiffany Shultz - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

I would work extremely hard to proactively communicate through a variety of channels such as social media, school meetings, event attendance, emails and outreach. I have been asking for feedback currently and will continue to build a list of items important to parents, teachers and staff. The Chamber’s Business Education Committee would receive direct communication from me on a regular basis. In addition, I plan to keep a regularly updated social media page that I can communicate to parents and receive feedback. It is my desire to have open meetings that is welcome of all ideas and feedback.


Greg Wojtovich - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

Making sure constituents understand what our schools are doing and why it matters for students is one of the most import jobs of a school board member. There is nothing I love better than hearing from people interested in our students and our schools. People are busy and may not have time to view school board meetings or even read the current happenings on each school’s webpage. In addition to speaking with me at chamber events and district-sponsored business breakfasts, I am also out in the community. I enjoy talking with people about educating our students and would welcome anyone who wants to stop and talk. If you don’t happen to see me out supporting our local businesses, you can reach me with your support, praise or concerns following my many social media options.