TUSD Governing Bd. candidate forum on Sept. 29



Organizers have informed me that eight of the nine candidates seeking the two Tucson Unified School District governing board seats will be present at this forum. Only candidate Francis Saitta declined, as he has done the others.

Incumbents for these seats are President Adelita Grijalva (3 terms) and Michael Hicks (1 term), who are both seeking re-election this year. The other 3 board members up for re-election in 2016 are Mark Stegeman, Kristel Foster, and Cam Juarez.

Read my previous post  about the 9 candidates running in 2014: https://blogforarizona.net/whos-running-for-tusd-governing-bd-in-2014/ (with campaign websites).

And if you want photos/more info of the 9 candidates, check out political newcomer candidate Rene Bernal’s website: http://www.tusdsbernal.com/other-candidates.html

Tucson Education Association (TEA) has endorsed only incumbent Adelita Grijalva.

Early voting for the General Election starts on October 9, 2014.  Vote wisely on or before November 4, 2014.


  1. Tucson Weekly endorsement (10/9/14 issue) encourages voters to choose Jen Darland:

    “Tucson Unified School District

    These have been rocky years for the Tucson Unified School District. TUSD has seen big cuts in state funding, a rotating cast of superintendents who have come and gone, battles with the state over the Mexican-American Studies Program and a steady exodus of students to other districts and charter and private schools.

    In short, the district is a mess—and once again, voters in TUSD have to sort between nine candidates for two seats on the board.

    We’re going to suggest that you single-shot one candidate who stands above the rest: Jen Darland, who has worked tirelessly as a volunteer on so many campaigns to try to improve the schools that we can’t even count them. Darland is smart and possesses the kind of good judgment that we’d like to see applied to the TUSD board.

    We also urge you to ABSOLUTELY NOT VOTE for two of the candidates in the field: Michael Hicks, who is seeing a second term, and Debe Campos Fleener. Hicks has been an embarrassment to the district—just take another look at the ludicrous things he said to a “Daily Show” correspondent about magical burritos—and Campos Fleener would ally herself with TUSD board member Mark Stegeman. And we most definitely do not need that”.


  2. Thanks in part to your help in getting the word out, 100 people including high school students, regular citizens, and political people had the opportunity to hear all 8 candidates speak their minds and platforms on a variety of audience generated questions on many topics. We are extremely pleased with the turnout considering there was a governor debate, Monday Night Football and the season opener of The Big Bang Theory competing for attention. It was a well worth while evening. If people missed it, it is being posted on the TUSD website as a live-streamed event. Be knowledgable, and vote!

    • Yes, voters need to view the debate video and read the candidates’ campaign literature, before early voting begins on October 9th. Thanks for putting together this forum Georgia, on the eastside of Tucson.

  3. Over 80 people in attendance at this forum, moderated by Sunnyside School bd. member Daniel Hernandez, Jr. Two prepared questions to the candidates were what unique, interpersonal skills do you possess to help the functioning of the board, and which would be your priority regarding the present 5 year strategic plan? Questions from the audience were about why choose TUSD, whether or not to increase funding for music & art, list one thing to improve standardized test scores, support bilingual education or not, structured English immersion classes or not, support all day Kindergarten, greater involvement by neighbors and community members, how work with employee associations, and finally, if you had a magic wand, what would you change and what would you keep? Also in the audience tonight were the 3 other TUSD board members Mark Stegeman, Kristel Foster, Cam Juarez, Superintendent HT Sanchez, Councilmember Shirley Scott.

  4. Carolyn, when you mention two people who are running for the board position this year (Grijalva and Hicks) without mentioning the others, it puts the others at a disadvantage. Unfortunately many voters are swayed by name recognition rather than what the candidates stand for.

    • ok, here’s the list of whom else is running:
      Rene Bernal, Don Cotton, Miguel Cuevas, Debe Campos-Fleenor, Jen Darland, Betts Putnam-Hildalgo, Francis Saitta, besides the incumbents.

  5. Thanks Georgia for organizing this 9/29 forum for voters to meet & hear from the candidates for TUSD Governing Bd. There’s only been one other forum of this sort in late August. Otherwise, the voters have to rely on campaign websites and campaign literature to find out about the candidates.

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