The Litchfield Elementary School District governing board soon will have a new member appointed to round out the five-member body. The seat was left vacant in August after Dr. Tara Armstead resigned mid-term citing treatment from colleagues and district administration. Because the vacancy happened mid-term, Maricopa County Superintendent Steve Watson will appoint the new member, who may choose to run for election in 2022.
Click here to read more detailed coverage of the questions and answers forum, including candidates' stance on teacher shortages, student achievement, budget allocation and the district's COVID-19 policies.
Sandra Creta graduated from law school in 1997 and has since been involved in due process cases for districts, teachers and students. She is a managing member at Creta Law Firm. She said she has been involved with the district for about eight years, and has two children currently enrolled in LESD schools. She has been a part of district parent-teacher organizations and served on the board of the LESD Educational Foundation, which helps to raise money for district teachers and staff. Creta is a native Arizonan and both her parents were educators. She applied for a spot on the board in 2016 but was not selected. “I love the district, I am very concerned...about its future, and about its students," she said.
Creta said that if appointed she will work hard to recruit teachers and staff to create a workforce that is “representative of our community.” She also wants to give kids a reason to come to school every day. “School was fun for me as a kid. We had band, we had dance, we had music, we had art," Creta said, "Unless you grab those kids early and...give them a reason to tolerate school, you’re gonna lose them." Creta said she will advocate ensuring facilities are “up to snuff,” such as air conditioning units in classrooms.
Ren Fahey is a Litchfield Park resident and has been a teacher for 26 years. He currently works at the Laveen School District as a fifth-grade teacher. He has a master’s degree in school administration and leadership. Fahey has four grandchildren and said at a Sept. 30 candidate Q&A forum that he has been considering a run for a school board seat for the past 15 years. “I think a teacher can be a voice of reason in these times,” Fahey said. “I believe as the school goes, so goes the community.”
Fahey said if appointed he will work to address student achievement gaps. “I’m about the test scores,” Fahey said. “Every year for a child should be a year that shows growth.” He also stated he would push for greater stability for administration, teachers and for students and increase parent involvement by helping parents better navigate the school system.
Michele Wallace is a Goodyear resident and was a teacher for nine years. She spent two of those years teaching in Michigan before she was recruited to teach in Arizona, where she eventually went to work at an elementary school in Tolleson. There, she served as the director of the school’s before and after program. She also worked in curriculum at Pearson, the educational publishing company. Wallace has a bachelor's degree in early childhood education and a master’s degree in educational leadership. She made the choice to stay home when her children were born but has since gone back to work in sales in heavy machinery. “I’m interested in being able to be a part of the school in a different way than teaching and hopefully offer the experience that I have through teaching and administration in this arena," she said.
Wallace said she will support teachers and help them access more training “so that they’re the best for their kids in the classroom.” She also wants to see greater student achievement and pledged to help allocate the district’s resources where they are needed the most.
Three additional candidates applied for the position but did not attend the forum, and their information is not available on the governing board vacancy page on the district's website. Their names are Teddy Castro, Dr. Dennis Dowling and Ryan Owens.
For more information on the candidates, go to https://www.lesd79.org/our-district/governing-board/becoming-a-school-board-member/governing-board-candidate-qa