Guest Commentary

Menzel: A look back at Scottsdale Unified’s 2022-23 year

Posted 5/20/23

It has been another banner year for Scottsdale Unified School District, with our students, staff and schools earning local, state and national accolades in academics, arts and athletics.

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Guest Commentary

Menzel: A look back at Scottsdale Unified’s 2022-23 year


It has been another banner year for Scottsdale Unified School District, with our students, staff and schools earning local, state and national accolades in academics, arts and athletics.


Four years in the making, Anasazi Elementary School is now officially an International Baccalaureate World School, completing SUSD’s K-12 IB loop.

Mountainside Middle School and Desert Mountain High School earned IB Middle Years Programme certifications in 2020, and Desert Mountain has offered the IB Diploma Programme of study since 1999.

Last fall, Cherokee Elementary School was named an exemplary, high-performing U.S. Department of Education National Blue Ribbon School for 2022. Fun fact: in 1988, Cherokee was Scottsdale Unified’s very first school to receive U.S. Blue Ribbon recognition. Six others have received the honor since then.


SUSD students have the opportunity to travel and perform around the state, nation and world.

Coronado High School’s orchestra earned superior ratings in New York City and Mohave Middle School’s orchestra took first place at Disneyland’s recent Music in the Parks competition.

The Arcadia High School marching band competed in both the AzMBA and ABODA, placing first in the AzMBA division 1A championships and receiving captions in music, visual, general effect, and auxiliary, and second place in the ABODA division 3 championships, with captions for visual and auxiliary.

Additionally, the district celebrated 27 all-state high school musicians and 39 of our high school theatre students, both on-stage performers and behind-the-scenes career and technical education design students, were recognized at the Central Arizona Thespian Festival.

Three SUSD high school theatre programs and their students are nominated for distinction at the May 27 ASU Gammage High School Musical Theatre Awards. Chaparral Theatre presented a play at the Edinburgh (Scotland) Festival Fringe, the world’s largest, annual performance arts festival.

  • SUSD students knocked it out of the park — some literally! — this year, demonstrating sportsmanship, respect and character while winning multiple state championships.
  •  Desert Mountain boys and girls tennis teams both won division I state championships and their top girls doubles team of Julia Frazier and Tessa Wachtel won the state doubles title.
  •  Chaparral High School’s girls soccer team won the 5A state soccer title.
  •  Desert Mountain senior Trent Wikel and sophomore RJ Robinson won division II state wrestling championships in their respective weight classes.
  •  Chaparral High School’s boys and girls swim and dive teams both won division I state titles. This is the first time in Arizona history that two teams from the same school have won the same title in the same year, and it is the Lady Firebirds’ ninth consecutive state title!
  •  The Desert Mountain girls swim and dive team earned its second consecutive division II state championship. Junior Gabrielle Primiano was named the division’s Swimmer of the Year; Crystal Strimple was named the division’s Coach of the Year. Desert Mountain senior swimmer Mathew Iverson received boys’ Swimmer of the Year honors for division II.
  •  Desert Mountain’s softball team also won the 5A State Championship.
    While the school year has come to a close, the accolades will keep coming for our SUSD students and staff, thanks to the support of our families, business/community partners and more than 2,000 classroom volunteers and chaperones.
Class of 2023:

This year, we salute 1,900 seniors who comprise SUSD’s Class of 2023.

  •  50 will graduate from Desert Mountain High School with an International Baccalaureate Diploma, as well as an SUSD diploma.
  •  44 will graduate from the Scottsdale Math & Science Academy based at Saguaro High School
  •  42 earned the Coronado Promise Scholarship
  •  7 National Merit Scholars (so far)
  •  1 Flinn Scholar
  •  1 Dorrance Scholarship winner
  •  1 Coca Cola Scholarship winner
  •  148 Arizona Department of Education Biliteracy Seals in five different languages
  •  76 Arizona Department of Education Seals of Arts Proficiency

To the Class of 2023, congratulations! My advice to you is to enjoy this time.

You have earned it and you are ready for what comes next. Continue to strive to impact positively your life and the lives of those around you. That is what it means to be a part of SUSD’s great Legacy of Success.