Yavapai County School Superintendent Tim Carter was asked to facilitate a process which has led to the appointment of a Verde Valley Advisory Committee that will communicate directly with the Yavapai College District Governing Board about the many educational issues of importance to valley residents.
The Yavapai College District Governing Board designed and approved an appointment system allowing the municipalities, the Yavapai Apache Nation, and the leaders of the unincorporated areas of Yavapai County to nominate candidates for his consideration. Carter was willing to use the same basic process he would use when making appointments to fill vacancies on school district governing boards thus, making the final appointments completely independent of Yavapai College.
The process called for the City/Town/Tribal councils and the two members of the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors to each nominate representatives of their community for consideration. The nominees each submitted a letter of interest and a resume. Carter reviewed the documentation and then interviewed each candidate for about an hour, with a list of common questions. At that point, Carter met individually, in person or by phone, with each mayor and councilor to get their input about the candidates and their plans for Yavapai College. The superintendent then made a selection from each pool of candidates to result in a seven-member committee.
The Town of Jerome attempted to identify residents who wished to be considered for the committee, with no one stepping forward. As a result, at this point, the town did not put forth any nominees.
Carter took eight days, spread throughout the month of October, to complete the process. In addition to speaking with the previously identified participants in the official process, since the Yavapai College 10-Year Plan was first introduced and approved, he has spoken with well over 100 Verde Valley residents about their thoughts related to Yavapai College's role in the community. He greatly appreciated the insights shared with him, and they all were weighted as part of his decision regarding the appointments.
Carter publicly stated at the beginning of the process, he would prefer "people who did not have pre-conceived opinions or an axe to grind and who would approach the topic from an impartial position with an open mind." He quickly found out many of the nominees held very strong views that parallel the thinking of the many "camps" that have emerged in regard to Yavapai College concerns. His final appointments reflect both the concept of being open minded to other ideas, while ensuring the views of those "camps" are represented.
Carter said, "Many well qualified candidates were nominated. All of them would have served with integrity and would have approached their duties with dedication and a sincere desire to resolve concerns. I believe the residents of the Verde Valley should be extremely proud that they had so many distinguished citizens who were willing to take part in this process. I was also extremely happy with the level of community involvement into the process. Local residents came forward in very large numbers to make me aware of their thoughts and concerns, both general and specific, which helped bring focus and clarity to the appointments. In total, these were the most difficult appointments I have made in my tenure as county school superintendent."
The appointees are:
Camp Verde: Amber Marchant-Lee
Amber holds three degrees from Northern Arizona University, including a Doctorate in Educational Psychology. She has worked with the Camp Verde Unified School District since 2002, currently serving as the District Superintendent. Amber meets monthly with all of the Verde Valley District Superintendents, the Dean of Verde Campus of Yavapai College, and the County Superintendent.
Clarkdale: William "Bill" Regner
Bill is a graduate of the University of Arizona. He is a member of the Clarkdale Town Council, where he serves as the liaison to Yavapai College and the Verde Valley Regional Economic Organization. He has experience as a member of the Yavapai College Foundation and is currently a member of the Friends of the Southwest Wine Center Board.
Cottonwood: Randy Garrison
Randy is a graduate of Yavapai College and Northern Arizona University. He has served on the Governing Boards of both Mingus Union High School District and the Cottonwood Oak Creek School District. He is currently a member of the Cottonwood City Council and is the city representative to the Northern Arizona Council of Governments. He is the webmaster of Fentek Industries, Inc.
Sedona: Paul Chevalier
Paul is a Navy veteran and graduate of both the Columbia University School of Business and the Columbia University School of Law. He worked with Carter Hawley Hale Stores and Montgomery Ward for almost 30 years before retiring to Sedona. He has chaired both the Sedona Community Foundation and the City's Arts and Culture Commission.
Yavapai-Apache Nation Leona Wathogoma
Leona attended Camp Verde High School and is a graduate of Yavapai College. She is a 24-year employee of the Yavapai Apache Nation, currently serving as the Johnson O'Malley Education Manager. She has three grandchildren who attend schools in the Verde Valley.
Yavapai County Supervisor District 2 (Thurman) Janet Aniol
Janet is a graduate of Arizona State University, and received her Master's Degree from Northern Arizona University. She retired to Rimrock after 30 years of teaching in the Phoenix Union High School District. She served in the Arizona National Guard for 21 years and is currently an officer on the Lake Montezuma Property Owners Association and Director of Beaver Creek Transit.
Yavapai County Supervisor District 3 (Davis) Carolyn Fisher
Carolyn is a graduate of Randolph-Macon and the University of West Florida. She retired from the United States Air Force as a lt. colonel. She lives in the Village of Oak Creek, and previously served as President of the Big Park Regional Coordinating Council and is currently the Director of the Sedona Literacy Center.
The appointments begin Friday, Nov. 7, when the committee meets for the first time at the Yavapai College Verde Campus, 601 Black Hills Drive, Clarkdale, Arizona, building G, room 105, at 10 a.m. for an orientation and organizational meeting. The committee will follow Open Meeting Laws and all of the meetings will be open to the public, unless posted by law as an "executive session."
If you have any questions, please call Tim Carter at 928-925-6560 (cell).James Perey, dean of the Clarkdale campus, has also formed an campus advisory group. This is an internal committee not subject to Open Meeting Law. Members include:
Daniel Wood Yavapai College student
Barb Davis, Yavapai College full-time faculty
Ruth Elsesser, YC adj. faculty
Heather Mulcaire, Cottonwood, YC Student Success
Dan Mabery, Cottonwood, broker for Coldwell Banker-Mabery Real Estate
Carol Rifon, Clarkdale, SRMG HR
Paul Tighe, Cottonwood, Mingus Union HS Superintendent
Bob Weir, Camp Verde, HS Principal
Jennifer Wesselhoff, Sedona, President /CEO chamber
Lisa Sandoval, Yavapai-Apache Nation, Higher Education Manager
Eric Marcus, Cornville, Executive Director/SEDI
Sue Maiden, Verde Valley Medical Center, VP of nursing