THE FINAL NINE: County Superintendent interviews candidates to replace outgoing Mingus School Board member Robb Williams

COTTONWOOD – Filling Robb Williams’ seat on Mingus Union High School District’s governing board will be no easy task, as Yavapai County School Superintendent Tim Carter announced Tuesday that nine candidates have applied for the opening.

Candidates to replace Williams are Bob DeGeer, Steve Gesell, David B. Gray, William Grosz, Neil Manzenberger, Lisa Peterson, Kim Rice, Gary Wagner and Eric Wyles.

Following Friday’s interviews, Carter will be available to the public from noon until 2 p.m. at Mingus Union High School’s district office, located at 1801 E. Fir St. in Cottonwood.

The district’s residents are encouraged to provide comments in person, or if they cannot attend the July 28 meeting, by email to, or by text or phone at 928-925-6560.

Carter said that he will appoint Williams’ replacement by Monday, July 31 for a term to be valid through Dec. 31, 2018, meaning that seat would be up for election in November 2018.

Meet the candidates to replace Mingus Union’s Robb Williams

Bob DeGeer

Bob DeGeer is married, with four grown children who graduated from Mingus Union High School. A Cottonwood resident for many decades, DeGeer served in the United States Army and is a retired State Farm insurance agent.

DeGeer earned his Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, and has served on the Board of Directors at Verde Valley Christian School, the Cottonwood Ditch Association, and the Verde Valley Water Users.

Steve Gesell

Married with three children, including a freshman at Mingus Union High School, Steve Gesell has been a Cottonwood resident since January 2016, when he accepted a position as Chief of Police with the City of Cottonwood.

With 27 years in law enforcement, Gesell has a Bachelor Science in Justice Studies from Arizona State University and a Master of Science in Educational Administration from Northern Arizona University.

David B. Gray

A Clarkdale resident for many decades, David B. Gray is married with five grown children.

Gray is a retired social studies teacher from Mingus Union High School (1974-2016), and currently serves as an enrollment specialist for Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters.

From Northern Arizona University, Gray holds a Bachelor of Science in both history and political science.

William Grosz

Parent of two grown children, William Grosz is a Mingus Union High School graduate, as well as a Cottonwood resident.

Having attended Yavapai College, Arizona State University, as well as and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Grosz owns a small business.

Neil Manzenberger

A Cornville resident for the past 14 years, Neil Manzenberger served in the US Air Force before he began a 42-year education career in Indiana, Cottonwood Oak Creek School District and the Yavapai County Education Service Agency.

Retired since 2014, Manzenberger earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education and a Master of Science in Education from Ball State University, and has been a board member of the Arizona Technology In Education Association, as well as the Yavapai Symphony Association.

Lisa Peterson

Lisa Peterson is married to a Mingus Union High School graduate, with two children, one a sophomore at Mingus Union and one an eighth grader at Mountain View Preparatory.

Peterson and her family have lived in Cottonwood for the past 14 years, and operates the Sears outlet and Kitchen Tune Up. Peterson, with an Associate of Arts Degree in Education from Mesa Community College, is also secretary-treasurer of Cottonwood Little League and past secretary of the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce.

Kim Rice

A Clarkdale resident since 2004, Kim Rice has worked for Camp Verde, Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Sedona-Oak Creek school districts in a variety of educational capacities.

Rice earned her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Arizona State University, as well as her Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University.

Rice also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Verde Valley Sinfonietta.

Gary Wagner

With a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota, and a Master’s Degree from Colgate Rochester Divinity School in New York, Gary Wagner is married, with two children who attend Mountain View Preparatory.

A Cottonwood resident for the past 13 years, Wagner worked for more than 40 years in education and currently serves as president and CEO of Rainbow Acres in Camp Verde, as well as on the Verde Valley Regional Economic Organization’s board.

Eric Wyles

Mingus Union High School graduate and Cornville resident Eric Wyles is project superintendent of Mesquite Hills Subdivision for Lawler Construction, as well as a former school board member for Cottonwood-Oak Creek.


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