It takes all the right ingredients to give kids high quality education options.

It starts with innovators – school leaders who have found the best way to teach kids in their community. Who believe in what is possible – that every child can and will learn.

It takes policy makers who recognize these leaders, and who create an environment that empowers them to sustain and grow their work.

Against the odds, these trailblazers are creating and growing high quality learning opportunities for students in unexpected places.

Trailblazers in Public Policy

From the school board room to the Capitol, we continue to see bold leaders standing tall. Our inaugural class of Trailblazers in Public Policy champion the investments needed for great schools to grow. They cut through the red tape, giving teachers and leaders more flexibility in the classroom. They aren’t afraid of making tough choices in support of Arizona students. Congratulations to our honorees:

Senator Sylvia Allen, Legislative District 6

Representative Paul Boyer, Legislative District 20

Representative Drew John, Legislative District 14

Governing Board Member Roosevelt Elementary School District and Arizona School Boards Association President-Elect Lawrence Robinson

Trailblazer in School Leadership

Arizona’s best public schools are led by passionate and motivated leaders thinking outside the box to create outstanding schools for students in their communities. Amy Cislak is a dynamic principal with a passion for upending the status quo. Since she took the helm of University High School in Tucson, the magnet school has become the most diverse public exam high school in the country. Nearly 60 percent of her students qualify for free or reduced priced lunch, but that hasn’t stopped them from graduating more National Hispanic Scholars than any other high school in the nation and earning more than $34 million in scholarships. Her students show success is possible for all and UHS is definitely a model to learn from. You can find out more about this partnership in this Chamber Business News article. Congratulations to our honoree:

Principal Amy Cislak, University High School – Tucson Unified School District

Trailblazers in District-Charter Collaboration

In Nogales, we see a partnership defying convention. The leaders in Nogales Unified School District and Mexicayotl Academy serve the same students and the same community. These ‘A’-rated school systems collaborate on professional development for teachers, co-enroll AP Spanish students and ensure a strong transition for Mexicayotl eighth-graders into Nogales High School. They jointly celebrate these successful scholars as they matriculate to the likes of Stanford, Harvard, Notre Dame, all three Arizona universities and countless other colleges across the country. They have raised the expectations for all students in Nogales and their collaborative district-charter relationship is one to be replicated. You can find out more about this partnership in this Chamber Business News article. Congratulations to our honorees:

Nogales Unified School District & Mexicayotl Academy

These outstanding school leaders and elected officials are working toward a common goal of making high quality public school choices available to all. These individuals show us what’s possible—even in unlikely places—and they are paving the way to radically expand excellence. At A for Arizona we’re inspired by their work and are helping them do that even faster.