MPS salutes two retiring long-time board members The Mesa Tribune | The Hometown Newspaper for the city of Mesa, AZ

MPS salutes two retiring long-time board members

December 16th, 2020 Mesa Tribune Staff
MPS salutes two retiring long-time board members


Mesa Public School officials last week bid a fond farewell to two Governing Board members who each have devoted 12 years to the nonpaying position.

Board President Elaine Miner and Steven Peterson are retiring and will be replaced in January by Lara Salmon Ellingson and Joe O’Reilly, winners in last month’s election along with incumbent Kiana Maria Sears.

A video featuring several community leaders thanking Miner and Peterson accompanied individual tributes by Superintendent Dr. Andi Fourlis, several other administrators, Sears and board members Jenny Richardson and Marcie Hutchinson.

Miner served on the board 1999-2007 and then returned in 2017 while Richardson has served three consecutive terms.

Fourlis said Miner “will be remembered for making decisions that are in the very best interest of students while supporting school leaders attentively listening to parents and community members about issues and visiting campuses, attending extracurricular activities and participating in countless special events.”

She noted that Minor was instrumental in bringing the Pawsitive Peers Foundation School program to the district, which allows trained staff and their dogs to counsel students.

Peterson “provided a calm demeanor, a positive attitude and ability to solve problems that served our community well and shared his business and financial acumen to inform decisions and make a significant impact to the current and future financial stability of Mesa Public Schools,” Fourlis said.

Richardson noted that Peterson elevated board members’ participation in high school graduations to an “art form.”

“He meets with those student councils through the year leading up to graduation,” she said, explaining that he advised them on how to achieve their financial goals “and then he helps figure out a way to help them get some funds to accomplish those goals.”

Both Sears and Hutchinson said they appreciated their two colleagues’ guidance when they joined the board in 2017 and 2019, respectively.

“You showed no distinction to me as a rookie,” Hutchinson  said. “You were very patient. You showed me the ropes you explained protocols, district precedent, what policy was and how important it is and you turned me in the right direction for connections that could make long term on the school board more productive….No one studied harder. No one read everything. No one kept up as much as you folks.” Hutchinson continued: “As Bette Davis would say, ‘it’s been a bumpy ride the past year’ with the override and the changes in the superintendency and COVID on top of it, but your wisdom, your steadfastness and your grace under fire has preserved the Mesa way.”

Sears praised Miner and Peterson for treating people “with dignity and respect” and singled out Peterson for a special thanks.

“I have appreciated when Steven has seen me through struggles with making decisions or wrestle with things. I appreciated his encouragement,” Sears said.

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