In her 13 years at the Apache Junction Unified School District Office (DO) Roxann Leavitt has maintained a calm, almost Zen-like demeanor while responding to inquiries about paychecks and health insurance benefits. However, a quick glance around the office she shares with fellow payroll and benefits specialist, Cathy Tumerkan, tells another story. Humorous sayings, a toy school bus and two gnome statuettes (one of which apparently shares her love for riding motorcycles) share space with files, folders and family photos. The office provides insight into Roxann’s 26 years as an AJUSD employee.
The bus is a reminder of her previous job. Roxann began her AJUSD career in transportation as a bus driver at the whopping rate of $7.62 an hour. Her first route was a four-hour-per-day high school/Queen Creek route. “It was a short, but fun route,” said Roxann. “I could place an order with the Pork Shop, which was one of my stops, and my dinner meat was delivered to my bus the next day. I had a great bunch of students who made the route enjoyable.”
Over time, Roxann was able to increase her hours and drive longer routes. Her calm demeanor and fast thinking made her an obvious choice for a transportation dispatcher position. Later, she advanced to routing and transportation payroll.
In 2006, she applied and was accepted for an open position in payroll at the DO. She continues to love her job.
When she is not at work, Roxann enjoys planning family events with her children and grandchildren, such as entire family outings to area attractions such as the Odysea Aquarium, Sunsplash, Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Two out of her three children live in Apache Junction, and the grandchildren (who are old enough) attend AJUSD schools.
“My favorite thing about working for AJUSD is that my co-workers truly are family,” said Roxann, noting the same is true for both past and present. “Working at AJ was the perfect job as a parent of AJUSD students. The bus drivers watched out for my children while on their routes. They would let me know if my kiddos were spotted too far from home, or if they missed the bus. I know my children very much appreciated those additional eyes on them.
“My colleagues fed my family daily while I was recovering from an extensive surgery. I could never ask for better co-workers or bosses than those I’ve had while working at AJUSD in both transportation and in the district office.”
Roxann met her husband of 44 years, Tom, when she was only 11 years old. They grew up on the same block in Michigan. The couple married in Michigan and moved to Arizona in the early 80s. The Leavitts still live in the same house where Roxann had her first baby in 1981.
Whether she is reminiscing about her old bus route, roaring down the Trail on her Harley, or helping her coworkers navigate the payroll and benefits system, all roads lead to home. And for Roxann that means AJ and AJUSD.