By Dr. Krista Anderson
Two years ago, I began the journey to find a school district that needed a leader who had experience in district and school improvement, specifically improving systems that impact student learning and expanding programs that engage students. After some research, I found a district with great potential that I believed would welcome me as part of the family and would allow me to use my leadership to bring out the best in students and staff.
I wish I could say that year one in my position was uneventful, but I believe we all know that is not accurate. Over the past year, AJUSD needed to make some tough decisions to create a school community that maximizes resources to ensure that every student has the knowledge and skills to achieve their dreams.
We knew our commitment to excellence would not be an easy journey. Our system was on a trajectory that included declining enrollment, challenges retaining and recruiting staff, concerns about financial stability and academic achievement results below the state average. I wish I could say that we see an uptick in these areas, but the reality is that it will take time to shift the system toward the positive outcomes that we all want for our children and school district.
My intent in writing this letter is to ask for your help – help to make Apache Junction Unified School District into the premier school district in the East Valley.
Like any other organization, AJUSD has made mistakes in the past, and chances are, we will make more in the future, but one thing I can promise you is that we will remain steadfast in our focus to make decisions based on what is best for the children in this community.
There will be times that we agree and times that our opinions will differ, and that is okay. Healthy discourse is a characteristic that we should all engage in and find solutions that are agreeable for all – keeping in mind that the overall well-being of our children will always come first.
Over the past 18 months, I have heard from many individuals that when this community finds a cause, they will pull together and make things happen. AJUSD is counting on this community to pull together and demand more for the children of this district. The children in this community deserve, and should expect that we provide them with opportunities for a bright future. It is our job as educators, parents and community members to provide a safe, caring, educational organization that will allow children to thrive, dream and achieve the future they envision for themselves. We are about opening doors for children. Please help us in this endeavor.
I am asking you to support our efforts to educate the thousands of children who reside in our district. You can show your support by highlighting the wonderful things happening at your child’s school or classroom with friends and neighbors.
Another way to show support is to reach out to your child’s teacher to let them know how much you appreciate their commitment to kids’ learning and how it has made a difference to your family.
Now, my favorite way to show support would be for you to tell us why you love AJUSD. Please show your support by going to our district website (www.ajusd.org) and click on “I Love AJUSD” to let us know why AJUSD is important to you.
Thank you for your ongoing dedication to improve educational opportunities for the children in Apache Junction Unified School District. You are appreciated!