President Feels Proud And Grateful


As I reflect on this last year as a school board member, I have a lot to be thankful for and proud of, and some things to be sad about.

I’m proud of the board’s choice in hiring Superintendent Ron Hitchcock. Ron was the favorite candidate and has spent the last year diligently raising the standards in our schools.

I’m thankful for the new board members, Jim Quinlan, Shirley Dye and Devin Wala. They all come from different backgrounds with a great mix of new ideas for our school.

The board appreciates the community for continuing to support our schools with Credit for Kids donations. This small community consistently donates to the district and the schools and students benefit daily.

It is a great relief to have a new roof on the old high school gym paid for by the School Facility Board. The gym is now hosting weight classes, P.E. classes as well as other sports practices and activities.

I am thankful for all the volunteers who give their time to make the schools a better place – the district is most grateful for their donations of time.

I am also thankful to the parent-teacher organizations that continue to raise money to fill in the holes of the schools and student’s needs.

I’m especially grateful that the district was able to show gratitude to its employees by giving them a stipend for all the hard work and dedication they have demonstrated. Their continued efforts ensure our students have the support they need to get the best education possible.

I am proud of the Payson High School Key Club for hosting a candidate forum for the prospective board members so the community could hear where they stood on the different issues.


Barbara Underwood PUSD President

I’m proud of Rim Country Middle School student Colin Nossek for winning the Gila County Spelling Bee contest and representing the district at the state spelling bee.

I’m proud of the Culinary Arts students who won the CCAP Awards with a total of $51,000! Because of this scholarship money, Levi and Autumn will attend Le Cordon Blue Culinary School.

I’m proud of the Thespian Club for receiving an Excellent rating at their competition and their Director, Kathy Siler being named Northern Region Theatre Coach of the Year.

I’m proud of DECA for winning nine 1st Place awards and 10 metals at the Arizona Central District Competition in business.

I’m proud of Marlene Armstrong from Rim Country Middle School and Payson High School for being named the Gila County and Arizona Rural Teacher of the Year.

I’m proud of the Payson High School Band for representing the district at the Pearl Harbor Memorial in Hawaii and marching in the Fiesta Bowl Parade.

I’m proud of the band’s Director Daria Mason for being named to the Arizona Music Educators Association Hall of Fame and winning the OM Hartsell Excellence in Music Teaching Award.

I’m proud of all our athletic teams that constantly make us proud whether they win or lose.

I’m proud of our outstanding teachers and staff who raise the bar for student achievement and for our students who continue to improve academically.

Above all, I am honored to serve and represent Gila County on the Arizona School Board Association’s Board of Directors.

Although all of the above mentioned events have touched my heart, the loss of three staff members: Linda Ansick, Christy Walton, and Amanda Johnson. The impact they left on our schools will remain with me the longest. The dedication and commitment that these ladies gave to our district will never be forgotten.


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