Education Expert David Garcia Swinging Through Payson


A local Arizonan, David Garcia, born and raised in the state and a product of its public schools, has decided to throw his hat into the candidate ring for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Rim Country residents may come out to meet him at 6 p.m., April 16 at the Payson Public Library meeting room.

On his website, (, Garcia threw out a challenge to the current State Superintendent John Huppenthal, “If Mr. Huppenthal has neither the will nor the expertise needed to help our public schools, then it’s time he step aside and let a qualified educator get to work.”


David Garcia

Garcia opposes the robocall Huppenthal sent out to suggest taxpayers donate to the private school voucher program. Similar to the Credit for Kids tax credit that allows an individual to donate $200 per person to public schools, the private school tax credit allows individuals to donate $500 per person to private schools and deduct that amount from their state income tax bill.

Garcia said the Superintendent of Public Instruction should not so blatantly support private education. In an interview with, Huppenthal said he is the Superintendent of Public Instruction, not Superintendent of Public Schools.

“Public schools have failed a significant portion of our population, and they have failed them completely,” said Huppenthal in the interview.

But Garcia said the state has cut $1 billion from the budget for K-12 schools, contributing to reductions in music and art programs, career and technical education, early childhood education, and services for at-risk kids.

Garcia currently works at Arizona State University in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College teaching courses in research methods, data analysis and statistics.

He has an undergraduate degree from ASU (where he was voted ASU Man of the Year in 1993) and a master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in Education Policy, Research and Institutional Studies.

His website said during his career, he served as state Associate Superintendent of Public Instruction for Standards and Accountability for the Arizona Department of Education.

He also served as a research analyst for the Arizona State Senate Education Committee and as a peer consultant for the U.S. Department of Education.

Before all of his jobs in education, Garcia served in the U.S. Army Infantry as an expert marksman. He earned the Humanitarian Award and the Army Achievement Medal, while training as a nuclear, biological and chemical warfare specialist.

He has written numerous articles, book chapters, and position papers for groups such as the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at ASU, and the Arizona Humanities Council.

Garcia is married to Lori A. Higuera, a director at Fennemore Craig, P.C. They have two daughters currently in public school.


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