Carol Anne Teague
• Age: 58
• Years in Arizona/Verde Valley: 56. I was born and raised in Prescott and moved to Cottonwood with my son, Jason, when I was 17. I’ve lived in the Verde Valley for a total of 39 years.
• Professional (and military) history: I bought and trained and showed and sold quarter-horses and Arabians. I ran a chicken ranch for Banquet. I waited tables. I worked in the diaper baby room at a day care,. I bartended on the Sycamore Train. I cowboyed for cattle ranches. I was the Tree Whisperer for large orchards. 30 years ago I got my license to be a real estate agent. I’ve made my living as a real estate Broker working with the people of the Verde Valley ever since.
• Education: I’m schooled in and certified by the Arizona Association of Realtors® and the National Association of Realtors® in mediation, negotiating, ethics, professional standards, Diversity and Fair Housing and grievance procedures. I just completed 5 years of courses to obtain my SWAT Master Empowerment Coach certificate.
• Elective and Advisory Experience: I am an active volunteer with my local, state, and national Realtor® Associations. I regularly mediate disputes for the Arizona Association of Realtors® and have served as a member of AAR®’s Professional Standards Committee for over 20 years. I am an AAR® certified Ethics instructor, and I also teach Fair Housing. I’m a National Association of Realtors® Diversity instructor. I served on the Sedona Verde Valley Association of Realtors® Board of Directors for 7 years. I was a member, Secretary/Treasurer, Vice President, President-Elect, 2010 President, Past President and Past Past President. I was SVVAR®’s Realtor of the Year in 2006. I volunteered for 7 years with Yavapai Trauma Intervention Programs (TIP). I served on Cottonwood’s Historical Commission and was a Dog Park commissioner.
Question 1: How would you characterize the operations of Mingus Union High School? What are the district’s strengths and what are its most noticeable weaknesses?
Teague: I characterize the operations of Mingus Union High School as strong and stable. Please go to this link from the Arizona Auditor General and you’ll see why I say that: https://www.azauditor.gov/sites/default/files/Mingus_UHSD.pdf
Mingus’ weaknesses? There’s been enough snark about Mingus’ imperfections and a lack of attention towards what they excel at. Is Mingus perfect? No. Is Mingus aware of the problems and committed to addressing them? Yes.
Let’s look at the real issue. I see that the humans who work at Mingus are stretched way too thin. This is not a weakness – this is the reality of people pitching in to cover the jobs that have been vacated and not filled. The teachers and staff’s job descriptions are steadily ballooning as they struggle to cover jobs previously filled by people who are no longer there. See last Sunday’s Verde Independent article: https://www.verdenews.com/news/2018/sep/08/steady-funding-education-or-funding-now/
I see overwhelm because there is only so much time in a day. The icing on the cake is the drama and reckless bullying that they’ve been defending themselves against for years.
I see people who just want to do their jobs - teach our students and take care of business, which is what they signed up for.
Despite all this, Mingus was awarded the Arizona Education Foundation A+ School of Excellence award. US News and Reports has consistently rated MUHS in the top 20% of schools nationwide, based on performance on state assessments and on how well students are prepared for college. Let’s give them a pat on the back.
Mingus’ strengths: Our principal and assistant principal are long-time employees. Our teachers are committed to the education and the well-being of the students in the face of funding that doesn’t keep up with needs. Our community consistently supports our kids by voting “YES!” on overrides, thank you all very much! Our Administration keeps us strong in audits such as the one above. Almost half of our teachers hold advanced or Masters degrees – our Superintendent has her Doctorate. Mingus offers excellent and award-winning theater, art, sports, and vocational programs. These programs are often the reason that the kids continue to show up to school and we don’t lose them.
Question 2: Mingus Union has had 13 superintendents (including interims) in the past 25 years, including five in the past five years. Cottonwood-Oak Creek, by comparison, has had four superintendents over the past 25 years. What do you consider to be the primary reasons for this administrative instability at Mingus and has it been to the detriment of the high school’s educational mission?
Teague: Arizona is ranked 48th out of 50 states in per-pupil funding. This means that an administrator can be paid more AND have more money to spend within their schools by going just about anywhere else in the country. Mingus has traditionally been a resume-building stepping stone on the way to a bigger and better position. The article below says this beautifully:
Is this a detriment? Of course this is a detriment! This article states that it takes 5 to 10 years for a new superintendent to make an impact. This sort of turnover causes a school to be constantly playing catch-up. Again and as always, this is mostly about the funding coming from the State of Arizona.
Mitigating the superintendent turnover is the fact that our Principal Genie Gee and our Assistant Principal Allen Mitchell have been around forever, and thank God our Superintendent Dr. Penny Hargrove seems to have settled in for the long haul.
Question 3: What is your present/past involvement/participation with Mingus and other school districts in the Verde Valley and how does that experience best qualify you to serve the MUHS District?
Teague: My first experience with Mingus came from raising my two sons, both of whom went to Mingus.
My current involvement with MUHS comes from the fact that today I have three loved ones walking through the doors of Mingus every day. One of my sons who attended Mingus as a teenager is Mr. Teague, who signed up to be the art teacher and is now the art teacher, the online learning instructor and the Credit Recovery Program instructor at Mingus. My oldest grandson is a senior at Mingus and my oldest granddaughter just entered as a freshman. We have 5 more grandchildren that will probably be attending Mingus in the future.
I’m asking for your vote because we need a Board whose members are 100-percent committed to continuing to advocate for the Mingus students. These kids are our children, our grandchildren, our neighbors, and our community’s future.
I’m not a politician. I have Board experience but not School Board experience. I come to the Mingus Union High School Board as an open-minded advocate for the students. My only motive is to use my experience and skills to help Mingus be the best school ever for all of our kids. I love Mingus Union High School. I want to help it continue to excel and grow and get even better. That happens by putting our kids first.