Our governing board consists of five community members who are elected to four-year terms. Working on a volunteer basis, the board members dedicate their time and considerable talents to making policies, establishing a budget, providing guidance, and ensuring the effective management and financial soundness of our schools.
We hold governing board meetings on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month at 5:00 p.m. These meetings, which are open to the public, take place in the Daniel Fontes Governing Board Room in the district office, located at 570 Camino Lito Galindo in Rio Rico. We encourage you to take a look at our current agenda and past board meeting minutes, which you can find at the side of this page.
John Hays was elected to the board in 2014. Raised in Texas and Arizona, John holds degrees in geology and planetary geology from Northern Arizona University and Brown University, respectively. He currently works for Santa Cruz County, Arizona, as floodplain coordinator. John also teaches part-time at the Nogales campus of Cochise Community College.
He and his wife, Mary, have two sons. The older attends Northern Arizona University where he is studying psychology, and the younger son attends Rio Rico High School where he is involved in jazz band, cross country, and track.
In his off time, John is an aspiring photographer, and he enjoys gardening, landscaping, rock and mineral collecting, cooking, crocheting, and woodworking.
Susan was elected to the board in 2009. She was born, raised, and educated in northern California. Susan spent years in the high-end specification market, working with architects, designers, and builders for new construction or remodeling. She and her husband relocated to Santa Cruz County in 2000. Knowing that the county had no similar industry, she looked forward to a career change.
Susan spent seven years in a variety of support staff positions in the Nogales Unified School District. Through that experience, she learned how a school district functions. She learned policies and laws that govern Arizona school districts. Additionally, Susan learned what role the school board should have in the overall scope of the district.
Susan left the Nogales USD when First Things First emerged; she has been there since 2008.
Joel was elected to the board in November 2016. He is serving his third term, having been elected in 2004 and 2010. He received his Bachelor of Science in Education degree with a major in social studies at the University of North Dakota, and a Master of Arts in Education with Administration and Supervision degree at the University of Phoenix. He retired in 2016 as principal of Pierson Vocational High School in Nogales, after 29 years of serving as a teacher, coach, and administrator. Joel currently holds an Arizona teaching certificate and Arizona administration certificate.
He is married to Olivia, and has two children, Alexis, an ASU graduate, and Kaeleb, a Rio Rico Hawk. Joel has been an active community volunteer. He participated in Rio Rico Clean Ups, Rio Rico Property Owners Association, HOA Association, Santa Cruz County Community Network Team, and Rio Rico Chamber of Commerce.
His governing board priorities:
Maria was elected to the board in November 2012. She received her bachelor of arts in political science/pre-law degree from the University of Arizona and received her master of arts in education and administration and supervision degrees from the University of Phoenix. Though now retired, she holds an Arizona teaching certificate and Arizona administration certificate. Maria has lived in Rio Rico since 1976. She is married to James and is the proud mother of Rachel and Robert.
After teaching for more than 30 years in Santa Cruz County schools, she has retired to focus on promoting student success within SCVUSD No. 35. Maria is beginning her second term on the board and her fourth year as Santa Cruz County Director with the Arizona School Board Association, advocating at the state level for student achievement and policies that will ensure success for all students. Her passion continues to be pursuing the success of the district's goals and vision — educating all students to meet our high standards and graduate as life-long learners.
The official posting sites for the agendas are: District office information board, Santa Cruz County School Superintendent's office, and this website.
We invite you to review the agenda for our upcoming board meeting, and we also hope that you will join us LIVE for our next meeting via the link below. The link will become active at the time of the actual meeting.
Upon completion of each meeting, the link will activate a video-recording of the meeting. We will post past recordings here for your convenience.
You can view past agendas by selecting from the list below:
Please take a moment to review the minutes from past board meetings: