Message from Dr. Finch
This has been a busy year for the Deer Valley Unified School District (DVUSD). After multiple awards of excellence and outstanding academic performance on the 2019 AzMERIT State tests, the task now is staying on top. With these outstanding performances this year and last, we are fully expecting to move into the number one position of KTAR’s “Best AZ School Districts” list from our current number two position. DVUSD also expects to remain on the Forbes “Top 50 businesses over 500 employees” list this year. If you add in the community support for the Bond and Override elections in November and the overall increase in student enrollment, the sky appears to be the limit for Deer Valley Unified! So, you are probably thinking, “what’s next?”
There are three issues that have been discussed at DVUSD for over a decade but have sat on the back burner: 1) balancing the High School regions through boundary changes; 2) Special Education improvements; and 3) specialty schools. In 2014, the Governing Board went completely through the boundary-change process only to see the recommendations stall at the last minute. DVUSD is on that same “balancing” mission again this year with completion of a phase-in plan to be announced in January of 2020 – stay connected to the process to provide your input and suggestions as we work together to maximize the use of our facilities (www.dvusd.org/Boundary2020).
The same can be said for the expansion of the continuum of services for special education: we’ve talked about it for years with little systemic change. We know DVUSD does an amazing job with special education students, but we can always improve. Last year, the Governing Board commissioned an external study who gave DVUSD a plethora of recommendations after interviewing and surveying hundreds of staff and parents. From this “Futures Report” four DVUSD work-teams were formed to examine the execution of the key proposals with a potential four-year phase-in plan to be launched in early 2020 as well.
With enrollment on the rise and competition for students on that same trajectory, DVUSD will move into the traditional school arena over the next five years. DVUSD hopes to repurpose one school in the south, north, and the central regions during this time period. Charter schools currently hold the traditional market and we believe DVUSD can excel in this environment because of our excellent track record of #extraordinary education and quality teachers with appropriate certifications in their respective subjects.
So, to answer your great question of “what’s next” from DVUSD, you can see that we are now tackling some systemic challenges that have sat dormant. If DVUSD wants to be listed as the best school district in all of Arizona every year, on every list, we need to improve in every area, every year; remember, as Jim Collins says, “Good is the enemy of Great!”
Dr. Finch is the Superintendent of Deer Valley Unified School District and can be reached at email@example.com.
About the Superintendent
Curtis Finch, PhD
Dr. Finch’s quest for educational excellence began at an early age in Alaska with his mother as a school bus driver and father as the school district’s maintenance director; the school system was the center of the community. As a young adult, Curtis utilized the long summer days to skipper a commercial fishing boat, work construction, and mine gold to pay for his college education.
Curtis received a BA in Secondary Mathematics, a MA in Administration, and a PhD in Education. Dr. Finch has spent 24 years in administration at the Middle School, High School, Superintendent, and ISD levels. He has received two state Winner’s Circle awards and a Region III Superintendent of the Year award. The past eighteen years as a Superintendent has afforded Curt opportunities to shape educational issues, testifying before the Michigan Legislature, the FCC in Washington DC, and serving on local, state, and national committees. He has also passed multiple school levies, recently securing a $40 million Special Education Enhancement Millage and later creating Meceola Technical College for vocationally training adults.
Dr. Finch is married to Angie and has a daughter who is a math professor and a son who is completing his eye doctor residency.