IVAN ALFARO The Chandler Arizonan



Students in OR grads of Kyrene schools: 4

Occupation: Executive director at a national learning company.

Years in district: 11 Years

Educational background: A.A., Mathematics/Spanish (MCC); B.S. business administration (UOP); M.Ed., learning design & technologies (ASU)

Community involvement: Community/Superintendent Council, (Kyrene School District); Parent/Superintendent Council (Kyrene School District); Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students); Boy Scouts of America.

What top three skills would you bring or do you bring to the board? Focus: I believe an effective school board member commits to a vision of high expectations for student achievement and quality instruction and establishes clear goals toward that vision. I have strong beliefs and values about what’s possible for students and their ability to learn, and of the system and its ability to teach all children at high levels. 

Experience: My professional experience has helped me acquire and develop unique views and values-based perspectives on education. From my current and previous roles in executive management positions to consulting for large school districts across the country to understanding and empathizing the plight of teaching, I hope to lend my experiences to deepen the dialogue needed for decision making. 

Empathy: I empathize and understand the emotional viewpoints from both a personal (immigrant and low-income student) and parent perspective for children with learning hurdles that require special programming. I believe empathy helps a board member become more emotionally accessible, with an ability to listen and respond honestly and optimistically with their constituents.

Why should voters vote for you? My interest in serving our educational community is genuine and forthright. As a parent of four children attending Kyrene schools, I want the best educational experience for my and all children. I want to contribute my representative voice to help set a strong vision that all students, parents, teachers and community members can be proud of. I am eager to listen, learn, and embrace challenges we face as a district as opportunities for innovation and growth. 

Has the pandemic affected your view of a governing board’s role in general? If so, how? Yes. Because of COVID-19, I think the past several months have been the most challenging and emotionally demanding time for a school board member. The importance and gravity in critical thinking, decision making, and communication has never been so great. The magnified challenge is synthesizing perspectives from constituents (parents, teachers, community members, etc.), analyzing data and developing guardrails ensuring the safety, equity, and continuity of strong teaching and learning within our district. 

Assuming COVID-19 will be with us indefinitely, does Kyrene need to do something it isn’t doing now to ensure a quality experience for students over the next four years:

1) Where academics generally – and preparation for high school specifically – are concerned? I believe Kyrene must continue to focus on systems and structures supporting performance (learning) and student achievement. Academic regression (learning loss) will exacerbate inequalities our students currently have and are incurring. I believe the achievement gap for our students will widen, impacting our most vulnerable students (special ed, speech & language, learning differences, etc.) and students are likely to enter school with more variability in their academic skills than under normal circumstances.

2) Where students’ social-emotional wellness is concerned? Research shows that mental health and academic achievement are linked. The pandemic may worsen existing mental health problems and lead to more cases among our students because of the social and emotional hindrance caused by COVID-19. A focus on communication and relationship building between students, teachers, and parents will be paramount.

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