• Business-Education Partnership

  • 2013 K-12 Business-Education Partnership Symposium Highlights

    Convening Organizations:

    Arizona State Seal         ADE logo      ABEC logo



    • Arizona Governor's Office of Education Innovation
    • Arizona Department of Education
    • Arizona Business & Education Coalition



    The 3 R’s = Relationships, Relationships, Relationships were at the foundation of every presentation or conversation about partnerships at the Business-Education Symposium. Additional key takeaways included:

    • It’s not about money. Start with the open door, the relationship, thinking outside the box and eventually, the money will come.
    • Rural Arizona has its own unique challenges in finding business-education partnerships.
    • Partnerships must have measureable outcomes and demonstrate how they affect student achievement.
    • Translating the partnership into a business plan is important to the business community or funder.
    • Local, regional planning to continue discussion of partnerships that “move the needle” on student achievement is underway.


    SPEAKER:  Kathy Havens Payne, Senior Director of Education Leadership, State Farm Insurance

    [Download presentation]

    Highlight: State Farm relies on schools systems to help develop the future workforce it requires. Unskilled labor is growing, at the same time there’s a dramatic expansion the need for filling high skilled jobs. Businesses across the country recognize this shortage as hundreds of jobs go unfilled. Kathy described various business education partnership efforts including the Developing Futures in Education project of the GE Foundation [NOTE: Kelli Wells from the GE Foundation will be the featured speaker at the 2013 ABEC Annual Conference]. 

    A CONVERSATION: Partnerships – Are They Worth the Trouble?
    Colleen NiccumDirector Community & Government Relations, Raytheon Missile Systems
    Nedda ShafirCommunications Consultant, Arizona School Administrators Association
    Karin WardSuperintendent, Beaver Creek School District
    Rick MurrayCEO, Arizona Small Business Association

    Highlight: "Yes!" was the unanimous response. Partnerships are well worth the effort. The panelists identified both the challenges and recommendations. All partnerships begin with relationship building. Small, rural communities must relentlessly seek others as partners, including churches. Thinking about partnerships in a K-12 scope could provide businesses with many place to “plug in” and writing a business plan will help with funding opportunities.

    Sara J. BresnahanMarketing Communications, Lancio Partners LLC
    Dave HowellDirector of State Government Relations, Wells Fargo Bank
    Denise BirdwellSuperintendent, Higley School District

    Highlights:  Participants heard from both the education and business sides of the education:business partnership equation to learn how to go about building effective and sustainable relationships. The discussion included:

    1. The importance of identifying the goals and needs of both the business and school/district. Treat it like a marketing plan and know your audience and their needs.
    2. The diversity of partnerships.  No two partnerships look exactly the like.
    3. The importance of building partnerships at both the school and district level.
    4. The need to prepare a school or district to embrace the business and the volunteers they may bring. Do an audit. Is your school or district ready? What do you need to do to develop the right culture to support partnerships?
    5. Partnerships are time consuming but worth it when clear goals are set and the relationships are cultivated, nurtured and embraced.

    Jacquelyn JacksonExecutive Director, Tucson Values Teachers [Download presentation]
    Deb RaederProject Manager/Consultant, ABEC Middle School Career Exploration Project [Download presentation]
    Darcy RenfroVP & Director STEM Initiative, Science Foundation Arizona [Download presentation]

    Highlight: Panelists described three projects now underway around the state. Each is replicable and each has connections with business and education.

    Kathy Havens PayneSenior Director of Education Leadership, State Farm Insurance
    Terri ClarkArizona Literacy Director, State of Arizona [Download presentation]

    Highlight: Kathy Payne described the State Farm program, SLATE, State Farm Teaching and Learning Exchange, training business partners and getting them certified as substitute teachers. These subs would be used in the classroom on days for professional development for teachers. Terri Clark described the approach to training volunteers as tutors and expressed great interest in the SLATE  program.

    Designing a volunteer program focused on literacy
    Implementing a volunteer program focused on literacy

    Mary BaldwinManager Global Corporate Citizenship, The Boeing Company  [Download presentation]
    Rick MurrayCEO, Arizona Small Business Association (morning session)
    Paul SmileyPresident, Sonoran Technology & Professional Services (afternoon session)

    Highlight: Representatives from both large and a small business shared the ways in which they provided resources to the local school district.  Processes for business and school collaboration ranged from the formal request through a grant application to a simple phone call.   Business involvement included providing student internships, staff training in the areas of math and science, guest speakers and outright financial support for selected projects.

    SPEAKER:  The Honorable John Huppenthal, State Superintendent of Public Instruction

    Highlight: Superintendent Huppenthal spoke about the importance of partnerships, especially in the area of public policy.  He described the specific policy issue of education technology and urged that partners influence support for the development of the technology needed to support the implementation of the Common Core.

    Jeff SmithSuperintendent, Balsz Elementary School District
    Don SmithPresident and CEO, SCF Arizona  
    Barbara Ryan ThompsonExecutive Vice President & COO, Helios Education Foundation

    Highlight: Panelists emphasized that it’s not always about money. They suggested that all partnerships begin with building relationships, then may start with in-kind donations or volunteerism. As the relationship grows, money often follows. For business, they advised that partnerships be clear about their goals, their plan and how they will move the needle or measure their success.

    Resource Material:


    Eric BolzeDirector Engineering & Production, E2Innovations
    Greg DonovanSuperintendent, West-MEC
    Jill HicksCommunity Outreach Specialist, Washington Elementary School District

    Highlight: Eric described his interest as a father and an owner of a small business to be involved in education. The door opened to many opportunities as his relationship grew with the school and parent organization. Greg emphasized the connection between the Common Core and CTE programs, as well as the role business plays as advisors. Jill demonstrated that having a designated person in charge of outreach is important in developing partnerships.



    Regional Service Centers and school County Superintendents discussed local needs and opportunities as well as the next steps to increase local business education partnerships in order to advance college and career readiness:

    Region One (Apache, Coconino, Navajo)
    Region Two (Maricopa)
    Region Three (Cochise, Pima, Santa Cruz)
    Region Four (Gila, Graham, Greenlee, Pinal)
    Region Five (La Paz, Mohave, Yavapai, Yuma)

    Resource Material: Regional Map and Contact Information


    •    Arizona K12 Center
    •    Arizona SciTech Festival
    •    AZ Golden Rule Educational Experiences (AGREE)
    •    Be A Leader Foundation
    •    Edgenuity (formerly Education2020)
    •    Expect More Arizona
    •    Orcutt|Winslow Partnership
    •    Stand for Children


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