• 2020 ABEC Annual Conference



    "The content of this conference is amazing!"

    “Heather, thank you very much for describing the need to bridge the silos between education, food, health, housing and other areas, and to take more systemic approaches to address inequities, workforce & other state challenges.” 



    Click here for Overview.   Click here for the Executive Summary Report.  Click here for the Integrated Vision of A Thriving Arizona visual.

    Click here for Day 1's recording.       Click here for Day 2's recording.     Click here for Day 3's recording.   




  • Day 1  Embracing Collaboration: We can do better for our kids. Why it is needed. What is the Vision and who is responsible?

    Who said:

    • The role of business is not to be challenged or to look at this as a problem. Business is obligated to engage public education.
    • Public Education is the economic engine of our state.
    • It will get different when we begin to organize ourselves differently.



    Wednesday, November 4, 10:30am – Noon

    @ 18:50           Welcome

                            Dick ForemanPresident & CEO, Arizona Business & Education Coalition (ABEC)


    @ 23:43           Eileen Klein Introduction

    @ 26:51           Eileen Klein’s opening remarks:  We can do better for our kids; Why it is needed. What is the Vision and who is responsible?

    Eileen Klein, former state treasurer and president emeritaArizona Board of Regents   

                            @40:26, and @44:09, Q&A with Eileen

                            @46:58 Ms. Klein:  What is COLLABORATION?


    @48:50             Panel Introductions


    Panel:               Kaitlin HarrierEducation Policy Advisor, 

                            Governor’s Office

                            @51:46 her opening remarks

                            @1:10:59 her response to this question:

    What did you hear this morning that you feel captures the vision of Gov. Ducey moving forward and what are your additional thoughts?


    Clint Harrington, President, Pilkington Construction

    @ 55:06 his opening remarks

    @ 1:37:36 his response to this question:

    How has Pilkington Construction responded to the challenge for businesses and schools to proactively work together for the benefit of the school, the company, and the greater community?  Based on what you have heard this morning, do you have any additional advice for other businesses that could help them further engage?


    Jake LoganPresident & CEO, Arizona Charter Schools Association  

    @56:30 his opening remarks

    @1:28:33 his response to this question:

    The Arizona Charter Schools Association represents over 700 public schools.  What key things did you hear from our speakers this morning and what role do you see Arizona’s Charter Schools playing as we all step up to the challenges?


    Joe Rubio, Lead Organizer, Valley Interfaith Project

    @58:44 his opening remarks

    @1:15:00 his response to this question

    Your organization is in multiple states and has a huge presence in Arizona.  With so many displaced workers and possible re-deployment options needed, where do you see the need to focus in 2021?  What can we all do to help?


    Dr. Greg Wyman Ed.D., Superintendent, JO Combs Unified School District

    @1:04:35 his opening remarks

    @1:19:45 his response to this question:

    Dr. Wyman, you have recently opined that districts like yours have been challenged to bring your parents, staff and communities together for the opening of schools and you have documented some real issues to resolve.  How do you see 2021 being different and what can we all do to ensure that 2021 is a success story for public education?


    Rachel Yanof, Executive Director, Achieve60 AZ

    @1:07:13 her opening remarks

    @1:33:00 her response to this question:

    How as Acheive60 been effective this last year and how better can we take advantage of Achieve60’s targets?


    @1:46:34         Lightening round with the panel



    Day 2  Embracing Collaboration: What can we do better for Arizona’s school children, communities, families and businesses in 2021?  How will Arizona businesses play a role in this and what role should they play?  Are we listening to Business leaders needs and how do we work together to best respond?

    Who said:

    If we can look at it that way, that we all have a unique way which we serve our students …when they need something. If we are serving our kids together it makes our differences a little less scary.


    Thursday, November 5, 10:30am – Noon


    @ 10:35           Welcome

                          Joanna Allhands, Editorial Board member and digital opinions editor, Arizona Republic and AZCentral.com  

    @ 15:50           Panel Introductions 


    Dr. Sheila Harrison-Williams Ed.D., Executive Director, Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA)

                            @16:42 her opening remarks

                            @43:29 her response to this question: School Governance and local control can sometimes get lost in the translation from statewide policies to actual implementation at the school district and site levels.  How is ASBA working to bridge some of these challenges moving forward to 2021 and what other ideas do you have to streamline our efforts for maximum benefit for Arizona’s school children?


    Wendy Miller, CEO, Challenge Charter School  

                            @19:46, her opening remarks

                            @54:41 her response to this question:  You are one of the original charter operators and have presided over a very successful school dealing with a large number of Title 1 students.  How do charter operations like yours get input to the big picture and what must we do better to support our individual schools?


    Joe ThomasPresident, Arizona Education Association (AEA)  

                            @28:30, his opening remarks

                            @1:02:16 his response to this question:  Teachers are the number one factor in a student’s success.  It does indeed take a team effort, between parents, staff, and even entire communities to support public education.  But what are you hearing from Arizona’s classrooms that we need to understand to make sure 2021 is a success story and incorporates teacher feedback?


    Karin Ward, Superintendent, Beaver Creek School District  

                            @33:30 her opening remarks

                            @1:15:41 her response to this question:  We never seem to fully anticipate the unique challenges of Arizona rural school districts.  When all is said and done, are you getting enough input to what happens next?  If not, do you have suggestions on how we can better incorporate the rural Arizona school needs into our collective efforts to work together?


    Dr. Heather Carter Ed.D., Executive Vice President, Greater Phoenix Leaderhip (GPL)

                            @36:49 her opening remarks

                            @1:23:58 her response to this question: Greater Phoenix Leadership has a long tradition of engagement in public policy.  Going in to 2021, how do you see GPL bringing valley leaders into the conversation on how our public education system moves on from this turbulent time?  Do you have specific initiatives you can share with us or advise us on?


    @ 1:40:43         Close of Conference with a quick review of the Chat comments.


    Day 3  Embracing Collaboration: What have we heard these past couple of days? 

    Friday, November 6, 8:30am – 10:30am


    @ 7:33             Welcome

                            Dick Foreman, President & CEO, Arizona Business & Education Coalition (ABEC) 


    @ 11:00           The Honorable Kathy Hoffman, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction

    • Resiliency and Collaboration are key
    • Task forces in place to address most pressing needs now, in 2021, and opportunities
      • Digital Divide challenges
      • Funding & Resources
      • Staffing & Recruitment
      • Professional Development
      • Learning Loss
      • Collaboration across the system
    • I am relentlessly optimistic for the future of public education in Arizona, 


    @ 26:26           Dr. Kristi Wilson Ed.D., Superintendent, Buckeye Elementary School District, ASA’s Superintendent of the Year (2019-2020), and President, American Association of School Administrators (AASA)

    • Positive Interdependence, Dr. Spencer Kagan, the “collaboration guru”
    • The ability to work well with others is the single most important employability skill.
    • “Our win can be your win.”  A loser creates a gravity that pulls on, overtime, even the biggest winner.


    @ 40:51           Introduction of Moderator and Response Panel.

    What we heard/learned (in the past 2 days) that really makes a difference and how can we best go forward in 2021 with respect to the lessons learned?  What are the key action steps you believe we need to be considering right now?

    Moderator:           Eileen Klein, former state treasurer and president emerita, Arizona Board of Regents


    @ 45:12           Dr. Debbi Burdick Ed.D, Superintendent, Cave Creek Unified School District

    • Focus on the goals, not the barriers
    • Commit to working together, a collective norm in order to collaborate
    • Leaders: take action and hold stakeholders accountable
    • Democracy: We are responsible for one another; expand our community mindedness


    @ 52:19           Dr. Steven Gonzales Ed.D., Interim Chancellor, Maricopa County Community Colleges  

    • Do not let the angst of the unknown override your efforts
    • Find a different route to where we are headed.
    • Our greatest challenge: leaders step up!



    @ 1:01:07        Dr. Paul Stanton Ed.D., Superintendent, Washington Elementary School District  

                            @1:02:25 terms and phrases we heard these 3 days

                            @1:08:07 “what I heard others say these 3 days”

    • Education is a right, not a privilege; everyone needs to get an education.
    • Maslow was right! A child cannot learn if their physical, safety, and emotional needs are not met.
    • Equity cannot be negotiated.
    • If we are talking about everyone moving up, then we can’t have winners and losers.
    • Is the focus on inputs and outputs out of balance?


    @ 1:17:03        James Swanson, President & CEO, Kitchell  

    Hear his thoughts and ideas on Prop208, funding for Special Ed, Kindergarten, poverty weight, progress meter, charter schools, tax credits, vouchers, 301, and moving forward:

                            @1:20:51 three imperatives we must do

                            @1:22:24 10 things we need to work on

                            @1:26:29 Jim’s aspirational idea


    @ 1:28:30        Final Thoughts

    Eileen Klein, former state treasurer and president emerita, Arizona Board of Regents   


    @ 1:32:53 challenge to conference attendees!











      Eileen Klein    





    Kaitlin Harrier     




    Clint Harrington



    Jake Logan  


      Joe Rubio



    Greg Wyman  



      Rachel Yanof













      Joanna Allhands



    Sheila Harrison-Williams  




      Wendy Miller



    Joe Thomas  



      Karin Ward



    Heather Carter  











      The Honorable Kathy Hoffman





      Kristi Wilson






    Debbi Burdick  


      Steven Gonzales



    Paul Stanton  




      James Swanson