• Significant Events in ABEC's History

  • 2002-2003

    • Articles of Incorporation filed; founding board established
    • First executive director hired; strategic plan developed
    • Office established in Motorola, a member company


    • Worked to improve follow up of Prop 301 by building consensus on legislation to establish a Performance Based Compensation (PBC) oversight committee
    • Received $300,000 US Scholars grant from US Dept of Education
    • Launched the Arizona Academic Scholars Initiative, a statewide effort to increase rigor in course taking and advocate increasing Arizona high school graduation requirements
    • Hosted the first ABEC Legislative Reception


    • Created ABEC Principles of Agreement, consensus in school finance, student achievement, accountability, and teacher quality
    • Hosted first Crash Course in Flagstaff
    • Convened public engagement forums on high school reform in 11 communities, statewide
    • Launched websites azacademicscholars.org and testingaz.com
    • Became state affiliate for Just for the Kids, a national website on school-based data
    • Hosted Arizona Academic Scholars Day at the State Capitol for 150 high school seniors


    • Accepted as state affiliate for National Alliance of State Science and Math Coalitions (NASSMC)
    • Inaugural conference convened, “Igniting the Spark”
    • Produced report “High School Reform: A Community Response”


    • Partners with the Arizona State Board of Education  on statewide integration of Arizona Academic Scholars
    • Received a $225,000 grant from the Arizona Board of Regents to continue and expand the Arizona Academic Scholars Initiative
    • Presented the Arizona Academic Scholars Initiative at the national NASSMC conference
    • Received a $35,000 grant from Arizona Community Foundation for a series of public forums on school finance
    • Convened business/education meeting for US Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings


    • Influenced the Arizona State Board of Education vote to raise graduation requirements
    • Launched School Finance Reform initiative
    • Received a $35,000 grant from the Kettering Foundation supporting the process of convening public forums
    • Selected Leader of the Year in Public Policy for Education by Arizona Capitol Times
    • Launched “Best Practices in Business-Education Partnerships with Partnership” Initiative and award program
    • Moved offices to Sundt Construction facility , its present location
    • Launched Shadow the Super program, pairing superintendents with legislators


    • Convened nine public engagement forums on school finance, statewide
    • Launched the first business-education symposium
    • Hosted the first business-education golf event
    • Received “Award of Excellence” from the Arizona School Public Relations Association

    “ABEC understands that any effort to effectively improve Arizona’s education system will require a slow, but deliberate process combined with the diligence of educators and the business community. Through such efforts, Arizona will enhance its competitiveness economically with a highly skilled and knowledge-based community of residents who are able to seek and live their full potentials, thus improving the quality of life for all Arizonans.”
    ~ Gilbert Public Schools in its ASPRA nomination of ABEC


    • Released the much-anticipated school finance recommendations aimed to improve Arizona’s public K-12 school funding system.
    • Launched the Arizona Middle School Career Exploration Pilot Project with Phoenix Elementary School District and Lowell Elementary School.
    • Successfully completed the Arizona Academic Scholars Initiative, encouraging the “average” student to take a more rigorous course load while in high school – a direct influence in the policy change to increase graduation requirements.
    • Created ABEC Overview brochure, replacing the annual Year in Review.


    • Prepared for launch of the AZ Higher Performing Schools Recognition project 
    • Convened business  & education leaders for Jim Shelton, Assistant Secretary, US Department of Education; for breakfast with PEW Center on the States; for lunch on the lawn with 35 legislators
    • Hosted the Annual conference, doubling attendance from the previous year
    • Legislative Connection was the most successful ever, with over 150 business, education and our elected leaders in attendance


    • Launch of the AZ Higher Performing Schools Recognition project
    • Convened business & education leaders for lunch on the Capitol lawn with 53 legislators
    • Convened business & education leaders for Tony Miller, Deputy Secretary, US Department of Education


    • Launched the Business-Education Partnership Symposium


    • Convened County Business Summits on Education across the state
    • Hosted by-monthly ABEC Legislator Work Group lunches at the Capitol
    • Middle School Career Exploration culminates with five Career Camps