In March 2014, a group of Avondale-Goodyear community members gathered to create a vision for a non-profit foundation to support the Avondale Elementary School District. This group included parents, business owners, former and current employees, government officials, and graduates of the District. They held a common desire to empower the students and staff of the District by providing opportunities for scholarships and honoring the excellent work of the staff in preparing students for the future. The vision came to life as “Creating Opportunities, Celebrating Excellence.” They saw the possibility of a non-profit foundation to be a catalyst for post-secondary learning by fostering student aspirations, leveraging partnerships throughout the community and providing support for the staff who directly impact the students everyday. This vision and mission provided the framework for the development of the Avondale-Goodyear Education Foundation. The Foundation became a reality with its first Board of Directors meeting on April 16, 2015.
Marcie Rodriguez President
Marcie Rodriguez is the Executive Director of Finance for the Agua Fria Union High School District, with over 20 years experience as an Arizona school district administrator. She served 7 of those years in the Avondale Elementary School District as the Executive Director of Business Services. She has a special place in her heart for the students of Avondale and Agua Fria and is committed to educational excellence and opportunity. She holds B.A. and MBA degrees from University of Phoenix and Ottawa University.
“I believe that all students should have an opportunity to reach their goals of receiving a higher education regardless of their economic status. I wholeheartedly believe in the mission of the Avondale-Goodyear Education Foundation – ‘creating opportunities and celebrating excellence’. Serving on the Avondale-Goodyear Education Foundation Board allows me to support the staff of the Avondale Elementary School District and help students achieve their dreams.”
Dr. Cathy Stafford Secretary
Dr. Stafford is the recently retired Avondale Elementary School District Superintendent with over 34 years experience as an Arizona educator. She has deep roots in the West Valley, residing in Goodyear, Arizona. She is Co-Founder of 2Wisdom’s Way, LLC, providing professional consulting and development as well as educational and personal coaching. She is also the Director of Wisdom’s Way School. She holds B.A, M.A. and Ed.D degrees from Arizona State University.
“I am dedicated to helping students achieve their post-secondary dreams and honoring the excellent work of the Avondale Elementary School District staff. Serving on the Avondale-Goodyear Education Foundation Board gives me the opportunity to create partnerships providing support for AESD students and staff. Come join me in our Foundation’s good work for the AESD learning community.”
Dr. Janet Beason Board Member
I’m an educator with degrees from Ohio State and Arizona State Universities. During my 50 years as an educator, I have taught in Caribou, ME; Izmir, Turkey; Omaha, NB; Evanston, IL; and Marysville, CA. I worked in the Avondale School District for 30 years as a teacher, computer coordinator, principal and assistant superintendent. Currently in my retirement, I supervise student teachers for Rio Salado College.
“I am excited to be part of the Avondale-Goodyear Education Foundation. The school district feels like family and home to me. It is a privilege to be part of this board and work as a catalyst for post-secondary learning for our graduates and to honor our hard-working and dedicated teachers.”
Dr. Kyann McMillie Board Member
Dr. Kyann McMillie has been a teacher, instructional coach and mentor, principal, and school district administrator. She believes that strong public education is critical for the children of our country and community. Dr. McMillie is the 2003-04 Texas Teacher of the Year and 2015 Rodel Exemplary Principal. She worked for the Avondale Elementary School District for eight years and firmly supports the Avondale Goodyear Educational Foundation.
Dr. Michelle Rojas Board Member
Dr. Michelle Rojas is a senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Rojas attended elementary and high school in the West Valley, and spent nearly a decade as a teacher and school administrator in the Avondale Elementary School District. She earned a B.A. in Elementary Education with an English as a Second Language endorsement, an M.A. in Educational Leadership, and an Ed.D. in Education Policy and Innovation from Arizona State University.
“While I was a teacher in the Avondale Elementary School District, I witnessed the deep commitment that staff, teachers, and administrators had to the students and families of Avondale and Goodyear. I want to recognize that commitment and support the work being done on behalf of kids. Serving on the Avondale-Goodyear Education Board gives me an opportunity to do that.”
Sydney Cyrus Board Member
Sydney Cyrus is the Marketing Director at CHASSE Building Team. With over 10 years of marketing experience, Cyrus graduated from Arizona State University with a BS in Visual Communication. As the prior Creative Director for 1MISSION, an International Nonprofit, Cyrus brings a wealth of knowledge surrounding graphic design, web design, and marketing. As an Arizona Native, giving back to Arizona schools is super important to her and loves putting her extra time and effort in the education system that got her to where she is today!
“I feel very lucky to work alongside the Avondale-Goodyear Education Foundation board members to create opportunities for students and celebrate the AESD staff. Being a community partner, I get to see the dedication from everyone I’ve met from the District and the Foundation and the time and effort they put forth for AESD students!”
Jill Schoettes Board Member
Jill Schoettes is the Director of the Community Education Department in the Avondale Elementary School District. Jill has worked for the district for the past 17 years, as a teacher and school administrator. Jill is a member of the Arizona Service Project that provides, free, essential, and effective home repairs to families in needs.