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Yavapai College is establishing a committee of residents from the Verde Valley to advise the college’s governing board.Students at Yavapai College study in the Verde Valley Campus’ library. Local towns are submitting candidates for the new Yavapai College Advisory Committee. Clarkdale has nominated Bill Regner and Ruth Wicks.

The move comes after complaints from some that the college wasn’t getting enough input from the Verde Valley.

Yavapai College alumna Diane Lovett and 16 Yavapai College students from the Verde Valley and Sedona campuses were honored at the college’s annual recognition event April 22 at the college campus in Clarkdale.Fifteen students received awards for their academic excellence, including Ashley Williams, Outstanding Student in English, whose award was presented by Terence Pratt, a Yavapai College English professor and Cottonwood city councilman.

The digital filmmaking class at Mingus Union High School has ramped things up over the past couple of years.Mingus Union High School’s Digital Filmmaking program recently had several of its students place in a MATForce video contest. First place winners are, front row from left, Bailey Stork, Nolan Powell, Eric Wilson and Nicholas Adams. Second place winners are Xavier Gonzales, Bradley Priser, Cameron Bloniarz, Nicholas Contreras and Zach Kline, back row from left.

To prove that investing in expanding the class has paid off, students in the program recently swept a video contest held by MATForce, a regional organization that works to combat substance abuse in Yavapai County.

Cadets from Yavapai College’s Verde Valley Fire Academy and students from the college’s EMT class teamed up with members from various local emergency response agencies to conduct a joint training Verde Valley Regional SWAT — made up of Cottonwood and Sedona police officers and Camp Verde Marshal’s Office deputies responded to a fictional gunman on Yavapai College’s Verde Campus in Clarkdale.exercise recently at Yavapai College’s Verde Campus, located in Clarkdale.

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal visited Mingus Union High School in Cottonwood for a question-and-answer town hall on the evening of Tuesday, March 4, the second of two Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal visited Cottonwood on Mar 4 to talk about the state of education in Arizona. Set up as a town hall, the second of two Q&As took place in Mingus Union High School’s cafeteria, following Monday’s Prescott meeting. The cafeteria was filled with teachers, administrators, parents and even students, who were commended for giving up a night and participating in the discussion.such gatherings in Yavapai County.

Allie Wheeler has called Arizona home ever since she moved here as a little girl.Allie Wheeler, of Rimrock, holds her son Dean Wheeler and her husband of eight years, Jake, moved down from Flagstaff about five years ago. Wheeler teaches fourth-grade math and science at Beaver Creek School. She also has three kids of her own, Alyssa, Luke and Dean.

Last Thursday, she was in Camp Verde, down from her home in Rimrock.

The new assistant principal and dean of students at Mingus Union High School plans to do whatever it takes to make the school a safe, secure environment for students.

“I want the students to feel safe and want to be here. The focus, no matter what it is, is on our students. When they feel safe and secure they learn better,” Allen Mitchell said, citing that he will work with teachers in the classroom, as well as walked the halls, the parking lot or even off campus.
Mitchell and his wife, Donna, the school’s new transportation secretary, are in transition moving to Cottonwood from north of Tucson. Along with them they brought their beta fish, which is in Mitchell’s office, and a Yorkipoo named CJ.

Mitchell was an athletic trainer and teacher of sports medicine and health at Marana High School. For the last two years at Marana, he was also the administrator on call.

“If one of the administrators was out, I would fill in until they returned,” Mitchell said.

Five years prior to Marana, Mitchell taught at Sinagua High School in Flagstaff.

He came to Mingus to fulfill one of his career goals — to be an assistant principal. It was the position he wanted next in his career path.

“I applied at several schools, and Mingus turned out to be a great fit. I’m thrilled to be here. It’s a terrific school and staff,” he said. “I plan to stay until I retire, which will be several years from now.”

The Mitchells are “RVing” at a park in the Bridgeport area as they await the sale of their Tucson home. As soon as the deal is complete there, they will look for a home in Cottonwood.

“We get wake-up calls from the roosters and the donkeys,” Mitchell said and laughed.

He is an avid fisherman having lived in the San Diego area while attending San Diego State University. He enjoyed deep sea fishing for tuna.

“Here I’m looking for some great freshwater fishing spots,” Mitchell said.
In the meantime, Mingus is his top priority dealing with the day-to-day discipline and attendance issues. His door is always open to teachers, students and parents, and his phone is always available.

“I appreciate calls from people to let me know what they think and how they think I can improve the school,” he said.

Mitchell was one of only two applicants Superintendent Tim Foist had come back for further interviews.

“He has a background of working with students in a different way than administrative that is very effective in his position,” Foist said.

He said Mitchell’s communication skills, particularly in the area of discipline, are very good when talking with students and their parents.
“By Allen’s track record here, I think he’s going to be very successful,” Foist said.

Mitchell can be reached at 634-7531.

Lu Stitt can be reached at 634-8551 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mingus Union High School District may need to increase its line of credit with Yavapai County to more than $2 million in order to meet payroll through September, MUHS Business Manager Kirk Waddle told the MUHSD board at its regular meeting April 7.

Waddle said sources at the state Legislature told him Arizona will issue IOUs to school districts instead of funding a quarterly payment due in April from the Arizona Department of Education. A payment due for the second quarter might not be funded as well, he said.

“The state has stopped paying us,” Waddle said. “So instead of giving staff IOUs, we’re borrowing money.”

Mingus_Logo_CMYKThe district’s financial statements for the last three years are under review by Chase Bank, which will decide whether the line of credit can be increased, he said.

“This is a terrible time to be trying to borrow money,” board member Andy Groseta said, expressing concern the district’s outstanding debt obligations could hinder future borrowing.

“It’s a dilemma, but we’re not the only school in this position,” Superintendent Tim Foist responded. “We’ve done so much better at managing our money than so many other schools around the state.”

Despite budget cuts of nearly 30 percent during the last two years, the district has managed to maintain important programs like music and physical education, which are currently being eliminated in other districts, Foist told the board.

“Will the state reimburse us for the interest we’ll have to pay?” board member Jim Ledbetter asked.

That is unlikely, Waddle responded.

A spokeswoman for the Arizona Treasurer’s Office said the state Legislature is debating whether to push those payments into the next fiscal year, an accounting maneuver it used to cover payments due to state schools in fiscal year 2008-09 using funds allocated in 2009-10.

Under that scenario, the Legislature would fund the payments due for the first half of 2010 in September. MUHSD would pay down the county line of credit when those funds are received, Waddle said.

Foist said the scenario could be much worse if voters fail to approve Proposition 100, which calls for a 1 cent increase in the state sales tax.

Greg Ruland can be reached at 634-8551 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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