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When talent and hard work are put together, the only outcome that can result is success, Mingus Union High School Strive for .5 award winners heard from the guest speaker.

During the Sept. 26 assembly, which honored more than 300 students for raising their grade point average by 0.5 in one semester, Mingus agriculture teacher and Future Farmers of America advisor, Heather Mulcaire, spoke. She shared some of her life at Mingus, and gave the students a bit of advice and something to think about.

“I you don’t know your talent, search for it. If you already know your talent, work on it. Rely on what you are good at and capitalize on it,” Mulcaire told the crowd of students, parents and community members who nearly filled the auditorium.

Strive for .5 began in 1987 at Mingus and has recognized thousands of students. This is the program’s 20th year. It is designed to recognize all students for their academic achievement, at all levels.

Strive for .5 is sponsored by the Cottonwood Journal Extra and the Yavapai-Apache Nation. Students received congratulations from school administration and board

members as well as applause and shouts from their peers, along with a commemorative T-shirt. This year’s artwork was designed by Lauren McFarlin.

Mulcaire also said that talent is not enough. A person must build and cultivate a strong work ethic.

“You will not be great if you do not work at it,” she said.

Mulcaire admitted she was an average student and spent many extra hours with Diane Uidenich getting help in math. Academics was not her strong suit, and she realized she was going to have to work a little harder to get good grades, she said.

“A strong work ethic, dedication and practice were necessary for me to achieve,” Mulcaire said.

Mulcaire is a 1996 Mingus graduate. She returned to Mingus in 2000 to teach.

“I remember sitting in these seats several years ago and was so proud to receive my Strive

for .5 and T-shirt. Congratulations to all of you for making it to these seats,” Mulcaire said.

While in her early years at Mingus, Mulcaire searched for what she was a natural at and found it to be agriculture. She was good at agriculture — the classes and the activities. It was easy for her, she said.

In fact, Mulcaire won several FFA awards, which spurred her on to become an agriculture teacher. She was Mingus’ first student to win the FFA American Degree.

“What are you naturally good at? When you find it, run with it,” Mulcaire said.

Two Mingus seniors were among the recipients. They were receiving the honor for the third time: Luis Ruiz and Miriam Tarazon.
For more information, call 634-7531.

One day after Doug Wilson turned down the offer to become Mingus Union High School’s new superintendent for what he said were personal reasons, the governing board made the decision to offer the job to Scott Dunsmore.

As of Monday, July 9, the contract has been written and mailed, according to board President Andy Groseta.

“I tendered him a contract today,” Groseta said. “We’ve been negotiating and we’ve agreed verbally but have not formally signed a contract.”
The contract with Dunsmore will be for consideration on the governing board agenda Thursday, July 12.

Dunsmore was one of three candidates interviewed for the high school district’s superintendent job to replace Sharyl Allen, who asked to be released from her contract. The other two candidates were Wilson and John Larson, from Ohio. Dunsmore is from Michigan.

Dunsmore has been a teacher, a principal and a superintendent in Michigan and in Arizona, and he briefly worked for the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Dunsmore’s first job teaching was seventh-grade science in Winslow, then high school mathematics. He took the principal’s position at Hopi Junior High School for about two years, then went to Gray Hills Academy, in Tuba City, and helped the school cut $1 million out of the budget, he said.
Three years ago, he and his wife moved back to Michigan to be close to her parents, however, Dunsmore said they are ready to come back to
Arizona.

Following are Dunsmore’s answers to some of the questions asked at a June 26 forum at the school in Cottonwood:

How does your previous experience and training make you the best
candidate to be the superintendent of the Mingus Union High School District?

Dunsmore said he believes his diverse background, such as with the Hopi, will be an asset at Mingus.

“Through working with cultural diversity, I’ve learned how to deal with people of other cultures. I do feel

comfortable talking with people and seeking others’ opinion. I like to take in as much information as I can before I make a decision,” Dunsmore said.
He believes a superintendent needs to keep the community informed and keep a group of people around who are knowledgeable about the community.

What is your vision for building a balance between academic, career-technical education programs and extracurricular programs?

Dunsmore said he is a firm believer that a school needs all three areas for a well-rounded education.

“We have to concentrate on academics in this day and age to make sure our kids are ready for college and for life. We need kids to play basketball, football and in the arts,” Dunsmore said.

He also said there is a need to add more academics to the CTE programs.
Give examples of how you create an annual budget, how you deal with special program requests and how you monitor the budget throughout the year.

The first step for Dunsmore is to find out how much revenue the school has then figure out the needs.

“You also need to ask ‘What is it our community wants from our school district?’ What are the needs of our district, our school and our students? — involve all the stakeholders,” Dunsmore said.

He would monitor the budget on a monthly basis to see where the district stands financially at any point in time and make adjustments where necessary.

How do you regularly communicate with parents and staff, including violation of security situations that demand immediate communication?
The easiest way to communicate with Dunsmore is in his office or by e-mail and to talk with him when one sees him in a store, at a restaurant or a ball game.

“I have an open door and I want to listen to people. I need to be available, need to be open and need to be honest,” he said.

If an emergency occurs at Mingus, he said a letter should be sent home that day explaining the situation.

“I want parents to know what the problem or concern was and how it will affect their child,” Dunsmore said.

“I believe it’s very important to have ongoing communication to develop a trust with the community,” he said and talked about community meetings.
How would you empower your staff and get their buy-in?

Dunsmore agreed that building relationships is the No. 1 element among every area of the district and between every group.

“That’s the best way we’ll get buy-in,” he said.

The Mingus Union High School District Governing Board
meeting begins at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, July 12, in the cafeteria at 1801 E. Fir St.

For more information, call 634-8901

Although Superintendent Sharyl Allen’s prepared statement singled out one board member as the major cause of her departure, the Mingus Union High School District Governing Board accepted her resignation unanimously.

“There have been a lot of good things that happened at this school under your leadership ... not good, great things” have been accomplished during the four years Allen was superintendent, Board President Andy Grosetta said after the vote Thursday, May 10.

Allen had two years left on her current three-year contract. She officially leaves office Saturday, June 30.

“I believe that I have consistently acted in a legal and ethical manner in discharging my duties as the superintendent of this district,” Allen read from a prepared statement. Allen said her evaluations reflected that.

“When personal insinuations or attacks occur, it is usually done because the facts cannot be substantiated. It’s an old, old trick,” she said.

Allen said in her resignation speech that districts suffer when one board member has the impetus to fracture a board.

Allen used the work “ethical” four times in reference to her work and herself.

“Characterizing my request for information as old, old tricks, and characterizing my allegations as vicious attacks is false,” Board Member Jim Ledbetter said during the discussion phase of the motion to accept Allen’s resignation.
The board has presented information to its “[legal] counsel and that counsel asked for more information,” Ledbetter said.

“I believe the board has the power, and indeed the obligation, to look at these questions of hiring and spending practices,” Ledbetter said.

“It is not an attempt to fracture the board. But rather, the board’s legal and fiscal responsibility to do so,” he said.

In other action:

* The board directed Allen to form a search committee for her replacement.
* Allen recommended raises for MUHS Principal Marc Cooper and Student Services Director Dianne Uidenich. The board tabled the proposed 5-percent raises for the administrators.
* The board approved a 4.7-percent raise for all support staff.

During Allen’s presentation, she asked Mingus Union Education Association President Howie Usher whether she was “misrepresenting” their proposal. Usher said she was doing fine.

Norman Rockwell illustrated American life for almost half a century on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post. Idyllic and anodyne, his portraits of small-town life in the 1930s and 1940s formed part of the iconic mythos of how may Americans wanted to see themselves.

Over the course of four days last week, students at Camp Verde’s schools got to immerse themselves in those iconic images, and to see beyond them as well — for as the roiling 1960s replaced the complacent 1950s, Rockwell drew outside of the small frame he had set around himself.

By then, he had ended his association with The Saturday Evening Post and had begun working for Look magazine.

In 1964, Rockwell painted an illustration titled, “The Problem We All Live With.”

Inspired by the story of Ruby Bridges, the first black child to desegregate an elementary school in New Orleans, the painting shows the young child escorted by four marching federal marshals, walking by a wall with “KKK” and a racial epithet scrawled on it.

“You can see everything that was 1964 America right there, staring you in the face,” said Thomas Daly, curator of education at the Norman Rockwell Museum, in Stockbridge, Mass., who came to Camp Verde last week.

“The image told that story. You were reminded that young people were going through this: that you needed protection for a 6-year-old girl to go to school,” Daly said.

Daly said that Rockwell’s own image suffered because of the stance he took with that painting.

“When Rockwell had that published in Look magazine, he received bags of letters accusing him of all sorts of horrible things,” Daly said. “And of being a race-mixer, and it was awful that Norman Rockwell could drag his own name through the mud. And he persevered, and said, ‘this is how I feel.’”

On the last day of Daly’s visit, Friday, March 30, he brought a special visitor with him to meet Camp Verde’s Middle School students: Wray Gunn.

Gunn’s cousin, Tracie, was the model for the young black girl in “The Problem We All Live With.”

In 1967, a then 12-year-old Gunn joined his cousin on the long list of Stockbridge, Mass., natives who had modeled for Rockwell illustrations.
That painting, “New Kids in the Neighborhood,” showed two black children in front of a moving van on a suburban Chicago street. Across from them stand a curious and ambivalent group of white children.

Gunn said that growing up in northern Massachusetts, he never felt like the outsider portrayed in the painting, but that knowing Rockwell and seeing the painting now had an impact on him.

“The meaning of the painting, not only this one, but all of his paintings — I mean to know this man as long as I did and not know actually who he was, but I knew what he was,” Gunn said. “But to see it now and get the meaning behind all of his paintings — now it’s like I’m learning everything I can about this

man, because I knew him, and there’s so much to know. This man is known worldwide, not just in Stockbridge and Vermont and New York State — he’s known worldwide, which is amazing.”

Gunn and Daly both said they were enthusiastic about connecting to young people.

Daly went to drama, photography and art classes, speaking to students from kindergarten to high school. He explained the enthusiasm kids of all ages have for Rockwell.

“I think it’s the opportunity to see that you are a part of that picture, that the changes that are happening in your life and the unique situations that you believe might just be happening to you are actually happening to everyone,” Daly said.

After the middle school assembly with Gunn, where a number of Rockwell paintings where shown, one student seemed to echo those sentiments.
“My favorite picture was the girl sitting in front of the mirror,” sixth-grader Cariana Majors said. “I could sort of relate to her, because I would like to grow up to be someone that I admire the most and she wanted to grow up to be that.”

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