Dr. Kent Paredes Scribner has been the superintendent of the Phoenix Union High School District, the largest high school district in Arizona, since 2008. Dr. Scribner has led several successful educational initiatives during his tenure, thus far. He implemented the mission of “Preparing every student for success in college, career and life,” and the District has responded. Each District school was rated either Performing, Performing Plus, Highly Performing or Excelling by the State of Arizona’s “Arizona Learns” system in 2011. In 2013, Phoenix Union’s upward trajectory continued as they yet again increased the number of “A” and “B” schools in the Arizona Department of Education’s Accountability Rankings. Honors and Advanced Placement course-taking has more than doubled. The Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) curriculum has been introduced on every comprehensive campus. The number of students both applying for earning acceptance to college has dramatically increased. Financial resources offered to Phoenix Union students has skyrocketed as well, going from $17.8 million in merit scholarships in 2009, to over $40 million in merit scholarships in both 2012 and 2013. In October 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Dr. Scribner to the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Scribner is frequently called upon by business leaders, community organizations and educational institutions to share his expertise on urban education, speak at conferences, conduct media interviews, and serve on numerous committees. Born in Los Angeles, California, Scribner earned a B.A. in Latin American Studies from Carleton College in Minnesota, a M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology from Temple University and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Arizona State University. He began his education career as a high school Spanish teacher in Philadelphia. He moved to Arizona in 1992 and became a graduate research assistant at Arizona State University, where he examined issues of quality and diversity in Phoenix Union regarding the district’s court-ordered desegregation. Before he joined Phoenix Union, Scribner, was the superintendent of the Isaac Elementary School District in Phoenix from 2003 to 2008. Scribner, who received the Excellence in Educational Leadership Award from the University Council of Educational Administration in 2008, is married and has two children.
Education practitioners are faced with questions about how best to help their students reach their full potential. How do we motivate our youth to succeed in their current school environments? How do we encourage them to become involved in their respective communities? How do we ensure that this smart, enterprising generation of young people grows into thoughtful adults who pursue their dreams and aspire to make a difference in the world?
Frequently, educators grasp at a new program, a new curriculum or a new “shiny thing” to accomplish the lofty goals we have for our students. As a leader of a large urban district, I have seen numerous policies, curricular changes and partnerships come across my desk that attempt to address diversity, motivation and student preparation for today’s competitive global economy. It is extremely challenging to sort through and decide which initiatives can be effective and implemented successfully.
How do we as teachers and leaders motivate our students in a world of both great diversity and great “connectedness”? Read more