School Connect Awards Finalists Announced Recognizing The Best In Az Education

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – School Connect has announced the finalists for its prestigious annual School Connect Champions of Education Awards 2023.

This annual event honors the best in education throughout the state, recognizing those who lead with heart and help to build a brighter future for Arizona youth. School Connect will present awards in 15 categories, recognizing individuals ranging from kindergarten all the way to CEO.

Eight education awards will be awarded in the following categories: student K-6, student 7-12, teacher, principal, superintendent, school board member, school champion, and school who have exemplified excellence throughout the year.

In addition, seven community awards will be given to business, nonprofit, faith-based organizations and government agencies who contribute to the success of their communities.

School Connect will announce the winners of the highly anticipated awards on April 28th at the Orange Tree Golf Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. More than 200 people from all parts of Arizona who contribute to education will be in attendance. This year, the School Connect Champions of Education Awards is presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. To learn more about the event, click here.

School Connect is proud to announce finalists for the following:

Student Champion of the Year K-6

  • Cooper DeWitt, Queen Creek Unified School District
  • Owen Fuhriman, Queen Creek Unified School District
  • Sophia Ketring, Pendergast Elementary School District

Student Champion of the Year 7-12

  • Nathaniel George, Brophy College Preparatory
  • James Gold, Paradise Valley Unified School District
  • Ruth Ochoa, Tolleson Union High School District

Hero Maker Award – Teacher

  • Elizabeth Cranford, Altar Valley Elementary School District
  • Dr. Tristan Palmer, Peoria Unified School District
  • Sandra Thomas, Deer Valley Unified District

Catalyst for Education Award – Principal

  • Tarrah Bernabé, Glendale Elementary School District
  • Dr. Marianne Lescher, Kyrene Elementary School District
  • Jennifer Tassin, Litchfield Elementary School District

Changemaker Award – Superintendent

  • Dr. Perry Berry, Queen Creek Unified School District
  • Dr. Jason Reynolds, Peoria Unified School District
  • Dr. Jeff Sprout, Laveen Elementary School District

Collaborative Leadership Award – School Board Member

  • Michelle Campuzano, Roosevelt School District
  • Dr. Paul Guy, Jr., Chinle Unified School District
  • Marcie Hutchinson, Mesa Public Schools

School Champion of the Year Award

  • Christina Carter, Quartzsite Elementary School District
  • Beth Lake, Amphitheater Public Schools
  • Chris Lemka, Peoria Unified School District

Because It Takes A Village Award – School

  • Garden Lakes Elementary School, Pendergast Elementary School District
  • Marshall Ranch Elementary School, Peoria Unified School District
  • Valencia Newcomer School, Alhambra Elementary School District

About School Connect:

School Connect works to champion children by connecting their schools to their community. The Arizona non-profit organization has been working since 2014 to help school leaders build a village of support for the children in the community by connecting, training and coaching administrators to build strong, strategic partnerships that support local schools.

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For more information about School Connect visit

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