August 15, 2008

From Day One, He’s on Board With Kids



Emiline and Simon Hill were the first children to arrive at their school bus stop in the Rancho Marana neighborhood Monday, and new Marana Superintendent Doug Wilson was there to greet them.

Wilson, who started as Marana Unified School District's superintendent July 1, rode the bus to Estes Elementary School with Emiline, Simon and more than a dozen other Estes students.

More than 13,000 students in the Marana school district started school Monday.

Emiline, 8, and Simon arrived at the bus stop after 8:15 a.m. with their father, Brandon Hill.

"It's important for me to do things like that," Hill said about walking his third-grader and kindergartner to the bus stop. "It's a proud moment for me that both my kids are growing up. It's exciting to know they are on their way to a long and profitable life."

Before Hill could snap photos of his children, they were off to board the bus.

Wilson helped 5-year-old Simon, who carried a Spider-Man lunch bag and wore a camouflage backpack, get on the bus and buckle his seat belt.

Wilson said his bus ride was symbolic of the students' first day of school as well as his own as the new superintendent.

"I want to be there. I want to get to know a few of them," he said of the students.

Before joining the Marana district, Wilson was the assistant superintendent of human resources at the Pueblo City Schools district in Pueblo, Colo.

He has worked in education as a teacher, principal, superintendent and consultant for more than 25 years.

Wilson had a four-year stint as the superintendent of Agua Fria Union High School District in Avondale before moving to Colorado.

Wilson said he was hired to run the Marana school district - not micromanage its schools and district departments.

He said that he believes in personalized education and would like to do what's best for individual students.

He's scheduled to get out of the office on Fridays to visit some of the district's 17 schools.

"I think that sometimes we insulate ourselves in the office and don't really see what our staff is going through - what our kids are going through," he said.

On Monday, he had the chance to share his enthusiasm for the first day of school with Estes students. He also planned to visit the district's other schools.

Emiline was excited about her new third-grade teacher and is eager to learn cursive.

Her brother Simon is up for just about anything.

"I'm going to learn stuff that I don't know," he said.

And Wilson is just happy the first day of school is finally here.

"We're in the business of kids and for the last month all I've been doing is work, but it's all in preparation for the first day of school," he said.


Here's when area kids will be heading back to school.

* Today: Oracle Elementary School District and Sahuarita Unified School District.

* Wednesday: Nogales Unified School District.

* Thursday: Amphitheater Public Schools, Flowing Wells Unified School District and Tanque Verde Unified School District.

* Monday: Sunnyside Unified School District and Tucson Unified School District.

* Aug. 14: Catalina Foothills School District.

"I think that sometimes we insulate ourselves in the office and don't really see what our staff is going through - what our kids are going through."

Doug Wilson, new superintendent of Marana schools

* Contact reporter Andrea Rivera at 806-7737 or [email protected]

Originally published by ANDREA RIVERA, ARIZONA DAILY STAR.

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