The Dysart Unified School District continues to be recognized at a local, state, national, and international level for outstanding programs and staff that are helping students become career and college ready.
Arizona Superintendent of the Year (2015)
Dr. Gail Pletnick, superintendent of the Dysart Unified School District has been selected as Arizona’s Superintendent of the Year, and she will serve as the Arizona representative to the American Association of School Administrator’s (AASA) National Superintendent of the Year program. Under Dr. Pletnik’s leadership, Dysart School District has a national reputation for its 21st Century learning environment and for its support of a digital transformation that has changed teaching and learning. Dr. Pletnick has established and expanded multiple pathways of learning in order to provide rigorous, real world, relevant learning opportunities to the diverse population of students served by Dysart. Dr. Pletnick has earned recognition at the state and national levels.
2016 Rodel Exemplary Principal and Teacher
Surprise Elementary School Principal Karie Burns was named a Rodel 2016 Exemplary Principal. The Rodel Exemplary Principals are selected for their demonstrated ability to lead schools to success by inspiring their staffs to develop a campus that is high achieving, safe, orderly and welcoming. Exemplary Principals mentor Aspiring Principals over a two-year period and participate in Rodel-led seminars that help them develop the strategies and tactics needed to lead an effective school in Arizona, while also providing them with the opportunity to build and maintain a network of similarly qualified leaders that can provide support and guidance throughout their careers.
Riverview 2nd grade teacher Denise Hall was selected as a Rodel 2016 Exemplary Teacher. Exemplary teachers are selected based on their outstanding student achievement in high‐need schools, their ability to mentor new teachers, and the recommendation of their principals and Rodel’s observation team. Exemplary Teachers mentor student teachers over an average of four semesters and participate in Rodel-led mentorship seminars that help them develop relationships with their Promising Student Teacher mentees.
The Dysart Unified School District received district-wide accreditation through the AdvancED Accreditation Commission in 2012. Dysart was the second school district in Arizona to receive the international accreditation. Receiving AdvancED District Accreditation highlights Dysart both nationally and internationally and recognizes the district as a school district of high quality. All of Dysart’s schools are also accredited through AdvancED. To receive AdvancED Accreditation, districts receive a rigorous site visit from an accreditation team consisting of educators from across the country. The three day visit ensures that the district is meeting the AdvancED standards in each school and as a school-wide system, assures the district is engaged in a continuous improvement process and monitors academic improvement through district and school accountability processes.
NCA Model School District Award (2009)
The Dysart Unified School District received the Model District Award from the North Central Association (NCA) Commission on Accreditation and SchoolImprovement in 2009. Dysart received the award in recognition of outstanding progress by an Arizona school district. NCA awards the Model District Award in recognition for long-term contributions to quality school improvement. NCA documents school district progress through yearly validation and by conducting an external review of each school. The Dysart School District is the only Arizona school district to receive the Model District Award. Dr. Don Enz, Arizona State Director of accreditation, in a letter to Dysart Superintendent Dr. Gail Pletnick, stated, “Maintaining significant progress and at the same time dealing with exceptional growth is very difficult. Dysart has done this very well.” Enz continued, “With new staff and new classrooms, the Dysart School District has made exceptional progress in initiating school improvement in every school in the face of extraordinary growth.”
Leland E.G. Larson Quality Student Transportation Award (2012)
The Dysart Unified School District Transportation Department was awarded the Leland E.G. Larson Quality Student Transportation Award at the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) conference in 2012. This was the fourth time in 15 years that this prestigious award has been granted by NAPT. The Quality Transportation Program concept recognizes and rewards the school district that is most committed to improving the quality of their transportation services. The Leland E.G. Larson Quality Student Transportation Program was developed to shine light on districts that provide high quality customer service in safety centered operations in three phases which include an initial application process, a live interview between the department and the program’s peer review committee, and an extensive on-site evaluation of the Transportation Department by representatives of the peer review committee where a full day is spent analyzing and evaluating the district’s transportation operation.
TLN Technology Spotlight Award (2010)
The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Technology Leadership Network (TLN) named the Dysart Unified School District in Surprise, Ariz., a 2010 Salute District in recognition of the district’s use of technology to promote student achievement. As part of the recognition, Dysart hosted a site visit by the NSBA Technology Leadership in April, 2012. Educators from around the United States traveled to the Dysart District to observe the use of student-owned devices, robotics, STEM programs and much more. “Dysart hasn’t just spent money on technology devices—they have invested in the professional development necessary to create a culture where teachers are both proficient and comfortable using technology in a classroom setting,” said Ann Flynn, NSBA's Director of Education Technology. “What they have been able to do in this area is particularly remarkable given where they were a decade ago.”
NAESP National Principal of the Year (2014)
Principal Karen Winterstein at Sunset Hills Elementary School has earned the prestigious title of 2014 Principal of the Year by the National Association of Elementary School Principals. The National Distinguished Principals program honors outstanding elementary and middle-level administrators who ensure that America's children acquire a sound foundation for lifelong learning and achievement. The program was established in 1984 to recognize and celebrate elementary and middle-level principals who set high standards for instruction, student achievement, character, and climate for the students, families, and staffs in their learning communities.
AEF Teacher of the Year (2014)
Mrs. Beth Maloney was named the 2014 Teacher of the Year by the Arizona Educational Foundation. Maloney is a fifth grade teacher at Sunset Hills Elementary School in Surprise. The annual Teacher of the Year program is the premier event of the Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF), a statewide organization that promotes and awards the exceptional efforts being made in Arizona’s public schools. During the AEF awards luncheon, the 2014 Teacher of the Year is honored before more than 500 attendees including Arizona educators, elected officials, and business leaders. As Teacher of the Year, Beth Maloney will receive a host of awards and recognitions, march in the Fiesta Bowl Parade alongside the Wells Fargo Stagecoach, and serve as spokesperson for her profession, advocating for excellence in the classroom by making presentations statewide to education, civic, government and professional organizations.
AEF Teacher of the Year (2012)
Mrs. Kristie Martorelli was named the 2012 Teacher of the Year by the Arizona Educational Foundation. Martorelli is a kindergarten through 3rd grade reading interventionist at Thompson Ranch Elementary School in El Mirage. The annual Teacher of the Year program is the premier event of the Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF), a statewide organization that promotes and awards the exceptional efforts being made in Arizona’s public schools. During the AEF awards luncheon, the 2012 Teacher of the Year is honored before more than 500 attendees including Arizona educators, elected officials, and business leaders. As Teacher of the Year, Kristi Martorelli will receive a host of awards and recognitions, march in the Fiesta Bowl Parade alongside the Wells Fargo Stagecoach, and serve as spokespersons for her profession, advocating for excellence in the classroom by making presentations statewide to education, civic, government and professional organizations.
ASPRA*tion Awards for Excellence in Public Relations (2014, 2011, 2010, 2009)
The Dysart Unified School District won one award in 2014 for Excellence for a Specific Program: Web Image and Web Page. Developed and designed in house, the new Dysart website features in innovative responsive design, dynamic content, improved navigation, and was designed based on feedback from all stakeholders.
The Dysart Unified School District won three awards in 2011 highlighting its work in community relations and human resources. For the third consecutive year, Dysart has won the ASPRA*tion award for Overall Excellence in School District Public Relations. The district also received an award for Overall Excellence in a Public Relations Program for its Spotlight on Success video series, which can be viewed at www.dysart.org. Additionally Dysart won the ASPRA*tion Award of Excellence for the district’s revised teacher recruiting video and program. The ASPRA*tion awards are given each year to Arizona school districts that demonstrate excellence in public relations programs.
The Dysart Unified School District won two awards in 2010 highlighting its work in community relations. For the second consecutive year, Dysart has won the ASPRA*tion award for Overall Excellence in School District Public Relations. The district also received an award for Overall Excellence in a Public Relations Program for its website. The ASPRA*tion awards are given each year to Arizona school districts that demonstrate excellence in public relations programs.
The Dysart Unified School District won two awards in 2009 highlighting its work in community relations. Dysart has won the ASPRA*tion award for Overall Excellence in School District Public Relations and the award for Overall Excellence in a Public Relations Program for Around Dysart TV. The ASPRA*tion awards are given each year to Arizona school districts who demonstrate excellence in public relations programs. This is the first time that Dysart has won an ASPRA*tion award.
ASBO Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting (2003-2014)
The Dysart School District has won the ASBO Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting Program for excellence in the preparation and issuance of the fiscal year end 2014 school system. The district has provided a high-quality Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). The Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting Program was designed by ASBO International to enable school business officials to achieve a high standard of financial reporting. The award, the highest recognition for school district financial operations offered by ABO, is only conferred to school systems that have met or exceeded the standards of the program. By preparing and presenting a CAFR, the Dysart Unified School District validated the credibility of their school system’s operations, measured the integrity and technical competence of the business staff, assisted in strengthening their presentations for bond issuance statements and provided professional recognition.
GFOA Excellence in Financial Reporting (2006-2014)
The Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting has been awarded to Dysart School District by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management. The CAFR has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program including demonstrating a constructive "spirit of full disclosure" to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR. The GFOA is a nonprofit professional association serving approximately 17,500 government finance professionals.
AIA Administrator of the Year (2010)
Dysart District Athletic Director, Jim Braden, has won the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) Administrator of the Year Award. Braden was recognized with the award for his commitment to Pursuing Victory with Honor on and off the field. Mr. Braden was presented the award at the AIA Honors Champions Luncheon on May 19. He has worked for the Dysart School District since 1975.
Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Educator of the Year (2009)
Dysart School District Superintendent, Dr. Gail Pletnick, has received the 2009 Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Educator of the Year award. The Copper Sun Educator of the Year award was given to Dr. Pletnick on Saturday, January 30. The Dysart superintendent was recognized for the district’s continued increase in student achievement as well as the many community partnerships that she has worked to build on behalf of the Dysart District. The Chamber noted that Dr. Pletnick has forged partnerships with community organizations, businesses and parents that ultimately support the students and families in Dysart. Under Dr. Pletnick’s leadership, the Dysart District received the NCA Model School District Award in 2009 due to substantial increases in student achievement and dedication to teacher development, quality instructional practices and increased achievement. The professional development model of site-based embedded teacher training and support has been recognized by the National Staff Development Council as an example of best practice and innovation. Upon receiving the award, Pletnick said, “This award is accepted on behalf of all employees and students in the Dysart District. It is their hard work and dedication that continues to push Dysart forward on the road to success.”
Digital School District Award (2009)
The Dysart Unified School District has been announced by e.Rebuplic’s Center for Digital Education, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and Converge Online magazine as a winner of the sixth annual Digital School District award. The purpose of the award is to recognize school districts and school boards across the nation whose use of digital technology in interfacing with students, parents and community, district governing and bettering of operations proved exceptional. The award process was open to all U.S. public school districts which were placed in three categories based on size of enrollment. Dysart was placed in the large district category which encompassed school districts with more than 15,000 students across the nation. The districts which demonstrated the most comprehensive use of digital standards were chosen as the award winners and top ten-ranking districts. The Dysart School District ranked second among all large school districts in the nation.
Spotlight on Success Award (2008)
The Dysart Unified School District was chosen to receive a 2008 Spotlight on Success Award from the Arizona Department of Education. The award is in recognition of the Dysart Read to Succeed program which has transformed reading instruction throughout all Dysart schools in kindergarten through sixth grade. The Dysart Read to Succeed program is a model built from the national Reading First initiative, identifying research-based practices aligned to increasing reading fluency and comprehension. The program utilizes effective classroom instruction through consistent professional development opportunities focused upon student engagement and a core academic curriculum. Dysart’s expert teaching staff has used the program to increase student achievement as measured by district benchmarks as well as the AIMS assessment. The Read to Succeed model also provides instructional support for teachers through a reading coach at each school building. The reading coach supports the research-based instruction of reading by providing professional development workshops for the teachers, working collaboratively to plan lessons designed for individualized student needs and through data informed meetings focused upon student achievement.