Board of Directors

Amy Pedotto

Amy Pedotto

Board member

Amy Pedotto has worked in communications and business development in the non-profit sector focused on raising awareness and support for public policy research and human service initiatives. She is a Co-Founder of EPIC Disability Advocacy, a non-profit committed to educate, advocate, and create connections to empower the disability community. Amy also  serves as Research Project Manager at the Grand Canyon Institute, a nonpartisan think tank that provides fact-based research on policies that affect the economic, fiscal and social future of Arizona. Amy is the proud mom of two daughters, one of whom has received an ESA due to a disability diagnosis.

Anna Lodder

Board member

Anna Lodder is a white mom in the downtown Phoenix area with 2 elementary school-aged kids who attend their neighborhood public school. Anna has an undergraduate degree in public policy, management and planning with an emphasis in community organizing. She is on the leadership team of Integrated Schools, a national public school advocacy organization that focuses on redressing the imbalance of power in our systems of education and building a constituency for brave policy. In her free time, Anna loves dancing and listening to Reggaeton music.

Berdetta Hodge

Berdetta Hodge

Board member

Berdetta Hodge is the President of the Tempe Union High School District Governing Board. She is the former Educational Coordinator for the East Valley NAACP and Vice President of the Booker T. Washington Child Development Center. Berdetta Hodge is the first African American woman elected in Tempe and has spent her public service career advocating for our community.

Brent Whiting

Brent Whiting

Board member

Brent Whiting is an entrepreneur, a co-founder of the non-profit, Tomorrow We Vote, and a product of the New Jersey public school system. As the son of an English teacher and principal, Brent understands the importance of education and has made a deep commitment to strengthening its foundation in Arizona. A loving husband to Andrea and with their young son, Lorenzo in the public school system, Brent’s devotion to a thriving and well-funded educational base is paramount. Brent loves traveling, exploring different cultures, and family time.

Dr. Carrie Sampson

Board member

Carrie Sampson, Ph.D. is an associate professor in the Division of Educational Leadership and Innovation at Arizona State University. Her research focuses on educational leadership, policymaking, and equity at the K-12 level, with an emphasis on local school board governance. Dr. Sampson has received various awards and recognition for her scholarship, including the National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, American Educational Research Division A (Administration, Organization, and Leadership) Early Career Award, and the UCEA William J. Davis Award for the article entitled “(Im)Possibilities of Latinx school board members’ educational leadership toward equity.” She is also the proud mother of two children enrolled in public schools in Arizona.

Christina Bustos

Board member

Christina Bustos is a Chicana educator, mother, and activist. She attended Arizona State University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Education from the Multilingual Multicultural program and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Bilingual Education. She just finished the first year of her Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Evaluation at Arizona State University.  Throughout her career, she has worked in schools where most students are students of color, which is of the utmost importance to her as a teacher, activist, and community member for the last 20 years.

Doug Coleman

Board member

Doug is a former Career & Technical Education Teacher and Coach at Apache Junction High School. Doug Coleman served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2013 to 2019. He also served as Councilman for Apache Junction, Mayor of Apache Junction, and Justice of the Peace. He is husband to Roxanne and father to Kim, Kristy, Kathy, Kalia, Kelsey, and Karlie. 

Joe Bia

Joe Bia

Board member

Joe Bia Jr. grew up on the Navajo Nation in the beautiful community of Kayenta, AZ, nestled along the southern edges of Monument Valley, UT. Joe is a proud husband and father, cat-lover, quasi-student, school board member, community leader, and Native entrepreneur in the non-profit Change Labs incubator program. After spending a career of 18 years in banking in California, Alaska, and Arizona, Joe returned to his community to volunteer and help make positive change by becoming involved, starting with the public school system that helped inspire him to lead a life of helping others, advocating for equity, fighting for cultural preservation among the Native community, and sharing economic opportunities. Joe continues to focus on bringing the important issues facing Arizona public schools to the rural Native communities where he comes from.

Dr. Kathy Boltz

Board member

Kathy Boltz is a mom, scientist, and communicator who is passionate about everyone having access to an excellent education. She earned her PhD from Arizona State University. She runs her own small business that focuses on medical science communications, and she has had an ESA for her son with a disability since 2017. 

Libby Goff

Libby Goff

Board member

Libby (Elizabeth) Goff ran a small CPA firm for many years providing accounting and tax work for small businesses, and currently works as the CFO for the small manufacturing business she and her husband own. Libby is an activist working to change laws and increase funding to improve public schools in Arizona.

Linda Lyon

Board member

Linda Lyon retired as a Colonel from the Air Force in 2007 and moved to Tucson a year later with her wife Hollace. As of 2024, she is serving her 12th year as a member of the Oracle School District Governing Board. Linda is also a past-president of the Arizona School Boards Association.

Marcie Hutchinson

Board member

Marcie Hutchinson has thirty-one years of experience teaching history in public high schools in New York and Arizona. While a classroom teacher with Mesa Public Schools, she was a public education advocate with the Mesa Education Association. After retiring from MPS, Hutchinson became the Director for K-12 Initiatives for the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies (SHPRS) at ASU. During her seven years at ASU, she trained future history teachers and worked on many projects with Arizona teachers who wanted to provide innovative and engaging learning experiences for students in their classrooms.

Hutchinson was first elected to the Mesa Public Schools Governing Board in 2018, re- elected in 2022, and currently serves as Board President. The Board has taken many actions in the critical areas of literacy, student and staff wellness, and arts education while creating multiple avenues to student success. Marcie is married to former Mesa City Manager Mike Hutchinson. Their daughters, Erin and Mary Beth, were educated in the Mesa Public Schools and graduated from Red Mountain High School. All the members of the Hutchinson family have earned history degrees and are graduates of Arizona State University. Go Devils!!!!

Martin Quezada

Board member

Martín Quezada is a distinguished Arizona public servant. He started as a legislative research analyst before serving as a judicial law clerk on the AZ Court of Appeals, a licensed attorney, and faculty at the ASU College of Law. Quezada’s most impactful service has been as an elected official for over a decade in the State Legislature, most recently as the Senate Democratic Whip. He currently serves in his 4th term as an elected member of the Pendergast Elementary School District Governing Board and he was the 2022 Democratic nominee to be the State Treasurer.

Sarah James

Board member

Sarah James grew up in Tempe schools and started her teaching career in Tempe Union, teaching orchestra at Desert Vista. She later moved to NYC where she taught for 8 years and started a family. Sarah and her family moved back to AZ in 2011 – she was excited to be closer to family and ready to reignite her passion for AZ politics! Sarah currently serves as Vice President on the Tempe Union High School governing board and teaches music in the Tempe Elementary School District.

Dr. Sharon Kirsch

Board member

Sharon is a mom, a teacher, and a public education advocate who believes that the people of Arizona, not out-of-state interests, should drive policy about public education in Arizona. She serves as the Director of Research and tracks efforts in Arizona and across the nation to dismantle public education. With more than 25 years of experience at public universities, she teaches and publishes on women’s literature, poetics, and public discourse. Sharon holds a BA and MA in English and Philosophy from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and a Ph.D. in Poetics from the University at Buffalo.

Dr. Tara Bartlett

Board member

Tara Bartlett is a Senior Research Analyst for Arizona State University’s Participatory Governance Initiative, focusing on public policy, civic education, and democratic innovations, particularly among youth and within school communities. Her work draws upon frameworks of experiential learning and participatory democracy and utilizes methods within community-based research (CBR) and participatory action research (PAR). Tara’s focus on these research areas is driven by her previous teaching experience and passion for integrating opportunities for youth and families to participate in school and community decision-making processes, policy creation and adoption, and community empowerment initiatives. Tara’s work portfolio spans from the local to global as Co-Director of the Arizona Civics Coalition and as a researcher and facilitator for the Center for Civic Education, iCivics, and several U.S. State Department programs.

Yasmin Kassel

Dr. Yasmin Kassel

Board member

Yasmin is an Arizona public school proud alumna, a mom, and a former strategic business consultant-turned-public education advocate. She brings over a decade of business transformation consulting experience from her time at IBM. Currently, she is working on her doctorate in education from Johns Hopkins University, specializing in Entrepreneurial Leadership in Education. Yasmin believes that a strong economy starts with a strong core, and high-quality, equitable public education is at the heart.

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