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Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District hires 21 new teachers

Posted at 6:35 PM, Jul 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-25 16:29:05-04

The Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District No. 35 hired 21 teachers for the upcoming school year. District 35 has about 3,600 students enrolled in five different schools.

One of those schools -- Calabasas School, in Rio Rico -- will have six new teachers come this fall. Two 3rd grade teachers, one 4th grade teacher, a P.E. teacher, health teacher, and 8th grade language arts teacher.

Principal John Fanning, a former basketball coach, is very proud of his recruiting efforts.

"When you can recruit those quality teachers from the Midwest, like we've done here," Fanning said. "You're setting yourself up for success."

He described Rio Rico as a little dot in the corner of a map of the United States, but also as a diamond in the rough. One of the reasons? School District No. 35.

Speaking on behalf of the district, Fanning understands how difficult it is to fill the needed spots with strong teachers.

"The state of Arizona, we have a teacher shortage," he added. "So we do whatever it takes to make sure that ultimately we do what's best for kids."

One of the new teachers at the Calabasas School just graduated from college -- but has had a passion for teaching for years. 

"I just feel like I can make a difference," new 3rd grade teacher Kyleen Kenny said. "So I can take what I had learned back in the Midwest -- all the different programs and activities I was involved in, and I can bring it here."

Kenny moved to Rio Rico from Illinois. She believes that students will excel when they have programs they enjoy -- which is one of the reasons why School District No. 35 stood out to her.

"If they're loving what they're doing, they're going to learn the most," she said. "So I just feel like the activities and programs that this school and district offers the children, they get to see what they like and dislike at such a young age, they're going to succeed."

In true coaching form -- Principal Fanning has very high expectations for his teachers. One word to describe it?

"Greatness," he said. "I expect that they're going be a part of a team of individuals who work together to make sure our students have everything they need to be successful."