Nominations open for 2018 Coconino County Teacher of the Year and Rookie Teacher of the Year

FLAGSTAFF – The sixth annual Coconino County 2018 Teacher of the Year and first annual Rookie Teacher of the Year Award nominations are now open. These awards recognize the contributions of state-accredited, full-time teachers from pre-kindergarten – 12th grade in Coconino County.

The Teacher of the Year awards recognize three exceptionally skilled and dedicated teachers, and rookie teachers, who have gained respect and admiration of students, parents and colleagues. These teachers inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn and are passionate about education.

Teachers must be nominated or self-nominated to be considered for either award. If nominated, teachers submit a detailed essay application with letters of support. The top six candidates for each award will then be interviewed. The Teacher of the Year, Rookie Teacher of the year, as well as two ambassadors for excellence and two Rookie Ambassadors for Excellence will be selected by a panel of judges.

All finalists will be recognized at the awards event in the spring and will receive cash prizes. The Teacher of the Year will receive an automatic nomination for the Arizona Teacher of the Year Award and various other prizes. The event is made possible through sponsorships by businesses and community members.

Superintendent Risha VanderWey invites the public to nominate any outstanding teachers in Coconino County. Nomination forms can be found on the Superintendent’s website at Nominations must be received by Nov. 6 at 5 p.m.

For more information contact the School Superintendent’s Office at 928-679-8070.

2017 Sustainable Building and Water Conservation Tour

FLAGSTAFF – The Coconino County Sustainable Building Program is hosting the annual Sustainable Building and Water Conservation Tour in partnership with the City of Flagstaff Sustainability and Water Conservation Programs, Willow Bend Environmental Education Center and the Coconino Plateau Watershed Partnership. The event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, September 30 starting at the Willow Bend Environmental Education Center, 703 E. Sawmill Rd. Flagstaff.

The tour will offer perspectives from homeowners, builders, and installers about costs, processes, and the economic and environmental benefits of building sustainably. This tour is a part of the Flagstaff Festival of Science and the American Solar Energy Society’s National Tour.

Six of the buildings included on the tour will demonstrate water conservation methods such as rainwater harvesting for irrigation and potable use, greywater reuse, low-flow fixtures and xeriscaping. A tour of a tiny house on wheels will also be on-site.

The self-guided tour is free, with a suggested donation of $5 to support Willow Bend’s environmental education programs in local schools. Tour packets will be available at Willow Bend the day of the tour.

The tour is made possible through the following partners’ contributions: AP Sawmill & Lumber Products, Coconino Community College, Ezra Builders, Flagstaff Skylights, Loven Contracting, PWMA, Solar Design and Construction, and SolarTerra Design.

For more information visit or contact (928) 679-8882.

Capacity Development and Operator Certification Workshop

Current certified operators can earn professional development hours (PDHs) at our upcoming FREE workshop, featuring three training tracks: Operator Training, Public Water System Management Training and ADEQ Drinking Water Rule Review.

Oct. 17 – 18, 2017

Little America
2515 E Butler Ave.
Flagstaff, AZ 86004


Operator Tracks:
ADEQ Rule Review Sessions – Essential for both operators and owners or managers of PWS. Covers important drinking water rules and regulations applicable to all Arizona PWS. ADEQ staff will discuss reporting requirements; revised total coliform rule; NEW- Wastewater topics; stage 2 disinfection byproducts; common drinking water reporting mistakes and more.

Operator Training – Designed for current water or wastewater operators or those planning to become certified operators. Current operators earn Professional Development Hours (PDHs) toward certificate renewals. Topics include: water sources and treatment options; microbiology and water chemistry; well construction; operator math and more.

Manager/Owner Track:
Public Water System Management Training – Designed for owners of public water systems, board members of water-related organizations or municipalities, and superintendents and managers of public water systems. Topics include: emergency planning for water utilities; hazard analysis and risk mitigation; emergency response; water audit/water loss/leak detection; energy management; emerging technologies for small water systems; metering and remote sensing; and more.

Participants are responsible for their own lunch, travel and lodging.

View Agenda PDF
Register at this web site
Questions? Contact Mel Rose, 602-771-4695

Arizona Wildlife Views TV Show Now Available on YouTube

PHOENIX — From highlighting the Sonoran pronghorn recovery to an in-depth look at the making of a wildlife manager, the Arizona Wildlife Views TV show covered a diverse range of wildlife and topics in the last season. And there’s good news if you missed any of the shows from 2016: You can watch them all now on the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s YouTube channel.

The Emmy-award winning program is produced by the department’s Information Branch and airs on PBS and city cable channels. It was recently announced that the TV show has been nominated for four Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards for segments from 2016.

Wildlife featured throughout the season includes: bald eagles, narrow-headed gartersnakes, desert tortoises, bison, Chiricahua leopard frogs, sandhill cranes and catfish.

The new season of Arizona Wildlife Views will be starting this fall on Arizona PBS (channel 8.1 or channel 1008 on Cox Cable) and city cable channels statewide. The opening show is focused on bald eagles and covers the work of biologists who build nests to support a growing population as well as volunteers who monitor the species throughout Arizona.

September 2017 Operator Certification Training & Events

Register today to secure a place at the following events designed for operators, owners & managers of public water systems, and earn PDHs for your operator certification renewal during workshops and training.

ADEQ Free Operator Training *
Tuesday, September 12, 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. MST
ADEQ Phoenix Office — Room 3175 A/B & via Webinar
1110 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007
*NEW! Wastewater training sessions, see agenda!

U.S. EPA: Water and Energy Nexus During Emergencies Workshop
Thursday, September 14, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. MST
1 East Continental Drive
Tempe, AZ 85281

Arguments ‘For’ and ‘Against’ WUSD ballot question sought

FLAGSTAFF – Williams Unified School District #2 will hold an override election to exceed its revenue control limit by 10 percent on November 7, 2017. Voters will be asked to vote on the following issue:

  • To adopt a General Maintenance and Operation Budget which exceeds the revenue control limit specified by statute by 10 percent for fiscal years 2018-2019 through 2022-2023 and in fiscal years 2023-2024 and 2024-2025, the amount of the proposed increase will be 6.66 percent and 3.33 percent, respectively, of the District’s revenue control limit in each of such years. The 2018-2019 budget override authority represents an extension of the existing 10 percent budget override. If the override is not approved for continuation, the existing 10 percent override will phase out by reducing one-third for fiscal year 2018-2019 and 2019-2020. The estimated tax rate to fund the continued override in fiscal year 2018-2019 is $0.39 per one hundred dollars of net assessed valuation used for secondary property tax purposes.

The Coconino County Superintendent of Schools will prepare an informational pamphlet for the election. The pamphlet will be mailed to households of registered voters who reside within the school district.

Arguments “For” and “Against” the special budget override are being requested by the County Superintendent of Schools Office for inclusion in the informational report. The County School Superintendent shall review all factual statements contained in the written arguments and correct any inaccurate statements of fact. The County School Superintendent shall not review and correct any portion of the written arguments which are identified as statements of the author’s opinion.

Arguments are to be 200 words or less and be typed or printed and signed by the author. The arguments shall include the name of the district, author’s name, the name of any entity submitting an argument, address, telephone number and the author’s signature. The entity and author’s name will be printed in the informational pamphlet. All submitted comments must include these criteria.

Arguments must be received by 5 p.m. August 14, 2017, in the Coconino County Superintendent of Schools office, Ponderosa High School, 2384 N. Steves Blvd., Flagstaff, AZ 86004. Faxes will be accepted at (928) 526-1469; however, the original must be mailed to Coconino County Superintendent of Schools by the stated deadline.

For more information regarding the statements, call (928) 679-8070. For more information concerning the election, contact Williams Unified School District at 636 S. 7th St. Williams, AZ 86046, or (928) 635-4473.

June 2017 Operator Certification & Capacity Development Training & Events

Navigating Water Infrastructure Funding Programs Workshop for Small Water Systems
Thursday, June 1, 2017, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. MST
Industrial Commission of Arizona
800 W. Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007

ADEQ Free Training: Essentials of Surface Water Treatment   
Thursday – Friday, June 1 – 2
Quartzsite Community Center
295 Chandler Street
Quartzsite, AZ 85346

ADEQ Free Training: Essentials of Surface Water Treatment
Monday – Tuesday, June 5 – 6
Arizona Game & Fish
3500 S. Lake Mary Road
Flagstaff, AZ 86005

ADEQ Free Operator Training
Wednesday, June 7, 8 a.m. – 4:50 p.m. MST
ADEQ Phoenix Office — Room 3175 A/B
1110 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Introduction to Cyber Security: Workshop and Response Exercises
Thursday, June 8, 8:30 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. MST
City of Glendale
7070 W. Northern Ave.
Glendale, AZ 85303
Contact: Erin Cabral at 508-833-6600 or

Current certified operators earn professional development hours (PDHs) at training events. View all ADEQ training opportunities at

Register Today — limited seating!

Contact 602-771-4511 or 602-771-4695
Email >

Coconino County Teacher of the Year finalists announced

left to right: Jillian Worssam, Sara Zsenai and Angela Buzan

FLAGSTAFF — The office of the Coconino County Superintendent of Schools has announced the 2017 Teacher of the Year finalists.

“The three Teacher of the Year finalists are Angela Buzan of Coconino High School, Jillian Worssam of Sinagua Middle School, and Sara Zsenai of Cromer Elementary School,” said Superintendent of Schools, Risha VanderWey. “I look forward to announcing the winner later this month in a ceremony celebrating the great achievements of all our teachers and staff.”

The fifth annual Coconino County Teacher of the Year Ceremony will be at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 19 at the High Country Conference Center, Flagstaff, AZ. Teacher of the Year (TOY) is the only countywide teacher recognition program that spotlights the contributions of state-accredited, full-time, public and charter school educators teaching pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade.

To be eligible for the TOY title, nominated teachers must personally complete an in-depth, multiple essay question application and submit it with three letters of support. A panel of judges score the applications using a rubric and group discussion to determine the top six candidates to interview. Next, the judges discuss, score, and determine the three finalists. The finalists are recognized and awarded cash prizes worth a total of $3000.

The winner will also receive a complimentary one year lease of a 2017 Toyota Tacoma from Findlay Toyota of Flagstaff. This event is funded entirely through sponsorships of local and statewide businesses, and community members.

Flagstaff Unified School District seeking Governing Board applicants

FLAGSTAFF – Coconino County Superintendent of Schools Risha VanderWey is seeking applicants for appointment to the Flagstaff Unified School District Governing Board. Effective April 12, one seat will become vacant due to the resignation of Kim Khatibi.

Applicants must be Arizona registered voters and residents of the school district for at least one year prior to the date of appointment. Applicants or their spouses can’t be an employee of the district.

Application information:

  • Download the application here
  • Deadline to submit is 5 p.m., Thursday, April 27.
  • Submit by email (Live signature original required)
  • Submit by fax 928-526-1469 (Live signature original required)
  • Mail/drop off Coconino County School Superintendent, 2384 N. Steves Blvd, Flagstaff, AZ 86004

An advisory committee, consisting of district residents and a current board member will be assembled to conduct interviews and advise Superintendent VanderWey on the appointment. Appointment term will end on Dec. 31, 2018.

For more information, please call Kim Graves at the Office of the Coconino County School Superintendent at 928 679-8070 or e-mail:

Kaibab National Forest works to create young citizen scientists

Kaibab National Forest employees demonstrate how to use iNaturalist to upload photos of plants and animals to the 2017 citizen science project.-Kaibab Forest photo

WILLIAMS – Several Kaibab National Forest employees spent a day at Williams Elementary-Middle School, last week, teaching all 140 students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades how to make discoveries about plants and animals near their homes and on their public lands, thereby creating a small army of young citizen scientists who can assist land managers in understanding the biodiversity of the area.

Kaibab National Forest resource specialists demonstrated to the eager students a new way to interact with the forest and its flora and fauna using their smart phones and the free online platform At the beginning of 2017, the Kaibab began a citizen science project to identify and document the biodiversity of the forest by encouraging visitors to take photos of plants and animals and post them to the project page using the free iNaturalist app.

Williams Middle School students use their smart phones to participate in the Kaibab National Forest’s citizen science project and contribute to species information in the Williams area. – Kaibab Forest photo

“The students loved the iNaturalist day. The number of Forest Service employees in my classroom was phenomenal. Students were able to learn about a bunch of different parts of the Forest Service, and the adult-to-student ratio allowed for small groups while working outside,” said Isabel Caldwell, Williams Middle School science teacher. “Students were also able to learn how they can contribute to science in their own home, and they were given a tool to help them do that. The students were incredibly excited and thankful to have community members come into the classroom and work with them.”

Involving students in the fun but also scientifically valuable project is just one way Kaibab National Forest employees hope to connect members of the public with their public lands. By the end of just one day, the Williams students had collected more than 200 observations, and that number keeps increasing as students continue their citizen science work outside of the classroom. Students without smart phones are still able to participate by using the school’s laptops to upload photos of their scientific finds.

“It’s days like the one we had with the students that remind me why we do what we do,” said Mark Christiano, geographic information systems coordinator for the Kaibab National Forest and the planner of the citizen science project with the school. “Getting out to a school and connecting with kids is so important. Not only did we teach them a whole new way to interact with the forest, but we also connected them with a global community of citizen scientists.”

Once participants post photos of plants or animals to the “Kaibab NF 2017 Citizen Science Project,” they receive expert feedback from the iNaturalist community on their discoveries. Kaibab National Forest biologists also help identify or confirm findings, providing a connection to local scientists who are interested in knowing more about and tracking the abundance and distribution of species on the forest.

“I hope our students learn to stop and smell the roses. Sometimes, they move so fast that they miss the beauty in their own backyard,” said Maya Caldwell, director of student services for the Williams Unified School District. “Williams is a beautiful town, and I hope this program helps them see how special our area is and how much Northern Arizona has to offer them. I also hope we have a few future scientists that bloom because of these experiences.”

Williams Middle School students use their smart phones to participate in the Kaibab National Forest’s citizen science project and contribute to species information in the Williams area. – Kaibab Forest photo[/caption]The Kaibab National Forest created the year-long citizen science project with a couple goals in mind. First, biologists and planners hope to increase knowledge of plant and animal species, especially unusual or rare ones, and to inform the overall species list for the forest as well as management approach. Second, forest managers see the project as a way to build relationships with local communities and visitors, creating an opportunity for shared stewardship and turning visitors into scientists and champions of public lands and the resources they offer.

“By connecting people with natural and cultural resources, we hopefully help them understand the importance of public lands and the need to keep them public for our grandchildren and their children,” said Heather Provencio, forest supervisor for the Kaibab National Forest. “The Kaibab has so many special places and opportunities for everyone, and I’m excited this project is helping inspire young people to experience those things.”

Teaching the Williams Middle School students about citizen science and how to get involved through iNaturalist was just the first step. The Kaibab National Forest is planning a day-long field trip May 4 for all 140 students to visit the forest and collect observations side-by-side with wildlife biologists, botanists, silviculturists, archaeologists and other resource specialists. In the interim, students have been collecting observations around their homes or while out with their families camping, hiking, fishing, hunting or participating in other outdoor adventures.

“I am hoping that students take more time to observe their surroundings. Growing up in this time, it is easy for students to be completely absorbed in their technology and forget about the world around them,” said Isabel Caldwell. “I think one of the strengths of the iNaturalist program is that it allows students to use their technology to access the natural world. The more connected students feel to their surroundings and community the more likely they are to protect it, and iNaturalist provides students with a vehicle that fosters this connection.”

To participate with the Kaibab National Forest in its citizen science project, visit Kaibab NF 2017 Citizen Science Project on