Press Releases

Published: March 14th, 2018

ADE Launches AzEDCert Educator Portal for Online Certification

Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today proudly announced the launch of the Arizona Department of Education’s (ADE’s) AzEDCert Educator Portal. The new online tool will allow teachers six months away from having their certifications expire, as well as those whose certifications have lapsed within the last year, to apply for renewal from the comfort of their homes.

“I am delighted that our hardworking certified teachers and administrators will no longer have to make the inconvenient trek to Phoenix to renew their certifications,” Superintendent Douglas said. “We should do whatever we can to simplify the administrative processes of becoming an educator, while keeping our standards for educators as high as possible. I am extremely proud of our Certification Unit and our IT (Information Technology) Division for making this portal a reality for our educators.”

There are currently over 15,000 educators with active certificates who would be eligible to apply for renewal utilizing this new system. Not only would teachers and administrators no longer need to apply in person or via mail for this service, Arizona certified educators can now view their certification information on-line via the portal.

The AzEDCert Educator Portal also boasts many other features. The system will send e-mail reminders to educators who are eligible to renew prior to their certificates expiring, as well as provide e-mail alerts that update them on the status of their application throughout the process.

The cost for renewals will remain at $20 per certificate, but a $2 online convenience fee will be added per application submitted via the portal. In addition, ADE’s Certification Unit will continue to accept applications in-person and by mail. The on-line system will not only add convenience for educators applying for renewal, but also increase the Department’s efficiency in processing applications. Additional services and features that provide further convenience with applications and other services to educators are also forthcoming.

More information about the AzEDCert Educator portal can be found on the Certification Unit’s webpage at

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Published: March 7th, 2018

Supt. Douglas Encourages Potential Teachers to Attend Teach-In Job Fair

Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas is encouraging potential teachers to attend the 2018 Great Arizona Teach-In Job Fair on Saturday, March 10. The job fair will be hosted by the Exceptional Student Services Division of the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) at the Renaissance Phoenix Glendale Hotel and Spa from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

“As I have traveled around the state to almost 60 locations on my ‘We Are Listening Tours,’” Superintendent Douglas said, “I have heard unanimously from Arizonans of all walks of life that we need to pay our teachers more and find a solution to our teacher shortage crisis. Events such as the 2018 Great Arizona Teach-In Job Fair are incredible opportunities to help effectively address some of those concerns.”

116 traditional district, charter and private schools will attend Saturday’s job fair, as well as several other educational entities. At last year’s event, 59 educators were hired right on the spot, while 88 in total were hired directly from the job fair.

A fingerprinting service, resume reviewers, as well as representatives from ADE will be on hand to counsel attendees on becoming a certified teacher in Arizona. The attending schools will be able to issue letters of intent and job offers to prospective teachers pending background checks.

“If you are a teacher in need of work or a school in need of teachers,” the Superintendent continued, “there is no better place to be this weekend than the job fair. It is free for prospective teachers to attend and you can literally walk away from the event having changed your life and the lives of your potential students for the better in one day.”

To register or learn more information about the 2018 Great Arizona Teach-In Job Fair, please visit Media interested in attending should email or call the press contact listed above.

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Published: January 12th, 2018

Superintendent Douglas Applauds Governor’s Budget Proposal

Governors Budget Announcement

Phoenix, Ariz., Jan. 12, 2018

“It is great to finally see a path forward to restoring recession-era cuts to Arizona’s school facilities,” Superintendent Douglas said. “It was most encouraging to see one of the plaintiffs in the pending school facilities lawsuit discontinue its litigation in response to this proposal.

“I have always preferred paying teachers instead of lawyers. I am pleased to join Senate President Yarbrough, House Speaker Mesnard, as well as local school superintendents and officials in supporting the plan.”

The Governor’s plan, unveiled at a press conference on Tuesday, outlined a five-year phase-in of funds to both district and charter additional assistance funds. The funds can be used for school facilities, but will provide districts and schools with the flexibility to support such needs as teacher salaries.

The Governor’s budget also designates $7.4 million towards important needs at the Arizona Department of Education. This includes $5.3 million to ensure the continued maintenance of the Department’s nationally recognized student data system, $1.1 million for the continued development and implementation of high-quality Arizona academic standards, as well as an additional $1 million for statewide assessments.

“I’m pleased that the proposed budget acknowledges real needs at the Department,” Superintendent Douglas continued. “Maintaining our IT system is vital to helping state leaders, districts and schools support Arizona’s students. It is also important that we will have the resources to continue building strong Arizona standards, especially since we have gotten rid of Common Core.”

Posted in Press Releases |
Published: January 2nd, 2018

Superintendent Douglas Appoints New Designee to School Facilities Board

Current School Facilities Administrator with Three Decades of Building Construction and Facility Management Experience

(Phoenix, Ariz., Jan 2, 2018) – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today appointed Gregory J. Gilliam as her designee to the Arizona School Facilities Board.

“I am proud to appoint Mr. Gilliam as my designee,” Superintendent Douglas said. “As a current Director of Maintenance and Operations at a school district, he will be bringing a frontline perspective to School Facility Board decisions. I look forward to having him as my eyes and ears on the Board.”

“It is my honor to serve as Superintendent Douglas’s designee to the board,” said Mr. Gilliam. “I am excited to bring first-hand knowledge of District needs for the Board’s consideration.”

Gregory Gilliam has served as the Director of Maintenance and Operations of the Glendale Elementary School District for the last four years.

Prior to that Mr. Gilliam served in various facilities management capacities for the City of Phoenix, including Aviation Superintendent and Facilities Management and Alarm Service Superintendent. He has a Bachelor’s of Science in Applied Management from Grand Canyon University, is a certified Journeyman Electrician (IBEW Local 640) and has accreditations from the American Association of Airport Executives, the United States Green Building Council, and the Association of Energy Engineers.

Before working for the City of Phoenix he worked in residential and commercial contracting. Mr. Gilliam is a US Army veteran who served in the famed 82nd ABN Infantry out of Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.

The Arizona School Facilities Board is charged with administering three capital funds; Building Renewal, Deficiencies Renewal and New School Facilities. The Board consists of nine members, appointed by the Governor, along with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Superintendent Douglas’s appointment of Mr. Gilliam as her designee is part of her ongoing commitment to assure that Arizona School Facilities are adequately funded.

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Published: December 29th, 2017

Arizona Superintendent Disagrees with Judge’s Ruling Issues Statement on Decision in Tucson Ethnic Studies Case

(Phoenix, Ariz., Dec. 29, 2017) – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas issued the following statement today regarding Judge Tashima’s ruling in the case regarding Arizona state law 15-112:

“I am disappointed with the Judge’s ruling in this case. I am looking forward to a scheduled meeting with Legislative leadership next week. My first item on the agenda, will be to see if we can find a legislative remedy to the judge’s ruling,” said Superintendent Douglas.

“I am supportive of teaching history and cultural studies,” added Douglas, “but I don’t understand why the Judge felt he needed to strike down the entire law. The provisions that prevent tax payer dollars being used for classes that promote the overthrow of the United States Government or promote resentment towards a race or class of people, just sound like common sense to me. Those should stay.”

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Published: December 19th, 2017

Top 5 Ways Arizona’s K-12 Standards Are Different than Common Core

Top Five List Arizona Standards vs. Common Core

Common Core

  1. Common Core Standards are owned and copyrighted by an organization in Washington, DC and cannot be changed without their permission.
  2. Common Core had lists of recommended reading materials, some of which were questionable in their age appropriateness.
  3. Common Core did not emphasize students learning about time and money in the early grades.
  4. Common Core did not have our students learn to read and write cursive.
  5. Common Core not only asked math students to get a certain answer, but said they had to show that they got the answer in the Common Core way.

Arizona Standards

  1. Arizona Standards are owned by Arizona and can only be changed by Arizona. They were created with input from more than 200 Arizona educators and thousands of comments from the parents and people of Arizona.
  2. Arizona Standards allow school districts and charters to select their own curriculum and resources.
  3. Arizona Mathematics Standards have students learning about time and money in 1st through 4th grades.
  4. Arizona now requires students to learn cursive by 5th grade. Arizona is the only state with standards that lead to writing cursive.
  5. Arizona students and teachers can now use different methods to get the correct math answer.
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Published: December 15th, 2017

Superintendent Douglas Releases 2018 AZ Kids Can’t Wait! Education Plan

2018 AZ Kids Can't Wait

Phoenix, Ariz., Dec. 15, 2017

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today released her 2018 AZ Kids Can’t Wait! education plan, which presents a comprehensive vision for improving education in Arizona.

“I am very excited to share this updated version of my AZ Kids Can’t Wait! plan with Arizonans,” Superintendent Douglas said. “The plan represents and reflects how the people of Arizona believe we can make our schools the best in the nation. I am extremely proud of everyone throughout the state who contributed to making this plan a reality.”

Based on feedback gathered during the Superintendent’s 2017 We Are Listening Tour, the 2018 plan includes new proposals, accomplishments from last year’s plan and progress updates for several ongoing initiatives.

In order to provide teacher raises and funds for repairs and improvement to school facilities, one of the highlights of the plan includes the proposal to extend and expand Prop 301 to a full one cent. In addition, the plan outlines the continued roll out of the Arizona Broadband for Education Initiative and Zip Code Project, as well as the addition of the Read20 initiative to encourage early literacy.

Feedback provided by attendees of the We Are Listening Tour, as well as through other methods at the department, were collected and analyzed throughout the duration of the tour. The predominant concern on the minds of Arizona citizens was to increase the amount of education funding, especially for teacher salaries and capital improvement.

“It is apparent that Arizona needs new and bolstered revenue streams to help support and sustain our education system,” Superintendent Douglas stated. “If we intend to fulfill our promise to Arizona children and give them the best education in the nation, we must all band together and make that a reality. I will partner with education stakeholders, Governor Ducey and the Legislature to make sure that the people of Arizona’s voices are heard.”

The 2018 AZ Kids Can’t Wait! plan is online and available at

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Published: December 7th, 2017

Superintendent Douglas Announces English Learner Teacher of the Year

At the Office of English Language Acquisition Services (OELAS) Conference awards banquet last night, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas announced that the 2017 Arizona English Learner (EL) Teacher of the Year is Kelly Neckels of Amberlea Elementary School in the Pendergast Elementary School District in Phoenix.

“It is an honor to recognize such an outstanding and beloved teacher as Kelly Neckels,” said Superintendent Douglas. “The energy and excitement at the banquet when her name was announced made it very clear how truly deserving she is of the award. Her district’s administration at could not say enough about her devotion towards her craft and her students.”

Neckels was honored at Wednesday night’s OELAS awards banquet at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort in Tucson. The OELAS Conference, which was entitled “Opening Doors through Language,” also awarded four standout students with prizes for being recognized as English Learner Student Success Stories.

The process for choosing the 2017 Arizona EL Teacher of the Year began with the call for nominations in May 2017. Judging took place in October with a panel of peers, facilitated by OELAS, ultimately choosing the honoree.

On October 27, 2017, Superintendent Douglas and officials from OELAS made a surprise visit to Amberlea Elementary to inform Neckels that she had been selected as the 2017 Arizona EL Teacher of the Year.

When asked to describe her educational philosophy as is relates to teaching EL students, Neckels responded, “My educational philosophy, as it relates to teaching EL students, is to cultivate an environment where my students feel a sense of security to take risks in their learning, to push themselves even further than their academic comfort level and to develop a love and passion for learning all while developing their proficiency in the English language. I also believe that showing my students how much I care about them as people, as well as learners, encourages them to develop positive relationships among each other. When my students feel secure, encouraged and loved, they support each other in their journey to becoming proficient in the English language.”

“I truly feel that every single day that I walk away from teaching my EL students I feel rewarded!” Neckels stated. “I get an overwhelming sense of excitement and pride when I hear my students use complete sentences with their peers or on their own, struggle with a difficult concept but do not give up until they succeed, face their fear of speaking in front of the class, explain how they got their answer on a math problem, or encourage each other to not be afraid to try.”

Neckels graduated with honors from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Education and earned her Master’s degree in Education from Northern Arizona University. Neckels has been a teacher at Amberlea for the past 11 years, and is currently a third grade Structured English Immersion teacher. She has taught EL students for the past 18 years.

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