Guest speakers offer kudos, cheers and an Irish blessing at Kingman Unified School District No. 20 Open House

A cheer led by Linda Lopez, Arizona School Boards Association president, was one of the many bright spots at an open house Wednesday to welcome Kingman Unified School District No.

20.

The new district, which officially comes into existence July 1, will unify Kingman Elementary School District No.

4 and Mohave Union High School District No.

30 into one district, bringing together about 5,000 students from KESD, 2,400 from the MUHSD and 250 students in the Chloride School District to form a single K-12 district with an aligned curriculum.

Lopez, who is also a member of the state House of Representatives, said she wanted to congratulate the district on their unification efforts.

"You have gone through a long process to get to this point.

This kind of event does not happen unless people get together and collaborate," Lopez said.

"I'm sure there was a lot of blood, sweat and probably some tears that were involved along the way.

But most importantly I'm sure what needed to happen to get you here was the negotiation and collaboration," she said.

"This kind of unification, this kind of event, does not happen unless people are willing to sit down at the table and talk about it with one another to agree on what's best for the community, but more importantly what's best for the kids in the community."

Lopez, who lives in Tucson, said it is not easy to get legislation passed, and congratulated to MUHSD superintendent Mike Ford, who will be superintendent of the unified district.

"It is my understanding that it was his tenacity and perseverance down at the Legislature that helped get the legislation passed that enabled this unification process to go through," she said.

Kingman Elementary School District Superintendent Betsy Parker, who also worked to convince parents and teachers of the benefits of unification, will be the assistant superintendent of the unified district.

Stating that she wanted to be the first cheerleader for the new district, Lopez asked the guest speakers and members of the audience to stand as she led everyone in cheers for the new district.

Ford said Kingman is on the "threshold of a new millennium and the threshold of a new paradigm for us, and it's going to be very successful.

It's not going to be easy.

I guarantee you that it is going to be rough.

"We have brought a lot of things together through a lot of consensus," Ford said.

"The school board can tell you that they've agreed to disagree on occasion and through that process we have grown and we've come to the stage we are now."

Held in the Kingman High School North auditorium, speakers at the "The Open House for a New Beginning" seemed to be heralding a new era in education, brought forth after years of effort to unify the district.

Kingman Mayor Les Byram, a Kingman school teacher and administrator for 36 years before retiring, and several school board members were also on hand for the open house, along with retired KESD Superintendent Pat Carlin, Sr., who delivered an "Irish blessing" at the end of program.