School, bag, backpack.

The Pendergast Elementary School District Governing Board was recently recognized as a leader in modern governance. 

The Diligent Corp. announced the honorees of the Inaugural Modern Governance 100 Community Boards, a program dedicated to the recognition of community governance leaders who are committed to driving positive organizational change. 

In a year of unprecedented challenges, the program shines a light on publicly elected boards and councils as well as the professionals that support them. PESD was the only Arizona district to be recognized. 

During the last year, governance leaders faced an array of new challenges, from the COVID-19 pandemic and shifting to work-from-home offices to civil unrest. In the face of these changes, governance experts redefined their roles and helped to ensure service continuity and long-term organizational success. The professionals recognized by the Modern Governance 100 Community Boards program demonstrated exceptional work throughout the year, with a consistent focus on communication, collaboration and community.

“Amid all of the changes and hardships we’ve faced this year, the Modern Governance 100 Community Boards program reminds us that there is a very human side to governance. Every day, there are talented people working behind the scenes to drive real change for their organizations,” said Brian Stafford, CEO of Diligent.

“At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that it’s individuals who navigate the complex realities of our world to make good governance decisions. At Diligent, we strive to honor those who have exceled in their roles and gone above and beyond to help their organizations thrive in turbulent times.”

Jete White, Pendergast board president, added, “The board felt that communication needed to be strategic and varied to meet the needs of our diverse communities. To this end, PESD has utilized a curriculum audit and strategic plan to focus on high student achievement and culturally response teaching and learning for the staff, families and the communities we serve. 

“Each board member is active in the community and makes connections to benefit the district, its staff, families and its students. The accomplishments and innovations in the district happen because of the symbiotic relationship between the board and the administration, and the leadership on each campus turns them into a reality. I am proud to serve on a board that embodies these ideals and values.” 

Pendergast acting Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Cruz said the governing board sees the district’s vision “to empower excellence and success and makes each decision in the best interest of the students. The PESD board shows how meetings can be teaching and learning opportunities for all.”