Deer Valley Unified School District kicked off its 2023 legislative session on January 10th, 2023. The community was invited to join the district in welcoming two new board members, Stephanie Simacek and Paul Carver. Students from the Mountain Ridge High School Band set the mood with musical entertainment, and light refreshments were served while the new governing board members mingled with parents, staff, and community members. The turnout was phenomenal, with around 50 parents, staff, and community members in attendance.
The meeting was called to order as the board members, and community audience took their seats. Mrs. Ann Ordway, Mrs. Jennie Paperman, Mrs. Kimberly Fisher, Mrs. Stephanie Simacek, and Mr. Paul Carver were all present. With the previous board President, Mrs. Ann O’Brien, no longer a member, the ‘23 governing board’s first item of business was to elect a temporary board president to open the meeting. Ordway motioned, with a second by Simacek, to nominate Paperman as interim president. Paperman was unanimously confirmed as temporary board president.
With a temporary President in place, the board adopted the agenda and moved into the DVUSD governing board leadership elections. These elections are internal to the board, with the members electing amongst themselves the board officers for the legislative year.
Election of President of the Governing Board
The mood in the room, however, quickly shifted. The first item on the agenda for the Election of Officers was the DVUSD Governing Board President. Ordway quickly nominated Paperman, with Simacek seconding.
Mrs. Paperman accepted the nomination, stating, “First of all, I’d like to let the public know that the last two weeks have been very stressful, harassment over who’s going to be President or Vice President. I gave it a lot of thought, and I’m going to put my family first; I don’t need community members to come to my home and do threats, so I will accept to be President.”
Before the votes for the election of officers, the board opened the floor to public comments. Five community members spoke, all in opposition to Kimberly Fisher and Paul Carver serving as officers of the DVUSD Governing Board. (Full disclosure, Craig Beckman, a prior DVUSD Board Candidate, a parent in the district, and a District News author, spoke on behalf of many parents and educators in the community.) The speakers promoted Ordway and Simacek for board leadership, citing Mrs. Ordway’s long history of community involvement and pro-education stance during her tenure on the board and Simacek’s experience as a teacher and public education advocate in the community. Speakers used Mrs. Fisher’s history of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, antisemitic remarks, attacks on parents, educators, and community members, promotion of misinformation, and consistent promotion of political agenda as examples of why Mrs. Fisher was not fit for board leadership. The belief that Carver is also unfit was also addressed, citing his involvement with the Union of the Three Percenter American Patriots. Mr. Carver being mentioned in the January 6th Committee Report after his involvement with Ray Epps on January 5th, 2021 in Washington D.C. was also referenced as to why he should not serve in leadership.
Upon completion of the public comments, the members quickly moved to a vote. Mrs. Paperman was confirmed as President of the DVUSD Governing Board for 2023 with a four-to-one vote, with Mr. Carver voting nay.
Election of the Vice President of the Governing Board
Paperman quickly nominated Fisher, seconded by Carver. Mrs. Fisher accepted the nomination, and the vote was called. Paperman, Fisher, and Carver voted Aye, and Mrs. Paperman was reminded that she also needs to call for opposition votes. Ordway and Simacek vote nay, and explain their votes:
Mrs. Ordway: “I’m going to explain my vote, which is going to be nay. I believe that…”
Paperman interrupts: “I say Aye”
Ordway: “I was talking, I was kind of talking.”
Ordway: “My vote is Nay for Mrs. Fisher, for a myriad of reasons. I guess they’re too numerous to count, I just hope that she can take some lead from leadership that does not utilize social media to berate and denigrate our district anymore. And that she will be working together with Dr. Finch (Fisher can be seen shaking her head) and show the respect that she’s shown and Jennie good luck to you. So my vote is no.”
Mrs. Simacek: “I would also like to explain my vote of Nay. I know I’m new to the board, but I have been a parent of this district and actively involved in this community for over 9 years. And the behavior I’ve seen and personally experienced with one of our board members is not somebody who I feel should be on the board, and additionally not having a leadership position on the board. So my vote is Nay.”
The motion to elect Mrs. Fisher as Vice President of the Deer Valley Unified School District Governing board passes three-to-two, with Simacek and Ordway voting nay.
Appointment of Arizona School Board Association (ASBA) Legislative Delegate
Mrs. Fisher moved to nominate Carver as the ASBA legislative delegate and was seconded by Ordway. The motion to elect Mr. Carver as the ASBA delegate passes unanimously.
Appointment of the Arizona School Board Association (ASBA) Delegate Alternate
Mrs. Ordway nominates Simacek for the ASBA delegate alternate, seconded by Mrs. Simacek. The motion to elect Mrs. Simacek as the ASBA delegate alternate passes three-to-two, with Fisher and Carver voting nay.
Results of the DVUSD Governing Board Election of Officers
Board President: Jennie Paperman
Board Vice President: Kimberly Fisher
ASBA Delegate: Paul Carver
ASBA Delegate Alternate: Stephanie Simacek