Who were the people who changed the direction of Camelback High School?
Let’s start with the principal, Dr. Chad Gestson, a former Teach for America corps member, who had subsequently taught at the middle school level and become a successful principal of a middle school in the Phoenix area. You can read his full bio here.
In 2009, Dr. Kent Paredes Scribner was the superintendent of the Phoenix Union High School District, a post he had held since 2008. Phoenix Union is the largest high school district in Arizona, serving over 27,000 students in grades 9 through 12.
Scribner led several successful educational initiatives during his tenure. Phoenix Union became the only district in Arizona to offer International Baccalaureate programs at two schools, North High School and Betty Fairfax High School. Central High School became Arizona’s first Cambridge International Centre, adopting the prestigious Cambridge Curriculum. The first ever Montessori High School program in Arizona was established at Camelback High School in 2012.
The local business and professional people
Phoenix is one of the lucky communities to have a chapter of Social Venture Partners (SVPAZ) an international philanthropic group which provides its subject charities support via both funding and talent. SVPAZ is essentially an angel investor for charitable causes. In Phoenix, SVPAZ has established an unusual direction called its Education Affinity Group.
This education group’s goal is to find ways to support and improve the local public schools. SVPAZ members were concerned since their schools had been deteriorating in student outcomes. Their schools had also been subjected to massive budget cuts by the state legislature as it reacted to the collapse of state revenues due to the crash of 2008 and as it sought to make the state more attractive to business relocations and start ups by reducing various tax rates.
SVPAZ’s Education Affinity Group decided in 2009 to make Camelback High School its focus of attention and for the next five years, it’s members worked closely with Dr. Gestson to design and implement numerous programs and clubs at the school. These efforts are described more fully in other sections of this website.