Ehrlich: 2 Apache Junction school board members in ‘inflexible, interpersonal conflict’

Conflicts on social media are not always worth addressing. This week, however, it became clear that certain members of the Apache Junction Unified School District Governing Board are in a conflict that has already and could continue to impact our community, students, teachers and school leaders in ways that are unnecessary, unhelpful and, in several instances, simply untrue.

Jodi Ehrlich

I do not agree with Mrs. Rizzi’s representations of our district nor our community that have recently been published by Mrs. Kimble on a local Facebook discussion page. They are painful, disappointing, unprofessional and difficult. They do not represent my Black and Gold. There are repercussions to the messages in this forum.

I fear this exchange has deeply eroded the trust we have worked so hard to rebuild – which, let’s be honest, is still on thin ice. This inflexible, interpersonal conflict has the potential to derail the business of the board, and I am beyond disappointed that power plays and behind-the-scenes politics have taken precedence over providing true leadership. True leadership means honest, caring and respectful communication with regard to all involved. It saddens and angers me that the focus has been on the adults and not on our kids.

All of that said, we cannot and will not get stuck here. Our kids and our community are too important. The job of the school board is to do the best thing for our kids – every single one of the students attending AJUSD now and in the next generations we haven’t even met yet, but who will shape the future of our community. We must keep moving forward, fight the distraction and self-inflicted wounds and be the leaders our kids need.

We have amazing educators across our district who are doing truly incredible things that they are super stoked about. It is heartbreaking to me that we are not focused on those things, but on the adults elected to lead.

I will do my best over the next several weeks to try to help the board move through these difficult times. I hope Mrs. Rizzi and Mrs. Kimble can accept responsibility for the impact of their choices, put their personal issues behind them and work professionally and respectfully toward the solutions they were elected to address. Conflict can be destructive; unraveling conflicts that have spilled over in this way is difficult. Our community will continue to face choices about who we want to be, and those choices include the ways in which we choose to solve problems and disagreements.

I’m confident and excited about the journey AJUSD has been on and the leadership and the destination they are leading us to. We might be about two miles into a 26.2-mile journey, but we have made important strides along the path. We need to keep moving together and keep the larger horizon, goals and our journey in mind.

We must keep focus on our kids, our community – reaching for the future together.

Jodi Ehrlich
Governing board president
Apache Junction Unified School District

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