Manuel O. Valenzuela, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
350 W. Sahuarita Rd.
Sahuarita, AZ 85629
(520) 625-3502 x1001
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Dr. Manuel Valenzuela is currently the Superintendent of the 6,300 student Sahuarita Unified School District, a rapidly growing K-12 school organization just south of Tucson, AZ. His responsibilities include serving as the Chief Executive Officer in the organization. Dr. Valenzuela became the new superintendent on July 1, 2010, after having served for five years as the Assistant Superintendent. During his time as Assistant Superintendent responsible for curriculum, instruction, and standards, all schools achieved federal and state accountability measures.
In Dr. Valenzuela’s tenure as superintendent, the District has achieved multiple systematic indicators of progress and growth as a quality public school organization. In 2014, the District’s Governing Board approved the SUSD 2020 Directions Plan, providing clarity and focus to planning and action steps. Sahuarita faculty members have been highly recognized through the State Teacher of the Year Program (7), Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award (3), and Circle K High School Faculty Award Finalist (1). Dr. Valenzuela, in cooperation with community leaders, founded the Sahuarita WINS! strategic partnership, which provides systemic collective planning, in support of congruent directions in regards to education, workforce investment, economic development and overall quality of life in the community. Through Dr. Valenzuela’s leadership with this partnership, Sahuarita USD became Arizona’s first National Math and Science Institute (NMSI) school district, resulting in a doubling of the district’s enrollment and success in college level Advanced Placement (AP) programs. In 2015, the Sahuarita WINS! partnership was recognized with the prestigious Common Ground Award by the Metropolitan Pima Alliance. The fourth Sahuarita school (Sahuarita HS) was recognized with the respected Arizona A+ School of Excellence Award in 2015. Sahuarita students continue to increase their rates of admission to over forty (40) institutions of higher education, including some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country. In 2016, the District’s approximately 400 graduating high school seniors collected over $6,000,000 in scholarships, a number that has increased each year since 2012.
Dr. Valenzuela attended the Flowing Wells Public Schools from K-12, graduating as class valedictorian in 1984. He has been inducted into the Flowing Wells Alumni Hall of Fame and the Athletic Hall of Fame. Dr. Valenzuela is the son of Mr. Manuel Sr. and Mrs. Amelia Valenzuela. Both of his parents were immigrants from Mexico who always valued education and encouraged their children to get a good education and strive to be the best that they could be. Dr. Valenzuela began his educational career as an English language learner in kindergarten and graduated from Flowing Wells High School thirteen years later as the class valedictorian.
Dr. Valenzuela served as a middle school science teacher, coach, elementary level assistant principal, middle school assistant principal, and elementary principal for sixteen (16) years, prior to joining the Sahuarita Unified School District.
In 2002, Dr. Valenzuela completed the Doctor of Education Degree (Ed.D.) at the University of Arizona. His dissertation was titled, “A comparative investigation of leadership style in Southern Arizona elementary school principals based upon socioeconomic context in the school community.” Previously, Dr. Valenzuela earned a Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership from the Northern Arizona University (1993) and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree with a major in chemistry from the University of Arizona (1988).
In 1998, Dr. Valenzuela was the first educator in Arizona to be notified of being selected to receive the prestigious Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award. At this time, he was Principal of Walter Douglas Elementary School in Tucson’s Flowing Wells Unified School District.
Dr. Valenzuela as among the first twenty-seven (27) superintendents in the country to graduate from the AASA National Superintendent Certification Program (2015). This same year, Dr. Valenzuela was honored as ASA All – Arizona Superintendent of the Year for Large Districts. Furthermore, he received national honors from the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA), with their Excellence in Educational Leadership Award (2014).
Dr. Valenzuela was appointed by Gov. Janice Brewer to the Governor’s Commission for Postsecondary Education, and is currently serving in his second term. Dr. Valenzuela serves on the Board of Trustees of Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital. Furthermore, he is the Chairman of the Pima County Superintendents’ Group and the Pima County Board / Superintendent Collaborative.
Dr. Valenzuela is an adjunct professor in the Educational Leadership Department at the College of Education, University of Arizona. He also serves on the Professional Preparation Board (PPB) at UA, and its corresponding Executive Committee.
Dr. Valenzuela is a native Tucsonan and lives there with his wife, Sandra, and two daughters, Brianne and Kristen.
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Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent
350 W. Sahuarita Road
Sahuarita, AZ 85629