Manuel O. Valenzuela, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
350 W. Sahuarita Rd.
Sahuarita, AZ 85629
(520) 625-3502 x1001
The latest version can be read here.
In Dr. Valenzuela’s tenure as superintendent, the District has achieved multiple systematic indicators of progress and growth as a quality public school organization. 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 (2). 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 300% increase in 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 sixth (6th))Sahuarita school (Copper View Elementary School) was recognized with the respected Arizona A+ School of Excellence Award in 2020. More recently, the District has increased its program offerings of college level dual enrollment courses to over thirty (30). 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 2022, the District’s approximately 420 graduating high school seniors collected over $15,000,000 in scholarships, a number that has increased each year since 2012.
Dr. Valenzuela has worked with the University of Arizona in identifying and implementing innovative programs and practices to address the teacher recruitment and retention issue. These efforts include the site based iCats Program, Sahuarita Teaching Fellows (STF), continuous professional development, and comprehensive workplace environment elements. Furthermore, the District has launched a multisector, comprehensive initiative to deliver student centered solutions to the issue of concussions and traumatic brain injuries. The program includes educational, individualized student support, and risk mitigation parts. Thus far, over 300 students have been supported in their successful recovery from such an injury.
Dr Valenzuela was appointed to the AZ Dept of Education equity and equitable practices committee, and named a Rockefeller Expert by the Rockefeller Foundation.
Dr. Valenzuela attended the Flowing Wells Public Schools in Tucson, from grades 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 are 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 became 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 was 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 K. Brewer to the Governor’s Commission for Postsecondary Education and served two terms, ending in 2017. Dr. Valenzuela currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Carondelet Medical Group, which includes both St. Mary’s Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospitals in Tucson. Furthermore, he serves on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson Review Board. Furthermore, he served as the Chairman of the Pima County Superintendents’ Group and the Pima County Board / Superintendent Collaborative (2013-2017).
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 has been married to his wife, Sandra, for over thirty-three (33) years. They have two adult daughters, and one granddaughter.
- May 25, 2022 Superintendent Letter to SUSD Families
- February 23, 2022 Superintendent Letter to Families
- February 11, 2022 Superintendent AEL Letter
- December 31, 2021 Superintendent Letter to Families
- December 31, 2021 Superintendent Letter to Families
- December 9, 2021 Superintendent Letter to WGHS Families
- May 21, 2021 Letter to Families Update
- April 19, 2021 Letter to Families
- April 08, 2021 Letter to Families Update
- March 26, 2021 Letter to Families Update
- March 8, 2021 Letter to Families Update
- February 24, 2021 Letter to Families
- January 29, 2021 Letter to Families Phased Return to Hybrid Learning
- Letter to Families Update Spring Semester Remote Learning December 11, 2020
- January 8, 2021 Letter to Families Update Spring Semester Remote Learning
- Letter to Families Update HS Learning December 3, 2020 (1)
- Letter to Families Update School Opening September 30, 2020
- Letter to Families Update School Opening September 11, 2020
- Letter to Families Update School Opening September 1, 2020
- Letter to Families Update School Opening August 8, 2020
- Letter to Families Update School Opening July 30, 2020
- Letter to Families Update COVID19 June 20, 2020
- Letter to Families Update COVID19 June 8, 2020
- Letter to Families Update COVID19 May 23, 2020
- Letter to Families Update COVID19 May 15, 2020
- Letter to Families Update COVID19 May 8, 2020
- Letter to Families Update COVID19 May 2, 2020
- Letter to Families Update COVID19 April 24, 2020
- Letter to Families Update COVID19 April 17, 2020
- Letter to Families Update COVID19 April 10, 2020
- Letter to Families Update COVID19 March 30, 2020 (1)
- Letter to Families Update COVID19 March 27, 2020
- Letter to Families Update COVID19 March 21, 2020 (1)
- Letter to Families Update COVID19 March 18, 2020
- Letter to Families Update COVID19 March 15, 2020 (1)
- Letter to Families Update COVID19 March 11, 2020
- 11.7.18 Thank You Letter to Families
- 05.01.18 Letter to Families
- 4.30.18 Letter to Families
- Letter to SUSD Community 04.27.2018
- 4.23.18 Letter to Families
- 4.20.18 Letter to Families
- 8.18.17 Letter to Families Eclipse 2017
- Superintendent Message Fall 2017
- Superintendent Communique 2017
- Superintendent Message 2016
- 2015 Message from Superintendent
- Supt. Letter to Families July 2014
Arizona Daily Star: Superintendent named one of state's best
Arizona Mining Review interview with Dr. Valenzuela
Feature Article on Dr. Valenzuela in UA College of Education Publication
Dr. Valenzuela selected for AASA National Certification Program
Sahuarita superintendent receives national award for Excellence in Leadership
Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent
350 W. Sahuarita Road
Sahuarita, AZ 85629