Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board member Reed Carr

Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board member Reed Carr got emotional as he announced his resignation for personal reasons. It will take effect June 30.

Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board member Reed Carr will resign June 30 and his seat initially filled by appointment.

Carr unexpectedly announced his resignation at last Tuesday’s board meeting, six months into his second four-year term.

“Over the last couple of years the demand on my time has pulled me in a variety of directions,” said Carr, emotionally reading from a prepared statement. “I have found it increasingly difficult in the past several months to meet my own expectations as I balance those competing demands.”

State law gives Maricopa County Superintendent Steve Watson the responsibility to appoint someone to Carr’s seat until the next regular school board election, which will be next year. Whoever is elected at that point would fill out Carr’s term, which expires in 2024.

According to Watson’s office, although the district submits up to three names for consideration, the superintendent “requests the names of all applicants who applied.” Watson also may accept letters of interest from people who do not apply through the district office.

 Antestenis did not respond to the question asking when the district may open up the application process for those interested in the seat.

Reed first won election to the board in 2016. He and fellow board members Lori Wood and Sheila Rogers Uggetti were up for re-election in 2020 but because it was not a contested race, the three remained on the board.

Carr said he hoped by remaining through June 30, it would allow for a smooth transition to identify a replacement.

Carr, a CFO of a private investment company, reflected back on his four children who attended GPS schools and his many years of involvement with the district.

“This school district, in particular its teachers have been a blessing to my family,” he said. “To each of those teachers, faculty and staff, thank you. You have my deepest gratitude.”

Carr said, “I have tried to ask meaningful questions and I have tried to question the status quo. I’m sure I have made my share of mistakes and at least some of the emails we’ve received, you tend to validate that perception.

“Nonetheless, I hope that those efforts are received as intended. I’ve always tried to improve our school’s ability to serve children.”

 He thanked his fellow board members for their sincerity, passion and civility.

“We’ve faced Red for Ed walkouts, we’ve seen COVID cause disruptions, we’ve closed and repurposed schools and just very recently we made some difficult decisions to reduce staff. But it hasn’t always been negative. We’ve had some wonderful successes. 

“We’ve adopted and implemented a strategic plan, although interrupted by COVID. We’re seeing that plan lead to improved academic opportunities and scores. At one point we actually reversed the downward enrollment trend, something our demographer predicted was not possible and a sign we were becoming the choice of our community.”

He noted other board accomplishments, including consistently increasing the dollar spent in the classroom and for the first time in years, a clean financial audit.

Board President Charles Santa Cruz thanked Carr for his service to the community.

“Your service to this community is undoubtedly honest and forthright,” Dr. Santa Cruz said. “And your commitment to young people is certainly always evident.”

Superintendent Dr. Shane McCord told Carr, “Every time I’ve had conversations with you, you’ve wanted to know what was in the best interest to kids.

 “That is exactly the type of person you are and that is how you’ve served. Never ever have you made a decision up here without thinking it through and wondering what’s best for our students, our community and our staff.”

McCord told the five members their jobs were not easy and not just because of the pandemic.

“You carry the weight of the district on your shoulders and the families out there that depend on you for a lot of different things,” he said. “You’ve shown the community how easy it can be to agree to disagree and do it in a civil way.”