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Arizona Superintendent of the Year

Verdugo received the award for “working to create a strong positive culture that has unified the schools” at SCVUSD35, said ASA Executive Director, Mark Joraanstad.

Specifically, Joraanstad credited Verdugo’s major administrative accomplishments during his 4 years as SCVUSD35 superintendent that have led to the district’s strong culture:

  • combining two schools [Peña Blanca Elementary and Calabasas Middle] into one K-8,
  • expanding [the district’s] Welcome Center,
  • centralizing two preschools [San Cayetano and Calabasas], and
  • partnering with the Rio Rico Family Resource Center.


ASA acknowledged 2018 as a prolific year at SCVUSD35, recognizing the district’s accomplishments under Verdugo’s leadership:

  • The district received two national awards, AP Small District of the Year and Cambridge Small District of the Year.
  • The district’s preschool program was awarded the highest possible quality rating for its preschool program, five stars, making it the only preschool program in Santa Cruz County to receive this rating.
  • The district’s exemplary growth rate was cited in a national study conducted by Stanford — students’ test scores improved dramatically more, on average, between third and eighth grade than those of the average student in the U.S., placing SCVUSD35 in the top 99th percentile in growth rates among U.S. school districts.

In 2017, the high school was designated an A+ School of Excellence™ by the Arizona Educational Foundation, bringing the total number of SCVUSD35 A+ Schools of Excellence™ to four.

“The results are evident from a 5-Star preschool program to a nationally recognized high school with multiple A+ Schools in between,” said Joraanstad.

“David came into the position with a brave and bold goal for our District to simply be the best.  A lofty goal and not an easy one to reach,” said SCVUSD35 Governing Board President John Hays. “David’s work on behalf of the District, our students, and our community is inspiring those working with him to give everything they can to work towards that goal.”

Verdugo will be honored by his colleagues at the Arizona School Board Association/Arizona School Administrators Winter Conference at the Arizona Biltmore, December 13, in Phoenix.

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