A new administration got underway this week in Tuba City. Dr. Harold G. Begay, a native of Tuba City, was appointed by the Tuba City Governing Board to serve as the interim chief administrator for the entire Tuba City Unified School District #15.
Dr. Begay, a former Vietnam Marine Corp veteran, attended Northern Arizona University for undergraduate work and completed his graduate degrees at the University of Arizona, finishing with a doctorate (Ph.D.) in School Finance and Educational Administration. Dr. Begay had formerly served as the district’s Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction.
In a memorandum sent to all district employees, Dr. Begay will serve in this appointed post until November 23, 2001. The TCUSD Governing Board will conduct a national superintendent search with the aid of the Arizona School Boards Association.
In a memo from Judy K. Secody, Governing Board President, to all District employees: “Dr. Begay is delegated full responsibility for the duties of the Superintendent during this interim. Please give your full cooperation to Dr. Begay and the administration. The Governing board is always truly appreciative of your dedication, sacrifice, and contribution to the District educational program. Please keep up your hard work for our children.”
In a series of meetings held this week, Dr. Begay met with his executive staff and the District’s administrators to share his expectations and goals for his appointed tour of duty. Dr. Begay will be scheduling periodic meetings with the school faculty, department staff, and the chapters and Moenkopi Council.
Dr. Begay equated a school system to a family. He emphasized creating a healthy atmosphere and working together to push an organized agenda forward. He also reminded his administrators to focus on a continued goal of professional responsibility, accountability, and a humanitarian respect for all cultures. He expressed his own personal interest and research work in the neurosciences and multiple intelligences and how native culture can be applied to effectuate a stronger and effective curriculum.
“We have a fundamental duty, obligation and responsibility, first and foremost, to put in place proper native language and cultural experiences for our young people, just like any other language group the world over. We must be mindful that we are public employees and that there are expectations of all district employees as outlined in our governing board policies. Our focus must be on our students and learning.”
Dr. Begay is a true success story of the Tuba City District school system. He attended the primary, elementary, and high schools within the Tuba City district. Before starting his secondary academic administrative work, Dr. Begay also taught at the high school and drove a bus for the school system, taking the Cameron route in 1969.
He has also worked at other school districts as well as the University of Arizona as a faculty member and in university administration.
In the past ten years, Dr. Begay has served as a visiting scholar to UC Berkeley, and is one of the two key individuals responsible for obtaining a $10 million dollar National Science Foundation RSI award for the improvement of mathematics, science and technology education in 300 rural school sites for the states of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico from July 1994 to June 2000.
Dr. Begay won the Administrator of the Year award from Greyhills Academy High in 94-95, and has served as a member of both the State Advisory Council for the Center for Excellence in Education for NAU, and the State Board of Education Accreditation Advisory Committee/Arizona Department of Education.
Dr. Begay has the rare inside experience of seeing the system from the bottom up, from within having served as a Board member in the late ‘70s, as well as an example of a true academic scholar for the students who attend any of the 7 district schools. It is easy to see how his own discipline, bilingualism, and commitment to excellence in education will result in continued academic success for every student within the Tuba City Unified School District.