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September 28, 2011

Host: Ted Simons

Civic Leadership Academy

  |   Video
  • The Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy is designed for individuals who are interested in becoming elected officials, policy advisors and government leaders. Learn more about the program from Nancy Welch, Director of the Flinn Foundation’s Arizona Center for Civic Leadership and David Martinez, a graduate of the leadership academy.
  • Nancy Welch - Director of the Flinn Foundation’s Arizona Center for Civic Leadership
  • David Martinez - Graduate of Arizona Center for Civic Leadership Academy
Category: Education   |   Keywords: civic leadership, leadership education,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: The Flinn-Brown Leadership Academy is an organization that trains people for public service whether it’s an elected state position or a seat on a board or a commission. Here to talk about the program is Nancy Welch, president of the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership for the Flinn Foundation, and David Martinez, Community Outreach Manager for St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance. He was a member of the Leadership Academy's inaugural class. Good to have you both here. Thanks for joining us. Give us a better idea of what this academy does, what skills are developed and targeted.

Nancy Welch: Thank you, Ted. The Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy is one part of the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership. We're working with Arizonans from across the state from all walks of life who want to be a state level civic leader as an elected official, a member of a board or commission, a state level executive, or a policy advisor. We're helping people acquire the knowledge, skills to go with the commitment they have to serve Arizona. It's a program that includes intensive seminars about our state level issues, it includes a formal mentoring program, and an individual plan and follow-up for state level leadership.

Ted Simons: Are there specific skills, though, that you try to develop? It seems somewhat amorphous, but this is a leadership economy. There is something going on here and targeted.

Nancy Welch: We are very focused on both the facts and figures of the issues Arizona faces and the skills that state-level leaders have told us over decades that they need to get things done, from compromise, to working together, we focus on the skills as well as the knowledge and commitments.

Ted Simons: As far as your experience with the academy in that first class, what were some of the skills? What were you expecting to see and develop, and what wound up happening?

David Martinez: Sure. As one of 25 members in the inaugural class, I had the opportunity to interact with 25 or 24 other experiencally diverse fellows from throughout the state of Arizona, anywhere from myself, having served with the Arizona Students Association, to the mayor of Flagstaff and Globe, through the whole gamut of individuals who brought to the table their different perspectives, and an open mind to see Arizona forward in the next 100 years.

Ted Simons: And there are, what, 12 day-long seminars?

David Martinez: There are. It's quite the spring semester we have jam-packed at the Flinn Foundation. There are great days we get to interact with subject matter experts about state policy issues, and the 25 fellows really engage in a dialogue to talk about these issues.

Ted Simons: Describe a typical day, a seminar day. Do they happen every once every few weeks, once a month, once a week?

David Martinez: A couple times a month, Friday and Saturdays usually starts with the fellows getting to the Flinn Foundation building here in Phoenix, 8:00 in the morning, bright eyed and ready to learn a bit more about how we can improve our state and use our talents and experiences and then further them a bit more. I think that's one of the benefits of the Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy, the leaders have a lot of items on their resume, but they really came to the table, listened especially, but then really engaged in this dialogue about these issues.

Ted Simons: Are there ways for the fellows after they hear a seminar, or two, or three that day, to get together, whether in small groups or in big groups among themselves and say, let's thrash this out? What did you hear, no what did you hear? That kind of thing?

Nancy Welch: We see that happening in the seminars themselves, and in many types of groups outside of the seminars. People report back to us that they've been working together to understand further issues, the fellows have recruited one another to work on community projects. So it really creates a new network for all of the fellows.

Ted Simons: Speaking of recruitment, does the economy find people they think would fit? Do people who think they would if it find the academy? And if so, how does that process go, how does that work?

Nancy Welch: We are currently recruiting for our third session, which will be in the spring of 2012. And we are looking for applicants who want to be as I mentioned a state level civic leader, we ask for an application that includes four significant ethic questions, we ask for two endorsements from Arizonans, and we ask for a resume. So we both do a lot of outreach around the state, and we also hope that people find us, because there is a wealth of talent and creativity in Arizona. People can find the application at

Ted Simons: As far as, I know mentoring is a big deal at the academy. Talk to us about how that process works.

David Martinez: Absolutely. The process doesn't end with those 12 sessions. I was teamed up with a great mentor, and we meet periodically to develop my civic engagement plan that I will be implementing, taking the skills learned through the Civic Leadership Academy. What I really am trying to hone in on is that I was just one of six kids from rural southern Arizona, my hometown is Marana, and I’m deeply proud of those roots, and I was the first generation University of Arizona graduate. Having this opportunity even with that vigorous process that Nancy spoke about, I was able to interact with some pretty remarkable state leaders. I think throughout Arizona's history we have seen fantastic leaders who are willing to roll up their sleeves and do the hard work that needs to be done to move our state forward and make it better, and working with my mentor I'm certainly doing that.

Ted Simons: It's got to be easy, or easier to have people like David, people that are really passionate about public policy and public service. This is not where you expect someone to come in for the seminars and go off and play golf the rest of their life. These folks are pretty committed to public service, aren’t they?

Nancy Welch: They are committed to public service, and we are looking for more Arizonans who are committed to public service. As I mentioned, there are many Arizonans who feel a desire and a need to serve their state. And the Civic Leadership Academy gives them new tools to be able to do that.

Ted Simons: Is there an age limit that you're looking for?

Nancy Welch: No. We have a wide range of ages, we have all kinds of occupations, we have people from northeastern to southwestern Arizona. So we're looking across the state for the best and brightest.

Ted Simons: And basically there's no tests, I would take it, because they are seminars. How do you know guys like David are actually getting something out of this? That it's working for them?

Nancy Welch: We will see that in the future. We will see, as you know the Flinn Foundation has been concerned about Arizona's future for decades, and we are in this for the long haul. We will see the fruits of our labors in the coming decades.

Ted Simons: And, you're ready to go ahead and show them what you learned, huh?

David Martinez: Absolutely. It's a good accountability measure, too, because I feel like I'm a part of the Flinn-Brown family now. So I don't want to let my family members down, and certainly not the people of Arizona

Ted Simons: It sounds like a very interesting program. Thank you both for joining us on "Horizon."

Digital Learning Seminar

  |   Video
  • Dr. Sybil Francis, Executive Director of the Center for the Future of Arizona and State Senator Rich Crandall, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, discuss the Southwest Digital Learning Seminar that focused on the use of technology in education.
  • Dr. Sybil Francis - Executive Director of the Center for the Future of Arizona, Rich Crandall - State Senator and Chairman of the Senate Education Committee
Category: Technology   |   Keywords: technology, education, seminar,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: The Southwest Digital Learning Seminar was held this week at Skysong at Arizona State University. The seminar gathered together educators, business leaders, and politicians to learn more about technology and learning. Here to talk more about the seminar is Dr. Sybil Francis, Executive Director of the Center for the Future of Arizona, and also here is State Senator Rich Crandall. Good to have you both here. Thanks for joining us. Give us more of an idea of what the summit was designed to do. Held just, the last couple days?

Sybil Francis: It was on Monday and Tuesday, and we believe that online learning has a huge potential to impact educational outcomes for students in Arizona, so we wanted to bring leaders and education together from across the state, superintendents, legislators, and others to really talk about what we can do in Arizona to help advance this agenda.

Ted Simons: Where are we right now with that particular agenda?

Sybil Francis: Well, we are at the beginning of it. Arizona is pretty well positioned to take advantage of it, but there's more we can do. So we need to look at the infrastructure we have in place, we need to look at teacher professional development around online learning, and really get families and schools ready to move forward with this.

Ted Simons: Is that the kind of thing you see as well as far as where we need to go? We're talking about Arizona here, we don't want to be “left behind”. But we're certainly not the forefront of this. What's going on?

Ted Simons: But we are on the cutting edge. Ted it's nice to talk about something other than recalls and redistricting, I have to say. This topic right here literally moves the needle. What we find is that your kids take 180 days to learn, my kids take 180 days to learn- that's not true, yet that's exactly how state policy is. Using technology you take the best of a brick and mortar school, the best of online and digital and blend them together.

Ted Simons: How would you do that? When I hear blended learning, I have no idea what that means. Give me a definition.

Rich Crandall: You’re not the only one. It's so new, only a few states are even moving in that direction and a few teachers are even moving in that direction. Blended learning means you don't worry about seat time, you focus on outcomes. And also location. We have school districts where the learning takes place on the bus while they're driving to school using technology. It could be at school, it could be at home, it could be anywhere.

Ted Simons: Offline, online, pretty much anywhere? Is that what blending learning means?

Sybil Francis: Blended learning is a blend of using online technology and as a way also to enhance the teacher effectiveness in the classroom, and to address the needs of individual students. That's really the beauty of online learn. The ability to meet students where they are in their own education. So very individualized. That's one of the beauties of it. But you don't want to necessarily do away with kids being in school, you really want to enhance the role of the teacher.

Ted Simons: Was there something discussed at the summit that wound up, you go to these things and there's always one particular subject that people seem to go along to or focus on more than others. Was there something at this particular summit that you found people were especially interested in talking about?

Sybil Francis: I think they were really interested in what this can do for their school. We really talked a lot about how you can increase student achievement, using these different models. And I think what was really interesting for the attendees was to learn about blended learning. So many of us have this idea that online learning is a student sitting at home in their room all by themselves, and you have this impression that it’s isolating. But in fact blended learning in the classroom can be a very interactive process with your teacher, with your peers, different groupings of students. I think people were really intrigued by that.

Ted Simons: When you're talking about technology, and education, and putting them both together, what do you hear from teachers? What are they telling you?

Rich Crandall: Boy if we had the time. Just like anything with technology, have you early adopters, and then those who are a little bit afraid, and those who say, “Hey my way is working just fine.” One of the most interesting things that came out of the conference is we don't necessarily have parents demanding a new way to learn. They're not concerned with the fact that the United States is falling every year to other countries. “My kid is bringing home an A, why I do need to worry about it?” Education goes way beyond the report card. And so I'm not worried so much about the teachers, but parents have to demand that their kids get a better education.

Ted Simons: So that's what you're hearing from parents? And what are you hearing from students as well? It sounds as though, that's a pretty important factor here.

Rich Crandall: The number one thing is do we make kids power down to go to school, or let them use the way they enjoy -- you know how it is at home, they have a laptop, a cell phone, an iPod, an iPad, but they go to school, there's 30 kids in front of one teacher with a textbook.

Ted Simons: How do you implement this stuff? How do you make sure the talk turns into action?

Sybil Francis: On the subject of students and parents, there was an interesting survey results that were revealed at this summit. And they were talking about the distance between parents and students in terms of how they see online learning. Students are saying they're getting bored in school, and they like to be able to use their devices for learning. So I think that was a very important message we all heard that they're on the cutting edge of this.

Rich Crandall: And to further answer your question, we have about five or six, some pretty good models, Madison just launched their innovation school, Vail School District, Chandler at Willis Junior High is doing things with blended learning. I even heard Winslow is doing something. But the problem is we're only doing it for one, two, 300 kids. That's not going to move the needle until we do it for 10,000.

Ted Simons: Are there particular subjects in which blended learning lends itself better than others?

Rich Crandall: Let me take this one Sybil if I can. The number one -- language, we had the CEO of Rosetta Stone come out, and fascinating, young guy, just full of enthusiasm. And as he talks about what's happening with Rosetta Stone K-12 across the world, it blew our minds with what they're accomplishing with languages. Math is second for blended learning.

Ted Simons: Is that how you see it as well?

Sybil Francis: Math is really the top of the list. In addition to which if you think about our rural areas, there's a huge opportunity there with bringing online learning in the math area, because it's so hard to get math and science teachers in the rural areas. Of course we have the issue of getting them the infrastructure and the connectivity but it's a very, very great opportunity.

Ted Simons: I was going to ask, does Arizona have the resources for these kinds of ideas?

Sybil Francis: Well, I think the first resource we have is the excitement and the vision for this. And I think we do have some work to do in terms of bringing the technology. But we're pretty well connected in Arizona in terms of broadband schools. A lot of kids have their own device and that was one of the really interesting ideas, which is kids bringing their own devices to school. So we're actually in pretty good shape. I think we've got some challenges in the rural areas, but I think we've got a good start.

Ted Simons: Is the legislature ready to meet some of those challenges?

Rich Crandall: What the legislature and the governor’s office typically don’t do is they don’t fund start-ups. What they're looking for is a concept. If you think of when the governor gave some money to Teach for America. They came to Arizona first and for three years proved that they worked and then the governor stepped up with some money for them. I see that same thing happening here. What we're finding is with blended learning, you can redirect some dollars and make this work fantastically.

Ted Simons: I was going to say, redirecting dollars sounds like something that would catch a lawmaker's attention. How many lawmakers were at this summit? How many legislators were there?

Rich Crandall: I think we had six lawmakers, we had most of the county school superintendents, state board members. Those who needed to be there, about 50 of the big school superintendents.

Sybil Francis: Just to jump in on the resources, certainly there are start-up costs, but over time we believe that online learning can actually make the educational system much more effective and efficient. It's done that in so many other industries, in some ways education is the last big industry if you will that hasn't been invaded by and benefited from technology. So we actually think in the long run you can conserve on resources or make your system much more effective.

Ted Simons: And change the game as far as accountability, I would think would be concerned as well. You've got test scores that you can't hide there from the computer, can you?

Rich Crandall: No.

Ted Simons: Yeah.

Sybil Francis: Well, and even more than that, what's beautiful about the technology is that if it's done right the teachers can get data every day from their students and pinpoint and target their areas of need and help them where they need the most help. Right now with the teachers standing in front of several classes of 30 kids a day it's very hard to give individualized attention.

Ted Simons: All right. Very good. Thank you both for joining us. We appreciate it.

Sybil Francis: Thank you.

State Veterinarian

  |   Video
  • Dr. Perry Durham, the new State Veterinarian for Arizona, describes the responsibilities of his office.
  • Dr. Perry Durham - State Veterinarian
Category: Government   |   Keywords: state veterinarian, farming, agriculture,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Arizona has a new state veterinarian. Not many people are aware that we even had such an office in the first place, but we do. Dr. Perry Durham was recently named to the position, and he joins us now on "Horizon." Welcome to "Horizon."

Perry Durham: Thank you.

Ted Simons: Are you surprised that people like me were unaware that we have a state veterinarian?

Perry Durham: A little bit, yeah. But then I grew up in the agricultural world, so most people didn't. For me it's normal to wonder, “Who's the state vet and what are they doing?”

Ted Simons: So what does the state vet do?

Ted Simons: Our primary role is to prevent disease inside the livestock community of the state. Livestock here, cattle, horses, pigs, sheeps, and goats. We prevent anything that comes in and if it does come in and get started, we go out, find it, and eradicate it. That's job one here, is to protect the livestock in the state.

Ted Simons: How often do you have to do something like that?

Perry Durham: Um, that's kind of a tough question to answer, because disease doesn't really work on a regular sort of hourly basis. We get T.B. traces that come in from other places that we will track down and have to eliminate those animals. Several years back I think it was '03-04 we had the big Exotic Newcastles Disease epidemic. A lot of birds in California, we had one site out in the western part of the state. So the routine surveillance goes on pretty much all the time.

Ted Simons: It not only affects the food supply, some of those diseases can be transmitted to human beings.

Perry Durham: That's the second part of protecting not just the livestock, but the public. Because most of the regulatory diseases that we deal with were put into place in the '40s, '50s to eliminate things like tuberculosis and brucella that people were contracting from milk, meat and those sorts of things. And we've been very successful at getting those out.

Ted Simons: Animal cruelty, do you deal with that very much there?

Perry Durham: We have two avenues to get us into the welfare and the cruelty issues. One is in our section of the law title three that deals specifically with neglected of equine. The other is the criminal statute, title 13, which has to do with cruelty of any animal, really. Because we do have a law enforcement group, the -- what used to be known as Life Stock Services, now Animal Health and Welfare, do report to me. And so those folks, that's part of their duty, to investigate those matters as well.

Ted Simons: And you -- let's not forget fish and fish farms and such. You've got to monitor those too?

Perry Durham: Yes, we do, and the -- I guess you would say the emerging technology of algae production and oils and those sorts of things. Those do fall into our part of the house.

Ted Simons: And as well, I'm just guessing, but the importation of animals. How far does that go, if someone wants to bring fluffy in from Idaho, the cat, does your office get involved? If they want to start a farm and they want to transmit livestock -- how do you work that?

Perry Durham: Well, the Interstate Commerce Clause gets the feds the real jurisdiction on the road, but as far as coming past that imaginary border or the psychological border and getting into the state of Arizona, that's ours to set. And we do set hurdles for animals to have to get over, the owners of those animals to get over. Most of that deals with livestock, not so much with pets, but we do have some very specific rules in place that deal with, you’ve got to test for this, that, and the other, or come out of a free -- known-free area before you can come in.

Ted Simons: It sounds like livestock, poultry, fish are a big concentration. What about wild animals? A veterinarian is a veterinarian, right?

Perry Durham: That's generally true coming out of the school, but we usually go one way or the other fairly quickly. But wild animals, wildlife in the state of Arizona almost exclusively are dealt with by Game and Fish.

Ted Simons: Now, I know you're new on the job. But as far as you can tell, is the office staffed appropriately? Do you have enough funds? What are you seeing in there? How long have you been on the job?

Perry Durham: Seven days.

Ted Simons: Seven days?

Perry Durham: Seven working days, actually this is the end of the eighth.

Ted Simons: Alright, okay you must know everything about it. Can you do the job? Do you have the resources to do the job?

Perry Durham: Oh do I believe I can do the job and the people? Absolutely.

Ted Simons: Do you have the resources?

Perry Durham: Do we need more? I would like to think we can do the job, but more would be a big help.

Ted Simons: What would you need most?

Perry Durham: Well, that's kind of tough to say after seven days. I don't have a good feel for what I'd really like to pursue. But one of the things I do have, job one, is to get out in the country and listen to people. Your reaction and some of the other folks who have been on the show today is just reinforce the idea that I had coming in that I need to get out and talk to people. People need to have an opportunity to discuss with me what's important to them. Not just the ag. community, although that's really kind of the first group to get to, but all of the other constituencies, the veterinarians out there, the people who own companion animals, which most people think of their equine anymore as companion animals. I really do want to get out there and meet those people and understand what's going on in their world and what's really their main concern.

Ted Simons: This isn't new for you, correct? Were you an assistant in the department?

Perry Durham: I was an assistant for seven years, but left about three years ago to work on a project for the Department of Defense.

Ted Simons: Talk to us about that project. That sounds fascinating. Taking care of animals for troops, right?

Perry Durham: Yes. Exactly. The -- I kind of ran away from the farm when I was a young kid and went off into the I.T. field, and most of my professional career I blended those two. And it's been very good to me. The last three years I worked on a project that took a veterinarian practice management application and put it into the Pentagon so that the veterinarian command has the ability to track their animals, not just their animals, the military working dogs, for instance, but also all of the service men and women's animals and ratchet up the level of care they can provide. Because they run 24/7 around the globe, and our application is there to support them doing that.

Ted Simons: That's a great program. We have very little time left. What got you into all this? I heard you say were you raised on a farm.

Perry Durham: I was born into it. It's kind of hard for me to answer that question because I was like, “I didn't have a choice.” And I did run away because feeding cows is kind of hard work and working inside certainly looks a lot more appealing. But after a while you have to get back to what's running in your blood.

Ted Simons: You're doing a little bit of both, and congratulations. Good luck on the job.

Perry Durham: Thank you, sir.

Ted Simons: Alright, good to meet you.