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Tempe Elementary chooses superintendent

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Posted: Saturday, April 23, 2005 11:00 am

April 23, 2005

A former Army man whose experience spans from the business world to teaching calculus will take over as superintendent of the Tempe Elementary School District in mid-July.

The governing board this week hired Arthur Tate, 65, who is eager to move to Tempe and take over what he calls a "larger and more complex" district than Haverhill Public Schools in Massachusetts, where he is schools chief.

He was given a base salary of $145,000, along with a $235 monthly car allowance.

Tate fills a vacancy left when John Baracy left Tempe to become superintendent of Scottsdale Unified School District last summer.

"Certainly, it is a productive and successful district," Tate said of Tempe Elementary. "One of the key things I want to do is keep it a district of choice where people actually want to be and come to. And secondly, I will do everything I can to make sure our focus is on ensuring every student in all subgroups is successful and proficient on the test the state gives."

As a former math teacher who recalls struggling and using a sturdy work ethic to learn the subject, Tate said he knows how to help students who struggle with numbers.

"You make them successful," he said. "People who have trouble with math, part of the problem is either they have a fear of math or they’ve never been successful."

Tate said he wanted to become a teacher from the start, and he taught at U.S. Military Academy at West Point while in the Army for 26 years, making his way to vice president for the ROTC at Marion Military Institute.

He later became superintendent of New York Military Academy in Cornwall, N.Y., and took similar positions in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. He has also been a human relations director in the business sector.

Tate has a doctorate in educational leadership from Florida Atlantic University and three master’s degrees — in international relations from Boston College in Heidelberg, Germany; in mathematics and statistics from Texas Tech University; and in marine affairs from the University of Rhode Island.

School board members Karen Arredondo and Rose Crutcher visited Massachusetts earlier this month to interview parents, teachers and a wide range of officials.

"They all had positive things to say," Arredondo said. "He’s a team player and gets things done."

Crutcher said she at first questioned the fact that Tate was a long-time military man but added that he gained her trust. She promised that Tate has no plans to "come in and do any kind of clean sweep" of employees. "He’s excited about coming to the district and who we are," she said.

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