Tempe Elementary School District lost one of its most dedicated education advocates in July.
Governing board member Kathleen Espinoza died early last month after battling cancer. Espinoza, who was 67, was born in South Dakota but spent the majority of her life with her husband Armando in Arizona. They raised three children and have a grandchild.
Espinoza served on the governing board for more than two-and-a-half years after working as a resource teacher in the district for 16 years and taught education for 35 years in all. She retired in 2011 and won her seat on the governing board in 2012.
“I am honored to have served with Kathy because she always considered students first in her decision-making,” said Governing Board President Rochelle Wells in a statement.
In a candidate statement written during her 2012 campaign for the board, Espinoza said, “Public schools are the exemplification of the melting pot upon which our country was founded. All children are welcomed, all children can learn, and all children are given the tools to be successful citizens. Lifelong learning is the outcome of school employees who model a love for learning and quality education.”
“That is what Kathy believed, how she lived her life, and the legacy she will leave Tempe Elementary,” said Superintendent Chris Busch in a statement. “While her time on the governing board was not nearly long enough, the love she had for children and employees will be felt for many years to come. Kathy lived her life inspiring others to believe in children and to help them achieve their full potential. She will be truly missed.”
A memorial service took place on July 26 at Tempe First United Methodist Church.