New CUSD board member sacrificed to be with his kids

Kurt Rohrs is ready to take his seat on the Chandler Unified Governing Board. (David Minton/Arizonan Staff Photographer)

Kurt Rohrs said he had a good life, traveling the world for a semiconductor country doing manufacturing and product management at factories in five countries. He lived in Ocotillo on a golf course in a really nice house, making really good money.

He decided to give it up.

Rohrs, who will be sworn in as a member of the Chandler Unified School District Governing Board on Jan. 11, grew tired of being away from his family, especially his 2-year-old son.

“Being on the road was not a way to raise a family,” Rohrs said. “So I actually left that profession. Don’t regret it a bit.”

He became a certified financial planner and began working in that field from his home office, which enabled him to spend more time with his children.

“I had high-level positions, making a lot of money,” Rohrs said. “But you know, I had a 2-year-old boy. He’s a great kid.”

That kid is now 22 and living in Texas.

Rohrs said he put off starting a family as his career was starting. He said he ended up meeting his future wife in an airport. After his son, the couple had two daughters.

He said they had to move to a bigger house in Sun Lakes after the birth of their third child. Now his two girls are attending business schools, one at Arizona State University and the other at the University of Arizona.

“Thanksgiving was the first time I had all them in the same room at the dinner table, in quite some time,” he said. “It is really difficult to get them all together, that’s just part of parenting. I talked to my mother about that, and she said ‘yeah, you just gotta let them go, and let them have their own lives.’ But they’re great kids and are doing great.”

James Caskey says he has known Rohrs for more than 20 years, having met him when both were in the Rotary Club. He said Rohrs has the leadership skills needed for a position on the school board.

He pointed to the time when the group needed a celebrity to be in a helicopter ride: Rohrs stepped forward and got the mayor to agree.

“He’s a great guy, he gives a lot to the community,” Caskey said. “He’s been giving back to the community for years, so this is just him continuing to do that.”

Caskey said Rohrs communicates well with others, that he can hear both sides of an issue and work with people he disagrees with.

Being a dad who worked mostly from home paid off, Rohrs said.

“A lot of it had to do with me being home all the time,” Rohrs said. “I drove them to school, and I picked them up from school. I made dinner for them and all that so I spent a lot a lot of time with them. I think that is key to raising kids, giving them the attention that they need.”

Recently, Rohrs has been substitute teaching at CUSD schools. He said he wanted to know what’s really going on inside classrooms.

“I think a much better understanding about how a school classroom works,” Rohrs said. “I like working with kids, I mean, really enjoy them at every level. … I think we treat a lot of kids, particularly in high school, like they’re adults, and they don’t have the knowledge that we do, they just don’t.

“We also found that kids in particular, just want attention from adults. That’s what they really, really want – the approval. They want the support.”

Editor’s note: The Chandler Arizonan did send multiple messages to the other incoming board member, Patti Serrano, in an effort to profile her as well. Those messages were not returned.

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