TUSD Rodeo update: Is HT Sanchez ready to ride off into the sunset?

Life is a journey, not a destination – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination. – Drake

A lot of people may journey up to Mt. Lemmon, which is home to the southernmost ski resort in the US and in Tucson’s backyard.

It’s one of the most beautiful rides as you travel through 7 distinct biomes, starting from the cactus and chaparral at the bottom, to grasslands were trees have leaves that change color as they do elsewhere in the nation, rivers and lakes and ultimately to the top where the pine trees reach to the sky and that are currently covered in snow.

Snow is always something we look forward to here in Tucson, and unfortunately we in TUSD go through superintendents faster than when we will see the next snow.

What could be a very beautiful and relaxing drive up Mt. Lemmon, bringing about a change in pace and a much-needed break, can also be a nightmare.

The person who told you about this trip, finally getting you to trust him and go along, sits you on the back of his motorcycle, downs his bottle of MGD, and says hold on tight!

He takes no caution throughout all the curves, sometimes even driving on the other side as he makes wide dangerous turns.

Traffic is coming from both directions, and our driver sometimes passes vehicles as there are oncoming trucks on the other lane, swerving and switching lanes.

You get sick to your stomach, but he makes you wait. Trust me he keeps saying.

Then as you enter the village at the top, you see the Economics Professor and the Law Student cruising in a convertible with the top down, arriving at the same destination but in a vastly different journey.

This was my nice way of telling the story after waiting at least 24 hours after Tuesday night’s debacle.

What happened and what is going to happen?

For those who have been going to board meetings on our own, without being rallied by leaders who lie to us about HT’s real record over the past 4 years, trying to score political points, we could see the writing on the wall. The cover of the Arizona Daily Star Wednesday showed the ominous doom that was upon HT’s face.

This may have been a first for the only child from a Texas oil family.

HT couldn’t get his way anymore. All the people that he fired over the past 4 years in retaliation, surrounding himself with yes men; even sometimes those yes men, including his best friend, Adrian Vega, who he brought with him from Texas, would leave town in disgust.

The extreme narcissist who always got what he wanted had met his match once his puppet known as Cam Juarez was exchanged for an independent young law student named Rachael Sedgwick.

The voters made their voices known, and that voice was one for change.

By now it is common knowledge that HT Sanchez will be leaving us. This is HT’s last rodeo in Tucson. His small body in his super big black truck will find their way out of town on I-10 before he is able to receive is LULAC award for fighting MALDEF and the Desegregation Order.

The destination has been reached, but the journey was unnecessarily awful


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A few years ago, the Sunnyside board was recalled which resulted in a change of the board majority.  They had a similar problem with an overpaid Latino superintendent who was also fudging numbers but who had the same Grijalvista support. As the new board was about to be seated,  Isquierdo saw the writing on the wall and was ready to compromise.

The board meeting went long into the night, and you could hear the yelling even in the adjacent board room where the public waited. However, a buyout was worked out, in this case for $500,000. Everyone was happy since the superintendent no longer had to work with a board that were no longer his puppets, getting to retire with half a million bucks. Meanwhile, the new board was able to cut their losses and move forward.

Kristel Foster was present that night and supported the ouster of the controversial superintendent, her boss, after a change in the board majority. The Grijalvistas were rallying for him, but as an employee she knew how horrible he was. This was all before she decided to join the power club in Tucson.

What happened at Sunnyside should have been done here at TUSD, but the new board President Michael Hicks needlessly drew this process out to three meetings.

That’s not the worst part, however. Hicks has lost control of the board room, allowing the audience to be rowdy and disrespectful with even Cam Juarez in the back laughing and being rude. It’s all a joke now.

Then Hicks empowered Adelita Grijalva and Kristel Foster to show their political theater to a room packed with their political sycophants. Mean girl antics were at an all time high, and the board President could do nothing to control both the audience nor his own board.

In the end we found out that the vote would be postponed yet again. Word is that a compromise has already been reached, with Sanchez found in violation, and he will be fired with cause.

But Sanchez was so fragile and broken that they decided to offer him some empathy, something that Sanchez failed to show to his community, except for one school with political connections. Ironically, Ochoa is being demagnetized because of HT, and yet they support the very man who is their enemy because of what the Catholics in South Tucson tell them to believe. HT talks to the people in Spanish but takes the money meant for their school away; perhaps HT should be a preacher at a megachurch! The black members of a church in the Utterback community were also there, also fed a lie in the name of the Holy One, the Anointed HT Sanchez. They never came when the Utterback parents were airing their grievances, but once Grijalva put out the word that those with political ambitions, such as Rev. DaMond Holt, had to prove their loyalty, then they all came out.

It was ironic to hear older black ladies talk about being reminded back to the days of segregation because of what a board member said, and yet in front of them is the very many keeping TUSD segregated!

It is gross what this has come to. A disenfranchised community standing up for the highest-paid superintendent in the state who lives on the rich white side of town, and who by his actions has hurt the very community now protecting him. Sounds a lot like Trump and his poorer followers who vote against their own interests, many times in the name of God.

Right now HT Sanchez is the superintendent of TUSD. When he walked out into the board room on Tuesday, about one-third of the crowd gave him a standing ovation. Never mind that HT was planning on ditching them all next summer anyways, and never mind that HT is already negotiating the terms of his departure. They still believe he walks on water. HT’s eyes told the whole story, and if they were really his supporters they would have seen what was taking place. He wanted to break down and cry. He has lost for the first time in his life, and now the media brought all their cameras, some with 2-foot lenses to really capture every detail.

The empathy that was offered to HT Sanchez was to not fire him that night in front of everyone, since he was emotionally unstable and would probably have a meltdown.

So HT might leave before next Tuesday to avoid the public seeing him weak and crying. However if HT was a true leader, he would come out strong and say that we had reached an agreement, instead of being a victim and taking advantage of a community that you are about to bail on.

This would be the way to avoid more drama on the school board. This would be a way to leave on a positive note. Instead we have had Adelita and Kristel ambushing Stegeman last week at a meeting that HT set up (more reason for him to be fired). We have the black community being riled up, not last week though when we already heard about the stupid comments, but THIS week, because their purpose was to vilify the person leading the firing against HT, a woman, and macho HT cannot stand when powerful women stand up to him, such as Rachael Sedgwick, Sylvia Campoy and Gloria Copeland.

It is convenient how fast these same Dems forget when Kristel Foster said that she also would have joined with Stegeman and Hicks to ban MAS, or how she votes to spend $1,000,000 a year fighting the Desegregation Plaintiffs and refuses to approve the legal fees for the Latin@ attorneys. Agreeing to ban MAS and fighting the Plaintiffs trying to DESEGREGATE TUSD… that “White Supremacy” honor belongs only to one current board member; Kristel Foster.

In summary, HT Sanchez is gone, but TUSD will remain a broken place because of Grijalva’s attempt to use a disenfranchised community to protect her man. Kristel Foster and Adelita will become even bigger mean girls, especially Kristel who can no longer look forward to late-night visits to discuss business with HT at her house. Michael Hicks will have to get over his insecurities; Stegeman has a Ph.D. from MIT and Sedgwick is a law student who was the one who did what Hicks should have done from the beginning and that is to fire HT. Hicks is being overshadowed, but this is about TUSD first and not his future political career.

So we will still have dysfunction on the board, but hopefully they can all take a break once HT is gone and start focusing on the budget and obeying the desegregation order.

We ended up at the same destination, getting rid of HT Sanchez, but most of that work was done by Stegeman and Sedgwick who just got elected. Of course Hicks is needed also, but this journey has made us all sick.

As for those of us who have been going to board meetings before HT, during HT, and soon-to-be after HT, we will still be there, and hopefully the board and new superintendent can start working with the talented people in the community to bring about change instead of chasing off all the volunteers who are trying to make TUSD the best it can be.


Also published on Medium.

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10 comments on “TUSD Rodeo update: Is HT Sanchez ready to ride off into the sunset?
  1. Is it your purpose to make me cringe every time you use the phrase “mean girls?”
    They are women, poorly behaved, but still.

    • It is a term that many women who attend board meetings use to describe their antics, a reference to the movie Mean Girls. I think it is apt, it’s all theater and show with the supe and his two women on the board.

    • I’ve always assumed the expression “mean girls” was a reference to middle school girls who were bullies. The behavior of these women, at times, has been similar to middle school bullies. It’s not what people who voted for them would have expected. It’s not how they conduct themselves away from TUSD Board meetings.

      I wish they would calm down and think about how this looks.

  2. I hope and pray HT is gone. His latest pathetic actions are dividing this community. I hope Tucson can survive this divide,,,,,,after he is gone, hopefully!

  3. The Ambush at the Tucson Parking Lot. Sounds less ominous than the OK corral.

    I only see 3 sources for the leak to Grijalva/Foster: Sanchez, his admin (who presumably has access to his personal accts), or his attorney (unlikely). The leak was probably intentional, but with what intent? Unlikely that it was to retain Sanchez, because the consequences of failure would be an irreversible course for dismissal. I suggest the whole point was to stain Stegeman. Sounds like a desperate act by Grijalva to save face. Yet it’s interesting that KOLD did not run the clip on the news. I think they wised up that they were being used.

    I hope these are not the tactics we can expect from Grijalva/Foster for the next few years until reelections.

  4. Hope springs eternal, Anonymous, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that. The very birthing of this plan is so far away from reality and what anyone would want to see Board members spending their time on that its obvious that they live in a parallel universe where there are no kids, no schools, no teachers and staff….only hatred for Stegeman.

  5. Interesting that Adelita while on the dais “doesn’t have time for long board meetings due to other personal matters” or agenda items that don’t serve her ideology. Yet clearly has time to participate in a obvious violation of the Open Meeting Law regs which the AG just recently admonished her prior board majority for.

    SSDD for the Grijalva team. Say one thing in public. Go around the rules while in private. Guess it is only illegal if you get caught?

    Closest thing to a TUSD politician “running around with her hair on fire” I have seen yet.

  6. The crowd Tuesday night was the ugliest crowd I have seen in 5 years of TUSD Board meetings. They were upset, angry and misinformed. I thought Mr. Hicks did a good job of keeping things under control, despite the angry people in the audience.

    It was sad to see the Anglos who were so angry and so misinformed about Sanchez and TUSD.. From their comments, it was clear they hadn’t been following what goes on in TUSD, know nothing about TUSD’s massive loss of teachers, and nothing at all about TUSD’s budgeting process. They were contemptuous of Ms. Sedgwick’s effort to open TUSD’s budgeting process to the Board and to the public. Ms. Sedgwick is going to succeed, even though Foster and Grijalva are actively trying to block her.

    I was sitting near the African American church people. They were quiet and respectful. I was sorry that they had been so misled about Rachel Sedgwick. She has met with the Utterback families and will work to get what their school needs. Sanchez and his two Board members have ignored the Utterback families, who’ve been trying to get their attention since October. Sanchez has tried to coopt the Utterback families, by having the audacity to identify one of his supporters as their leader!. The Utterback families had never met the man and never even seen him before. He’s had no role in helping the Utterback students.

    I hope the folks who were virulently supportive of Sanchez Tuesday night, paid attention and watched how Ms. Grijalva and Ms. Foster conducted themselves. As Board members, they don’t deserve respect for how they acted Tuesday night. They need to calm down and try working with the other three Board members for the benefit of TUSD.

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