Arizona K12 Center Executive Director Dr. Kathy Wiebke reflects on the late Governor Jane Dee Hull's vision for education in Arizona.May 10, 2020
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Jane Dee Hull was a teacher from the Midwest whose first home in Arizona was on the Navajo Nation. She entered a life of public service in 1978 when she was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives. In 1994, she was elected Secretary of State. In 1997, she became Arizona’s 20th governor when Governor Fife Symington resigned.
I remember two things about her time as governor. First, she was the first woman elected governor in the state. It was also the first time and the only time in Arizona’s history where all five of the highest offices in Arizona were held by women. They were dubbed the “Fab Five” and, while at times I disagreed with them, the significance was not lost on me.
What I remember most were her roots as a public education teacher and her pragmatic approach. She was not afraid to listen and compromise. Most importantly, she had a vision for education in Arizona that went beyond any political ideology.
I never met Governor Hull, but I must say her name a half dozen times each year. Over 20 years ago, it was her vision that led to the creation of the Arizona K12 Center. She wanted a Center dedicated to the professional learning of Arizona’s teachers. It is a testimony to her vision that the Center continues to thrive and serve. At the Center, we believe that when Arizona’s teachers learn, their kids learn; when Arizona’s teachers lead, kids lead; and, when Arizona’s teachers are inspired, kids are inspired. Imagine having a vision so strong that it outlasts your political career and impacts generations of teachers and their students.
Governor Hull passed away on April 16, 2020. I don’t know how you can possibly mourn the loss of someone you never met, but, that morning as I read the news, I wept. Not only did I weep for her passing, but I mourned the loss of a politician who knew the art of compromise and serving a vision beyond themselves. There are not many people like Governor Hull left in politics these days.
Governor Hull’s commitment to Arizona’s public education system has deep roots and lives on to this day through the passage of Proposition 301 and the Arizona K12 Center. Her legacy lives on in every teacher that has walked through our doors and in the students they serve. That was a life well-lived.
Thank you, Governor Hull. May you rest in peace. We will take it from here.