Arizona State Board Chair Resigns Amid Personality Clash With Schools Chief

By Daarel Burnette II — August 19, 2016 1 min read
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For years, Diane Douglas, Arizona’s elected state superintendent, has fought with her governor-appointed board over who works for whom. The board sued her, she sued the board, they moved into separate offices, and then legislation was passed to help them resolve their issues.

But the issues between the board and Douglas apparently have continued.

This week, Greg Miller, the chair of the board, resigned, according to the Associated Press. In a written statement, Miller said work for the board had come to a standstill because of the legal and personality disagreements between board members and Douglas.

“The superintendent is currently unwilling to fulfill her constitutional duties as it concerns this board,” Miller said to the AP. “Hopefully this action will allow the board to move forward with the very important work on its agenda and fulfill its constitutional role by encouraging the superintendent to move beyond her personal issues with me.”

Douglas, who’s in the thick of writing the state’s plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act, denied Miller’s claims through her spokesman Charles Tack.

“The superintendent has been and is committed to making sure the board has the resources it needs from the department to do its work,” Tack told the AP.

Douglas, an anti-common-core activist who was elected in 2014, started her relationship with the board on the wrong foot when she fired two staff members who worked for the board. After board members complained, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey reversed the order, and Douglas, also a Republican, sued, arguing that the superintendent manages employees, not the board. A judge later ruled against her. She has appealed the ruling.

Soon, the board moved its staff a few blocks away, setting off a fight over who had access to the department’s teacher files, which sat at the department’s headquarters. The board sued Douglas to get access to the files.

Gov. Ducey signed a bill in May that cleared up who worked for whom.

I spoke with Douglas and board members a few months ago for a story I wrote about the powers of state boards of education. Check out that blog post here.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.