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Honoring Champions of Education

Andy Townsend


2011 AEF Ambassador for Excellence

Andy Townsend


Andy Townsend is the 2023 recipient of the Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF®) Carolyn Warner Legacy Award. Townsend, a 2011 AEF Ambassador for Excellence (a finalist for the Arizona Teacher of the Year® Award), now serves as the Prinicpal of Elvira Elementary School in the Sunnyside Unified School District #12.

Having served the Elvira community for over 16 years as a teacher, coach, and administrator, Townsend has dedicated his career to Elvira and is honored to represent the community. When Andy was named a 2011 AEF Ambassador for Excellence, he was a 5th grade teacher at Elvira, later becoming the school’s beloved principal. As an educator who values lifelong learning, Andy is currently working towards a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership, and mentors new administrators through the Arizona Educational Foundation, and Pima County School Superintendent's Office. He is a frequent guest facilitator for AEF’s Principals Leadership Academy (PLAA) and has helped guide Elvira to maintain its A+ School of Excellence distinction, earning the recognition from 2017-2021, and again for 2022-2026. Andy has been recognized as the “Rookie Principal of the Year” (2015) by Arizona School Administrators; was a “40 Under 40” Honoree (2014) by the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and was named a Rodel Exemplary Teacher by the Rodel Foundation of Arizona.

While currently pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University, Andy also holds a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of Arizona, a Masters of Education in Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix, and a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Arizona.

In his personal time, Andy volunteers on non-profit boards, and enjoys running, reading, traveling, learning, UA sports, and spending time with friends and family. He is also an avid tree planting advocate, spearheading the addition of over 80 trees to beautify the Elvira campus.

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