Our Founders

Carolyn Warner

Eddie Basha and Bill Shover

 

The Arizona Educational Foundation was founded in 1983 by then Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction Carolyn Warner who believed that public schools were often unfairly cast in a negative light, despite being able to accomplish great things against seemingly insurmountable odds. She appealed to two longtime business leaders and friends, William “Bill” Shover (then Director of Community Relations for the Arizona Republic) and Eddie Basha (then President of the grocery store chain Bashas’) to help her start an organization that would celebrate excellence in public education and provide programs to support schools on a path to excellence. From the brilliant mind of Carolyn Warner and the generosity of Shover and Basha, the Arizona Educational Foundation was born.

Carolyn Warner (August 2, 1930 – October 9, 2018)

Carolyn Warner was co-founder and Chairman of Corporate// Education Consulting, Inc. (C//ECI), a national-scope consulting firm based in Phoenix, Arizona. She was a highly respected and effective educational advocate and public policy leader on state and national levels. An acclaimed speaker and best-selling author, Warner led U.S. delegations to Japan, Australia, Germany, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Spain and China, and conducted on-site studies of European Union vocational and technical training programs.  

Warner served for twelve years as Arizona’s elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the first non-educator to hold that post.  In this position, she was a member and executive officer of the State Board of Education/Career and Technical Education, and served on the Arizona Board of Regents and the State Community College Board.  Hallmarks of Warner’s tenure were increased services to schools, greater accountability, greater involvement of business and the community in education policy, ground-breaking Basic Skills and Employability Skills initiatives, and the creation of the Arizona Educational Foundation. In 1986, she was her party’s nominee for Governor of Arizona.

Proving that there is “life after politics,” Warner received Congressional and Presidential appointments to the National Skill Standards Board and the White House Conference on Small Business, and was a Presidential appointee to the National Commission on the Public Service.  She served on a variety of Boards of Directors, including Arizona Business and Education Council, Global Pathways, served as the National Treasurer of Jobs for America’s Graduates – the nation’s most successful school-to-work transition program, and Children’s Action Alliance.  She actively served as Co-Chair of the Arizona Career and Technical Education Quality Skills Commission until she passed away in October of 2018 and was past Chair of the United Methodist Foundation for Higher Education and past President of the Arizona Women’s Forum.Warner was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Racial Justice Award - YWCA of the USA; Policy Leader of the Year – National Association of State Boards of Education; Carl Perkins Humanitarian Award – American Association for Career and Technical Education; Distinguished Service Award – National Association of Secondary School Principals.Carolyn Warner was the author of four books, Promoting Your School: Going Beyond PR; Everybody’s House – the School House; The Words of Extraordinary Women; and best-seller, The Last Word: a Treasury of Women’s Quotations, and a book about her life was written by Lisa Schnebly-Heidinger: Before I Forget: Carolyn Warner.

To honor their mother's legacy and passion for education, her family established The Carolyn Warner Memorial Scholarship Fund which awards annual scholarships to students in Career and Technical Education programs.

Support The Carolyn Warner Memorial Scholarship for

Career and Technical Education:

William “Bill” Shover’s forty-year career at the Arizona Republic and Phoenix Gazette is legendary. His first newspaper job was with the Indianapolis Star and Indianapolis News where he met larger-than-life publisher, Eugene Pulliam. It was the beginning of a friendship that would change his life. In 1962, Pulliam asked Bill Shover to move to Phoenix with the mandate to involve the newspaper in improving the community. After Eugene Pulliam died in 1975, Bill Shover worked with his widow, Nina Pulliam, to continue the newspaper’s commitment to the community. Among many endeavors, Mr. Shover led the campaign to return the anchor of the World War II battleship, the USS Arizona, from Pearl Harbor to a place of pride at the Arizona State Capitol; was a key player in the effort to make Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday a holiday in Arizona; and coordinated the historic visit of Pope John Paul II to Arizona He was also one of a group of local businessmen who spearheaded the creation of the Fiesta Bowl in 1968, helped launch the Phoenix Suns, and he chaired the effort to bring Super Bowl XXX to Tempe. Bill Shover retired from the newspaper in 1998.

Edward Najeeb Basha Jr. was born in August 1937 in Chandler. He was the great-grandson of Lebanese immigrants who arrived in Arizona in 1910. His grandfather opened a general store in Sonora near the mining town of Ray and later built a second store in Chandler where he moved his family in 1919. The family’s first grocery, what would become the Bashas' supermarket chain, opened in 1932. Eddie Basha was a humanitarian, donating millions to charitable causes and helped countless others quietly and anonymously. Basha spent decades working to improve schools in Arizona and make educational opportunities available to more students. An advocate for public education, he was a fierce competitor in the political arena. A longtime member of both local and state education boards, Basha tested his popularity in 1994 with a run for governor. From 1968 to 1980, he served as a member and three-time president of the Chandler Unified School District. In 1984, he was appointed to the State Board of Education by Gov. Bruce Babbitt. In 1990, Mofford appointed Basha to the Arizona Board of Regents. Education is a passion that Basha shared with his second wife, Nadine Mathis Basha. She is a former public-school teacher and former member of the State Board of Education and founder of First Things First, an organization that provides educational and childhood-development opportunities for children under the age of 5.

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