top of page

36 Arizona Public Schools Earn Arizona Educational Foundation A+ School of Excellence® Award

Arizona Educational Foundation AEF® Arizona Teacher of the Year® News

Phoenix, Ariz., February 22, 2023 – The Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF®) is pleased to announce the names of 36 Arizona public schools receivingthe coveted A+ School of Excellence® Award, sponsored by Fiesta Bowl Charities, for the 2022-2023 academic year.

The AEF® A+ School of Excellence® Award recognition began in 1983 as a way of identifying, celebrating, and recognizing educational excellence in schools throughout Arizona. In addition to showcasing exceptional public schools, the A+ Award application process provides school teams with an outstanding comprehensive framework that serves as a basis for school self-assessment and planning. The A+ School of Excellence® award is the highest state-level award given to a public school and is often a stepping-stone for schools seeking National Blue Ribbon status. The A+ Award is a powerful energizer for increasing public confidence in recognized schools, often resulting in greater parent and community involvement and even serves as an economic driver for some communities.

“The A+ School of Excellence Award is significant as it sends a message throughout communities that the local neighborhood public school down the street is an exceptional choice, brimming with opportunities for students to learn and grow, and for faculty and staff to thrive,” stated Kim Graham, AEF® Executive Director. “AEF wasestablished to shine a spotlight on the great work of public schools and the hardworking educators and employeeswho devote themselves to serving students and families. The A+ School of Excellence Award is our way of honoring that incredible dedication.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Fiesta Bowl Charities for this prestigious award,” stated Pam Roggeman, AEF Board President. “Their generosity of spirit and belief in the potential of youth to change the world through a foundation of education embodies the same type of dedication our public school educators display every day in reaching students and serving families.”

Supporting education through both philanthropy and volunteerism, Fiesta Bowl Charities reaches nearly 700,000 youth each year. Through opportunities like the Palo Verde Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers grants, school playground and faculty lounge makeovers grants to education-based nonprofits, Fiesta Bowl Charities invests millions of dollars annually in programs and services benefitting Arizona youth and educators. Learn more about Fiesta Bowl Charities’ impact.

“Support for education is at the heart of Fiesta Bowl Charities, and we are honored to support Arizona Educational Foundation’s mission to cultivate excellence in public schools for the children who will be our leaders of tomorrow,” said Erik Moses, Fiesta Bowl Executive Director & CEO. “On behalf of our Board of Directors, Yellow Jacket Committee, staff and thousands of volunteers, we congratulate the 36 schools across the state for their dedicated work to earn this prestigious award and commitment to driving student achievement. The Fiesta Bowl’s partnership with AEF on the A+ Schools of Excellence program strengthens our commitment to access to quality education within our communities.”

A+ Schools are celebrated and recognized as exceptional. Earning the highly prestigious and coveted A+designation spotlights the positive successes happening in public schools every day.

The 2023 A+ School of Excellence® schools are:

• Acacia Elementary School, Washington Elementary School District

• Biltmore Preparatory Academy, Creighton Elementary School District

• Canyon Ridge School, Dysart Unified School District

• Deer Valley High School, Deer Valley Unified School District

• El Mirage Elementary, Dysart Unified School District

• Flowing Wells High School, Flowing Wells Unified School District

• Franklin East Elementary, Mesa Public Schools

• Garden Lakes Elementary, Pendergast Elementary School District

• Highland Park Elementary School, Gilbert Public Schools

• Higley High School, Higley Unified School District

• Jack Barnes Elementary School, Queen Creek Unified School District #95

• John and Carol Carlson Elementary School, Chandler Unified School District

• Kenilworth Elementary School, Phoenix Elementary School District

• Kyrene de la Colina Elementary School, Kyrene School District

• Kyrene de la Paloma Elementary School, Kyrene School District

• Kyrene de los Cerritos Elementary School, Kyrene School District

• Kyrene del Cielo Elementary School, Kyrene School District

• Legend Springs Elementary School, Deer Valley Unified School District

• Neely Traditional Academy, Gilbert Public Schools

• Nevitt Elementary School, Tempe Elementary School District

• Oak Tree Elementary School, Gilbert Public Schools

• Rancho Santa Fe Elementary, Litchfield Elementary School District No. 79

• Red Mountain High School, Mesa Public Schools

• Red Mountain Ranch Elementary School, Mesa Public Schools

• Rio Rico High School, Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District

• Sandra Day O’Connor High School, Deer Valley Unified School District

• Senita Valley Elementary School, Vail School District

• Shepherd Junior High School, Mesa Public Schools

• Sierra Verde STEAM Academy, Deer Valley Unified School District

• Sonoma Ranch Elementary, Gilbert Unified School District

• Vail Blended Learning, Vail Unified District

• Val Vista Lakes Elementary School, Gilbert Public Schools

• Verrado Elementary School, Litchfield Elementary School District

• Washington High School, Glendale Union High School District

• Whitman Elementary School, Mesa Public Schools

• Willow Canyon High School, Dysart Unified School District

The AEF A+ School of Excellence® evaluative process is multi-faceted, identifying strong success in teaching and learning strategies, student achievement, leadership, and community integration. Public schools in Arizona can apply for the AEF A+ School of Excellence® Award by submitting a written application, which is then reviewed by a panel of A+ principals, teachers, and district leaders. If accepted, schools participate inthe final step of the selection which is a multi-day site visit led by a team of A+ Award judges.

The AEF A+ School of Excellence® award is valid for four years, and schools must reply to continue their A+ status. View the list of the A+ School of Excellence Awardees.

If you have questions or would like more information, contact Dr. Teresa Hill, Deputy Director, at 520-591-0972 or email

Visit the AEF website to Learn more about the A+ School of Excellence® program.


Download PDF • 324KB

About the Fiesta Bowl Organization

Since 1971, the Fiesta Bowl is a world-class community organization that executes innovative experiences, drives economic growth and champions charitable causes, inspiring pride in all Arizonans during and outside of college football bowl season. As a nonprofit organization, it is driven by its vision for the importance of community outreach and service. Through the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl, Guaranteed Rate Bowl and its year-round events, such asthe Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe, corporate partnerships and numerous community events throughout the year, the organization provides charitable giving to enhance Arizona nonprofit organizations that serve communities through youth, sports and education. Learn more at www.FiestaBowl.organd @Fiesta_Bowl on Twitter.

About Arizona Educational Foundation, AEF®

The mission of AEF is to celebrate excellence and cultivate equity in Pre-K-12th grade Arizona public education. This is accomplished through a variety of programs for teachers, administrators, and students. Some programs shine a spotlight on excellence; others provide a stepping stone to help support schools and educators on the road to awesomeness. In addition to the Arizona Teacher of the Year® program, AEF also coordinates the Arizona State Spelling Bee, the A+ School of Excellence® Award, the Principals Leadership Academy of Arizona, teachSTEM, Our World, and Take Your Legislator to School. AEF was founded in 1983, by then State Superintendent of Public Education, Carolyn Warner, who felt a nonprofit needed to be established to champion public education and recognize the great work of public school educators. AEF annually reaches over 500,000 students, teachers and administrators throughout Arizona. For more information visit, or contact

Arizona Educational Foundation AEF® – Giving Arizona Public Education the Shine it Deserves | Everyone's Story Includes a Teacher®

­­Media Contact:

Terri Bradford, Director of Communications, Arizona Educational Foundation

Mobile: 720-468-3996 | Email:


bottom of page