August Message from Dr. Lily Matos DeBlieux

Dear Parents, Community Members and Colleagues,

Welcome back to the 2020-21 school year. We are pleased to have you as part of the Pendergast family. Over the summer, our staff has been hard at work preparing for the New Year. I am grateful for their time in creating learning materials and offering professional development opportunities for staff to deliver meaningful instruction for students.

In addition to our staff working diligently, I wanted to take a few minutes to thank our dedicated board members. They spend countless hours making tough decisions always in the best interest of our students. Many people are unsure what are the roles and responsibilities of governing board members? According to the Arizona School Boards Association:

The actions of the governing board commonly fall into one of five areas:

Legislation. As the district’s policy-making body, the board must establish the policies needed to guide the operation of the schools in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations. Policies are “the law” of the district.

Evaluation. After the policies have been adopted by the board and implemented by the professional staff, the board is responsible for evaluating the operations of the schools and the performance of their students.

Disciplinary action. Only the governing board can dismiss an employee or expel a student. When the superintendent recommends dismissing an employee or expelling a student, the board often conducts a hearing designed to ensure that all relevant information is before the board when it makes its decision. In these matters, the board must act as a judge and jury independent of the school administration to make a fair and impartial decision. As a matter of policy, the board may choose to have an independent hearing officer make a recommendation to them regarding dismissal of the employee or expulsion of the student.

Board operations. The governing board’s procedures for conducting its meetings and other business matters are established by the board itself. These procedures include electing board officers, scheduling meetings, developing meeting agendas, voting on motions and recording board actions.

Planning. A governing board must plan for the continued effectiveness and further improvement of the educational system. Only with sound planning can schools effectively respond to the challenges of educating a diverse student population in the midst of our rapidly changing society. The board must project future enrollment, gauge the life of existing buildings and facilities, and have adequate plans to meet future demands on the school system.

In Arizona, governing boards are required by law to perform certain duties. Some of the things that boards are specifically required by law to do are:

  • Appoint a superintendent, principal or head teacher
  • Hire and dismiss school employees
  • Adopt a curriculum and standards for promotion and graduation
  • Establish a school calendar
  • Establish policies for the acquisition, maintenance and disposition of school property
  • Approve all contracts for the school system
  • Adopt a budget for the fiscal year

Board members are elected officials who serve as volunteers for either two or four year staggered terms. The Pendergast board was honored in 2017 to receive the Arizona School Board Associations’ Governing Board of the Year Award, among many other accolades for their leadership and service. We are deeply grateful for Board President Susan Serin, Jete White, vice-president, Jose Arenas, Hilda Ortega-Rosales and Senator Martin Quezada, members, who make up this dedicated team of outstanding servant leaders.

Please stay connected with us through our website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Remember, Pendergast is the district that believes in YOU!

Dr. Lily Matos DeBlieux
Proud Pendergast Superintendent

About Dr. Lily Matos DeBlieux

Dr. Lily Matos DeBlieux was born in New York, N.Y. where she attended elementary school and two years of high school. Her family then moved to Isabela, Puerto Rico where she completed high school and college.

Lily's educational preparation includes degrees in Elementary Education (BA), Educational Leadership and Supervision (MA and PHD), all from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a BA in Business Administration from the University of Puerto Rico. Her experiences are varied and include serving as a teacher, elementary school principal, middle school dean of students, assistant superintendent, adjunct university professor, English as a Second Language Instructor, director of religious education at a military base, business owner, and community volunteer. Lily owned a technology company for six years before returning to her true love; education.

Dr. DeBlieux was appointed as the first bi-lingual, Latina Superintendent of the Pendergast Elementary School District in May 2014. She feels privileged to work in an environment with dedicated individuals and a Governing Board that supports "empowering excellence and success."

In her spare time, Lily loves to spend time with family, read, travel, and serve her community. She is active in many community organizations including The Hispanic Leadership Institute, Glendale West Rotary, Leadership West Class XXII, City of Phoenix Youth and Education Commission, Glendale Chamber of Commerce and others. Lily is sought after as a motivational speaker and, in 2015, she founded the organization Si no yo, quién? LLC to provide training to empower women to reach new heights in their personal and professional lives.