TUCSON — When she finally went to bed on election night, Kathy Hoffman didn’t know she would soon become Arizona’s new Superintendent of Public Instruction.
“It was one of the most exciting weeks of my life,”
In the early morning hours on Nov. 7, Hoffman said she was 11,000 votes down to her challenger Frank Riggs.
But as more ballots trickled in over the next few days, the numbers and Hoffman’s life changed.
The 32-year-old speech therapist who worked in both the Vail and Peoria school districts will soon be the state’s head of public education.
Backed by thousands of teachers who marched on the capitol in the spring during the teacher walkouts, Hoffman becomes the first Democrat elected to lead Arizona’s public schools in more than two decades.
“My vision is for our students, for our families, for our communities,” she said. “It wasn’t about my resume or political gain. It was strictly what do our students need and how do we get there.”
“It’s a win for teachers in general,” Pima County Schools Superintendent Dustin Williams said. “She supports higher wages for teachers. This is a time for new leadership and to see what new leaders can do.”
Hoffman will have to work across the aisle with Gov. Doug Ducey and a Republican controlled state legislature.
This millenial firmly believes she is ready to take on this challenge.
“Arizona’s future starts in our public schools and I personally feel so much hope and optimism that this role has been entrusted to me,” Hoffman said. “It’s my privilege, it’s my honor to be that public voice.”
Gov. Ducey called Hoffman to congratulate her on her victory.
The two are set to meet and talk in the next week.
Hoffman begins her four-year term in January just as Ducey begins his second term.