TD3 Superintendent Christine Busch named Don Carlos Humanitarian Award recipient

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Christine Busch, superintendent of the Tempe Elementary School District and a longtime community leader, has been named the 36th recipient of the Don Carlos Humanitarian Award by Tempe Community Council.

Busch and two other award recipients will be recognized at the 2019 Don Carlos Humanitarian Awards ceremony and dinner Oct. 2 in Tempe.

The Don Carlos Humanitarian Award, presented in partnership with Salt River Project, honors individuals who have made Tempe a better place to live through impactful and lasting work that addresses human services needs in the city. The award is Tempe’s most prestigious distinction.

Busch has served as superintendent of the Tempe Elementary School District – home to 12,000 students – for the past eight years and has a long history of advocating for education and community involvement.

“Christine Busch has made it her mission in life to inspire excellence, encourage innovation and create a better tomorrow for children in Tempe,” said Nathanael Pretlow, board president of Tempe Community Council (TCC).

“Whether advocating at the statewide level, collaborating with local partners or working behind-the-scenes to ensure that a student in need has a new pair of shoes, Christine works tirelessly on behalf of children, families and our community,” Pretlow said. “TCC is proud to recognize Christine as the 2019 Don Carlos Humanitarian of the Year.”

Busch’s education career has included a variety of administrative positions as well as roles as a speech and language pathologist and a general education and special education teacher in kindergarten through 12th grade.

During her tenure as superintendent, Busch has worked to rebuild a district grappling with budget issues and school closings. She committed to reopen and repurpose every affected school and also build new schools to enhance the community. Under her leadership, the district passed a capital override, maintenance and operations override and $165M bond. Busch also led the district, in partnership with the City of Tempe, to house high-quality preschool classrooms as part of the Tempe PRE pilot program serving 360 of Tempe’s most underserved young children.

In the community, Busch has taken on a wide range of leadership roles including current board positions with Tempe Impacts Education Foundation and the Arizona Business and Education Coalition. As a member of the East Valley Superintendents’ Cohort, she helps mentor new superintendents. In addition, she currently serves on the City of Tempe Mayor’s Community Roundtable, My Brother’s Keeper Committee and Read On Tempe Committee.  

The Don Carlos Humanitarian of the Year Award is named after Tempe’s founder, Charles Trumbull Hayden, who was known affectionately by Spanish-speaking pioneers as “Don Carlos.” The award embodies Hayden’s legacy and spirit.

TCC will honor two additional community members with signature awards. They are:

Bernadette Coggins, recipient of the Impact Award.  Coggins has shown a longstanding commitment to improving the lives of others in Tempe and beyond. She currently serves as a   member of the board of directors for E3 Africa and member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the Tempe Union High School District, and recently was a governing board member in the Kyrene Elementary School District.  She has been deeply involved with the East Valley Women’s League and the Tempe Coalition, a TCC program that increases awareness of substance abuse among Tempe youth.  A longtime advocate for children with Dyslexia, Coggins has worked at the state and local levels to support families and enhance screening and intervention.

Brooke Schmidt, recipient of the Young Humanitarian Scholarship and Award. Schmidt, a Corona del Sol High School graduate, is being recognized for her leadership at school and in the community, with roles as varied as manager of the JV basketball team, volunteer and fundraiser for local nonprofits, and advocate for boosting voter registration among her peers. An incoming University of Arizona freshman, she plans to study environmental engineering and pursue new volunteer opportunities.

The 36th Don Carlos Humanitarian Awards ceremony will be held 5:30 – 9 p.m. Oct. 2 at the PERA Club in Tempe. To purchase tickets and sponsorships, call 480-858-2300 or visit

About Tempe Community Council

Founded in 1972, Tempe Community Council (TCC) is a community-based nonprofit focused on encouraging resident interaction and enhancing human services in Tempe. TCC brings together the community – including government, nonprofits, faith groups and residents – to support Tempeans in need, plan for present and future needs, and build an enduring foundation.

Media contact: Susie Steckner – or 480-734-5186







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