Raised in Nogales, Arizona, Mr. Parra is a product of the Nogales Unified School District. He graduated from the University of Arizona in 1991 with a Bachelors of Science. From 1991-2001, he taught for Nogales High School holding the positions of teacher, coach, honors coordinator, and department chairperson. Upon completion of his masters in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University, Mr. Parra accepted the role of assistant principal and athletic director at Nogales High School. After three years, he was asked to take on a new challenge as principal of Mary L. Welty Elementary School. There he worked hard to improve academic achievement and change the school’s culture for all students, parents, and school community. Under his leadership, Mary L. Welty Elementary was recognized for academic gains in all core subject areas and received the 1st Annual Superintendents’ Cup for high academic gains and for meeting site goals and expectations. Under Arizona Learns, the school achieved high academic scores which earned them the label of Highly Performing.
In 2009, Mr. Parra accepted the role of Nogales High School principal, where he met the educational challenges in leadership working hard with his administrative team to restructure and implement accountability, academic goals/positive results, and high standards school wide.
Karla has served as the finance director in the Nogales Unified School District since February 1996. She has over 24 years experience in school finance as prior to working in the district, she worked as chief deputy from 1991-1996 and as deputy from 1984-1991 in the Santa Cruz County School superintendent’s office. She has a bachelors degree in business administration from Prescott College. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Arizona Association of School Business Officials and the Arizona School Board Association Insurance Trust.
Mayra L. Zuniga has a passion for public service and personnel management and strongly believes in quality education for our community. As the district’s human resources director, her goal is to provide leadership and HR programs which attract, develop, and retain dedicated support staff, teachers, and administrators that are committed to student learning and excellence in education. She is committed to being an exemplary provider of human resources – values, integrity, ethics, professionalism, quality customer service, public service, and teamwork.
Kathy Scott joined NUSD in 1977 as a counselor. She then switched to teaching in the English department and later became the grants coordinator at Nogales High School as well as the school improvement specialist and north central coordinator. In February 2011, she became the district grants director. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona with a bachelors in English and journalism, a masters in guidance and counseling, and a certification in English as a second language. She has also done post-master's work in reading and administration.
Angelina Canto is the director of school improvement for the Nogales Unified School District. In this role, she works with schools to provide support in the areas of school improvement planning, curriculum mapping, and assessment, as well as in the implementation of state mandated English Language Learner (ELL) program requirements. Mrs. Canto works closely with the director of federal programs to provide needed resources and professional development opportunities to each school site to support the academic goals they have identified for their students.
Mrs. Canto has been employed with the district for sixteen years, working as a middle school science and math teacher, an assistant principal at the middle school level, and as an elementary school principal. She earned a bachelors degree in physics from the University of Puget Sound. Her post baccalaureate degree in secondary education and her masters degree in teaching were earned at the University of Arizona. Mrs. Canto has also completed doctoral level coursework at the University of Arizona in the area of educational leadership.
Dr. John S. Utne is the student services director for the Nogales Unified School District. Dr. Utne is responsible for registration and students’ health and special needs. He has been instrumental in making the online special education program a constructive decision-making tool for IEP teams. The task of his department is to make all student-related services efficient with the ability to solve students’ educational problems using a common sense approach.
Dr. Utne has worked as an elementary school principal for over 25 years and recently joined the NUSD staff. His administrative experience also includes extensive work with special needs students in private and state sponsored facilities. He holds degrees from Iowa State University, the University of Arizona, Southwest Missouri State University, and a doctorate from the University of Missouri. He is a member of the governing board with the Santa Cruz County Training Program.
Alejandro Lopez is the information technology director for the Nogales Unified School District. Alejandro manages the technology department staff using a synergistic approach to ensure that the network, computers, software, and all telecommunications are operational, efficient, and secure. He works with the finance director and the superintendent to determine budgetary needs and administers all technology-related purchases district-wide, including E-rate projects. Alejandro’s focus is to provide up-to-date technology and technology support to teachers, administration, and other district employees, maximizing the learning opportunities for all Nogales Unified School District students.
Alejandro has led the Nogales Unified School District's technology department since September 2008. Prior to taking on his new leadership role with the IT team, he successfully completed five years of service as a network technician for our district. Alejandro has an associate of science-computer networking and security degree from Brown Mackie College in addition to a certification in computer networking/repair obtained from Chaparral College. He has also received recognition as a Microsoft certified professional.
Ricardo De La Riva
Ricardo De La Riva is the support services director for Nogales Unified School District No.1. He manages the maintenance department, warehouse operations, district transportation, vehicle maintenance, insurance claims, district projects, school facility board projects, and state reporting. Working with the assistant superintendent for operations to determine budgetary needs for support services, Ricardo assures that all schools and buildings are well kept, maximizing the learning opportunities for all students attending our district schools.
Ricardo has served as warehouse manager, purchasing director, maintenance supervisor, transportation director, and support services director for 35 years. He has an accounting certificate, associates degree, and is a member of the Arizona Association of School Business Officials. Additionally, Ricardo has been a basketball coach for the Nogales Apaches for 25 years.
Minerva Valenzuela is the English language acquisition coordinator for the school district. Her responsibilities are to ensure that the district is in compliance with state and federal laws, in the identification and reporting of English Language Learners and their English language proficiency levels. Minerva and her staff ensure that all school sites have current language designations, and the required documentation for all of their students, in order to assist in providing all students with appropriate program placements and services. Her duties are also to provide SEI program support to district and site administrators, specialists, teachers, and parents.
Minerva has served as the English language acquisition coordinator since July 2005. Prior to coordinating this department, she worked as a 6th grade science and English language development teacher at Wade Carpenter Middle School. She has served as a structured English immersion trainer for our district, and has extensive SEI training in instruction and best practices for the development of English language skills. She has a bachelors degree of arts and a masters degree in educational leadership. She holds an Arizona K-8 teacher certificate and a K-12 bilingual endorsement. Minerva is currently completing her principal internship at A.J. Mitchell Elementary School.
Juan Armenta has served NUSD as TUTV Channel 20 coordinator for more than 10 years. Juan’s focus is providing expertise in the application of multimedia technologies in order to create a learning environment that fosters innovation and promotes professional development. He coordinates the creative production of quality media programs for TUTV Channel 20. Working directly with teachers, Juan provides training materials and classroom resources to help ensure maximum application of media technology in the classroom.
Juan has a bachelors degree in media arts and communications and has completed related training at the University of Arizona, Washburn University, and UNAM in DF, Mexico. Proudly, he was recently awarded with the prestigious “Golden Bell Award” for his “Teachers in Action Series.” Juan has received other awards including the Gold Medal from the ADDY awards in 1998 for best TV commercial and “Best Spanish TV Program” for “ENCUENTROS,” aired on KHR-TV 14 in Tucson.