Newly elected MUSD School Board President Ben Owens speaks with newly elected Vice President AnnaMarie Knorr on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, during special board meeting.

MARICOPA — On Thursday night, the Maricopa Unified School District Board voted in a new president and vice president during a special meeting.

Previous Vice President Ben Owens was nominated right off the bat by previous President AnnaMarie Knorr, who spoke about his dedication and hard work on the board since he came aboard in January 2019.

“I have seen his leadership qualities develop over the last couple years with him serving as my Vice President and just serving on the board in general,” Knorr said of Owens. “I can’t say enough how thoughtful I think he is about issues, about looking at all of the different angles, about using data and taking important input into consideration, I really can’t say enough.”

Owens was nominated last year at the beginning of 2020, but ultimately turned the position down as he wanted more experience before moving into the role. However, this year, he was ready.

“I’ll take the challenge,” Owens said.

The board unanimously voted yes to his appointment, and turned their attention to the vice president position still on the table. Board Member Jim Jordan nominated AnnaMarie Knorr for the position of Vice President, and Board Member Torri Anderson nominated herself.

Jordan made a motion to approve Knorr to the position, and she was approved 3-1, with Anderson dissenting.

The four board members are still short of their final, fifth member after Patti Coutre’s resignation in late 2020. The Pinal County Superintendent’s Office opened applications for the position to the public on Jan. 5, and they will close the process on Jan. 22.

A qualified candidate is someone who has resided in the school district for at least one year, is a registered voter in Arizona, is not a current employee of the district or married to an employee of the district, is not a member of any other school governing board and is not immediately related to or living with a member of the governing board.

Eligible residents within the district who are interested in being appointed can apply with the Pinal County School Superintendents’ office or online.


Katie Sawyer covers Maricopa and the surrounding area for PinalCentral, including city, education, business, crime and more. She can be reached at