MARICOPA — A brand new high school in Maricopa comes with a bunch of opportunities for what can be offered and how it will look, as the governing board for Maricopa Unified School District recently learned.

Sheryl Rednor, director of academic services, discussed the work of a visioning committee that had over 80 stakeholders that looked into creating the new high school. They researched new high school models and discovered the community would benefit best from a small learning community with career academies, so students were prepared for post-secondary opportunities.

A strategic vision for the entire district, not just for the new high school, was conducted. This included safe and innovative schools for workers, building a healthy community and creating meaningful community connections with diverse learning models.

This vision designed the physical classroom spaces within the high school. There will be makerspaces that are open and students can be seen actively engaged in learning. There will be a bio science lab area for students to work in.

There will be a learning stair or academy common area that will double as a stage, opening towards the inside of the building and behind it is an amphitheater that opens to the outside. Students and members can watch activities in the grass.

Going up the stairs, there’s a career center taking up the entire floor that will be the in the middle and be the center of the school.

In another commons area, there is flexible seating to learn and can be used as break out areas for the students. They can also eat lunch there as well.

There are some current teacher positions open for the second high school needing to be filled depending on enrollment. They are in need of two English 1 and 2, Algebra 1, Chemistry, Geometry, Biology, World History, Physical Education and Counseling positions. They are in need of one Algebra 2, Spanish, Visual Arts, Air Transportation, Business Management and Ed Profess. Lastly, there is a need for five ESS teachers.

Phillip Verdugo, assisting planning principal at the Maricopa High School, talked about the athletics portion of the presentation.

As they start in their first year, the high school will just have a practice field. The varsity fields wouldn’t be done until a few years down the road.

They’re “cutting edge” in design. The varsity football and track field would be separate and “create a lot of opportunities.”

In the practice gym, they’ll offer tennis, swim, golf, football, badminton, soccer and many other sports. They’ll start off with only freshman and sophomores. The divisions are currently being worked on by AIA and should start off with a 3A.

Other activities they’ll offer are eSports, drama, choir, student government, model UN, sports broadcasting and more.

A few MUSD members were invited to be on the new campus to see it’s progress.

“I can’t even begin to tell you how it felt to walk on there because back a few months ago we would look for ourselves, then to walk on and see ‘there’s a building,’” Rednor said.

The classroom building is “big and massive.” She said they’re making “great progress” and despite the “little birdies that might be saying otherwise,” the second high school will be open for school July 2022.

Tom Beckett, director of human resources, talked about the procedures and timelines for staff to transfer to the second high school.

The paperwork needs to be given to their supervisor by Nov 19, 2021. Interviews will go from Nov 22-Dec 10, 2021. All transfer requests will be informed by Dec 17, 2021.

They’re trying to get the process done before winter break happens, so everyone knows what they’re status is. Right now, they’re looking for volunteer transfers.


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

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