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home : latest news : latest news September 14, 2014

8/15/2013 1:46:00 PM
Surprise for Phil: School renames theater for England
VVN/Raquel Hendrickson
Retired Superintendent Phil England will have his name on the performing arts center that is part of the Multi-Use Complex at Camp Verde Unified School District.
VVN/Raquel Hendrickson
Retired Superintendent Phil England will have his name on the performing arts center that is part of the Multi-Use Complex at Camp Verde Unified School District.
CVUSD Board President Helen Freeman's Presentation
Phil England - Superintendent (1983-1998)

Phil England dedicated 39 years of his life to public education. He began his career as a teacher in Iowa. After one year of teaching he became a principal, serving in that capacity for 11 years. In 1972 he became a superintendent, serving in Iowa for 11 additional years. In 1983 he became the superintendent at Camp Verde and held that position for 15 years until his retirement in 1998.

During this 15 year period, Mr. England worked to improve school facilities, raise academic standards and improve relations with the Yavapai Apache Nation. Through his tireless efforts, Mr. England experienced success in all these areas.

Mr. England was instrumental in several significant facility improvements during his time as superintendent. In 1983 he oversaw the building of and transition to a new high school facility. Later he spearheaded a two-phase building project to improve the elementary and middle school facilities. Phase 1 included the addition of several elementary school classrooms, middle school classrooms and a new district office. Due to Mr. England's sound investment and budget strategy, Phase I was paid for in cash and required no issuance of bonds. With Phase II, a library, cafeteria, fine arts auditorium and gym were built. Mr. England was particularly proud of the fine arts auditorium, which provided an exceptional facility for fine arts programs. The construction of these facilities enhanced the learning environment for Camp Verde students and teachers.

During his tenure, Mr. England made a concerted effort to expand the secondary curriculum to provide a broader range of programs. To assist in this plan, school advisory councils were formed at all grade levels. These councils consisted of professional staff as well as parents and members of the community. Particular emphasis was placed on expanding college preparatory courses in most academic areas. Vocational programs were increased as well. Mr. England also focused on expanding all facets of special needs programs, with the district earning a strong reputation in this area. Mr. England's efforts raised academic standards and opportunities.

Mr. England also emphasized enhancing relations with the Yavapai Apache Nation. He held a series of meetings at the reservation in the beginning of each school year to encourage active involvement of tribal members with the school district. A strong emphasis was placed on decreasing the drop out rate among tribal students. Mr. England strongly believed everyone should have an opportunity to get a quality education and succeed in life.

Throughout the years, Mr. England has been a leader in the community. He served on the Camp Verde Chamber of Commerce, the Camp Verde General Plan Committee, and was a member of the Camp Verde Kiwanis Club. He also served as President of the Camp Verde Endowment Board, President of the Camp Verde Christian School Board, as a member of the Verde Valley Little League Board and as President of the Air Force Academy Arizona Parents Association. Additionally, Mr. England served in several leadership positions at Camp Verde United Methodist Church, including Chairman of the Administrative Council, Chairman of Finance, Lay Leader, and on the Christian Education Board.

In short, Mr. England has dedicated his life to public education and his community. He has served his community with integrity, earning the public's trust through his service as superintendent and as a community leader.

Raquel Hendrickson
Bugle Managing Editor

CAMP VERDE - Phil England calls it the crowning achievement of his time as superintendent of Camp Verde Unified School District. Now it will bear his name.

Tuesday, the governing board voted to change the name of the theater at the Multi-Use Complex to honor England, who led the district for 15 years.

"He was a key factor in getting us that theater," Board President Helen Freeman said.

"I am really humble that the board is doing that and recognizing me for things I had done as superintendent," England said. He was surprised when told about the decision Wednesday morning.

England was CVUSD superintendent from 1983 to 1998. It was a time of many building projects. The high school moved into a new facility, the old elementary expanded, the middle school was set up with new classrooms and new district offices were completed.

"We really did have a difficult time passing bonds," England recalled. "It was a very poor district because there were very low assessed values."

But in the middle of it all was what has become known as the MUC, which includes a cafeteria, library, gym, theater, band room and choir room.

"The building of the performing arts center was important because it involved the community as well as the students and provided opportunities for activities in drama and music," England said. "It fills a void that I feel we had lacked.

"It's fulfilling what we wanted it to, but there is more that could be done with it from the standpoint of the community," he added.

Freeman introduced the idea of renaming the theater, saying that performing in a theater called the MUC was "odd sounding." England was the one and only choice for the new moniker, though the board did not decide exactly how the new name would read on the performing arts center. Support Services Director Stacey Barker said the crews are getting ready to repaint the building, so the renaming came at a good time.

Philip E. England came to Camp Verde from Iowa, where he had been in school administration for 22 years. He and his wife were looking for a warmer climate in which to retire, then decided "why wait for retirement," especially after seeing the superintendent opening in Arizona.

Current board member Bob Simbric was on the school board in 1983 and remembered there were more than 100 candidates for the job. England was the unanimous choice, he said.

Freeman cited the long list of community organizations that England has been involved with, from the General Plan to Little League.

His tenure at CVUSD was not just about construction.

"Bricks and mortar are nice, but it's what goes on inside that provides real opportunity," he said. "You have to have the staff and programs that enhance the opportunity."

England joins an interesting list of those who have had their names on school facilities in Camp Verde. The football field was named for England's predecessor, Sam Hammerstrom, and the wrestling complex was named for former coach, teacher, board member and volunteer Dennis Sterrett. The baseball field was named for former pitcher Doug Davis, who donated $50,000 through a Diamondbacks/APS program to rebuild the field.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, October 11, 2013
Article comment by: Dwight Hunt

My family and I lived in Camp Verde when Phil England was superintendent of schools. What a great honor to a man who demonstrated integrity and vision at such a crucial time!

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Article comment by: Jeff England

Dad, A honor well deserved. I remember often your late nights at work but you always had time for me. I am proud to call you my Dad . Jeff

Posted: Sunday, August 18, 2013
Article comment by: Pillar of The Community

Accolades to the Board for honoring such a dedicated individual of the community. Mr. England brought CV education to a higher level & was a staunch supporter of our education system. Also, now we don't have to call the building 'the Muck'...Thank you, Mr. England!

Posted: Friday, August 16, 2013
Article comment by: What an Excellent Choice

Bravo to the CVUSD Board!!! Thank you for celebrating a person who truly made a difference for Camp Verde Schools. He is absolutely one we should thank, in part, for the facilities we have today.
Mr. England was my generation's Superintendent he was an involved, present, strong-minded, true leader. There has not been a Superintendent that has given to CVUSD like Mr. Phil England did, since his retirement.
Thank you, again, for honoring a very special man

Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Article comment by: Meg Parks

An excellent decision, and congratulations to Phil England for this much-deserved honor.

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