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Superintendent’s Newsletter

Superintendent’s Newsletter


Hello Parents and Community Members,

Welcome to the Florence Unified School District. My name is Chris Knutsen and the Florence Unified School District is a district by design, not by chance. I am honored to be the Interim-Superintendent and instructional leader for a progressive and innovative school district that truly believes in the philosophy of Kid’s First. Our district has a proud history in education spanning over 100 years. During that time, we have evolved from a small agrarian-focused organization into one of the most technologically advanced school districts in the southwest. We offer a full functioning 1:1 computing environment at all three of our high schools and technology in our elementary schools that allow students to increase their technological literacy at a young age. 

The reason our district is great, however, is because of our teachers and staff. As one of Pinal County’s largest employers, we fully understand the impact our district has in our community and we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of innovation. More importantly, we recognize that our primary mission is to develop future leaders for our community, our nation, and the world. We take our work very seriously and embrace the challenge of blending the many voices of our community. Thus, we deliver a world-class education to every student. It is our goal to provide a safe climate of academic excellence for all students regardless of gender, academic, ethnic, or socioeconomic status, within an environment that promotes leadership traits in each child. 

We have partnered with our community to empower students to make wise life choices, to become productive leaders of our society, and to succeed in our ever changing worldwide economy. We are Pinal County’s superior educational choice! If you visit our schools, I am confident that you will come away impressed with the global and rigorous curriculum offered to our students, the qualifications and professionalism of our teaching and administrative staff, and the high leadership standards routinely expected of our students. We know you have a choice in where you send your children to school and we thank you for choosing the Florence Unified School District.

Please feel free to contact me directly or one our district office if you have any questions or

concerns at (520)866-3500.

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Coming Up At the Ranch...

  • Public Input Pinal County Press Release   For Immediate Release                                                         Contact: Joe Pyritz (520) 866-6226   Standards Development Committee Seeks Public Input on Math/English Language Arts Standards FLORENCE – The State Board of ...
    Posted Aug 22, 2016, 8:01 AM by Jacob Milchman
  • TUTORING IS AVAILABLE! Do you need help with your class work?  Teachers are  available to help with questions/concerns Contact your students' teachers for times and days.  Additional days/times may be available ...
    Posted Jan 30, 2017, 2:43 PM by Jacob Milchman
Showing posts 1 - 2 of 5. View more »

Message from the Principal

Hello Magma Ranch Families! I am Janeane Candelaria and I am honored to be the Principal at Magma Ranch K8 School. I  grew up in Florence, AZ and have lived in the Magma Ranch Community for almost 10 years. I graduated from the University of Arizona in 2005 with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and got my first teaching job at Florence K8 as a Kindergarten teacher. After teaching Kindergarten for five years and earning a Master’s Degree from Grand Canyon University in Reading Instruction and Curriculum I accepted a position as the Title One Reading Specialist at FK8. I then earned another Master’s Degree in School Administration and Organizational Leadership and became a Certified Principal. After teaching for Florence Unified School District for 8 years I resigned and accepted a job as a teacher for the Arizona Department of Corrections. In 2016, I returned to the district as reading specialist then went on to become the Assistant Principal at Magma Ranch K8. I am currently finishing up my Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Grand Canyon University. I enjoy camping, traveling, reading, and spending time with family. I am happily married for almost 10 years and a mom of two kids (Joseph and Sara) who attend Magma Ranch. As an educator, I believe that every child matters, every day! I look forward to a successful year! Go Mustangs! 

Vice Principal

My name is Tara Walter and I'm excited to be joining the Magma Mustangs this year as an Assistant Principal.  I've been an educator for seventeen years, with four years of administrative experience.  I hold two Master’s Degrees in Education from Northern Arizona University, graduating with high honors in Educational Leadership: Principal K-12 and Elementary Education; two Bachelor’s Degrees from the State University of New York in Elementary Education and English (Literature/Writing), and an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts from Herkimer County Community College.   I was provided the unique opportunity to complete the second half of my student teaching experience abroad, in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England.  During my experience abroad, I welcomed the opportunity to travel throughout Europe.  This experience allowed me to learn and appreciate other cultures and ways of life.  As an educator, I've served as a Team Leader, Reading Coach, Mentor Teacher, Gifted Site Coordinator, NJHS, and Science Club Advisor.  My responsibilities in these positions allowed me to create opportunities for the students and aide colleagues in achieving higher standards for themselves professionally.  My core belief as an educator is that all students have the potential to be successful.  I'm looking forward to a wonderful year at Magma Ranch and am excited for the possibilities ahead for us!

Dean of Students

Hello! My name is Stacey Berklan and I am excited to join Magma Ranch as your Dean of Students.  I have been a teacher for 10 years and have taught Business and Finance, Technology, Mathematics, and Adult Education classes in Arizona and Illinois. I am looking forward to working with our students, parents, and community as we pursue excellence in Education.  I am originally from Chicago, IL, where I received my B.S. from Trinity Christian College.   I now call Arizona home for my family.   I attended ASU and am currently finishing my Doctoral Degree at Northern Arizona University.  I look forward to an amazing school year and to getting to know the Magma Ranch Family!

Instructional Coach

 Hello Magma Ranch Community,

My name is Jacob Milchman and previously I was the sixth grade English Language Arts teacher.  It has been my honor to teach your children over the last 8 years.  This year I have moved into a new role as the Master Teacher at Magma Ranch K-8. In this role, I am responsible for teacher professional development.  I will be providing teaching methods and strategies for teachers in the classroom.  

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