Thanks to all who attended The Rising School’s Kickoff celebration!

Thanks to all who attended The Rising School’s Kickoff celebration on April 7! Our next meeting will take place in July, with committees convening to discuss roles and plans.

Rising School Kickoff Celebration

The Rising School Kickoff Celebration was a great success! We had twenty supporters attend the meeting. Dr. Rising gave a presentation in which he thanked supporters, described the process for opening a charter school, discussed possible school locations in central Tucson, explained the school’s mission statement, and answered questions.

The large group then broke into smaller groups of four or five to discuss educational needs of Tucson’s children. The small groups then presented to the entire group. Some of the input included:

  • Quality teachers who love their students and learning
  • Teachers who know their students’ strengths and weaknesses
  • Teaching styles should match learning styles
  • Course should teach practical, real-life skills, including communication
  • Courses should focus on problem-solving skills
  • Students should learn how to interact with others
  • Creative thinking should be taught across the curriculum in a systematic way with time lines and standards
  • Classes should expose students to professional organizations
  • The school should build relationships with outside organizations that support education
  • Students should have opportunities to integrate technology and to engage globally
  • Students need energy outlet: physical and creative outlets
  • Students should get breaks
  • Students should learn collaboratively
  • Students should learn citizenship and real-life skills, like balancing a checkbook
  • Teachers should set the bar for expectations high

School Committees

At The Kickoff Meeting, school supporters signed up for marketing, fundraising, facilities, and curriculum committees. Those who signed up included (in alphabetical order): Rosie Garcia (fundraising), Margret Huebner (fundraising, facilities), Richard Huebner (facilities), Debby Kennedy (marketing), Mark Mussari (curriculum), Stephanie Rising (marketing), Bob Rose (facilities), Sandy Rose (marketing, fundraising), and Tim Warren (marketing, curriculum). Thanks to all of you! We really appreciate it!

If we missed your name or you’d like to sign up for a committee, please contact the school at

And Our School Mascot Is … The Storm!

At the Kickoff Celebration, our supporters gave a list of about 20 possible mascot names. We then narrowed this down to our three finalists: The Raptors, The Stars, and The Storm. We then had an online vote on Facebook. Over 50 people voted, and the overwhelming choice was The Storm! The Rising Storm—that sounds great!

Meet our Governing Board

Rising Schools, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that oversees The Rising School. The board of directors of Rising Schools, Inc. is also the school governing board of The Rising School. The board is currently comprised of three members: Rosie Garcia, Greg Berger, and George Rising. Each is a longtime Tucson resident with years of experience in secondary education.

Rosie Garcia, M.Ed., is a distinguished, long-time educator in Tucson. Ms. Garcia earned her M.Ed. in Secondary Education and a K-12 Principal’s Certificate from the University of Arizona. For the past 36 years, she has taught at Sunnyside High School in Tucson where she also has sponsored numerous clubs and organizations, including the National Honor Society. She is committed to community involvement and has served on the board of directors of Luz Academy of Tucson Preparatory School, Every Voice in Action Foundation, and the Western Institute for Leadership Development charter school. She is a member of several professional organizations and has won many honors and awards, including the 2007 LULAC National Citation Outstanding Educators Award.

Gregory J. Berger, J.D., contributes legal and educational experience to the organization. Mr. Berger is a defense attorney at the Pima County Public Defender, adjunct professor of law, and former secondary-school teacher. After growing up in Tucson, he attended Occidental College, graduating in 1990. He had two tours (1991-95 and 2001-05) teaching history at St. Gregory College Preparatory School, one of the best independent schools in Arizona. In between stints at St. Gregory, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching English in Kyrgyzstan for two years, and then attended the University of Arizona’s College of Law, earned his Juris Doctor degree and passing the Arizona State Bar in 2001. Since 2006, he has worked as a Defense Attorney in the Law Offices of the Pima County Public Defender. He also teaches at the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona.

George G. Rising, Ph.D., is an accomplished school leader with sixteen years of experience at some of the best schools in Tucson. After growing up in Michigan, Dr. Rising earned a B.A. in history from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in U.S. history from the University of Arizona. From 1995 through 2002, he was an adjunct history professor at the University of Arizona. In 2002, he began four years of teaching AP U.S. history and AP U.S. government at St. Gregory College Preparatory School, one of the best prep schools in Arizona.  In 2006, he moved to BASIS Tucson, where he began as an AP U.S. history and AP U.S. government teacher. Soon, he was promoted into administration, serving as Academic Director, then Upper School Director, and finally, as Head of School. During his tenure at BASIS, it was ranked by Newsweek magazine as the #1 best public high school in the United States. In 2010, he left BASIS and joined the Western Institute for Leadership Development, a charter high school, as the founding principal. In 2011, he left the Western Institute to help start The Rising School. Dr. Rising has published three books on political history and is an active member of several professional organizations.

The school will add board members in the future: please contact George Rising if you’re interested in learning more about being on the Governing Board:

Our Co-Founder

Stephanie Rising contributes years of business and marketing experience to the organization. Ms. Rising owns and operates Canyon Concepts, a business coaching and marketing firm. After growing up in Tucson, she attended the University of Arizona, graduating magna cum laude. From 1996 through 2006, she worked at a multimillion-dollar firm, Stratford Management, serving in several executive positions, including Director of Marketing and General Manager. Since 2006, she has owned and operated Canyon Concepts, a business coaching and marketing firm. Ms. Rising is a certified O.E.D. business coach and trainer. Her professional strengths include business creation and development, marketing, and operations, and these strengths will be essential for The Rising School. Additionally, Ms. Rising has a long history of serving on and working with boards of directors of nonprofit organizations.

The Rising School’s Philosophy and Mission

The Rising School will be a tuition-free, college-prep charter school in central Tucson. We’ll open in August 2013 with grades 6-9 and then add a grade annually until we’re 6-12. We plan to start with 100 students and grow to about 500 at capacity. We intend to be among the top academic schools in Arizona, setting our sights on earning the Department of Education’s “A” grade, a designation earned by only 14% of public schools. Our competitive advantage is enhanced because most of the other top-rated schools in Pima County—public, charter, and private—are expensive, full, only for gifted students, or far from central Tucson.

The Rising School’s curriculum and instruction will focus on the knowledge and skills students need to be successful at a top university and in a 21st century professional career. The curriculum will be rigorous, with a number of AP and honors courses offered at the high-school level. Our courses will also incorporate real-world skills, with a project-based-learning and an internship program. The school’s core will be a great faculty. We will hire only highly qualified teachers who are curriculum experts, as evidenced by a BA, MA, or PhD degree in their subject area. Unlike most charter schools, we’ve made sure that our budget includes enough room for salaries to recruit experienced teachers who are experts in curriculum and instruction.

Our philosophy is summarized in our mission statement:

The Rising School is a high-quality college-prep school that prepares Tucson-area 6th-9th grade students for success in school, college, and 21st century careers. At the Rising School:

Students, parents, and teachers are treated with respect and enjoy being a part of a safe, caring community.

Classes are engaging and relevant; teachers are experts in curriculum and instruction; and standards and assessments are rigorous.

Students create quality projects; surpass state and national standards on assessments; and become mature alumni who are successful scholars and professionals engaged with their community and the world.

For more on The Rising School, please visit us on Facebook and at George Rising’s blog:

You can download a PDF version of this newsletter here.

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