County Superintendent of Schools announces his retirement.
County Superintendent of Schools announces his retirement.
Carter has been a teacher, principal and accomplished track and cross-country coach, appointed to the position of county superintendent of schools and then elected five times. He reflected on his 50+ years in education in an exclusive interview with Quad Cities Business News.
Beginning as a classroom teacher and coach in 1973, Carter says he experienced an extraordinary time of change in American education. The positives include: the emergence of a variety of educational options, such as school choice and open enrollment; and a wave of technology from cell phones, computers and instant information. The negatives include: an increase in violence and drug-related issues; the internet, plus the spread of non-factual information; extraordinary health impacts, including COVID-19; an increased difficulty in recruiting and retaining teachers; and the creation of the U.S. Department of Education and a subsequent loss of local control.
Born in Glendale, California, Carter’s family moved to Southern Arizona when he was five weeks old. It was there, about 19 miles out of Tombstone, where he grew up on a thoroughbred ranch, the STC Stables. “I can remember Prescott from about 1958. My folks were in and out of Prescott all the time picking up and dropping off horses as part of the business.”
Early on, Carter believed his calling was to be a jockey. “I was going to be the next Bill Shoemaker, but by about [age] 12, I was too big for that idea.”
When he outgrew that dream, he decided he’d be a veterinarian, at least until he saw the list of math classes he’d have to take. “Then I thought, ‘Maybe not.’”
About that time, he was impressed by two men who became his mentors: Jack Charters, his high school track coach and Herman Fisher, his high school football and basketball coach. “I put those men right up there with Abraham Lincoln.”
Carter, a person of faith, received his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Grand Canyon College. He earned his master’s degree in political science and secondary educational leadership from Northern Arizona University and his superintendent certificate from the University of Phoenix. In the 1970s, he taught at Alchesay High School on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in Whiteriver and Antelope High School in Wellton. In 1979, Carter started teaching American Government and Introduction to Law at Prescott High School, and in 1991, he joined the Prescott High School administration. Altogether, he taught for 18 years and served as principal at Prescott High School for 12 years.
In 2003, with his first retirement, he began teaching law and political science at Yavapai College, the University of Phoenix and Northern Arizona University. In 2005, he was appointed by the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors to serve as superintendent of schools. In 2006, Carter was elected to the first of five terms. When he retires this time, he will have spent 20 years with the county, 50+ years total in education.
Over the years, Carter has been inducted into the Arizona Track Coaches Hall of Fame, honored as Arizona Administrator of the Year, served on the executive board of the Arizona Interscholastic Association and twice selected as Outstanding JTED/CTE (Joint Technical Education District/Career and Technical Education) Capitol Times Policy Maker of the Year. He also has been inducted into the Grand Canyon University Hall of Fame and the NAU Hall of Fame. He served as the vice president and president of the Arizona State Board of Education and the Arizona Association of Counties.
Reminders of his greatest achievements are all around him in the faces of former students and staff members, he says. “Many of them work in our agency or in our schools, courts, police and fire departments, medical facilities and construction sites. They are engineers, architects, hydrologists, elected officials, executive directors, ranchers, office workers, doctors, contractors, stockbrokers, serving in the military, realtors, parents, grandparents and friends.”
He says retirement will afford him more time to go hunting, fishing, camping and traveling. “I will be more active with Prescott Sunrise Lions, continue to teach school law and school finance for universities and colleges, continue to be involved with our family and grandson as he gets ready to go off to college and I plan to write a book about Abraham Lincoln.”
Carter has long respected and admired the nation’s 16th president. “I appreciate that Abe Lincoln came from very humble beginnings and pulled himself up by his bootstraps, taught himself to read and write, became a lawyer at a time when you had to do a lot of that work yourself without going to college, had some difficulty getting into political offices and losing about as many [races] as he won. He was just a person of absolute integrity, served at a time when America was in peril and did some amazing things.”
I’ve been thinking about the book I’ll write about Abe Lincoln for several years now and I think it will be about Lincoln and the territories. When he was in Congress, he dealt with several issues involving territories, and as president, a different group of territories, including Arizona. I enjoy writing and this will be very interesting research.
WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY
I love what I do. I love education and I look forward to going to work every single day of my career. In the county, we operate an education service agency and we try to innovate whatever solution the schools need to deliver that service.
PLACES YET TO VISIT
The only state that my wife, Linda and I haven’t been to is Alaska. We would like to take two trips: one, a cross-country trip; the other, Alaska’s Inside Passage. Then, some international travel.
FAVORITE CHARACTER QUALITIES
Integrity, honesty and service. I have a personal belief that it’s hard to get past integrity. If you don’t have integrity, everything else seems to be tainted to some degree. And I believe in service. My life – teaching, coaching, being an administrator and superintendent – has been about service.
WHAT I LEARNED EARLY ON
4 a.m. You ask anybody who knows me, they know I wake up right at 4 a.m., every day. I never set an alarm. Growing up on a thoroughbred ranch, you had chores: feeding animals, exercising horses and cleaning stalls. And then you’d go to school. After school, after football, basketball and track practice, I got to do it all over again that evening. It does develop a work ethic. QCBN
By Ray Newton, Stan Bindell, Bonnie Stevens QCBN
Photo by Kay Lyons: Tim Carter continues to visit classrooms and read to children. When he retires, he will have more than 50 years in education.