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School choice train tour to stop in Tucson

PHOENIX -- Some education advocates will head out next month on a cross-country train tour that will make a stop in Tucson.

School choice supporters will board a train in Newark, NJ on Jan. 26 for a 14-city tour to talk about school choice. That same train will stop at the Old Tucson studios in Tucson on Jan. 29.

It's part of the fourth Annual National School Choice Week. Event President Andrew Campanella said Arizona is a leader when it comes to school choice.

"Arizona was one of the first states to offer a robust public charter school law, and they now are pioneering Education Savings Accounts, which are also called Empowerment Scholarship Accounts," Campanella said. "Next to Florida, Arizona has more kids involved in school choice programs than any other state in the country."

He said that the Tucson stop will be a celebration.

"You'll hear from students who are benefitting from school choice, as well as teachers and parents," said Campanella. "The goal is really to show people the real life success stories of the broader school choice movement."

The Whistle Stop tour is part of 5,000 nationwide events that will happen during National School Choice Week, which is Jan. 26 through Feb. 1.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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