Phoenix Union High School Governing Board
Lela Alston was elected to her first Governing Board term in 2008 as an At-Large member and was re-elected in 2012, 2016, and 2020. She served as the Governing Board President for three years, in 2015, 2016, and 2022. Alston is an Arizona Senator and will serve as Democratic Caucus Chair in 2023. She is in her third opportunity to serve in the State Senate, having served for 18 years, from 1976-94. Alston was also a member of the Arizona House of Representatives (District 24), elected in 2012, 2014, and 2016. A Phoenix native and Phoenix Union High School alumnus, Alston taught Family and Consumer Science in the District for 34 years at West, Maryvale, Alhambra, Metro Tech, and Bostrom High Schools. Among her career highlights and recognition, she was instrumental in working with a team to establish the ASU West Campus. She was honored with the naming of the Lela Alston Elementary School in the Isaac District. Alston earned a Bachelor of Science at the University of Arizona and received her Master's from Arizona State University. She has received the U of A Distinguished Citizen Award, was named the 2015 O'Connor Institute Statesman of the Year, is an Honorary State Firefighter, and won the Girl Scout World of Children Award. She is a strong advocate for public education and credits her public education as the reason for her many accomplishments in life. Alston has two children and six grandchildren. Her term expires in 2024.
Jennifer Hernandez joins the PXU Governing Board, representing Maryvale and Trevor G. Browne High Schools in Ward 5. Hernandez was first elected on November 8, 2022. Her story is intertwined with Arizona’s story - she grew up in a mixed-status family as raids and anti-immigrant laws became the norm in the state. At the young age of 12, Hernandez was moved into action after the passage of the “show me your papers” law SB1070. Since then, she has volunteered for social justice organizations supporting undocumented youth obtain DACA and immigrant families navigating the immigration system. For the past five years, she has recruited, trained, and built curriculum for youth and community to grow as advocates and in their leadership. She is an alumna of the Ready to Win, Ready to Lead Fellowship, an Abolitionist Teaching Network Grant recipient, and an Instituto Harvest Fellow. Hernandez identifies as a daughter of immigrant parents, a mother, and a product of public education. Her term expires in 2026.
Aaron Marquez is an at-large governing board member, first elected in November, 2020. Marquez, a veteran of the United States Army, grew up in Arizona, served his country through two deployments to Afghanistan, and fought for progressive change in Arizona and across the country. A proud product of Arizona public schools, Marquez began college at the University of Arizona and Mesa Community College before joining City Year, a civilian national service program through AmeriCorps. He worked full-time with City Year for two years running service-learning programs for middle school and high school youth. Before returning to college, he worked on John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. These formative "gap years" instilled in him a desire to serve. He studied International Politics at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. During college, he co-founded ServeNext.org, a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to expanding civilian national service programs. Under his leadership, ServeNext.org played a pivotal role in the development and passage of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, the largest authorized expansion of national service programs since the Civilian Conservation Corps. Today, the mission of ServeNext.org lives on in the work of the Service Year Alliance. Marquez lives in Central Phoenix with his wife, Ivette—an elementary school principal—six-year-old daughter, and sixteen-year-old stepson. His term expires in 2024.
Ceyshe Napa is a graduate of North High School and was first elected to the Governing Board on November 8, 2022, to represent Ward 4. This ward includes Alhambra, Bostrom, Carl Hayden, Franklin Police & Fire, and Metro Tech High Schools reside in Ward 4, along with Desiderata, Linda Abril Educational Academy, and Phoenix Digital Academy. Napa is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation from the Chinle and Lukachukai areas. Her paternal grandfather was a Navajo Code Talker, and her maternal grandmother was a graduate and valedictorian of Phoenix Indian School. A lifelong learner, Ms. Napa completed the ACE program at South Mountain Community College as a high school scholar and returned to college as an adult to finish her associate’s degree at Phoenix College. A first-generation college student, she continued her education at Arizona State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management with a minor in American Indian Studies. After college, Ceyshe served two terms of service with Public Allies Arizona, an AmeriCorps program, placed at Native American Connections (2014-2015) and the Center for Neighborhood Leadership (2015-2016). She currently serves as the Early Outreach Director for the ACE and Hoop of Learning programs at Glendale Community College. Her term expires in 2026.
Signa Oliver was first elected to the PXU Governing Board on November 8, 2022, representing Ward 2, which includes Bioscience High School, North High School, Wilson College Prep, and the Academies at South Mountain. Ms. Oliver holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and a Juris Doctorate. She has served the State of Arizona as Chief Human Resources Officer and served in the United States Army as a Judge Advocate General. While stationed at Fort Benning, GA, Signa served as Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. Additionally, she was the Legal & Human Resource Compliance Director for an International Ministry in Detroit, MI. An alumna of South Mountain High School, she is eager to serve her hometown ward. Her term expires in 2026.
Stephanie Parra was initially elected in November 2014 to represent Ward 3. She won re-election in 2018 and again on November 8, 2022. Ward 3 includes Camelback High School, Central High School, and Phoenix Coding Academy. Parra is the Executive Director of ALL in Education, which aims to ensure that individuals from the communities most impacted by education inequities are the ones making decisions for all students. As one of the first in her family to attend college, Parra saw first-hand the importance of education and the wonders it can do to develop a child’s life. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Justice Studies, a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, and a Master’s degree in Higher and Postsecondary Education from ASU. Her term expires in 2026.
Naketa Ross was first elected to represent Ward 1 in November 2018. Ross is a Certified Clinical Trauma Specialist and is the founder and Executive Director of a research-based trauma-informed organization called ResilientMe. Ms. Ross has been a member of the Department of Child Safety Prevention Advisory Collaborative. Ross is an alumna of Valley Leadership and Leading for Change. She holds a Bachelor of Psychology degree from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Ross is an active member of the Laveen and South Phoenix communities, and her daughter attends a PXU school. Ward 1 includes Betty Fairfax and Cesar Chavez High Schools. Her term expires in 2026.