Arizona Rural
Schools Association
who we are

ARSA Hall of Fame

The ARSA Hall of Fame honors individuals who have contributed to rural education over a period of many years and has served the cause of rural educators. Selection is made by a committee that consists of the executive board and two other members-at-large. Those selected are not necessarily members of ARSA.

2017 Hall of Fame Inductees

Dr. Brown

Dr. Brown has worked in rural schools in Iowa, Nebraska, and Arizona. He served as a director in an intermediate district in Iowa, serving thirty-three rural districts. He was also a superintendent in a rural district in Iowa.

He served for 16 years as superintendent of the Mohave Valley Elementary School District 16. During this time, he saw the district grow from 750 students to just over 2,300 students. The district built and opened three schools during his tenure. He was instrumental in leading the district into year-around education and later, modified schedules. The district and Dr. Brown received a pioneer award from the Arizona Year-Around School Association. In addition to his administration duties at Mohave Valley Elementary School District 16, he also taught as an adjunct professor at Arizona University. He instructed and supported a number of school administrators serving northwest Arizona.

Johnny Ketchum

Johnny began his 42-year career as a teacher in the Sunnyside School District in August of 1971, teaching grades four through six. He moved into a rural setting by 1975 as the first principal/superintendent in a one-school district, Mary E. Dill School District (now Altar Valley School District). This was just the beginning of challenging opportunities and rewarding leadership in rural Arizona. Moving north to Payson into a two-school district, Johnny met the quality educational and facility’s challenges of a growing Payson community. He was successful in the fundraising and construction of the JRE Centennial Library in 1981 and leading the passage of the 1983 bond election and construction of Payson Elementary School. His Dedicated Older Volunteers Program connected community members and youth in positive ways, contributing to student achievement and recognition by the AZ Department of Education in 1997 as one of five most improving schools statewide. He and a team of his teachers were selected to mentor struggling schools in Northern AZ.  

Johnny’s retirement in June 1998 was short-lived as the Tonto Basin School District recruited him as the district’s first principal/superintendent. Over the next 13 years, he initiated a Title I program, received a competitive technology grant which helped to establish the first school computer lab and smart boards, implemented the first food service program, and established a school-wide transportation program including an activity bus for high school students and an activity bus for student field trips and athletic events. Johnny additionally organized volunteers, labor, and materials donations for a softball field and established a pre-school, “The Little Red Schoolhouse,” with the help of community volunteers and donations. Like most rural schools administrators, his certifications and duties also included P.E. teacher, bus driver, counselor, and basketball coach.

In January 2014, three years after his second retirement, the Payson Unified School District recruited Johnny as the interim superintendent for six months. Chevelon Butte Elementary School District recruited Johnny in September 2016 as a consulting superintendent where he served until May 2017.  

As a teacher, principal, superintendent, and rural school leader, Johnny has personified the highest standards of professional service, ethics, and dedication to students, staff, and his rural communities through administrative and instructional leadership.