Our Story: Then & Now

A for Arizona has a vision to build an education system in Arizona that prepares every student to succeed in the competitive global economy and contribute to their local community.

Our story began in Fall 2013, when former Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Lisa Graham Keegan decided to flip the traditional approach to education policy upside down and see what might happen if we leveraged best practices from the business community to focus intensely on scaling what works in K-12 schools. In collaboration with now Chief Executive Officer Emily Anne Gullickson, the A for Arizona initiative set out in Spring 2014 to learn from Arizona’s roughly 100 high poverty, high performing schools who were quietly laboring and defying the odds.

Over six years, A for Arizona got to know agile, passionate principals and system leaders across the state. Our growing team watched these schools intentionally help high poverty students catch up academically – giving them access to the life choices that only a great education can provide. Our work was built around elevating these educators’ voices, developing policy ideas and research to support and accelerate their investments in the lives of every student.

It has always been our belief that businesses have the obligation, opportunity, and capacity to foster greater student achievement, build an educated workforce pipeline, and protect our future economic vitality. A for Arizona originally harnessed the power and influence of the business community through a strategic partnership with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Arizona Chamber Foundation, Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and their member organizations.

Our work continues today as an independent 501(c)(3) organization. As employers, innovators, and investors in the future, we remain committed to ensuring business leaders stay engaged as education champions. We aim to continue to educate and build wider support from the business community on the ambitious, aggressive, and comprehensive education reform possibilities designed from the needs and best practices of Arizona’s exceptional educators

The future is bright in Arizona and it’s time to get back to work.

With a laser focus on sustaining, growing, and expanding excellence, closing the achievement gap is no longer just an aspiration.

Now more than ever, A for Arizona serves as a national and local model for what's possible for students. We champion innovative ideas for student success, investing in and scaling what works to make Arizona the best state in the country at providing all students an excellent education.

John Donahue

Chairman of A for Arizona

Executive Vice President

Katie Dauphinais


Katie Dauphinais serves as the Executive Vice President for A for Arizona and sister organization Great Leaders Strong Schools.

Katie has over a decade of experience in public policy, advocacy, and political operations. Prior to joining the team, Katie served as the Western Regional Legislative Director for ExcelinEd, where she led advocacy efforts on behalf of the organization in eight states in the Mountain West and served as a key partner to A for Arizona. During her tenure, she passed over two dozen bills that resulted in new options and millions of dollars serving over 1.2 million students across the region.

Her professional experience includes senior staff roles on campaigns such as John McCain’s re-election in 2016, federal constituent work for Senator Kyl and Senator Flake, government affairs roles at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry and University of Arizona where she worked on issues such as higher education, immigration, transportation and infrastructure, trade, science and space technology. Additionally, as Federal Affairs Director for the Arizona Chamber, she acted as a liaison for the White House on behalf of the Chamber in a successful coalition effort to pass the United States, Canada and Mexico Agreement (USMCA) and Drought Contingency Plan in 2020.

Katie graduated from Arizona State University and is a member of the Dodie Londen Excellence in Public Service organization, AEI’s Millennial Cohort as well as a graduate of the Oklahoma Leadership Exchange Academy. She is a member of the current Policy Innovators in Education (PIE) Network’s Leadership Institute cohort.

Director of Strategic Initiatives

Tuesday Elias


Tuesday is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at A for Arizona. Bringing unique expertise in state and local government and multi-organizational project management, she embodies an enthusiastic and results-oriented mindset.

Prior to joining A for Arizona, Tuesday spent three years in the Office of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. She began her profession on the Governor’s Legislative team, quickly moving to the Policy team and capping her tenure off on the Operations team. Tuesday quickly learned Arizona’s legislative landscape and what it takes to move landmark policy from start to finish. She led or assisted with multi-agency and Executive initiatives, including annual Strategic Planning and Budgeting, Arizona Capitol Copper Dome Restoration Project, AZHiresVets!, Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention, State of Arizona Leaders Connect Program, and the 2023 Gubernatorial Transition Process.

Most notably, Tuesday managed and led Governor Ducey’s AZ OnTrack Summer Camp, chaired by Lisa Graham Keegan. As a direct result of statewide collaboration and first-in-the-nation approaches, thousands of Arizona students and families in all 15 counties received an academic and adventurous summer camp experience at no cost.

As a fourth-generation Arizonan, Lumberjack alumna, and former student who benefited from the state’s robust school choice options, Tuesday remains devoted to continuing the Arizona tradition of leading the nation on school choice and bringing high-quality educational freedom to students in the State of Arizona and across the country.

Communications Manager

Carmen Hulett


Carmen Hulett is the Communications Manager for A for Arizona.

Prior to working for A for Arizona, Carmen developed management experience working in the golf industry where she assisted in executing golf tournaments for fundraising and corporate outings. She also worked with Arizona local brands in coordinating and producing social media content. Carmen is dedicated to creating an online presence for A for Arizona that will allow the stories of dozens of students and school leaders to be heard.

Carmen is originally from Illinois but made the move to the southwest to attend Arizona State University to study Psychology and Criminal Justice. Through her studies, Carmen developed an interest in child development and helping less fortunate children succeed. She graduated from Arizona State University in December of 2020. She currently lives in Peoria with her two young children.

Board of Directors


John Donahue

President & CEOPositive Recovery Solutions

Board Member

Lee Benson

Founder and CEOExecute to Win

Board Member

Derrell Bradford


Board Member

Aditi Goel

FounderP16 Partners

Board Member

Jennifer Mellor

Chief Innovation OfficerGreater Phoenix Chamber & Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation

Board Member

Amilyn Pierce

Vice President Government AffairsArizona Diamondbacks

Board Member

Luis Ramirez

PresidentRamirez Advisors Inter-National, LLC

Board Member

Aaron Smith

Director of Education ReformReason

Board Member

Janelle Wood

President & CEOBlack Mothers Forum