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Phone: (520) 545-2025
Fax: (520) 545-2121
2238 East Ginter Road, Tucson, AZ, 85706

JUNE 27, 2017 / MODIFIED OCT 31, 2018 04:05 PM

Steve Holmes serves as Superintendent of the Sunnyside Unified School District, the second-largest school district in Southern Arizona with more than 16,000 students and a workforce 2,000 employees strong. Steve is a transformational leader with over 22 years of successful service in public education. He holds a Master’s in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard University, where he is a graduate of the Urban Superintendents Program (USP); Steve is also a graduate of the University of Arizona and an alumnus of the Sunnyside District. 

A champion for equity, Steve’s work focuses on urban ed reform and bringing about deeper learning practices and disruptive innovation to high poverty districts where an emphasis on metrics and incentive structures have become systemic barriers to this type of learning. Mr. Holmes has cultivated partnerships with industry partners to drive more resources to foster innovation and level the playing field by challenging the notion that affluent districts where students are born on third base is tantamount to hitting an academic triple. 

Since taking over as the organization’s chief executive, the District has been recognized as a industry leader in open educational resources (OER), formative assessment, and design thinking. Mr. Holmes’ dogmatic approach to ‘the focus’ is heavily influenced by the work of John Hattie (The Politics of Distraction, 2015) as he challenges principals and other school leaders in Sunnyside to balance the academic role vs. societal expectations placed on urban schools. 

As a father of two students in Arizona public schools, Mr. Holmes is a staunch supporter of public education and a leading voice in support of English Language Learners. Steve has provided clarity and insight in numerous national conversations, including as panelist at the National Hispanic Caucus Conference where he spoke on policy implications for English Language Learners and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and was a key witness on behalf of the plaintiffs in the landmark case Flores v. Arizona.

Performance Goals for the 2018-19 School Year

Goal 1: Graduate Profile

a). Develop indicators for each of the Graduate Profile competency areas. Establish a continuum or rubrics by grade band for each indicator that will be used to support internal accountability metrics with the desired outcome of establishing our own school label system. 

Goal 2: Achievement

a). Improve aggregate performance in Literacy and Mathematics by a minimum of 5%.

b). Minimize the variability in performance across grade levels based minimally on the cohort performance from the previous year. 

Goal 3: Mathematics 

 a). Establish a comprehensive mathematics plan for the secondary level that ensures a mathematics education that addresses barriers and issues of equity and access for students. 

* Professional learning expectations

* Relevant resources that align with current standards and math education research

* Course sequence

* Content knowledge and instructional practices support

Goal 4: District and School Climate

a). Continue the implementation of customer service satisfaction surveys in all district departments where data is used to improve results over time. Place an emphasis of disaggregating the data by teachers in the district to ensure experiences with central office is not leading to issues of retention. 

b). Chief Schools Officer will work with leadership teams at each site to develop specific strategies to address climate issues that impact the retention of staff at individual sites (discipline, communication, instructional support).