By Tara Fort
A newcomer to Prescott, Maya Caldwell found it easy to settle into her role as Federal Program and Grants Coordinator with the Prescott Unified School District (PUSD) when she started her job earlier this year. Caldwell says, “This district is embodied by the most caring and innovative people I have ever seen in a public school system. Not only do they support my vision and dreams for ‘out of box’ thinking—they embrace it!” With students in mind throughout all grant-seeking decisions, Caldwell says she feels an “unhindered creativity finding new grant opportunities and programs that will benefit our students.”
Caldwell cites her previous employment at Williams Unified School District where she wrote and was awarded two main federal grants: The Preschool Development Grant and the McKinney-Vento Grant for homeless youth. And now, through PUSD, she has acquired a new grant called “Farm to School,” funded from the United States Department of Agriculture. On trend, the grant will allow the expansion of school gardens and healthy eating initiatives for youth. Caldwell is excited with this opportunity and states, “The administrative team supports the grant department in learning the new programs and expanding wellness for students.”
Although grant programs can fulfill a district for a more enjoyable and meaningful learning experience, Caldwell says there is nothing like seeing funding in action. She recalls, “I can walk through the halls of any school at any time of day and see students and teachers loving what they do! I can help find new funding sources of enrichment programs, but money cannot buy the quality of people we have here at PUSD.” Grants Specialist and Family Resource Coordinator Kelly Mattox has seen Caldwell’s impact since she joined the department and says, “Maya is an upbeat, personable addition to the PUSD Grants Team. While she is new to the Prescott area she comes to PUSD with a background working with grants and is savvy on building relationships with community partners for mutual benefit.”
While many districts seek quality grants to expand their offerings, Caldwell acknowledges that the difference in PUSD is the ability to take risks in order to grow. She says, “In order to fund new programs, school districts need to make changes. With many schools so clearly underfunded in Arizona, our schools rely heavily on initiative solutions like grants to make up the difference.” Embodying the PUSD motto ‘Every Child Every Day,’ Caldwell is an advocate for the District, “I believe that no matter the adversity we may face with public school financial matters, that adversity should never impact the quality of education our students receive.”
An active member of Prescott Area Young Professionals and the PUSD Education Foundation, Caldwell also enjoys spending time with her children ages 4, 7 and 9 and says, “My kids love the schools here! The teachers make learning enjoyable and meaningful. It is an honor to be part of something I believe is so good for the community and for my own children.”
For more information about Caldwell and the Prescott Unified School District, visit www.prescottschools.com.