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Meet the Team

The Valley Schools leadership team is committed to member satisfaction, ensuring that districts are receiving the highest quality employee benefits delivered with consistent communication and dedicated leadership.

Decades of experience

Our leadership team has been serving school districts in either administrative, financial or public service positions for over 30 years. You can trust every decision made is with the best interest of the district, students and staff in mind.

Personal understanding of your needs as a district

For the many years our leadership team has worked in or with Arizona school districts, there have been many legislative changes directly impacting budgets and those changes lead to the need for strategic action, to maintain the highest quality learning environment. Since these decision makers have been hands on through the evolution of Arizona’s financial climate, they have a personal understanding of your needs as an employee and as a district.

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Management Board:

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Tom Boone

Chairman/CEO

Tom Boone is a founding Board Member and the Chairman and CEO of VSMG. He began his lifelong public service career as an auditor of school finance for the State Auditor General’s office. Mr. Boone served for eight years in the Arizona State House of Representatives as Majority Leader and Chairman of the Appropriations Committee. He later brought his skills and determination to a small but rapidly growing school district known as Deer Valley Unified School District. As Assistant Superintendent and CFO from 1981 – 2000, when he retired, Tom helped shepherd the district through all its challenges as it grew to one of the largest districts in the state. While at DVUSD, Tom oversaw all non-instructional aspects of the district, including finance, transportation, food service, construction, human resources, payroll, supply, etc. Tom graduated from Northern Arizona University with his accounting degree and immediately went to work in his chosen field.
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Laura Felten

Vice-Chair

Laura L. Felten, CPA, is Vice-Chair of the VSMG Board of Directors serving on the Board since 2014 and has over two decades of education administrative experience. She became Assistant Superintendent of Business Operations for Paradise Valley Unified School District in July, 2014. Prior to that, Ms. Felten worked for the District for 17 years as the Director of Budget and Finance and the Internal Auditor. Before working at Paradise Valley Unified, she worked at the Arizona Department of Education in the School Finance and Auditing Departments. Ms. Felten has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University in Business with a major in accounting and is a member of the Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants, Association of School Business Officials International and the Government Finance Officer Association.
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Bill Maas

Secretary/Treasurer

Bill Maas has spent his entire career in education and has been on the Board of Directors at Valley Schools for over two decades, currently serving as the Secretary/Treasurer of the VSMG Board. He has served as the Chief Financial Officer for the Peoria Unified School District and five years as the Deer Valley Unified School District Associate Superintendent of Fiscal Services. Mr. Maas also provides consulting services to school districts. He’s served as President of the DVUSD Governing Board. Bill Maas has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Arizona State University and a Master of Arts from Northern Arizona University. He has been a life-long educator as a teacher, head football coach, and school district administrator.
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Mike Barragan

Board Member

Mike Barragan has extensive experience in school finance and is currently Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Auxiliary Services for the Glendale Elementary School District. (GESD). Mr. Barragan has also served as Director of Finance for the Tolleson Union High School District (TUHSD), worked for the Arizona State Department of Education and is a past President of the Arizona Association of School Business Officials (AASBO). At both GESD and TUHSD Mike has distinguished himself by solving budget deficits and building capital budgets and medical reserves.
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Ted Carpenter

Board Member

Ted Carpenter has been on the Board of Directors at Valley Schools for two decades and served as the Vice-Chairman of the VSMG Board from 2005 to early 2018. He’s served a lifetime of public service, as a fire fighter, state legislator, community leader, and school board member. As a fire fighter, Ted was twice awarded high commendations for saving lives at the risk of his own. As a state legislator for many years, he was Chairman of the powerful Banking, Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee. During his tenure as Chairman, he oversaw the massive restructuring of the health and pension insurance industries and the restoration of oversight following the Savings and Loans disasters. He has served in numerous community leadership roles and as a school board member and President of the Deer Valley Unified School Board.
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Jim DiCello

Board Member

Jim DiCello CPA, P.L.L.C. has a lifetime of school experience and has been a Board Member of VSMG since 2005. From 1992 to 2005, he was Assistant Superintendent for Business at the Paradise Valley Unified School District, where he managed all aspects of the business functions for the fifth largest school district in Arizona including Accounting, Audit, Payroll, MIS, Purchasing, Warehouse, Risk Management, Technology and Government Relations. He’s a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Association of School Business Officials International, AND the Arizona Association of School Business Officials (AASBO), and Desert Schools Federal Credit Union Supervisory (Audit) Committee. Mr. DiCello holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University with a major in accounting.
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Ken Hicks

Board Member

Ken Hicks has served on the Board of Directors for VSMG since 2013 and is the Chief Financial Officer for Peoria Unified School District (PUSD). His current position at PUSD completed a circle for him, as he attended both Kachina Elementary School and graduated from Cactus High School, both in PUSD. While at high school, he also worked as a clerk at the district’s warehouse, starting at the lowest levels. Ken earned his Masters in Public Administration from Arizona State University. In a career of steadily increasing responsibility, Ken worked as a business officer at Higley Elementary School District, then moved up to Director of Finance at Dysart Unified School District, then as Executive Director of Business at Littleton prior to joining PUSD. Mr. Hicks is the President-Elect for the Arizona Association of School Business Officials where he also serves on the Board of Directors, is a member of the Arizona Auditor General’s School Finance Advisory Committee, and is involved with family and his community, coaching his daughter’s basketball team.
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Jim Migliorino

Board Member

Jim Migliorino has over 25 years of school experience and has served on the Board of Directors of VSMG since 2011. He joined the Deer Valley Unified School District in July of 2005 and has served in his current capacity of Associate Superintendent of Fiscal Services since 2007. He has been a leader in his profession, serving as President of the Arizona Associate of School Business Officials in 2006-07. Jim Migliorino is a graduate of Arizona State University and began his education career during the 1991-92 school year as a Business Manager for a small unified school district in the southwest portion of Maricopa County.

Leadership Team:

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Deborah Baker

VSWCG Director

Deborah Baker is the Director of The Valley Schools Workers’ Compensation Group and has served in this capacity since August, 2016. Ms. Baker is a licensed Arizona adjuster and member of The Arizona Workers’ Compensation Claims Association. She is also a past President of the association. Deborah has over four decades experience in workers’ compensation claims and was a Senior Vice President for a large, national Third Party Administrator. She also is an experienced workers’ compensation consultant and workers’ compensation defense bad faith claims expert in Superior and Federal Court. She has served on multiple committees at The Industrial Commission of Arizona at the request of the Director and Chairman of the Commissioners.
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Tom Bock

Administrator Valley Schools Insurance Trust

Tom Bock is the Administrator for the Valley Schools Insurance Group (VSIG) and the Valley Schools Workers’ Compensation Group (VSWCG). Tom Bock has been the administrator for these programs since 2002. Prior to that, he has vast experience in managing claims for insurance and workers’ compensation in both the public and private sectors. This includes stints managing risk at AIG Automotive and MicroAge. As the original two parts of VSMG, both VSIG and VSWCG proved the concept that by working cooperatively, members could realize dramatic savings on the purchase and administration of insurance products. Each program has saved millions of dollars over the years for each of the participating school districts. Tom has his Business Administration degree from Minnesota State University.
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Jerry Cipriano

Director School Services

Jerry Cipriano is the Executive Director of School Services for VSMG. Jerry has a lifetime of experience both in private contracting and construction as well as in the public sector overseeing major construction and maintenance projects. At VSMG he is primarily focused on business development and seeking new relationships for Valley Schools to benefit new members and save them money while improving the quality of their services. Mr. Cipriano identifies new prospects, orchestrates meetings and provides targeted business development efforts in client philanthropy initiatives, including foundation and fundraiser committee involvement. VSMG has a long history of supporting the community and education charities.
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Gail Clemens

Finance Director

Gail joined Valley Schools Management Group in November 2017 as the Group’s Finance Director. She oversees the Finance Department of the business office and among her responsibilities is preparation of the monthly financial statements for Valley School Employee Benefits Group, Valley Schools Insurance Group, Valley Schools Workers’ Compensation Group, and Valley Schools Management Group.

Prior to joining Valley Schools Management Group, Gail was manager of the client accounting services department for Fester & Chapman P.C. The department was responsible for preparing compilations, including the monthly compilations for the four Valley Schools entities. Other services included payroll, sales tax and general accounting. Gail was also responsible for preparing tax returns for the Firm’s corporation, partnership, individual and fiduciary clients. She was with Fester & Chapman P.C. for 25 years.

Gail obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in Accountancy from Arizona State University and graduated Summa Cum Laude in May 2004. She received her CPA certification in September 2006.

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Dan Davison

Chief Financial Officer

Dan Davison, CPA, is the Chief Financial Officer for VSMG. Dan has served for decades in educational finance positions as an outside independent auditor, and prior to coming to VSMG over a decade ago was the Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance for the Peoria Unified School District. Dan completes the financial reporting necessary for all departments. He also ensures financial advisors are on task, accountable and regularly successful in managing investment return strength. The speed and skill of his investment management is pivotal in creating the best value for members. In the entire history of VSMG it has always received the highest possible audit outcomes.
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Patrick Dittman

Executive Director Contract Administration

Patrick Dittman is the Executive Director for Contract Administration for VSMG. Patrick has decades of experience in contract negotiation, personnel benefits administration and as a health care provider. He is responsible for ensuring the Valley Schools suite of products, services and preferred providers are the most comprehensive and robust in the marketplace. He makes sure that no other trust, broker or benefits consultant offers a more comprehensive portfolio of quality offerings. Mr. Dittman is also responsible for negotiating the best pricing and highest quality services with providers.
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Tom Elliott

Executive Director Member Services

Tom Elliott is the Executive Director Member Services for the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Group (VSEBG) and has served in this capacity since 2014. Mr. Elliott is a member of the Arizona Association of School Business Officials (AASBO) and served on their Board of Directors as President in 2010-11. Tom has over two decades of education administrative and business official experience, working for the Casa Grande Elementary School District, Cave Creek Unified School District, and serving as the Assistant Superintendent of Business for the Paradise Valley Unified School District immediately prior to his role with VSEBG. He is responsible for providing all operational support to members. His primary focus is current member retention efforts and ensuring members’ needs are being met while managing the renewal process. Mr. Elliott also ensures all members utilize the available services, products and preferred providers, both core and voluntary, and is responsible for rolling out new services and offerings regularly.
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Sheri Gilbert

Marketing Director

Sheri Gilbert is the Marketing Director for Valley Schools. She has been with VSMG for over a decade. Sheri has a diverse background having owned and managed multiple businesses, designed and manufactured merchandise, worked as a freelance writer, a Quality Assurance Manager and is a published author. Sheri has continually excelled at providing the highest level of services, designing the framework for the wellness programs at VSEBG, customer satisfaction standards and working as a lead in smoothly transitioning new members into the VSEBG family. She speaks frequently at regional conferences on various employee benefits topics as well as publishing articles for regional associations on managing public health benefit and wellness programs. Her current role as Marketing Director allows Sheri to employee her years of experience in wellness, business development and account management to better serve VSEBG’s mission to grow membership while maintaining the highest standard of services and pricing.
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Kendall Taylor

Wellness Director

Kendall Taylor graduated from Arizona State University where she earned her Bachelors of Science Degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis on Exercise Science. After working for 5 years in the physical therapy setting Kendall realized her true passion was to focus on preventative healthcare and turn to health coaching and worksite wellness. With now over 8 years of experience in the healthcare field she has extensive knowledge in the development, implementation and management of corporate wellness programs. Her key focus has been on creating programs aligned with company culture to effectively create a plan that will help reduce chronic diseases and encourage healthy behaviors.
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Christy Todd

Senior Account Executive

Christy Todd serves as a Senior Account Executive responsible for large member clients. Christy has over three decades of experience in personnel benefits and health care administration. Prior to joining VSMG this year she was the owner of the agency, AZ Health and Life Advisors LLC. Before that, Ms. Todd was an Agency Manager for UnitedHealthcare, spent 15 years in various executive positions at Blue Cross Blue Shield, and had served as a manager at both John Alden Insurance and at Pacific Mutual of Arizona. She holds a degree in Education; Business Management from Bloomington College.
 
 

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