BULLHEAD CITY — Cindy Neuzil knows her way around the Bullhead City Elementary School District.
Since arriving about two decades ago, she has taught multiple grade levels and subjects, served as a mentor teacher (now called an instructional coach), supervised district anti-tobacco efforts, written grants, guided the shaping of district curricula, and the list goes on.
Neuzil will retire at the end of the school year as curriculum and professional development director.
Her desire to be an educator began when she was in first grade.
“I actually thought there were better ways to teach than the way I was being taught,” Neuzil recalled.
She said her move into administration came from her desire to help children.
“By helping the teachers, I am able to influence more children,” Neuzil said.
Neuzil said that she liked working with the most difficult children, which proved rewarding later in life when students would tell her “if it weren’t for you, I would never have made it this far.”
She said one such remark left her teary-eyed.
“If you really care for children and build relationships, you can change a child,” Neuzil said.
BCESD Supt. Benje Hookstra said Neuzil has built her career on helping children.
“I’ve worked with Cindy since 2006,” he said. “Her focus has always been putting the children first.”
As curriculum director, she still gets to see the children, interacting with them during classroom visits.
Neuzil has 10 grandchildren, and will spend much of her retirement with them. Having a granddaughter in kindergarten ensures that she will retain the educator role to some degree.
Neuzil said the district feels like a family, and that employees know they can lean on one another when looking for answers. Hookstra said Neuzil is in part responsible for creating that atmosphere.
“Under her leadership, collaboration has increased tremendously,” he said. “Collaboration within and among schools, and collaboration between our two districts” (The BCESD and the Colorado River Union High School District).
Hookstra said he’s also very proud of how Neuzil has represented the BCESD on several Arizona Department of Education committees and task forces.
Neuzil said people who worked for her deserve some of the credit as well.
“If it weren’t for my team under me, I would never have been able to do my job so well,” she said. “It takes a team to make everything work.”