is no stranger to change.
But with her
learned to get through it.
"It was like life put me on a U-turn," she
said, referencing her
"And we were trying to get back on course."Her
professional life helped, as well as a little twist of fate.Menconi
would never consider marriage again.
The only child of an Italian immigrant father and an Italian-American mother from Rhode Island, Menconi
was born and raised in the Italian neighborhood of Miami.She
never learned to speak English until she
was 5 and started to go to school.
"I didn't have to.I never left the neighborhood, my whole family was in one place so that's all I spoke," she
said, describing a large but close-knit Italian family.
"It was kind of like The Godfather.Well, not really like that.Just the part about so many people being around the house and everywhere."After earning her bachelor's degree in secondary and middle school education from the University of Florida, Menconi stayed and received her master's in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis on reading/language arts.She would continue to complete her doctorate at New Mexico State University in educational management and development.She
recalls the importance her
parents stressed on education.Her
father held a number of jobs including that of a chef, waiter, maître d' and an Italian grocery store owner.Although he
had no formal higher education, Menconi
hands-on approach to education.
was very well-read.He
knew about so many subjects, just by reading and learning about what was out there," she
A big Kennedy supporter, her
dad would not back down from political discussions at the dinner table either.This is where Menconi's interest in politics and world affairs sprouted.She remembers living in Arkansas during the early political career of Bill Clinton saying, "He was a good governor.
I don't agree with some of the decisions he
'd made since then, but he was good."She
also talks about how Arkansas voters
blamed Hillary Rodham Clinton for her
husband's first election loss, blaming it on her
"After that is when she
changed it to Rodham Clinton.Isn't that funny?"
...With experience in teaching and administration at New Mexico and Arizona schools, Menconi comes to Kyrene with a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm.Positions with the Chandler Unified School District and the Fountain Hills Unified School District, where she served as superintendent for four years before taking the same seat with Kyrene, have taught her that ZIP codes may change, but children in them don't.
"Whether you're in Chandler or Kyrene
, a poor or economically successful community, children and what they need are the same.The goals for their education remain the same.Just how to go about achieving them might be different," she
also keeps the ups and downs of her
students with her
and uses the experiences for the next round of challenges and objectives.Her
dedication and commitment to educating children touches her
beyond the surface level.
"I run the gamut.When you see a child succeed and do well, it stays with you and you feel great.But there's that feeling when you see you're going to lose a kid and there's nothing you can do about it.You see them slip away," she
"That's a horrible feeling.