Cynthia Matus Morriss has been on the Patagonia Elementary School Governing Board since 1989. That’s 25 years doing a job that doesn’t get a lot of recognition. She has also been a member of the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) for almost that long and is a strong supporter of public education at all levels.

On December 18, at the schools’ winter concert, Matus Morriss received the Barbara Robey Lifetime Achievement Award from the ASBA, which said, “Like Mrs. Robey, who passed away earlier this year, Cynthia . . . has modeled the vision, principled commitment, impeccable character, persistence, servant leadership, and generosity of spirit in all aspects of service to public education.”

We all congratulate Matus Morriss on being selected for this well-deserved award.

Matus Morriss grew up in Patagonia and graduated from high school here, then went on to Pima Community College. In addition to her work for Patagonia Schools and the state board, she has been vice chair and chair of the National School Board Association—Pacific Region and has worked with and held positions in various Hispanic educational organizations. Over the years she has attended many conferences and workshops, so she is very clear about the legal responsibilities of governing boards: set policy, oversee the budget, and hire the superintendent. Her knowledge and experience have helped support school governing boards for many years.

Matus Morriss plans to retire from the school board in 2016 but isn’t likely to slip away into a well-earned retirement. The library and the youth center are both on her list of local organizations that will benefit from her expertise and enthusiasm.