Superintendent Calvin Baker to Retire after Nearly 33 Years Leading Vail — John Carruth Appointed as Next Superintendent

At the Tuesday night Board meeting the Vail Governing Board accepted Calvin Baker’s retirement effective February 1, 2020. The Board then appointed John Carruth to be the next superintendent in the Vail School District. A standing ovation in the room followed.

Mr. Carruth has deep roots in the Vail School District. He has worked in Vail for 24 years. Mr. Carruth has been a teacher, assistant principal, director of special education in Vail, and — for 15 years — served as assistant/associate superintendent.

A year ago, Mr. Carruth’s superb work in Vail resulted in his selection as Chief of Staff at the Arizona Department of Education. He served in that role with distinction.

Mr. Carruth will return to Vail and begin to serve as superintendent in January, 2020.

In order to promote a smooth transition, Mr. Baker will work with Mr. Carruth throughout January.

Baker began his career in Vail in 1987 when hired as the principal of the district’s only school. Then on 8-8-88, he was hired as the superintendent, a position he has held since.

Baker stated, “After almost 33 years, it is almost impossible to imagine my life apart from the Vail School District, but that time as arrived.”

When Baker accepted the position of superintendent in Vail, he had absolutely no idea that its 500 students in one school would one day become over 14,000 students in over 22 schools. He led the obscure, controversy-plagued district to become a lighthouse of stability and performance.

In a letter to parents, Baker stated: “I’m very proud of the incredible success of our staff and students. The recent announcement that all 17 of our District’s larger schools earned an “A” rating illustrates that success. However, I am most proud of the special connection that our schools have with parents and our community.”

While Baker will be sorely missed, his legacy will certainly live on in the people whose lives he’s touched through his many years of dedicated service.

In the next chapter of his life, he hopes to invest more in his family. District demands often blotted out time with his wife of 45 years, his six children, and his 15 grandchildren. The Vail School District wishes him the very best in enjoyment of those he holds most dear!


News Clippings of Mr. Baker’s hire as principal back in 1987 and as superintendent on 8-8-88:




What Vail School District Looks Like Now:


Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, Kathy Hoffman, stated:

“I spent the early years of my career in the Vail School District, which is where I learned the power a great culture can have on a school district and the surrounding community. That culture was built with great intention and hard work by Cal Baker, and I know I join many other educators, students, and families in thanking him for his 31 years of leadership and commitment to the Vail community. Cal’s legacy is not just in the students he served but the leaders he grew, which is why when I needed to hire a Chief of Staff, I knew Vail was the perfect place to look.”

“Every school district deserves to have a leader like John Carruth. During his 24 years with the Vail School District, his passion and commitment to the success of our public schools earned him the respect of Arizona’s education community. I will always be grateful that he brought his steady guidance, knowledge, and deep commitment to our work here at the Arizona Department of Education. And while I and so many others are sad to see him go, we couldn’t be happier that he has the opportunity to bring these tremendous talents back to his home in Vail.”