District Leadership

Leading with passion, innovation and unity Last Updated: 6/20/2022 4:31 PM

Our Leadership Team consists of our Superintendent, Administrative Assistant, all department directors, and all site principals.

Click on our name to learn more and to email us.

Linda Gibson

Linda Gibson

My most significant achievements are those that have involved student success when they believed otherwise.  I have worked in education since 1994 and have taught and coached at both middle and high school grade levels. I currently serve as the Superintendent and am grateful for the opportunity to learn from others every day. My goal for PUSD is for all students, faculty and staff to genuinely feel that they belong to a community that makes decisions with an open mindset and believes in the power of relational capacity.  


Lisa Conley

Lisa Conley
Administrative Assistant

Lisa grew up in Iowa but has lived in Payson for over 25 years.  Her husband has been a teacher in the district for many years and has two sons that have graduated from Payson High School.  She is a graduate of Arizona State University.  Lisa enjoys the challenges that her position offers, and knows that what she does helps the staff help the students of the district.


Kathie Manning

Kathie Manning
Director of Business Services


Kathie Manning accepted the Director of Business Services position with Payson Unified School District July 1, 2011.  Upon acceptance, Kathie and Richard Manning located to Payson from the Valley.  They quickly acclimated to the small-town lifestyle of Payson and are happy to call Payson “home”.

Kathie’s experience in Arizona school finance includes serving school districts of varying sizes since 1988.  She has been a member of various groups, such as Arizona Association of School Business Officials, Association of School Business Officials International, Government Finance Officials Association, Education Finance Reform Group, which assist her in remaining up to date on education finance issues and the effects related to PUSD.  Since Kathie’s employment with PUSD in 2011, PUSD has applied for and been successful in receiving consecutive annual awards for Excellence in Financial Reporting.

Involvement in the community is an important part of Kathie’s lifestyle.  She is a member of Rim Country Rotary.  Kathie’s personal passions include riding her horse and competing in local gymkhanas hosted by Brownsville Western Heritage.  One of her favorite benefits of local competition is meeting the students of PUSD, who also compete.  Small-town living affords the opportunity of getting to know others on a personal level.


Katrina Sacco

Katrina Sacco
Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

Katrina Sacco is an educator who is focused on promoting student success. She came to the district in July of 2020, before that she served as a teacher, coordinator, principal, and director. She works collaboratively with other district leaders to ensure pathways to success through rigorous curriculum and high expectations for all PUSD students.


Don Downey

Don Downey
Director of Facilities and Maintenance


After a thirty year successful career as a CPA and CIA, September 2019 marked the time for Don to put away his pencil and ten-key and begin retirement in Payson with his wife.  A career of jet-setting millions of miles around the globe had come to an end. Within two weeks this C-suite executive found Payson School District and was aching to become an active contributor in the lives of Payson's youth.
As a bus driver, Don's passion to 'make a difference' was fueled each day by the young enthusiastic students of Payson.  The hope of staying behind the scenes was short lived as the 2021/22 academic year will see Don assuming the role of director of facilities & maintenance.
Don's passions are reading and everything outdoors.  You may frequently see Don on foot to/from his destinations in Payson.  His weekends are filled with riding; sport/touring or off road motorcycling. 


Charles Savvy

Charles Savvy
Director of Human Resources

Chuck and his wife moved to Payson in 2017.  He joined PUSD in 2018 as the Human Resources Specialist.  Chuck previously enjoyed a 32 year career working for a major corporation and has 14+ years of experience in a Human Resources/Managerial role.  He enjoys playing with his two dogs, hiking, and off-roading. 


Lisa Evans

Lisa Evans
Director of Special Services


Lisa is a nationally certified school psychologist with over 16 years of experience in this field. She is originally from Rhode Island and has had the opportunity to work in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Colorado, California, and Arizona.  For fun and exercise, she is a certified Zumba instructor. She also has the best husband ever!


Vicky Andrews

Victoria Andrews
Director of Technology and Innovation

Vicky is the Director of Technology & Innovation for Payson USD. She is also an Academic Associate for Arizona State University and the owner and EdTech Specialist at Techucation, LLC. A former technology director in Chicago Public Schools, she has been a leader in facilitating innovative uses of technology in education. As a digital learning advisor, she has helped schools throughout the country build and execute strategic plans to enhance learning through educational technology integration. She is a Google Workspace for Education Certified Trainer, Coach, and Administrator and a Microsoft Innovative Educator Master Trainer. Vicky holds a B.S. in Psychology, a M.Ed. in Educational Technology and has presented at conferences throughout the country.


Mark Henning

Mark Henning
Director of Transportation

I have lived in Payson for over 30 years and have driven bus for 6 years until I became the Transportation Supervisor in 2007. I held that position for 7 years. I left the PUSD District for about 5 years but returning as Transportation Director in July of 2019. I have been in the School Transportation business for over 15 years and have enjoyed all that it brings, the good along with the not so good. 






Meet Our Principals


Jeff Simon

Jeff Simon
PHS Principal

Jeff Simon has been the Principal of Payson High Schools in Payson Arizona since the 2017-2018 school year. He has been in Payson with his wife and three kids since 2013 where he served as Assistant Principal of Payson High School. In the 2017-2018 school year, he was promoted to Principal of Payson High School. In 2020-2021, Payson High School, Payson Center for Success and Payson Center For Success Online became one school allowing students more flexibility with their education.  During his time in Payson, he has been lucky enough to be named NASSP/ ASA Arizona’s Principal of the Year 2020-2021 and NASSP/ ASA Arizona’s Assistant Principal of the Year 2016-2017.  
After graduating high school from Craig Colorado, Jeff attended Regis University where he graduated in 2000 with a Bachelors of Art degree in Social Studies, Secondary Education. In 2006 he continued his education by earning two master's degrees in education from Walden University. Both degrees are Masters of Science in Education with the first being confirmed in 2007 with an emphasis in Technology and Curriculum and the second 2009 with an emphasis in Educational Leadership. As a lifelong learner, Jeff will be looking to earn his EdD or PhD in the near future.
It’s Great to be a Longhorn!!


Yvette Harpe

Yvette Harpe
PHS Assistant Principal

Mrs. Harpe started her career in education in 1993 as a middle school teacher and coach in Meridian, Idaho.  She has a Bachelors in Elementary Education from Boise State University. 
Upon earning her Masters in Educational Leadership at Northwest Nazarene University she accepted a position as the Rim Country Middle School assistant principal (in PUSD) in 2004.  

After gaining experience as a principal in two other Arizona districts, Mrs. Harpe returned to Payson Unified School District as a teacher and in 2020 became the Payson High Schools assistant principal.

Mrs. Harpe had two children attend the majority of their education in PUSD.  She wants to continue to be a leader that focuses on improvement and providing opportunities for students.  Mrs. Harpe is proud to support students in their journey of learning, growing, and becoming responsible adults and community members. 

When not at work, Mrs. Harpe enjoys golfing with her husband and son, playing with her granddaughter, visiting her daughter in Oregon, and taking her dogs for walks in the forest.  


Renae Short

Renae Short
PCS Lead Teacher

Renae Short grew up in Kinston, Alabama. In 1991, she moved to Birmingham, Alabama to attend the University of Alabama Birmingham for both her Bachelors of Science in Education and her Masters in Secondary Education. Renae has been teaching mathematics and special education as well as school administration since 1996. She moved to Payson with her husband and canine kids in 2012 to teach mathematics and special education. She became the PCS Lead Teacher in 2020. 


Jen Murphy

Dr. Jennifer Murphy
RCMS Principal

Hello Longhorns!

I am Dr. Jennifer Murphy, the new principal of Rim Country Middle School.  It is an honor to have been selected to lead RCMS.  I have been an educator since 2000 and I come from a family of educators. While my parents are enjoying retirement, my mother was a special education teacher and my father was a social studies teacher and administrator.  I grew up just down the road in Mesa, Arizona and attended Mesa Public Schools.  After graduating high school, I attended Northern Arizona University and completed a dual major in Special Education and Elementary Education.  Shortly after starting my teaching career I completed my masters degree in School Administration from the University of Phoenix (2004).  Fast forward to June, 2014 I began the doctoral journey at Northern Arizona University.  In 2018 I completed my doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Superintendency.  
When I am not at school I enjoy a myriad of activities such as exercising, reading, spending time with my family and friends, and Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP).  Paddle boarding is probably my most favorite thing to do these days.  If you can’t find me on the weekends with friends and family I am most likely on the water at a nearby lake or river.  
It's great to be a longhorn!


Kim Yates

Kimberly Yates
JRE Principal

Kim Yates is passionate about educating children, first their hearts and then their minds.

Entering education later in life, Yates earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University followed by a Masters in Educational Leadership from Grand Canyon University. Yates started her career teaching first grade English Language Learners in an urban elementary school in central Phoenix, AZ. Since then she has taught preschool through college students, fulfilling her dream of being a teacher of teachers. As a principal, Yates’ focus is educating the whole child, helping them grow as a person first and then as a student.

Yates is a midwesterner transplanted to Arizona. The mother of three adult children and grandmother of three amazing grandchildren, she and husband Jim have been  happily married for more than 35 years. In her free time, Yates plays the piano, camps with her family, and is a life-long learner.



Michelle May

Michelle May
PES Principal

Michelle moved to Arizona in 1971, where she has lived ever since. In 2017, she moved to Payson where she began working for PUSD.  Together, she and her husband have two grown children and a beautiful granddaughter.  Our daughter serves as a behavioral specialist in the valley, and our son proudly serves in the Air Force.  Michelle enjoys traveling, camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, kayaking, and spending time with family and friends.  Holding a Bachelors of Science degree from Grand Canyon University, and two Master’s of Education degrees from Northern Arizona University, she has been in the education field since 1995 and has served as an Administrator since 2008.  Michelle is passionate about helping to educate and prepare our next generation to be successful citizens and leaders of tomorrow.






Capturing Kids Hearts