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Dr. Chad Lanese

Dr. Chad Lanese's appointment as the next superintendent of the Buckeye Elementary School District was officially confirmed during the December 4, 2023 governing board meeting. While his official term commences on January 1 in this new capacity, Dr. Lanese has diligently served as the district's acting superintendent since August 2023. In the five years prior, Dr. Lanese served BESD in several different roles, including as the executive director of student services and assistant superintendent.

In the realm of educational philosophy, Dr. Lanese is unwaveringly dedicated to fostering open and transparent communication. This commitment is a key and necessary component of his overarching goal:  the students, staff and community of Buckeye. With a wealth of varied experience in public education spanning the past 25 years, Dr. Lanese has previously contributed to both the Glendale Elementary School District and the Paradise Valley Unified School District. His diverse roles have included teacher, assistant principal, elementary principal and high school principal, culminating with his arrival at BESD in 2019.

Educationally, Dr. Lanese holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona.  Additionally, he earned a master's degree in educational leadership from Arizona State University and completed his doctoral degree at Northern Arizona University.

In assuming the role of superintendent for the Buckeye Elementary School District, Dr. Lanese is honored and committed to promoting open communication, fostering teamwork and cultivating a positive environment as the district collectively strives for excellence.  He is eager to support such a wonderful district and community.

Assistant Superintendent

Dr. Araceli G. Montoya

Dr. Araceli G. Montoya, a distinguished and accomplished educator, has dedicated a lifelong career to the field of education, marked by a trajectory of academic excellence, leadership and a commitment to fostering student success.

Dr. Montoya holds a bachelor's degree in education from Arizona State University, a master's degree un education from Northern Arizona University and a doctorate's degree in educational supervision and administration from Arizona State University.

Among her career accomplishments, she has been part of the Harvard School of Business Protagonists, West Ed Advisory Committee, ADE Literacy Committee and serves as a NIET National Advocate.

Since 1997, Dr. Montoya's commitment to educational excellence has led her to teach students and staff in the United States and Mexico. Through her experience, she has held roles as a teacher, principal, director of curriculum and instruction, human resources executive director and assistant superintendent.

Dr. Araceli G. Montoya has consistently demonstrated a passion for education, a commitment to professional development and a track record of transformative leadership, making them an invaluable asset to the field of education.


Chief Finance Officer

CJ Beckstrom

CJ Beckstrom is a dedicated professional in the field of school finance, currently serving as the chief finance officer for the Buckeye Elementary School District and a member of the superintendent’s cabinet since 2019. In his current role, Mr. Beckstrom oversees finance, budget and purchasing functions, as well as the maintenance and transportation, child nutrition and technology departments.

Before assuming the position of chief finance officer, Mr. Beckstrom served as the director of finance at BESD from September 2017 to June 2019. In this capacity, he supervised the finance team, ensuring excellent customer service, preparing and submitting the district's budget and annual finance reports and analyzing financial data.

Mr. Beckstrom's prior experience includes roles such as finance administrator and business manager at the Office of the Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools, along with roles in grants, compliance, budget and audit at the Arizona Department of Education.

Holder of a master of public policy degree from Brigham Young University, specializing in public finance and a Bachelor of Arts in economics with minors in mathematics and business management, Mr. Beckstrom is also a certified administrator of school finance and operations (SFO). His commitment lies in ensuring the financial success of the Buckeye Elementary School District.

Executive Director Of Employee Relations

Laura Elizondo

Laura Elizondo serves as the Executive Director of Employee Relations for the Buckeye Elementary School District. She oversees all operations within the Human Resources and Payroll departments and is a member of the superintendent's cabinet.

Before joining the Buckeye Elementary School District, Laura served in the field of Human Resources since 2007, both in the private sector and in the education sector with the Glendale Elementary School District and most recently, the Avondale Elementary School District. 

As an active member of the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association (ASPAA) Laura was also elected to serve on the executive board as Vice President-Elect, Vice President, President-Elect, President, Immediate Past President and Treasurer from November 2016 - November 2023.