John Huppenthal

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John Huppenthal
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Arizona State Senator
In office
Constituency District 20
Arizona State Representative
In office
Arizona State Senator
In office
Constituency District 6
Personal details
Born (1954-03-03)March 3, 1954
Michigan City, Indiana
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Jennifer Huppenthal (2 daughters)
Religion Roman Catholic

John Huppenthal (born March 3, 1954) is the current Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction. His political career includes serving as City Councilman, State Representative, and State Senator. Huppenthal was also a Senior Planning Analyst for Salt River Project.[1]


Huppenthal was born in Michigan City, Indiana and moved with his family to Arizona during childhood. He graduated from Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson. He earned a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Northern Arizona University. He then obtained a Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University.[1]


Chandler City Council (1984–1992)[edit]

Huppenthal was elected to the Chandler City Council in 1984. He served two four-year terms as City Councilman.[2]

During this time Chandler grew from 35,000 residents to over 100,000. In 1984, 13% of Chandler citizens rated Chandler city government as excellent. By February 2006, that rating had risen to 47% (Chandler Public Relations), the highest excellence rating of any city of 50,000 residents or larger in Arizona.[3]

Arizona State Senate (1992–2000)[edit]

Huppenthal was first elected State Senator in 1992. In the primary election and his first legislative race, Huppenthal faced two opponents. One was Jerry Brooks, a former Mayor of Chandler and the other was Don Goldwater, the nephew of Barry Goldwater. Huppenthal won with nearly 50% of the vote in a three-way race.[4] As a state senator from District 6, he was chairman of the Senate Education Committee.[2]

Arizona House of Representatives (2000–2004)[edit]

In 2000, Huppenthal was elected State Representative, serving from 2000 to 2004.[5]

Arizona State Senate (2005–2010)[edit]

In 2004, Huppenthal announced he would seek to regain his State Senate seat. Huppenthal was supported by U.S. Senator John McCain, who issued a statement praising Huppenthal as a "straight shooter" and a "friend of the taxpayer".[6] Huppenthal won by a 60% to 40% margin.[7]

In 2005, an effort to recall John Huppenthal was launched but failed to obtain enough signatures to make it to the ballot.[8] The recall effort claimed he was out-of-touch with District 20 voters.[9]

Huppenthal has sponsored numerous pieces of legislation in his legislative career.[10]

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction (2011–2015)[edit]

Huppenthal was elected Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction in the 2010 state election.[1]

In June 2010, Huppenthal was interviewed by a high-school student, Keith Wagner. A cut of the interview video was posted online that cast Huppenthal in a negative light. The cut showed him apparently contradicting himself and then walking out of the interview. It later emerged that the video inaccurately portrayed the interview and that Huppenthal did return. Wagner confirmed that the posted cut was inaccurate, and further stated that he was "irked" that his video was used for political means. The cut funding that Wagner asks about, and which appears to bewilder Huppenthal, was actually not part of the bill that Wagner references in his questioning.[11][12]

Huppenthal ran for office on a platform of "stopping La Raza". He banned state funding for ethnic studies programs, resulting in the Tucson School District having to remove numerous books from the curriculum in January 2012, including William Shakespeare's The Tempest.[13] Huppenthal's ban was based on passage of HR 2281 championed by his predecessor, Tom Horne. Even though the bill was designed specifically to support closing down the TUSDs ethnic studies program (only the Mexican studies program, not African American, PanAsian, or Native American studies programs) on the basis that it violated the law, a subsequent report (by Cambium Learning), commissioned by Huppenthal, was released in May 2011, finding no evidence of the ethnic studies program being in violation of the law. The study did, however, find that the program was helping to close the achievement gap.

He was defeated in the Republican Party primary in 2014 by Diane Douglas.


On June 18, 2014, Huppenthal was reported to have been posting blog posts under pseudonyms (including "Thucydides", "Falcon9", and "Socrates"). After being confronted with the evidence, he has admitted to it.[14] The posts included many negative comments considered inappropriate for someone in public office.


  1. ^ a b c Fehr-Snyder, Kerry (2011-01-08). "New Arizona schools chief John Huppenthal tackles tough issues". Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  2. ^ a b Huppenthal's Bio Schmuck, Frank
  3. ^ Maricopa Association of Governments, Collection of City Survey Measurements
  4. ^ 1992 Arizona Secretary of State canvas results
  5. ^ Project Vote Smart - Senator John Huppenthal - Biography
  6. ^ Mike Sunnucks (August 24, 2004). "McCain helps Huppenthal, tech group backs Mead in key race". The Business Journal of Phoenix. 
  7. ^ Arizona Secretary of State 2004 Primary Canvas results
  8. ^ Huppenthal recall drive ends Templar, Le East Valley Tribune
  9. ^ Huppenthal recall
  10. ^ Member Page
  11. ^ Coscarelli, Joe (2010-06-20). "Was High School Journalist Keith Wagner Used by Democrats as a Viral Pawn? - New York News - Runnin' Scared". Retrieved 2011-08-17. 
  12. ^ Lemons, Stephen (2010-06-16). "Jason Rose Defends John Huppenthal on Student's Video of Him - Phoenix News - Feathered Bastard". Retrieved 2011-08-17. 
  13. ^ "Who's afraid of 'The Tempest'? - Salon -". 
  14. ^ "Schools Superintendent Huppenthal acknowledges anonymous blog posts - Arizona Republic -". 

External links[edit]