Mesa principal awarded $5,000 by Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad

Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad is sponsored by Valley Toyota Dealers
Community members say Legacy Traditional School principal Cindy Jones deserved to be recognized for going above and beyond.
Published: Dec. 22, 2022 at 11:59 AM MST
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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Cindy Jones became the principal at Legacy Traditional School in Mesa in the middle of the semester after the previous principal had to suddenly move across the country to take care of a sick relative. When the position opened, Cindy decided to apply for it and join the team with no time to prepare. At first, some of the staff weren’t sure if they would get along with the new hire. But Cindy quickly won them over with her upbeat personality and positive outlook.

Michele Kliphon is one of the teachers at the school who was so impressed by Cindy, she reached out to the Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad and asked them to do something special for the new principal. 3TV’s Gina Maravilla and the crew showed up at the school and with the help of some of the staff, called Cindy to come out of her office.

Everyone there shouted ‘surprise’ and Gina gave her a bouquet of flowers and told Cindy that things were just getting started. She handed the principal an envelope and asked her to open it. Inside was a gift certificate from the Sheraton Phoenix in downtown Phoenix. They had heard about the incredible job Cindy was doing and wanted to help with the surprise. They gave her a two-night stay in a suite, plus $250 in dining credits and tickets to an event downtown.

Gina then handed a second envelope to Cindy. “From the Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad and our Valley Toyota Dealers, we’ve got one more surprise.” Cindy opened the envelope and read the certificate inside saying she was being awarded $5,000.

“This is amazing,” Cindy said with a big smile. “Please know that I don’t do this alone. I have amazing people around me and that’s probably the only way I can get this done.”

“Is this place family?” Gina asked.

“It’s more than family. It’s way more than family. I can’t express just how welcome I always feel the second I walk through these doors.”