A lifetime of serving her country and the great state of Arizona.


Dr. Sandra E. Dowling was born in Decatur, Illinois and was raised in Phoenix, AZ. She attended Washington Elementary School, Cortez High School and Glendale Community College prior to enlisting in the United States Marine Corps. Upon returning to Arizona after her military service, Dr. Dowling continued her education at Glendale Community College before transferring to Arizona State University. Sandra earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education, a master’s degree in educational administration and her doctorate degree from Northern Arizona University. Her studies were concentrated in the areas of education, finance and public policy.


Dr. Dowling was elected in 1988 and served five four-year terms as the Maricopa County School Superintendent. A nationally recognized expert on issues related to school choice and alternative education, she founded the innovative and eminent Thomas J. Pappas Schools for homeless children. According to President George W. Bush, the Pappas School was “the national model” for our nation.A staunch advocate for parents wanting to homeschool their children, Dr. Dowling provided a “secure haven” for parents and children opting to take control of their educational options. The number of students being homeschooled in Maricopa County increased from 637 on her first day in office to more than 14,000 at the end of her tenure as Superintendent; a 995% increase in student participation!


Dr. Sandra E. Dowling is also an experienced leader and business entrepreneur. As the former President and CEO of a West Valley insurance agency, she has excelled and received numerous achievement awards. Sandra was awarded the Crystal Blue Vase Award her first year in the insurance industry, a Topper Club member (sales achievement) for four consecutive years and was selected for the national Championship Club during her first year of eligibility.In addition to being a licensed insurance agent, Sandra is a licensed mortgage loan officer and has been a licensed realtor since 1979. She has maintained her Arizona superintendent, administrative and teaching certifications.Sandra and her husband Dennis have lived in the west valley since 1976 and in Litchfield Park since 2003. They have four children, all residing in Arizona.


A pioneer and outspoken advocate for school choice and alternative education, Dr. Dowling was a national educational leader in the public policy debate advocating for school vouchers, homeschooling, charter schools and open enrollment. Under her leadership, she was directly responsible for the creation of fifteen “second chance” schools. Combining accelerated educational techniques with a total immersion philosophy, Dr. Dowling and her team of professionals, designed an instructional delivery system that efficiently helped students achieve graduation in the shortest period of time.