October 6, 2019, Carmelite Staker is the go-to person in Prescott Valley. She is a founding director of the Humboldt Education Foundation (HEF) and with Ron Barnes’ advice, founded the Hungry Kids Project for the Humboldt Unified School District (HUSD). Carm will tell you her heart is in the Education Foundation; she was one of the first contributors to the group. HEF provides community support for excellence in education and contributes to the educational experiences that impact the lives of HUSD students. In June, the first Carm Staker Scholarship, funded by HEF, was awarded to a Bradshaw Mountain High School graduating senior. Carm still attends HEF meetings and provides wise advice to the board. She is also a past member of the HUSD School Board. These all are excellent examples of her passion for education. Carm was a councilmember for the Town of Prescott Valley for two years and held the office of mayor for an additional two year. Dan Streeter, Superintendent of HUSD said, “Carm’s contributions to HEF, HUSD, and Prescott Valley are unmatched and have served as a guide for true civic engagement and as an inspiration to all who have followed in her footsteps.”
Mrs. Staker was born and raised in Iowa. Growing up, Carm said education was a big thing in her family. She was a member of the cadet nurse corps during World War II. Later, Carm received her Bachelor of Science degree in sociology in 1972 from Drake University in Des Moines and her master’s degree from University of Phoenix in 1982.
In addition to education, Carm is passionate about freedom, justice, civic duties, faith, and health. She was the director of Volunteer Services at the Yavapai Regional Medical Center. She was also a leader in the development and building of the PV Military Service Monument which recognizes all branches of our service men and women. She is an active member of the Prescott Valley Early Bird Lions Club, Past National Chaplain and state president of the American Legion Auxiliary where she is still an active member of Unit 108, Yavapai County Board of Health, PEO Chapter Y, Past Matron of the Order of the Eastern Star, lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary, 10227, and is the past Vice Chairman of the Yavapai Regional Medical Center District Board. Carm has been a volunteer for the VA Medical Center in Prescott and has served on the West Yavapai Guidance Clinic Board, Yavapai Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees, and has held many positions at the United Methodist Church where she is a charter member. She has also served as a member and leader with many other organizations including the Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce, Neighbor to Neighbor, Yavapai County Extension Service, Children’s Council of Prescott, and this is just a partial list!
John Agan, a very good friend of Carm’s, recalls a “going away” gala held five years ago. He said, “Carm was going through some medical issues and decided to move back to Iowa to reside in an Assisted Living facility near family. There were many in attendance to speak in her honor, including the President of Lions International.” The relocation didn’t last long, because after six months she was feeling better and decided to move back to Prescott Valley.
When asked what some of the best advice she ever received was she replied, “My uncle was a County Supervisor in Iowa, he said shake every hand, kiss every baby and don’t make promises.” Carm will be celebrating her 92nd birthday on October 26, 2019 in Iowa with family and friends. The town of Prescott Valley is blessed to call her a resident. Happy Birthday Carmelite Staker, you are a real gem!
The Humboldt Education Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization and an approved State of Arizona Qualifying Charitable Organization for Arizona Tax Credit program. For more information visit humboldteducationfoundation.org or contact James Clemens at 928.499.2288.