Meet Jonathan

I’m running for this office because nothing is more important for Arizona's long-term success than our public education system.

We need a state schools chief with a fresh perspective, the will to fight for our public schools, and the vision necessary to build the education system of the future.

Business as usual isn’t going to cut it anymore.


Jonathan, Cara, and Kermit

Jonathan Gelbart has always aimed high. Growing up in a middle-class family in northwest Phoenix, he studied hard throughout his years in public school, graduating second in his class of 400 at Barry Goldwater High School. At Stanford, he wrote and served as an editor for the Stanford Review conservative newspaper and was elected president and treasurer of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. He earned a master's degree in engineering, together with his bachelor's degree, in four and a half years. 

After graduating, he came home to Arizona and settled in Tempe with the goal of making an impact on the state education system that he had experienced first-hand. He soon joined BASIS Charter Schools, where he was the Director of Charter School Development for more than three years. During that time, Jonathan managed the development of 15 BASIS campuses, including U.S. News and World Report's number one, best high school in America for 2017 and 2018.

The schools Jonathan helped open now serve more than 10,000 students. With this experience, he will bring to the superintendent's office first-hand knowledge of what it takes to build and expand excellent schools. Jonathan's responsibilities involved everything from strategic planning to building relationships with communities and families from Prescott to Tucson and obtaining more than $250 million in bond funds for school construction, renovation, and expansion. 

Since July 2017, Jonathan has dedicated himself to the superintendent's race full-time, running as a Republican.

I'm always asking, "How can we do this better?" Falling back on "we've always done it this way" isn't an acceptable answer.


Jonathan is a Flinn-Brown Fellow and serves on the Sandra Day O'Connor Institute's Millennial Council as well as the Tempe Neighborhood Advisory Commission. He and his wife Cara live with their rescue cattle dog mix, Kermit, at their home in Tempe.