Ajo Unified School District
Group of Ajo students posing together

Meet our Superintendent

Dr. Robert F. Dooley, Superintendent Dr. Robert F. Dooley

(520) 387-5618

Angelina Valenzuela
District Office & Superintendent’s Secretary

Dr. Robert F. Dooley became the superintendent of the Ajo Unified School District No. 15 on July 1, 2002. Dr. Dooley's undergraduate and master's degrees are in secondary education with a major in history and a minor in business education. He received his doctorate degree in educational leadership with an emphasis in school finance from Arizona State University.

Professionally, Dr. Dooley is certified by the state of Arizona to be an elementary teacher, a secondary teacher of history and business, a K–12 principal, and a K–12 superintendent, the position he currently holds at Ajo Unified School District.

Prior to serving as the superintendent for the Ajo Unified School District, Dr. Dooley taught in public schools in the Phoenix area for six years, was an assistant principal for four years, and a principal for 20 years, during which time he helped design and open two new schools. He was also a business manager for two years and served as an adjunct professor of education leadership for Northern Arizona University for three years.

In December 2017, the AZ School Administrators Association awarded him as the Superintendent of the Year for small public school districts in the state of AZ. During his tenure as superintendent of schools for the Ajo Unified School District, the high school graduation rate has increased from 55% to above 90%. This is significantly higher than the high school graduation rate for all high schools in the state of AZ.

Dr. Dooley has three children. His oldest daughter, Sherry, is a public-school teacher in Las Vegas, NV. His daughter Shannon is a therapist and a life coach for a medical organization in Surprise, AZ, and his son Spencer is an actor who is in the masters of fine arts program at the University of Texas, as well as serving as a Shakespeare actor for the Phoenix-based Southwest Shakespeare Festival.

Joyce Dooley, Dr. Dooley’s wife, passed away on January 6, 2019. She was a lifelong educator serving in public schools in Glendale, AZ as well as the Tohono O’odham Reservation near Ajo, AZ. Joyce served as a librarian, reading specialist, and principal. 

Being superintendent leaves little time for Dr. Dooley to enjoy his hobbies, but when time permits, he relaxes by riding his Arabian horses or "fiddling" with one of several classic vehicles, which Dr. Dooley consistently refers to as "works in progress." 

To help keep parents, staff, and community members apprised to events in our community and to those of the state that affect Ajo Schools and public education, Dr. Dooley frequently contributes articles in the Ajo Copper News. He has written a column for the same newspaper, reports monthly to the Western Pima County Community Council, and informally meets with staff as needed. He also serves on several state committees that deal with educational issues.