There is no bigger disappointment in the Scottsdale Unified School District than Kim Hartmann - which, given SUSD's politically dysfunctional environment, says a lot about the first-term member of the School Board.
When voters elected Hartmann four years ago, they had high hopes for her. She had an impressive resume and long list of endorsements from movers and shakers inside and outside the school district. Now the confidence in Hartmann has been shaken. Even some of the opinion leaders who endorsed her have lost respect for her and regret their endorsements.
Wait ... someone is probably saying: "What about Pam Kirby?"
Kirby, unaffectionately referred to by SUSD insiders as the Governing Board's "Black Widow," is different than Hartmann. While both board members will be up for re-election this year, it's Kirby who is the political animal using the School Board to advance her political aspirations. What you see is what you get.
However, the Kim Hartmann who was elected to the School Board in 2014 is not the Kim Hartmann who is failing to represent taxpayers in 2018. The 2014 Hartmann disappeared and has been replaced by the 2018 Hartmann.
Going back to 2014, Hartmann campaigned in tandem with Francesca Thomas to fill two seats on the School Board. They were thought to be a formidable team. Hartmann won the election, but Thomas, who received about 6,000 fewer votes than Hartmann, didn't. Kirby, an incumbent, was re-elected by a comfortable margin.
The following year, Hartmann helped found Businesses United for Scottsdale Schools (BUSS), a non-profit organization. The organization, which partnered with the Chamber of Commerce, was created to advocate bringing business leaders and the school district together to develop a stronger Scottsdale public school system. While the organizational model made sense, BUSS faced challenges - primarily from the business community in which many leaders were more supportive of private schools than public ones.
Nevertheless ... BUSS is still active. But it's struggling to achieve the organization's objectives.
The next year, 2016, was when Hartmann went through an about-face. She became infatuated with the new superintendent's mission to make SUSD more competitive with private and charter schools. Unfortunately, Denise Birdwell's scheme triggered an exodus of teachers who fled SUSD for other teaching opportunities. Parents were outraged - but that didn't prevent Birdwell from replacing top administrators with several of her friends and former colleagues.
None of that fazed Hartmann, who had become an acolyte of Birdwell.
As conditions worsened in the school district, including the controversy surrounding the reconstruction of Hopi Elementary School, some of Hartmann's stunned supporters confronted her about her radical transformation - particularly how she could continue supporting Superintendent Birdwell's take-no-prisoners management style that was doing more harm than good.
Hartmann's response was always the same: "Be patient. Give the superintendent's strategy time to work. You'll see."     
In the meantime ... Hartmann has not announced if she intends to seek re-election. If she does, voters will be curious to know which Kim Hartmann will be running.