Donna Michaels


Donna G. Michaels, Ph.D. is a community engaged leader who has served in government, education, community and cultural initiatives, private industry, development and non-profits nationally and internationally. She is a published author on social policy, public administration and capital funds development. She has expertise in public policy, land use planning and government regulation. Dr. Michaels has lived in the Verde Valley almost three decades and cherishes the rural, small town character and iconic views that are unique to this area. Her commitment to Yavapai County residents is based in three promises:

  • Protect our rural, small town, communities’ character and/or Community Plans and Vision statements and
  • Preserve our rural lifestyle wherever possible and practicable, our land use and critically diminishing water resources, and
  • Promote business that support our communities’ plans and vision, robust, smart technologies and sustainable economies.
She is known for building teams of diverse constituents to develop and implement organizational goals. Dr. Michaels is a hands-on leader in execution or development plans through partnering with internal/external resources and recruitment and mentoring high performance teams. She is accomplished in the areas of building stakeholder relationships, collaboration with diverse populations, board development, fundraising and program development, implementation, management and marketing. Dr. Michaels is an accomplished public speaker, moderator and published author. She has expertise in the fields of education, public policy, land use planning and government regulation. Her passion for horses has led to involvement, support and pro bono consultation for a number of equine organizations and ventures.


  • Yavapai College Trustee, Board Spokesperson and Secretary
  • Marilyn Sunderman Foundation, Founder, President
  • Arizona Rural Health Association, Board Member, State Conference Organizer and M.C.
  • National Rural Education Association, Board Member and State Conference Presenter
  • National Association of Hearing Officials (NAHO), Member
  • Arizona Department of Educations Arizona Risk Retention (The TRUST), Hearing Officer
  • Justice Sandra Day O’Connor SpeakOut Arizona Sedona/Verde Valley Advisory Board
  • Verde Valley Land Preservation Institute, Board member and Chair 2019 Town Hall Forum
  • Veterans Equine Therapeutic Alliance, Founder and Board Member
  • Arizona Rangers, Verde Valley Company


  • Ph.D. Barry University, Miami, Florida
  • B.S. and M.S.W., Summa Cum Laude, University of Nebraska, Omaha
  • B.S., University of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette

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