Advocates - Madison School District

Made up of parents and community members, the Madison Advocates assess legislative issues for their impact on public education, specifically as they pertain to Madison. One of their top priorities is securing realistic funding for Arizona’s public schools, currently ranked 47th in the nation in per pupil funding. Levels of involvement range from passing along legislative information to lobbying legislators.

The current Madison Advocates Co-Chairs are Mitra Khazai, Laura Cummings, and Karen Kruse.

Mitra Khazi

Mitra Khazai consults with non-profit organizations on capacity and program development, strategic planning and board recruitment and training. She has volunteered in multiple capacities at Madison Simis Elementary School, including chairing the Site-Based Management Team, overseeing the Odyssey of the Mind program and coordinating the DIGGS gardening program, which provides a hands-on science learning opportunity for all Simis students. She founded the non-profit organization, Family Promise –Greater Phoenix, a homeless family service provider and served as president of the board of directors. She is currently an honorary board member. She has resided in the Madison School District for 17 years; she and her husband Greg Swartz have three boys who have all attended Madison schools.

Laura Cummings

The mother of a Rose Lane student, Laura has served as vice president of the school’s PTO for three years. She is interested in the wider role of education in attracting jobs to the state, and how parents can work with educators and legislators to prepare all of Arizona’s children for the challenges of the future. A professional communicator for a Fortune 500 company, Laura understands the importance of having informed parents throughout the district so they understand how their child’s education is funded and delivered.

Karen Kruse

Karen Kruse is President of The Kruse Group. The Kruse Group is a lobbying, government relations and public affairs firm with federal, state and local experience. A third generation native of Arizona, Karen has been a political professional for more than 25 years ranging from the U.S. Senate to multi-state, private sector government relations and business development to local, state and federal campaigns in various states. During her career, Karen has also participated in Presidential level politics in a fundraising capacity and was instrumental in the success of the CNN hosted Democratic Presidential Debate that aired live from Phoenix in October of 2003. Karen is married to Dr. Marc Osborn and has two sons.

Get Involved

If you would like to get involved, please contact Karen Kruse at If you have any questions, please contact Co-Chairs Mitra Khazai, Laura Cummings, and Karen Kruse at,, or