Three quarters of a century ago, Lita Stubbs Bratt was born in San Antonio, Texas, to an engineer father and a schoolteacher mother. A brother and a sister completed the family. After graduating from high school in San Antonio, Lita headed off to Cornell University. While at Cornell she was a member of Tri Delta sorority, and Raven and Serpent and Mortar Board honoraries. She graduated from Cornell with a major in Art History.
Lita moved back to Texas, married Mauri Bratt and had three children, Nancy, Carol, and Hank. This was her first exposure to working with children, and her first decision to become a teacher. She completed her teaching requirements at SMU in Art Education. After teaching elementary art for three years in Dallas, Lita met Nik Krevitsky, then head of Art Education for TUSD, applied for a job in Tucson and was accepted to teach school at at Palo Verde High School. The next two years could best be described as “on the job training: at 6 a.m.” as Palo Verde was on double sessions at that time. Under the guidance of Celeste Norris Caldwell there could have been no better training.
Hank Egbert was putting together a faculty for the new Sahuaro High School and invited Lita to head up the Art Department. “What a fantastic opportunity! To equip a brand new art department, set the curricula, and help in the art staff selection.” The first year Lita taught all the art classes but the second year she was joined by Dick Arnold, a gifted artist who cotaught with Lita for almost 20 years. Those 20 years were incomparable. They were filled with great students, a fantastic faculty, and an administration whose goal was to create the finest high school possible. During this time, Lita obtained a Master’s degree from the University of Arizona in Art Education and created a new curriculum in Individualized Instruction in Jewelry. Other areas of emphasis for Lita were ceramics and weaving. During the decade of the 70s, Indian jewelry became the rage and Lita taught a Pima College class at night which was attended by many teachers and administrators, including Hank Egbert and Harry Johnson. In the decade of the 80s, Lita helped write the Art Curriculum for TUSD; and with Dick Arnold wrote a high school curriculum for Art History, which became one of the Advanced Placement classes offered by Sahuaro High School.
During these years she also served on the Curriculum Associates as Chairman of the Fine Arts department. Lita retired in 1988 from Sahuaro on an early retirement plan. This enabled her to work for the District for seven more years on a 30-days a year basis. This gave her the opportunity to place the Art History program in other TUSD high schools, notable Tucson High Magnet Fine Arts and at Pueblo High School. She completed her seven years by giving lectures on various Art History topics to classes at Sahuaro.
In 1995, Lita and Liz Fimbres founded The Reading Seed, a volunteer organization that recruits people to mentor primary-age children who need extra help in learning to read. This organization has now grown to between 150 and 200 volunteers. Other interests for Lita have been the Cougar Foundation and the Sahuaro Speculators, an investment group formed by a group of retired Sahuaro women teachers. Family is still the core of her life. And “family” has expanded to include grandson Corey, his wife Christi, and great granddaughter Sydney; granddaughter Kit, grandson Wesley and granddaughter Tara, and the newest granddaughter Grace. “Who could ask for anything more?”