Obituary: Rochonne “Shonny” Bria | Williams Grand Canyon News

Shonny Bria, 74, of Litchfield Park Arizona, passed away on Wednesday, November 24, 2021.

Shonny was born and raised in Vancouver Washington, moved to South Lake Tahoe in high school and then on to Arizona, where she graduated from Arizona State University with three degrees and a Ph.D. Her adult life took her to many parts of the country, spending much time in Mesa Arizona, Battle Ground Washington, and the Grand Canyon South Rim, where she was Superintendent of the Grand Canyon School District at the time of her death.

Shonny loved the outdoors and adventure. She learned to ski almost before she could walk, a skill that was honed on the South Lake Tahoe High School ski team. She loved hiking and loved the parts of nature that were not always heeded; she loved not only the mountains and their splendor, but also the small flowers that adorned the forest floor and the interesting patterns made of branches and leaves. Shonny showed kindness to animals and used them as part of their desire to give to others. She was an artist and worked with stained glass in her limited free time.

As an educator, Shonny had a lifelong passion for students and their education. She began her educational career as an elementary school teacher in Mesa, Arizona in 1973 and subsequently worked her way through positions as special education teacher, middle school teacher, curriculum director, director of gifted and talented students, assistant principal, and eventually superintendent.

In her career she was headmaster in three school districts, in the Pendergast School District in the West Valley of Phoenix Arizona from 1993 to 1998, in the Battle Ground School District in Washington state from 1998 to 2013 and most recently in the Grand Canyon Unified School District on the south rim of the Grand Canyon from 2014 until her most recent premature death.

She was named All Arizona Superintendent in Pendergast in 1997 and was a 2006 finalist for Washington State Superintendent of the Year.

Shonny was a dynamic, successful teacher with a particular passion for working with special needs students. She carried her dynamic nature from the classroom to the boardroom, where she inspired people with her unique educational focus, “Everything about the student”. To this end, she has often been commended for her ability to coach others to reach their full potential. Their Battle Ground Washington School Board was named School Board of the Year in 2007.

It may seem contradictory that a strong leader can be an advocate of a collaborative process, but while they have never been afraid of making difficult decisions, their preference has been to involve everyone in the decision-making process. She was someone who knew what she was doing and yet encouraged others to learn, grow, and develop leadership skills; someone who was determined to advocate children and yet brought the interests of other interest groups to the table; someone who managed finances conservatively and still found funding for programs their constituents thought they could never afford.

Shonny passed her parents Dr. William R. Davis and Billie Louise Elliott advance.

She leaves behind her loving husband Gary Talkington (34 years), brother Bill Davis Jr., nephew William Davis III. and brother-in-law Tim (Mary).

Shonny had the gift of recognizing the potential of others and promoting their further development. This continues with the Shonny Bria Memorial Scholarship Fund.

In lieu of flowers, those interested can turn to the Grand Canyon Unified School District to contribute to this charity.

Shonny will be very missed by everyone who knew her.

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