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|Name||State||Photo & Bio|
Stewart McDonald began his career in education serving special education students. After earning his B.A. from the University of North Florida, he continued his passion further north in the great state of Alaska. His M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from the University of Alaska has allowed him the opportunity to address the diverse needs of Alaska’s unique population. Currently in his doctoral studies, Mr. McDonald is known in Alaska as a vigorous advocate for the continuous improvement of the public education system. His consistent message to colleagues, legislators, staff, and community members is “The work of education can be time consuming, messy, and inconvenient. But given what we have, how do we make this work for kids?”
The wisdom of Superintendent McDonald comes from his twenty-four years of putting the student first. While he was a rookie administrator, he encouraged the presiding school board to view all their decisions “through the lens of the student”. He is still often heard asking those involved if they are wearing their student lenses.
In his second year as Superintendent, Mr. McDonald successfully advocated for the constituents of Kodiak Island Borough to vote to embark on a construction project to add new space and renovate existing space of Kodiak High School to include a state-of-the-art Career Technology Education High School. Voters agreed to an $80.8 million dollar bond, and that project finished on time and under budget with no additional tax burden. Additionally, during his tenure the graduation rate has increased from 71% to 90.32%. He has created the highly collaborative inter-district partnerships of the state wide-digital teaching initiative serving 26 school districts. Stewart has set new standards in pioneering the Internationally award winning World Bridge STEAM program in partnership with Trillium Learning. He is a strong proponent of the performing and visual arts for all students. All of this occurred during a time of severe economic down turn and education funding decline.
His dedication to the extreme challenges Alaska faces is an inspiration to those of us that know him. His wife of thirty-one years, his son, and daughter will report that he instructs everyone to “practice enjoyment, not disappointment”. Having moved frequently as a child, and often struggled with discrepancies associated with transferring, he learned to employ that kind of attitude to his own educational experience.
Stewart is serving his ninth year as superintendent of schools for the KIBSD. He is in his twenty-fifth year serving Alaska’s students in many educational roles from special education teacher, grants, and assessment to senior administration. He serves as the superintendent representative on the State Council on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, Alaska Association Executive Board representing Mid-Sized Districts, ASA Legislative Committee, and ASA State Assessment Committee, Advisory Board Member for the Southeast Regional Resource Center, Serves as Executive Officer of Alaska’s 2013 and 2015 Outstanding School Board of the Year, and Alaska’s 2017 Superintendent of the Year.
Dr. Vic Wilson joined Hartselle City Schools as Superintendent in July 2013. With 24 years of experience in P-12 education, Dr. Wilson has served as an English and history teacher, a middle and high school coach, a middle and high school assistant principal, a high school principal, and a superintendent. Dr. Wilson obtained his undergraduate degree in 1992 in secondary education with a double major in English and history from The University of Alabama. He earned his Master's degree from Samford University in Educational Leadership in 2000 and his Educational Specialist in 2004 from The University of Montevallo. He completed his doctorate, also in Educational Leadership, from Samford University in 2012. Dr. Wilson is a member of AASA, School Superintendents of Alabama, Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools, Alabama School Public Relations Association, and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. He has served as the president of AASSP, the principal representative on the Teacher Retirement Systems and PEEHIP Insurance board for Alabama, a member of the Transformational Leadership Academy at Samford University, as a member of The Board of Visitors for Athens State University, as a member of the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees for Athens State University, and as an adjunct professor at Samford University. Dr. Wilson is also a member of the Hartselle Rotary Club, Hartselle Kiwanis Club, Hartselle Lions Club, Hartselle Chamber of Commerce Board, and West Hartselle Baptist Church.
Dr. Wilson and his wife, Felecia, have been married for 23 years and are the proud parents of Dailey (20), a student at The University of New Orleans, Emma (16), a junior at Hartselle High School, and Paul (13), an 8th grader at Hartselle Junior High School.
Ken Ramey Biography—as written by Louie Thomas, Siloam Springs School Board Member
Ken Ramey has dedicated 48 years to the public education profession serving as teacher of biology, coach, athletic director, principal, assistant superintendent, and has spent 22 years in Siloam Springs School District, become Superintendent in 2002.
His motto has been “We, our, Us—Not I, My, or Me.”
His leadership is above and beyond the normal expectation. This district is his passion and his hobby. We would not be where we are today without him.
He has successfully lead two millage campaigns; one for Allen Elementary and renovations to the Middle School, and then another for the New High School and renovations to the Old High School. We have remodeled all other buildings and added on to several. We expanded, increased, and up-graded our bus fleet to one of the best in the state. We have remodeled an Alternative Learning Facility and Maintenance Facility and built the Panther Health and Wellness Clinic.
He continues to involve patrons in these endeavors and has lately formed the Siloam Springs Public School Foundation to assist in raising funds for the new High School Stadium.
He challenged us to improve student academic success by having an individual education plan for every student. He feels that schools must adapt and change to meet the demands of a global society. This is why we have become a Conversion Charter School at the high school, adding workforce skills to student achievement and online courses.
He has fostered a school culture that insures mutual respect and collaborative team effort for best results. That is to say that everyone is treated the same. Administrators, teachers, classified staff, and community individuals are all equal in his mind. He has led us to achieve what many felt was unachievable.
He has served in many roles in local and state organizations as a member of the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Siloam Springs Community Relations, Northwest Arkansas Council, Northwest Arkansas Educational Service Cooperative Board, Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators, Arkansas Association of Curriculum & Instruction Administrators serving on the Board for 10 years and 2 years a Curriculum and Instruction President, 2015 finance and Facility Chairman, and he is a member of the Arkansas School board Association.
He led our partnership with the City of Siloam Springs, the Chamber of Commerce, and John Brown University.
As a result of his efforts, we have one of the best school systems and are able to draw people to Siloam Springs. What a leader.
Louie Thomas 1/7/15
Dr. Burdick’s Leadership Mission is:
To ensure learning every day for every student;
Leadership every day for every stakeholder.
With 42 years in education, Dr. Burdick has held the position of Superintendent in CCUSD since 2008 and came to the district in 2004 as Associate Superintendent. She has been a teacher, principal and teaching consultant, as well as an adjunct professor at Grand Canyon and Arizona State Universities. Dr. Burdick graduated summa cum laude with a doctorate from ASU, two Masters Degrees from Eastern IL University and a Bachelors Degree from Western IL University. Dr. Burdick was a National Christa McAuliffe Fellow from the USDOE; received the AZ School Administrator’s (ASA) Educational Doctoral Student of the Year for ASU and the Outstanding Senior in Education Award from Western IL University. In 2013, Dr. Burdick was the ASA’s Superintendent of the Year for Large Districts. Dr. Burdick and her family moved to the Arizona from Illinois in 1995. She serves as a board member for the Carefree Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce, the Cave Creek Unified Educational Foundation, AZ Business and Education Coalition Board, the AZ Musicfest Board, Kiwanis of Carefree Board of Directors, Desert Foothills YMCA Advisory Board and the Cave Creek Unified Education Foundation Board of Trustees. She is also on the PHX Youth and Education Commission, Phoenix Opportunities for Youth Re-engagement Action Team, Department of Child Services (DCS) Community Advisory Committee and the ADE Educator Retention and Recruitment Task Force. She was a recent chairperson of the North Valley Educational Consortium and ASA Superintendent Division president. Currently, Dr. Burdick Serves on the ASA's Executive Board as the immediate past president, Chairperson of the Greater PHX Educational Management Council and a Governing Board member of AASA. .
Dr. Deborah Flores has been the Superintendent of the Gilroy Unified School District (GUSD) since July 2007. She is the longest serving superintendent in Santa Clara County as of the 2015-16 school year. Prior to coming to GUSD, Dr. Flores was superintendent in the Lucia Mar Unified School District in San Luis Obispo County for three years. She also worked in the Santa Barbara School District for 15 years where she was Assistant Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent and then Superintendent for almost 5 years. She has been a superintendent for 16 years and has worked in public schools for almost 40 years.
Dr. Flores began her career as a special education teacher in 1975 and middle school summer migrant education teacher. Beginning in 1980, she has filled a number of administrative positions at the site level, district office and in special education.
Dr. Flores has served on numerous committees during her career. Currently, she is a member of the CalSoap Board (past president and vice president), the SELPA Executive Council (past president and vice president), Gilroy Chamber Business Education Committee (past chair) and has been a member of Gilroy Rotary since 2008.
Dr. Flores earned her Ph.D in Educational Administration from the University of California, Santa Barbara (1996) and her Masters in Education (1978) and Bachelors in Education (1975) from the University of Massachusetts.
Various awards have been bestowed on Dr. Flores throughout her career. Her favorites are: 1979 Teacher of the Year (Amherst-Pelham School District, Mass.), Riverside County Woman of Achievement (1989) and ACSA Central Office Administrator of the Year (1999).
Dr. Flores has been married for over 40 years to George Flores, a middle school science teacher in Morgan Hill Unified School District (since 2007). George has been selected as Educator of the Year by both the Carpinteria and Morgan Hill Chambers of Commerce. George is a serious cyclist and Debbie regularly joins him for rides. She is also a serious runner who has run many races during 40+ years of running from the mile to the marathon. Their son Julian is a college-bound senior at Gilroy High School who is enrolled in the BioScience Academy (taking two high level science courses and a high level math class all four years), has played three sports (cross country, baseball and water polo), is a member of ASB and a Link Crew mentor. The family loves skiing, backpacking and hiking together.
A Colorado native and father of four, Dr. Harry Bull has dedicated his life to educating children in his home state. As the Superintendent of Cherry Creek Schools, he leads a high performing district with 8,000 employees and 54,500 students.
Dr. Bull became Superintendent in July 2013 after 29 years in the Cherry Creek School District. He previously served as Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and Executive Director of High School Education. Other administrative positions have included Principal at Grandview High School and Associate Principal of both Grandview and Smoky Hill High Schools. He began his career in Cherry Creek Schools in 1984 as a Social Studies teacher at Overland High School, after four years at Aurora Central High School in Aurora Public Schools.
He attended the University of Northern Colorado and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science in 1980, followed by a Master of Arts degree in Educational Administration - Secondary in 1988, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in 1997.
Dr. Bull has received several statewide honors, including the Colorado High School Press Association Administrator of the Year, the Colorado Music Educators’ Association Honor Administrator of the Year and the School Library Journal Administrator of the Year.
He is active in many community and professional organizations and is currently a Governing Board Member of the American Association of School Administrators and President of the Colorado Association of Superintendents and School Administrators.
Dr. Joseph V. Erardi, Jr.
36 Bellemeadow Drive – Watertown, CT 06795
860-417-3679 ~ JErardi@aol.com
Doctorate, Educational Leadership, May 2004
University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT
Comprehensive Areas: Instruction, empowerment, finance, leadership, assessment, futuristics.
Dissertation Topic: A Case Study of Promising Middle College Innovation.
Master’s Program, Administration, Supervision, and Curriculum, 1987
Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT 06050
B.S., Health and Physical Education, 1977
Central Connecticut State College, New Britain, CT 06050
Superintendent of Schools, Newtown, CT 4/15/2014 – Present
Evaluation with Distinction - 2014,2015,2016
Newtown High School - Newsweek Top 300 School in the USA
Newtown Citizen of the Year - 2015 - Newtown Youth Academy
Superintendent of Schools, Southington, CT 10/15/2007 – 4/15/2014
Evaluation with distinction from the Southington Board of Education.
Exceptional personal evaluation – 2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011; 2011-2012; 2012-2013
Successful School Improvement Plan resulting in one of the strongest public report cards ever achieved by the district (2012-2013);
National distinction for performance in Advanced Placement Classes – 2011 College Boards;
Successful collaboration and restructuring of K-8 literacy with Columbia University regarding both Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop;
Innovator / Founder of the Southington Education Foundation;
Innovative collaboration and partnership with the early childhood community;
Strong partnership with the business community leading to student opportunity;
Introduced a model fiscal plan regarding structure and partnership with all elected and appointed officials;
Energy and driving force behind the district’s emerging diversity initiative;
Daily open (no appointment) community hour: 6:30 a.m. - 7:30 a.m.;
Exemplary working partnership with parent community;
Innovator / Founder of the Retired Teacher Cohort which now offers invaluable support to the district;
Founder of the district’s Administrative Aspirant Program;
Successfully opened a renovate-to-new elementary school and a second new elementary school in March, 2010;
Demonstrates a standard of excellence pertaining to hard work and commitment for all stakeholders all of the time;
Four straight years of enhanced student performance;
Superintendent of Schools, Watertown, CT 5/2005 – 10/2007
Evaluation with distinction from the Watertown Board of Education
Responsible for galvanizing the community to support over $110,000,000 in school construction projects;
Responsible for first referendum support of both the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 operational plan in a district that historically has 3-5 referendums;
Responsible for transforming Watertown High School into a school with opportunity for all students;
Enhanced community and parent partnerships: Established Superintendent’s Advisory Committee, Executive PTA Council, Pre-School Director’s Council; Daily Community Open Hour;
Strong relationship and partnership with all unions;
Business partnership resulting in over $200,000 in gift-giving;
Enhanced relationship with the Education Foundation resulting in a state-of-the-art technology center at Watertown High School;
Superintendent of Schools, Bolton, CT 1/2001 – 5/2005
Evaluation with distinction from the Bolton Board of Education
Recognized by the State Department of Education as one of CT’s highest achieving school districts;
Increased student participation to over 50% in the national Advanced Placement program;
Reduced drop-out rate to under 2%
Principal, Rockville High School, Vernon, CT, 06084 1998-2001
Evaluation with distinction from the Vernon Public Schools
Instructional leader of a comprehensive high school attended by 1,300 students;
Created Parent Advisory Council, Human Relations Council, School Improvement Council, and Program of Studies Council;
Implemented highly successful drop-out and alternative programs
Principal, Killingly High School, Danielson, CT 06066 1994-1998
Evaluation with distinction from the Killingly Public Schools
Instructional leader for a comprehensive school attended by 900 students;
Honorable mention Blue Ribbon status – 1997;
Increased college bound students by 20% and decreased the drop-out rate from 12 to 3.5 %
Educator / Administrator, Manchester Public Schools, 1977-1994
Evaluation with distinction from the Manchester Public Schools
Assistant Principal, Manchester High School (1992-1994)
Director of Student Activities, Manchester High School (1990-1992)
District Coordinator, Physical Education and Health (1981-1990)
Health and physical educator (1977 – 1990)
American Teacher Award – National Honoree
AASA Executive Board Member - AASA (2015 - present)
Adjunct Instructor – Central Connecticut State University 2014 – present)
Chair – Federal Relations Committee - CAPSS (2010-present)
National Governance Board – AASA (2010 – present)
Board of Directors, CT Education Foundation (2002 – present)
Connecticut Center for School Change (Selected CT superintendents) - (2005-2014)
National Selection Committee, America’s Teacher of the Year – Disney Corp. (2004)
Professional Presentations (2009 – Present)
August 2016 - Austin, Texas Unified Catholic School District - Keynote
“Effective Social Emotional Learning K-12”
May 2016 - South X Southwest Conference - Austin, Texas - Keynote
“Innovative Programming in Partnership with Community Stakeholders”
January 2016 - Best Practice for Providing Mental Health Needs to K-12 Communities”
Presentation - State Board of Education
November 2014 - Panel Presentation: Affordable Care Act – CCMC Annual Conference
January, 2010 – CT School Business Officials – Keynote
“Leadership Challenges of Today’s School Officials”
November, 2009 – Manchester Community College – Keynote
“Preparing Students for the CT. Community College Placement Exam”
Recognition and Awards
CT Superintendent of the Year - CT PTA - May 2016
CT Administrator of the Year - Central CT State University - May 2015
Newtown Citizen of the Year - October 2015 - Newtown Youth Academy
CT Administrator of the Year - May 2016 - School Based Health Administrators
Southington Contributor of the Year – Chamber of Commerce - 2014
Southington Citizen of the Year – YMCA – 2011
Southington Citizen of the Year – Elks - 2011
Greater Waterbury Chamber of Commerce – Businessman of the Year – June 2007
Watertown Police Department – Crime-Stopper of the Year – May - 2007
State of CT: General Assembly – “Outstanding School Leadership” – May 2005
CT Coaches Hall of Fame - CT Girls Soccer Coaches Association - 2003
Manchester Hall of Fame - Manchester, CT - 1993
National Teacher of the Year Honoree - America Teacher Awards, Disney Corp. 1992
Further References Available Upon Request
Dr. Mark Holodick has a long history with the Brandywine School District and the State of Delaware. A graduate of Concord High School and Talley Middle School, Dr. Holodick also served as Assistant Principal and Principal at Concord before becoming Superintendent in October 2009. Prior to his tenure with BSD, he was Principal at Delmar Middle and High School for three years (in the Delmar School District).
Dr. Holodick firmly believes that the foundation of BSD is built on professionalism, customer service, and meeting the needs of all students.
Dr. Barbara Jenkins has been dedicated to serving the needs of students for more than 25 years. She was named superintendent for Orange County Public Schools in 2012.
Under Dr. Jenkins' leadership, the district won the prestigious 2014 Broad Prize for Urban Education. The prize earned half-a-million dollars for student scholarships from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. The district also received the Governor’s Sterling Award in 2014 and again in 2015. The award is highly regarded for its recognition of organizations that exemplify performance excellence in Florida. Also, for three of the last five years, OCPS was named to the AP District Honor Roll by the College Board, for increasing access to Advanced Placement course work, while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning exam scores for college credit.
As the former deputy superintendent for Orange County, Jenkins served as the superintendent's designee and oversaw five area superintendents and the division of Teaching and Learning. In her prior tenure as Chief of Staff, she also oversaw Human Resources, Public Relations, Labor Relations, Strategic Planning, and served as the chief negotiator for the district.
In 2015-16, Dr. Jenkins served as president of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents. The Orlando Business Journal honored her as a CEO of the Year in 2015. In 2014, she was named the Visionary Award recipient by the Girl Scouts of Citrus Council, and the Central Florida Woman of the Year by the Women’s Executive Council.
Recognized for her commitment and influence, both the Orlando Sentinel and Orlando Magazine have recognized her as one of the 10 most powerful people in Central Florida; Orlando Magazine ranked her number five overall in 2015, and number two in the Education category in 2016.
Deeply engaged in the community, Dr. Jenkins serves on the boards of United Arts of Central Florida, Winter Park Health Foundation, Greater Orlando Economic Development Commission, Florida Hospital, Central Florida Regional Commission on Homelessness, Orange County Youth Mental Health Commission, and is a member of the Aspen Urban Superintendent’s Network.
|Joseph (Jody) Barrow||GA||
Dr. Joseph (Jody) C. Barrow, Jr. began his career in education in 1980. He has begun his fourth year as the Superintendent of Fayette County Schools, having also served previously as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal, and superintendent across the K-12 spectrum in several Georgia school systems. He has received numerous awards and recognitions locally, statewide, and nationally. He and his wife, Dr. Susan Barrow, are the proud parents of five children, two who are 9-year old twins who are currently enrolled in the Fayette County School System. During his career, Dr. Barrow's accomplishments include: improving student achievement and increasing graduation rates in spite of high poverty populations, implementing and advancing cutting edge 21st Century technology, educationally overcoming the largest wildfire in the history of Georgia, leading construction projects that have received national recognition, establishing School-Based Health Centers (SBHC) via Telehealth, and leading the second school system in Georgia to connect to the high speed research network (Internet2/Peachnet). He currently serves on state and national non-profit boards and advisory committees impacting education and health care. He has led his districts to these accomplishments while dealing with massive budget challenges. Dr. Barrow truly strives to be a "Champion for Children" in all endeavors, and works to put children first in every situation.
Joseph (Jody) Barrow
Gary Zittergruen has served as the Superintendent of Schools at Benton Community since July 1999 and he has been an educator in the district for the past 32 years. Prior to becoming the superintendent, Mr. Zittergruen served as the high school principal for eight years, associate high school principal for three years, and an elementary principal for two years. Gary also spent thirteen years coaching the softball team at Benton prior to being named superintendent winning a state championship in his final game as a coach in 1998. He is a graduate of Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa with a BA in elementary education and holds a master's degree in educational administration from the University of Iowa.
Gary has been married to his wife Jenny for 33 years and they have four children and two grandchildren. Mr. Zittergruen had the good fortune of presenting Benton Community High School diplomas to all four of his children. Jeff is a teacher and coach in the Benton CSD, Katie is a pharmacist, Tommy is a videographer and owner of TZ Productions, and Michael is a sophomore at the University of Northern Iowa. Gary's grandchildren Kinley and Cooper also attend school in the Benton CSD. Mr. Zittergruen grew up in Garnavillo, Iowa a small rural town in northeast Iowa.
In addition to his leadership role at Benton Community, Mr. Zittergruen serves on the Board of Directors for the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and on the Board of Directors for the Iowa High School Speech Association. He is the only administrator in the state of Iowa currently serving on two state level activity leadership organizations. He firmly believes that the opportunities and lessons afforded young people through extra-curricular activities help shape their lives in a remarkable way. Mr. Zittergruen has also served as a superintendent mentor for three first year superintendents as part of the SAI Mentoring Program for administrators in the state of Iowa.
Educational excellence, continuous improvement, teamwork, and creating a caring school culture are the guiding principles that have influenced Mr. Zittergruen during his lengthy tenure as the superintendent at Benton Community and throughout his career as an educator. These core values also influence his decision making and leadership in working with students, staff, the board of education, and the school community.
Superintendent Zittergruen had this to say about his selection as the 2017 Iowa Superintendent of the Year: "It is an honor and privilege to be selected as the School Administrators of Iowa Superintendent of the Year. I am extremely grateful to my family, all the stakeholders at Benton Community, and my colleagues in the Grant Wood Area Education Agency region for nominating me for the state award. I have been truly blessed to work as an educator in the Benton CSD for the past 32 years and the last 18 as superintendent of schools. This recognition is a reflection on the many accomplishments of our students and staff and the wonderful support of the school community. As I have often stated - Benton Community is a 'place to belong'!"
My name is Gaylen Smyer and I was born in Burley, Idaho during the last century and raised on a small family acreage in nearby Declo. I am the oldest of four children belonging to Norman and DeLores Smyer. My parents were good students in school but did not have the opportunity to pursue a college education. I did well in school and my parents often encouraged me to pursue higher education. A generous Union Pacific Scholarship helped me to achieve the goal of being the first in my family to attend and graduate from college.
One year after graduating from high school I married my high school sweetheart and she has put up with me for forty-two years. Five years into our marriage we were blessed with our first daughter, Amber. Fourteen years later our second daughter, Kaitlyn, was born with our youngest daughter, Sydney, arriving three years later in 1996.
I excelled in agricultural education in high school and was an active FFA member. Those experiences helped guide me toward a career as a high school Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor. While attending Utah State University I was able to work at Hesston Corporation to earn money for school. Working in private industry provided me with experiences and insights that I was able to use in the classroom as I prepared students for their future. Additionally, it was one of my college professors that was instrumental in helping me establish a personal goal to one day earn a doctorate degree.
I began my teaching career at Sky View High School in Smithfield, Utah. In the summer of 1979 I was offered a chance to return home and teach Agriculture Education at Burley High School. There had previously been two agricultural instructors at the high school but both decided to leave the same year. I replaced those two people and immediately started building what would become one of the top agricultural programs in the state. My students excelled and many earned state and national honors.
I farmed part-time with my family while teaching but quickly discovered I was paying other people to do things I should have been doing myself. It became apparent that properly teaching high school agriculture would not leave sufficient time with which to farm. I had a desire to continue my education so I abandoned my desires to farm and pursued a Master’s Degree in Agricultural Education through the University of Idaho. That experience helped me to improve my professional practice as a classroom and laboratory teacher. Completing the Master’s program also put me in touch with a cohort of individuals that I was able to utilize as a resource throughout my teaching career.
Upon completion of the Master’s Degree I sought to obtain a K-12 administrative credential. I chose to pursue the administrative endorsement through the College of Idaho. When I had completed the requirements, the Cassia School District named me as the Professional-Technical Director for all of the programs in the school district. This I did in addition to teaching agriculture and serving as the FFA advisor at Burley High School.
The School District Board of Trustees named me as the Director of the Cassia Regional Technical Center (CRTC) that was to be built and opened in 1998. This school served over 400 students from three school districts and seven high schools by offering seven different professional-technical programs. CRTC was the first centralized professional-technical school in the state. I served as the building administrator and had the opportunity to teach advanced manufacturing on a part-time basis.
I was hired as Assistant Superintendent in February 2007 when a health issue prompted an early retirement. Two months later I was named the Superintendent when my predecessor announced his retirement. I accepted the position knowing there was much work to be done and no money with which to hire an assistant superintendent. Fortunately I was surrounded by good people and we moved forward looking for opportunities to improve the school district and the quality of education our students received.
Other than my family, my professional career has been my life. I take pride in my work and devote everything I can to improving education. I am a product of this school system, as are my wife and daughters. I have been successful in the public and private sector because of my education not in spite of it. I have been well served by my elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education. While I did not aspire to becoming a school district superintendent, I have been well prepared for this task. Iit is my desire to assist others in reaching their full potential and fulfillment through education. Our society depends upon the ability of each generation to meaningfully contribute to the economy and country. I am proud to have played a role in the lives of some in preparing them to accept their rightful positions in the community, state, nation, and world.
Jason Henry, 43, is a native of Southern Illinois, having grown up on a small cattle farming operation in rural Williamson County. After graduating from Johnston City (IL) High School in 1991, Henry pursued his mathematics and science degrees at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he, notably, completed his teacher training in Township High School District 214. After teaching high school mathematics in Du Quoin for five years, Henry served as an elementary and junior high school principal for three years before being promoted to the district superintendent's job in the Zeigler-Royalton School District. For the last eleven years, Henry has served as district superintendent in the Sesser-Valier School District.
Jason has been married to Kerri (Dover) Henry for fifteen years, and they recently welcomed their first-born son, Jack Riley, in March, 2016. Jason and Kerri work alongside his parents in the beef cattle operation, where they enjoy working on the farm, doing yard work, and training their two Australian Cattle Dogs, Max & Sam. When he's not working at school or on the farm, Jason can usually be found working on some type of home improvement or construction project. Jason, Kerri, and Jack are active members of Third Baptist Church-Marion (IL), regularly leading in the church's children, music, and Sunday school ministries.
Christopher Himsel, Superintendent of Northwest Allen County Schools, is a graduate of Indiana State University (B.S. and Ed.S.) and earned a master’s degree from Butler University. He is nearing completion of his Ph.D.
His education career to date spans 26 years – 20 of them in school administration, serving as assistant principal of Southport Middle School in Indianapolis, principal of Tecumseh Middle School in Lafayette, director of secondary education for the Lafayette School Corporation and superintendent of Kokomo Center Schools before assuming superintendent responsibilities at Northwest Allen County Schools.
Himsel has a long list of volunteer leadership and service to professional organizations listed elsewhere in this application as well as publications and presentations on education-related topics.
He serves as a regional board member for Ivy Tech, Indiana’s largest post- secondary institution serving nearly 200,000 students a year at more than 75 sites.
Himsel has participated in several professional global experiences in the past six years as part of the China Bridge Program sponsored by the College Board and the Hanban. He was one of four participants selected by the US travel delegation of about 40 participants traveling to Tianjin to present on the delegation’s behalf at the closing meeting between educators from the Midwestern section of the United States and Tianjin, China. He visited schools in Beijing and Tianjin, hosted students, teachers and principals from Shenyang in 2011 and 2013 and hosted nine principals from the Zhejiang Province in 2012.
Himsel was recently named Indiana’s Superintendent of the Year for 2017, in large part for leading his current district out of a severe financial crisis while maintaining high graduation rates and seeing its students achieve and excel in traditional academics, FFA, speech/debate and performing, visual and culinary arts.
When Himsel became superintendent of Northwest Allen County Schools in 2010, the district faced the prospect of a $6 million deficit – or about 18 percent of the general fund budget as well as losing about 40 percent of its property tax operating revenue due to property tax caps. The district reduced staffing, implemented pay cuts, deferred building maintenance and other expenditures, and fully implemented a two-tier busing system to reduce the number of school buses and bus drivers needed to serve an increasing enrollment. With these spending cuts, recent funding increases appropriated by the state legislature, and refinancing bonds, the district has been able to restore 20 of the eliminated positions, accomplish some of the deferred capital projects and provide cost-of-living increases. Northwest Allen County Schools implemented a one-to-one computing project in the fall of 2016 to give all students in grades 6-12 access to a laptop computer.
Himsel has been happily married to his wife, Deb, for more than 22 years. They are proud parents of five children, Ella, Andrew, Matthew, William and Ethan.
Sue Givens is currently Superintendent of Schools in El Dorado - USD 490. A proud product of Kansas public education, Givens attended both Highland and Midway of Denton high schools, then earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Emporia State and Wichita State Universities, respectively. Formerly assistant superintendent in Pratt – USD 382, she has also served as a middle and elementary school principal in the Pratt, Garden Plain and Stafford Public Schools; as Consulting Teacher for Instructional Computing in Topeka – USD 501; and as an elementary and middle school math and computer teacher in Pratt, Stafford, Topeka, and Burlington. Her teaching career included coaching at middle and high school levels in tennis, volleyball, track, basketball and cheerleading. Givens has served in professional organization leadership as president of the Kansas School Superintendents Association, president and secretary-treasurer of the Kansas Association of Middle School Principals, president of the United School Administrators of Kansas, and as chair of the Kansas Learning First Alliance. Professional recognitions include being named a Kansas Master Teacher, Keys for Networking Principal of the Year, USA-Kansas Distinguished Service Award recipient, Kansas Superintendent of the Year finalist, Leadership Kansas Class of 2013, and Ingram’s “50 Kansans You Should Know”. Givens is currently active in community organizations as a board member of the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce, El Dorado Inc., and El Dorado Salvation Army Advisory, as co-chair of the El Dorado Chamber Business and Education Action Team and e-Community Review Board, as Secretary and Producer of the Miss Kansas Pageant, Inc, and is a member of Trinity United Methodist Church and the El Dorado Rotary Club. Sue and husband, Bruce, a special education administrator, have been married for 39 years and have one daughter, who resides in El Dorado along with her husband and their two daughters.
Superintendent Dr. Henry Webb
During his twenty plus year career, Superintendent Webb has been in Floyd County Schools. Beginning as an itinerant teacher for the visually impaired, he became an assistant principal and then principal of South Floyd High School. Webb went on to become a Director of Instruction for Floyd County Schools and after three years was selected as superintendent of Floyd County Schools in 2007.
Under Superintendent Webb’s leadership, Floyd County’s attendance has reached all-time highs, state assessment scores have improved in all areas and achievement gaps for all students have continued to close. Most notable, the school district has gone from being ranked 87th in the state in 2007 to 15th in the state in 2015 and a District of Distinction for 2 consecutive years. Dr. Webb is committed to the Floyd County Motto, “It’s All about KIDS” and he strongly believes that leadership and teamwork are the keys to improving the organization for KIDS.
During his career, Dr. Henry Webb has received such awards as the 2016 F.L. Dupree Superintendent of the Year, KEDC Superintendent of the Year, KAPT Superintendent of the Year, Partner in Education and Floyd Countian of the Year.
Dr. Webb has served on a variety of regional, state and national committees including Local Superintendent’s Advisory Council, Superintendent’s Advisory Council, KEDC Vice Chair/Chairperson, KVEC vice Chair/Chairperson, Floyd County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Alice Lloyd College Board of Trustee’s, EPSB Principal Redesign Committee, KASA Conference/Membership Committees, KHSAA Board of Control, AASA Governing Board and has participated in statewide events as a panel member to discuss education in KY.
Dr. Webb coauthored Perpetuating Excellence in Teaching Leadership and Learning (PETLL) Implementation Guide with Dr. Jeff Hawkins to be published in September 2016. This process to improve teaching and learning has been implemented in 12 districts, 17 schools and has currently impacted over 8,000 students. Additionally, In 2010 Webb was selected to be part of the Instructional Rounds Institute at Harvard University with other superintendents and state department officials from across the country. Instructional Rounds is an innovative approach to improving instruction.
Superintendent Webb attended Alice Lloyd College, earned a certificate of completion and was honored as a NAIA All American. Dr. Webb went on to complete his Bachelor of Arts at Morehead State University as well as two Master’s Degrees and his certification in administration. He obtained an additional Master’s Degree from the University of Louisville and completed his Doctoral Degree from Morehead State University in 2013.
Floyd County native Dr. Henry Webb and his wife Kristi are the parents of one daughter, Kamryn.
|William L. Folse, III||LA||
W. L. “Trey” Folse, III is a native of St. Tammany Parish and a proud graduate of the St. Tammany Parish Public School System. He is active in our community in many capacities. Mr. Folse currently serves on the St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the St. Tammany East Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Children's Museum of St. Tammany Advisory Board. He is active in the academic community serving as the recent Region II Chairman of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents and on the NFUSSD Board of Directors. Mr. Folse has been an educator for 31 years, serving the St. Tammany Parish Public School System for his entire career. He is a proud graduate of Slidell High School. Four generations of Mr. Folse's family have graduated from the St. Tammany Parish Public School System including his grandparents, parents and his two children. Mr. Folse began his career as a Computer Literacy Teacher at Salmen High School and rose through the ranks of the School System serving in many different administrative positions. Mr. Folse was appointed as Superintendent in May of 2010 and currently leads the highest ranked large School System in Louisiana with 55 schools, 38,000 students and more than 5,000 employees. Mr. Folse has previously served on the board of the United Way, the Children's Wish Endowment Board, the 911 Memorial Committee for the City of Slidell and the Slidell Clean City Committee. He has received the Community Service Award from the Covington Branch of the NAACP, the St. Tammany Federation of Teachers and School Employees “Man with a Mission” Award, the 2008 Bureau of Governmental Research "Excellence in Government" Keller Award for Innovation and the 2012 St. Tammany Deputy Sheriff's Association Award. Superintendent Folse won the 2013 Men Who Cook Top Chef Award to benefit Hope House and received recognition for his efforts to organize the yearly "Black and Gold" Days within the School System to benefit the Children's Museum of St. Tammany. Superintendent Folse has dedicated his life to the education of children. He works daily to make sure that "Every Child, Every Day" is not just the motto of the St. Tammany Parish Public School System but is put into action so that every child, every day gets the best education possible based on their individual needs.
William L. Folse, III
Mary Margaret Bourque is the Superintendent of the Chelsea Public Schools in Chelsea, Massachusetts. A life-long educator committed to improving urban education, Dr. Bourque is a proud graduate of Chelsea High School. Dr. Bourque graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Salem State University. She received her Masters in Education from Boston University School of Education in Administration, Training, and Policy. She holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Administration from Boston University's School of Education. Her doctoral research centered upon the impact of student mobility in urban districts within Massachusetts and upon the consequences mobility has upon school's and district's performance accountability under the federal Title I Act, commonly known as No Child Left Behind. Her doctoral research has been the basis for reform to both State and Federal policy.
Dr. Bourque began her teaching career as a middle school teacher in St. Peter’s Elementary School, South Boston, MA. She returned to Chelsea teaching at the high school and later Chelsea’s elementary schools. In 1998 Dr. Bourque was offered the opportunity to help open an in-district, start-up school, the Clark Avenue Middle School, for approximately 750 grade five and grade six students. She served as assistant principal and principal of the Clark Avenue Middle School. While serving in both positions she also led the district-wide curriculum alignment and formative assessment design work. Dr. Bourque accepted the position of Assistant Superintendent of the Chelsea Public Schools in 2004 and was moved to Deputy Superintendent in 2008. On July 1, 2011 she became Superintendent of the Chelsea Public Schools a position she continues in today. In addition to leading Chelsea schools, she serves as Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Urban Superintendents’ Network as well as the 2016-2017 President of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (MASS).
A passion for public education has defined Dr. Alban’s life and career. Inspired by her parents, both children during the Great Depression who were forced to quit high school in order to support their families, she recognized the value of a quality education in creating opportunities to pursue the “American Dream” for herself and her family. She pledged to become a teacher in order to ensure that all children were given the same gift that she had received—a quality public school education.
An educator with over 35 years of experience Dr. Alban began her career as an elementary and special education teacher in Baltimore County Public Schools, where she eventually became a supervisor in the Professional Development Office. From 2000-2005, she worked in Montgomery County Public Schools in the Office of Shared Accountability serving as a coordinator for testing, program evaluation and finally as the director of that office. She then served in the Howard County Public School System in several positions in the assessment office before assuming the role of Chief Operating Officer.
Dr. Theresa Alban has served as Superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools since July 2011. As Superintendent, she leads a dynamic organization of approximately 5,650 employees; FCPS is the largest single employer in Frederick County. Most importantly, she is responsible for overseeing the academic achievement of more than 40,500 students. FCPS consistently outranks its peers statewide and nationally on several measures of academic success. Under Dr. Alban’s stewardship, Frederick County delivers on the promise of public education.
Dr. Alban is committed to working with the people of Frederick County – parents, teachers, administrators, staff, taxpayers – to ensure that FCPS remains a premier school system. She is determined to see that FCPS continues to provide outstanding returns for the investment the people of Frederick County make in public education. Her commitment to the community is evidenced by her membership in the Rotary Club of Frederick and her service on the Board of Directors for the Chamber of Commerce, Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley, and the Center for Research in Science and Technology.
Dr. Alban is the immediate Past President of the Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland (PSSAM), an organization of educational leaders who represent the 24 school systems in the State of Maryland, dedicated to providing leadership and advocacy for public school education. She has served as an elected member of PSSAM’s Executive Committee for 4 years.
The author of numerous papers and studies, she has addressed topics such as formative assessments, value-added accountability models, and reading achievement. She is a recognized expert in the areas of school and teacher effectiveness. She has also taught undergraduate and graduate classes at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland and at Towson University.
Dr. Alban received her B.A. in Elementary Education and Special Education, summa cum laude, from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. She has a Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision from Loyola College in Baltimore, and a Ph.D. in Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation from the University of Maryland, College Park.
She and her husband live in New Market and are the parents of two grown children. She is proud to call Frederick County home and she is proud to lead an organization that plays such a vital role in the lives of so many.
Dr. Nash is currently the proud Superintendent of Schools of Maine School Administrative District 35 [MSAD 35] which serves students and families living in Eliot and South Berwick, Maine. Dr. Nash earned her doctorate degree in curriculum, instruction and administration from Boston College in 1997. She was appointed a District Fellow for postgraduate training at the Institute for Learning at the University of Pittsburgh with Lauren Resnick from 1998 through 2001. Dr. Nash worked in the Boston Public Schools for 35 years from 1975 to 2010. In 1992, she founded the highly successful Mary Lyon K-8 School [a full inclusion school for students with emotional, neurological or behavioral disabilities] and remained its Principal until June 2004. Dr. Nash was a member of the Superintendent Tom Payzant’s Leadership Team from 1999 to 2004 as a Principal Cluster Leader for Clusters 2 and 8. She previously was the Senior Advisor for special education in Boston, as well as a special education teacher. From 2004-2007 Dr. Nash was an Assistant Superintedent in the Boston Public Schools supervising and supporting whole school improvement efforts in 48 elementary, middle and high schools. In 2007 Dr. Nash was appointed an Academic Superintendent for Elementary Schools through 2010 supervising and supporting the work of 25 elementary schools around accelerating every student’s performance.
I joined Bloomfield Hills Schools as superintendent on July 1, 2010, following nearly two years as superintendent in Dexter Community Schools. Before that, I was Executive Director of Instruction for Birmingham Public Schools and principal at Quarton School in Birmingham. I have also been an elementary principal in Suttons Bay and Vestaburg Community Schools, as well as an elementary teacher in Hale; all located in Michigan.
Early in my career, I was Director of Operations on a fellowship in India to manage orphanages, vocational schools and health services for children, the elderly and the impoverished. I completed my PhD program in Educational Leadership at Oakland University in December 2014, having obtained master’s degrees in Educational Administration from Central Michigan University and in Teaching from Wayne State University. My B.A.is in the field of Telecommunication from Michigan State University.
Currently, I serve as president of the Oakland County Superintendents’ Association, and Executive Board member for the Metropolitan Detroit Bureau of School Studies, and Council Member for the Michigan Association of School Administrators and American Association of School Administrators.
Dr. Curt L. Tryggestad began his duties as superintendent of Eden Prairie Schools on July 1, 2012. Prior to working at Eden Prairie Schools, Dr. Tryggestad was the superintendent at Little Falls Community Schools, superintendent at Esko Public Schools, and secondary principal at Pine City Public Schools. He began his career in education as an instrumental music instructor.
Dr. Tryggestad earned his education doctorate at St. Cloud State University; his administrative licensure in educational leadership at Winona State University; his master’s degree at St. Cloud State University; and his bachelor’s degree in music at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa.
He served on the Minnesota Online Learning Advisory Council and the Minnesota Technology Task Force, both appointments made by the Minnesota Commissioner of Education. Later he was named by MDE to be a participant in the Achieve Open Educational Resources (OER) Institute (established to help a group of states address issues on OER implementation, including the uses of measures of quality for evaluating OER to meet challenging College and Career Readiness/Common Core state standards). He continues to promote and share his expertise in the integration of technology into education both at the local level and statewide.
At the state level, Dr. Tryggestad has served as chair of the governing board of Infinity Online Academy, in leadership positions for the Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA), and the Minnesota Rural Education Association (MREA). In 2010, he was awarded the Administrator of Excellence Award by the MASA, and has been recognized by MREA with an Exemplary Program Award for a bullying prevention program.
In 2015, MASA named Dr. Tryggestad the 2015 Richard Green Scholar. The program is an annual recognition of the research, writing, and presentation of a paper reflecting the practice of excellent school leadership. Dr. Tryggestad presented his research, “The Role of the Minnesota Superintendent as a Technology Leader: A Delphi Study.”
Dr. Tryggestad brings a track record of successful technology initiatives, sound fiscal management, and district-wide academic achievements. Under Dr. Tryggestad’s leadership, Eden Prairie Schools launched its digital initiative i-Learn@EP in 2013, which is one of the most extensive digital programs in the state.
Raymond C. Morgigno has served as Superintendent of Pearl Public School District in Pearl, Mississippi, since 2010. Prior to assuming the role of superintendent, Dr. Morgigno served as a classroom teacher, an assistant principal, and a high school principal. Dr. Morgigno earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Delta State University in 1993, his Master of Education from the University of Mississippi in 1997, and his Doctor of Philosophy from Mississippi State University in 2012. He also graduated from the Center for Executive Leadership at Lamar University in 2014. In addition to his experience in the school setting, Dr. Morgigno served for over twenty-one years in the Mississippi Army National Guard. He completed one tour of duty in Iraq in 2005 and held numerous leadership positions throughout his military career. Dr. Morgigno retired from the Mississippi Army National Guard as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2011.
Dr. Morgigno currently serves as a member of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Executive Board, the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents board, President elect of the Mississippi Association of School Administrators, a member of the Mississippi School Boards Association Workers Compensation Board, and as past president of the East Mississippi Center for Educational Development. During the 2013-2014 school year, he served as the Mississippi representative at the Lamar Center for Executive Leadership Superintendent’s Academy in Beaumont, Texas.
Active in his community, Dr. Morgigno serves as the immediate past president of the Pearl Kiwanis Club, a member of the Pearl Chamber of Commerce Board, Hinds Community College Rankin Campus Advisory Board, and is currently serving as a member of a joint Mississippi Development Authority/Rankin First economic development team. He and his wife Gina have two children: Kyle (16) and Alyssa Kate (12). They are active members of McLaurin Heights Baptist Church in Pearl where Dr. Morgigno serves as a deacon and Adult 2 Sunday School Director.
I was born in Wyoming and have spent most of my life in south central Montana, with short stints in Nevada, Alaska and Wyoming. My wife Tandi and I have been married for six years and we have three children: Kane, Kyson and Addison. We have a third son Chael who passed away as an infant. I have been a superintendent in Montana for ten years and I'm starting my 15th year as an administrator. I was formerly a Health Enhancement and Elementary teacher who worked exclusively in schools with extremely high poverty. I also coached football, track, volleyball and soccer, as well as officiating football. I am currently the superintendent at Lockwood Schools, a K-8 district with three schools just east of Billings and very involved with educational groups at the state level, including being the current President-Elect of the state superintendent's organization. Outside of work, my time is primarily spent with my family and pets. I am an avid football fan and reader who enjoys being active and traveling. My wife and I are involved in working with other families that have experienced infant loss.
Dr. James G. Merrill was named the 9th Superintendent of the Wake County Public School System in the summer of 2013.
Following his arrival, he helped guide a new Strategic Plan for the nation’s 16th-largest district built upon support from thousands of educators, parents, business leaders and community groups. While the plan takes root in the district of almost 160,000 students, Dr. Merrill has worked closely with county commissioners to significantly improve funding for teachers and children.
Prior to his current position, Dr. Merrill served seven years as superintendent of the Virginia Beach City Public Schools, six years as superintendent of the Alamance-Burlington School System and 16 years in the Wake County Public School System. He began his career in 1973 as an English teacher.
Dr. Merrill has earned numerous accolades and awards, including the 2005 North Carolina Superintendent of the Year award and the 2013 Virginia Superintendent of the Year honor. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Education awarded him the Outstanding Achievement Award. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education honored him with its Distinguished Leadership Award. He is also a 2016 candidate representing the central region of the state for the upcoming North Carolina Superintendent of the Year award.
Dr. Merrill was a Morehead Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill earning a bachelor’s degree in secondary English. He earned his master’s degree in education administration from Appalachian State University and his doctorate from UNC-Greensboro.
Rob Lech is currently serving in his fourth year as the superintendent of the Jamestown School District, which is a school district of 2,175 students in south central North Dakota. Prior to working in Jamestown, Rob served as the superintendent for the Beulah School District in Beulah, ND and the Mt. Pleasant School District in Rolla, ND, as a high school and middle school principal at the Mt. Pleasant School District and Tappen School District in Tappen, ND, and a teacher in the RIchland School District in Colfax, ND.
Rob has been married to Sadie Lech for 19 years. Sadie is also an educator, currently working as a special education teacher at the Jamestown High School. Rob and Sadie have three children, Caleigh (19), Noah (14), and Landon (10).
Rob graduated with his undergraduate degree from Northern State University in 2000, a Master's degree from the University of Mary in 2005, and is currently pursuing his doctorate from the University of Mary with an anticipated completion date of May 2018.
Caroline B. Winchester was born and raised on the family acreage near Laytonsville in Upper Montgomery County, MD. She attended Laytonsville Elementary School where her Grandfather and Father attended. She graduated from Gaithersburg High School in 1968. In 1972, Caroline received a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude degree from Western Maryland College, she married Miles Winchester, and began her science teaching career in Brevard County, Florida. Miles and Caroline returned to the Winchester family farm in Ord and she began teaching science for Loup City Public Schools in 1974. She took an absence from teaching to raise their two sons and to help Miles farm and milk cows. She restarted her teaching career in 1989 teaching science for Spalding Academy and then Wolbach Public. At Wolbach she received the The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality 1993-94 JL Higgins Award and in 1996 from the National Association of Biology Teachers the Outstanding Biology Teacher Award. Caroline moved from the classroom to Wolbach’s Superintendent/Principal in 1997 and later in 2003 served as a joint superintendent for Wolbach and Elab Public Schools. She received her Doctorate in Administrative Leadership from the University of Nebraska in 2003. 30 Years after teaching science in Loup City, her former students who were now school board members hired her as Loup City’s Superintendent/Elementary Principal in 2004. While there the school district received the National CIVIC STAR Award for Community Partnerships and the Nebraska Governor’s Education Initiative Award for Parental Involvement. In 2010 she began her current position as Superintendent of Chadron Public Schools and she also does adjunct work for Chadron State College.
I am a proud New Hampshire native! My birthplace was Lawrence, MA. I was brought home to Salem NH to join my sister Maureen. It was there I lived with three more siblings and my parents. During my elementary days I attended public school in Salem and then stepped out of my comfort zone and spent my high school years at St Mary’s High School in Lawrence MA. In retrospect it was a great personal decision to spend critical years in a diverse city with the opportunity to be immersed in a variety of cultures so prevalent in the city.
After High School, life was focused on post secondary education beginning at Community College followed by several years in the NH Higher Ed system at Plymouth State College. After receiving my undergraduate degree I turned to what would be my life long career in education, teaching.
Coming from a large Irish family, proximity to siblings as well an extended family was desirable so I remained in NH. Several years after starting my teaching career as an elementary teacher I was married and soon became a Mom to a son and four years later to a daughter. Through all the changes, I continued to teach and during these early years earned my Masters Degree and later my CAGS in Leadership. During this time I moved on to leadership positions at several different levels and locations.
Throughout my career, I have been afforded numerous challenges and experiences involving a variety of roles that in have expanded and extended my career.
When I am not involved in educational endeavors I spend time with my family that has now grown to include four grandchildren and with members of my extended family.
I have always enjoyed being active, as a young person I played on sports team and now a passionate spectator of our regional teams. Living in NH, I love the winter for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing and of course the joys of living and working close to the ocean.
Weaved throughout my life has been a devotion to community service. Perhaps this commitment to others was passed on from my parents as well as the recognition that we are here to serve others. My older sister had a developmental disability so early on our family recognized the important of helping others. This value continues to be an important part of who I am. I have found myself working on local needs such as the soup kitchen, preparing food baskets, coaching youth teams, serving at the local hospital on the IRB (Institutional Review Board) for clinical trials and actively participating in Rotary events for the community.
Of late, much more of my volunteer service has had a major impact on statewide initiatives such as children’s behavioral health, and working on a philanthropic board that is devoted to addressing critical health issues in NH.
In closing, I have been blessed with a wonderful career and numerous opportunities to make a difference and provide leadership to local and statewide initiatives but I believe that I have always been meant to “hold the ladder for others” and as a wise Chinese leader once said a leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work id done his aimed fulfilled they will say: “we did it ourselves”.
Dr. Ross Kasun is currently serving in his fifth year as the Superintendent for the Freehold Township School District in Freehold, New Jersey. Blended and personalized learning with students being leaders of their own learning are cornerstones of his vision. For his efforts to use technology to foster personalized learning, Dr. Kasun was chosen to participate in the first cohort for the Lexington Education Leadership (LELA) Award. This six month Fellowship helped create a vision and plan that has transformed learning throughout the district.
Dr. Kasun has shared that experience along with the leadership necessary to lead such a change in an interactive presentation at many conferences: Monmouth County Round Table Professional Development, Red Bank, NJ, October 2015 ; CITE Conference, Amelia Island, FL, February 2016; Mid- Atlantic Conference on Personalized Learning, Baltimore, MD, February 2016.
Dr. Kasun was selected by the White House to attend the Future Ready Summit in Washington, D.C. in Nov. 2014, for his efforts to infuse technology into daily practice. His article regarding his district's’ journey to improve homework was published in School Leader in July 2015, and his leadership to improve homework practices in his district was chosen by ASCD as a Promising Practice and by NJSBA as an A+ Idea in January 2015. Dr. Kasun has presented this critical effort to change homework from busy work to meaningful “home learning” at numerous conferences and workshops throughout the country: Monmouth County Round Table, Long Branch, NJ, January 2105; Model School Conference, Atlanta, GA, June 2015; MC3 New teacher Academy, August 2015; New Jersey School Boards. Atlantic City, NJ, October 2015, Education Week Webinar, January 2016; National School Boards, Boston, MA, April 2016.
Dr. Kasun is an adjunct professor at St. Peter’s University and teaches doctoral statistics. In addition, he serves dissertation chairperson and committee member for several doctoral students. He is also an adjunct professor for Montclair State University teaching courses on leadership and curriculum.
Prior to leading as superintendent in Freehold, Dr. Kasun served as the Superintendent for the Colts Neck Schools, Colts Neck, New Jersey, and the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for the Summit Public Schools in Summit, NJ. While serving in these roles, he earned his doctoral degree from Seton Hall University with a dissertation focusing on servant leadership. The servant leadership approach is one that he tries to exemplify while striving to support every individual in his organization to reach and perform at his or her best.
Biography – Dr. Crit D. Caton
Like many of you I was brought up in a teaching environment. The Caton family homesteaded in Forrest, NM (1905) 9 siblings – 8 boys and 1 girl who lived in a one room half dugout and their main source of income was dry land wheat farming. One of those eight siblings was my paternal grandfather (Barnie). He, and my Grandmother Norene, taught in a one room school house (with outdoor plumbing). My Granddad Barnie would later become superintendent in Roy, Alamogordo, and Gallup, NM. My great uncle Julian Caton was the Superintendent in Eunice, NM (Caton Middle School is named after him), and his wife Francis taught first grade for her entire career. My great uncle Oran Caton was the principal of Highland High School in Albuquerque, NM. I also had several other aunts and uncles who were educators.
I was born in Carlsbad, New Mexico February 25, 1963 to Lewis Dale and Martha Lynell Caton. I am proud to be a native New Mexican and a product of its public school system. Both of my parents were teachers for their entire careers, and my wife Carrie recently retired after 31 years in education. My sister Lynn teaches music for the Artesia Public Schools as well as my daughter Kirstin who is in her 5th year of teaching freshman English. My son Koby will graduate from Texas Tech in May and will enter the profession as an athletic trainer. I remember our lineage because I truly believe that education is still the most noble profession in the world. Education is a calling and it takes special people to answer that call.
Please see the listing below that will give you more insight of my lineage:
-High School Diploma, Hobbs, New Mexico, May, 1981
-Associate of Science Degree, New Mexico Junior College, Hobbs, NM, 1983
-Bachelor of Science Degree, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas
-Texas Teacher Certification, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas May, 1986
-Master of Education-Administration, Texas Tech University, Lubbock,
Texas, May, 1990. (Mid-management certification)
-New Mexico Teacher Certification and Administrator Certification August 1990.
-Doctor of Education, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM, December 2004. (4.0 g.p.a.)
High School Achievements
-Letterman Varsity Basketball (All District Selection)
-State Champion Varsity Basketball, 1981
-Class President Junior and Senior year
-Best all around Senior boy
-New Mexico Boys State 1980 - Elected State Representative
-Mr. Hobbs High School
-Member National Honor Society
Student Senate Member, 1981-83. Student Affairs and Athletic Advisory Committee, 1981-82.
Admissions and Academic Standards Committee, 1982-83. Phi Theta Kappa (Honor Fraternity), 1982-83.
Outstanding student in Physical Education and Student Senate, 1983. Who's Who among Students in
American Junior Colleges, 1983. Frank Stanhardt and NMJC Honor Scholarships, 1981-83. President's
Honor-Roll, Fall/Spring, 1982-83.
Golden Key (National Honor Society), 1984-85
Deans List, fall, 1984
Student Assistant for Texas Tech Basketball, 1983-85
Major/Minor (physical education club), 1984
Phi Theta Kappa (Alumni Honorary), 1983-86
Phi Theta Kappa and Cowboy Bell Tuition Scholarships, 1983-86
-Matthews JH, Lubbock TX, fall 1985 - Student Teacher, 7th grade Physical Education
-Morton, TX ISD, 1986-1990 - Biology and Life Science Teacher / Assistant Football / Head Basketball
Coach / Athletic Director
-Artesia Intermediate, Artesia, NM 1990-1992 – Science Teacher / Coach
-Artesia H.S., Artesia, NM, 1992-1994 – Biology Teacher / Coach
-Hermosa Elementary, Artesia, NM, 1994-2004 - Principal
-Fort Sumner Schools, Fort Sumner, NM, 2004-2005 – H.S. Principal/Superintendent
-Artesia Junior High, Artesia, NM, 2005-2006 - Principal
-Artesia High School, Artesia, NM, 2006-2010 – Principal
-Artesia Public Schools, Artesia, NM 2010- Jan. 2012 – Assistant Superintendent
-Artesia Public Schools, Artesia, NM Jan. 2012-present - Superintendent
Dr. David Jensen is currently the Superintendent of Schools for Humboldt County School District located in Winnemucca, Nevada. Prior to his current position as Superintendent, Dr. Jensen served as Assistant Superintendent, Associate Superintendent for Business and Support Services, Director of Federal Programs as well as other positions. Dr. Jensen is an active member of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), Association of School Business Officers (ASBO), District Administration Leadership Institute (DALI), the Nevada Association of School Administrators (NASA) and the Nevada Association of School Superintendents (NASS).
Dr. Jensen was recently appointed by the Governor to be a member of the Nevada State Board of Education and recently completed his tenure as President of the Nevada Association of School Superintendents (NASS). Dr. Jensen is actively involved in community activities and is a Past President of the Winnemucca Rotary Club, an active member of the local Boys and Girls Club and has been recognized for his academic efforts having been named as Superintendent of the Year in Nevada for the 2016-2017 school year, as well as being recognized, along with his Board of Trustees as the Nevada Association of School Boards (NASB) Governance Team of the Year for 2016, and the Central Office Administrator of the Year for the State of Nevada in 2010. He has presented at a number of national conferences on the subjects of Emergency Preparedness, Special Education Law and Response to Intervention (RTI). Dr. Jensen earned his BS in psychology, MS in educational psychology and specialist degrees from Brigham Young University. He then completed his administrative certification requirements culminating with an Educational Doctorate (Ed.D) from the University of Nevada, Reno.
Luvelle Brown has served as Superintendent of the Ithaca City SchoolDistrict (ICSD) in Ithaca, New York since January 2011. Prior to arriving in Ithaca, Dr. Brown had experiences as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, school CIO, and district-level leader in Virginia. During his tenure in Ithaca, the Ithaca City School District has experienced unprecedented levels of success. The ICSD graduation rate has skyrocketed from 78% to above 94% while students are reaching unprecedented levels of performance including an 8% increase in enrollment and diversity in higher-level courses, an 8% increase in attendance, an53% increase in enrollment inco-curricular programs, an6% increase in number of students reading on-grade level k-5, a 63% reduction in discipline referrals, and a reduction of the district’s Special Education classification rate from significantly above state average (14.8%) to significantly below (11.6%). Specific school achievements include Northeast Elementary being named a National Blue Ribbon School, and 2 elementary schools have been recognized as a New York State Reward School. Also, Ithaca High School has moved from being on the New York State School in Need of Improvement (SINI) list to being recently recognized with GOLD distinction by Newsweek placing in the top 2% of schools in the United States.
Early in his tenure, Dr. Brown facilitated a community wide strategic planning process that resulted in a new vision and mission. Conversations in homes, community centers, places of worship and other local settings informed the vision of "6000+ Thinkers" and mission to "Engage. Educate. Empower." The newly informed vision and mission has led to district-wide initiatives based on systems thinking including: integrating thinking skills into every classroom, shifting the organizational design towards a systemic approach, redesign of learning spaces, and numerous technology initiatives such as systems-based visual mapping, game-based learning, innovative uses of social media, and 1:1 mobile device implementation.
The state and national recognitions for the ICSD and Dr. Brown have highlighted one of the best educational stories in the USA. Recently, Ithaca High School was placed on the AP Honor Roll by the College Board for increasing the number of students enrolled, increasing diversity, and increasing achievement on AP tests. Additionally, Newsweek named Ithaca High School as one of the top 2% of high schools in the USA. Another recognition for the school district includes being named by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation as one of the nation's Best Communities for Music Education. Remarkable quantitative and qualitative achievement results have attracted visitors from around the globe. The ICSD has hosted national conferences and site visits for school board members, superintendents, administrators, and teachers from 3 different continents, 37 different states, and numerous school districts throughout New York State.
Along with school district recognition, Dr. Brown has received numerous awards and recognitions as well. Dr. Brown was recognized by the National School Boards Association as a “20-to-Watch, and received the 2014 eSchool News Tech-Savvy Superintendent Award. He was selected by the US Department of Education as one of the nation's top 100 innovative Superintendents. Along with that distinction, Dr. Brown was invited to be a featured speaker at President Barack Obama’s 1st National Superintendent Summit at the White House. Additionally, Dr. Brown serves on the New York State Council of School Superintendents (NYSCOSS) Executive Committee, The School Superintendents Association (AASA) Digital Consortium, The Center for Digital Education Advisory Council, and CoSN’s Empowered Superintendent Advisory Panel.
Dr. Brown is an an active community member through service on various non-profit boards. He is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, inc., and was the co-founder for the nationally recognized 100 Black Men of Central Virginia.
Dr. Brown is a highly regarded speaker addressing a range of topics for local, regional, and national audiences. He has published numerous articles and is the co-author of ThinkTweets: 100 Transformative Tweets for Educators.
Dr. Susan Lang is a recognized advocate for public education in the state of Ohio and has been in education for more than 30 years. She began her career as a teacher and special education supervisor and later became the director of secondary education and technology. Her first superintendent role began in 2000 in Canal Winchester Schools. Over the years, she has led her school districts to focus on fostering 21st century skills and global learning opportunities for teachers, administrators and students. She also co-authored a book on improving student achievement through formative assessment, called Short Cycle Assessment.
In her career as a school administrator, Dr. Lang has always been involved as a leader with the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA), She was the first chair of the BASA Women's Leadership Committee and has served on the BASA Instructional Committee, Technology Committee, the State Report Card Committee, and the Board of Regents. She continues to encourage female teachers and administrators to hone their craft and pursue professional development and career growth opportunities.
In addition to her superintendent work, Dr. Lang has taught graduate level education courses at Xavier University and is a Bowling Green State University Student Affairs Trustee. She was the recipient of the Governor's Award for Educational Leadership, the Buckeye Association for Leadership in Education Award, and is a frequent presenter at the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) Conference. She was also one of ten superintendents in Ohio selected to participate in a China Exchange program.
Throughout her tenure, Dr. Lang has focused on fostering new opportunities for students and teachers. She is a thought leader in education reform, transforming the classroom from a traditional lecture-based curriculum to an inter-disciplinary, experiential learning environment. She encourages choice, creativity, and collaboration among students and teachers and has always focused on increased options in advanced placement courses, dual credit, flexible learning, and inclusive gifted education programs. In Wyoming City Schools, she is leading a charge to reform formative and summative assessments, challenging teachers to develop higher-level questions and encouraging all teachers to utilize data to inform personalized instruction. This level of instruction helps to guarantee that every child succeeds, regardless of socioeconomic status, gender, or disability.
In addition, Dr. Lang led Wyoming City Schools to complete an 18-month renovation on a historic middle school building (grades 5-8). She oversaw the renovation effort, helping to carefully guarantee that the building design would blend tradition with innovation. The new building was complete in December 2014, and Dr. Lang led an opening event before 1500 guests, welcoming the students and the community at-large into the newly renovated building in January 2015. The newly renovated building includes several community-use spaces and a layout that fosters collaboration and innovation. Middle School students can learn and build in a STEAM lab built for hands-on projects and including a laser cutter, 3-D printer, and more. There are four brand new 1,000 square foot fine and performing arts classrooms, an outdoor learning garden, wellness center, and an art gallery for student and community artwork displays. It is now one of the most innovative middle school buildings in the state of Ohio and was recently named a National Blue Ribbon School.
Derald Glover is a third generation superintendent. He was born in Okmulgee, Oklahoma in 1963. His dad and his grandfather were both Oklahoma superintendents, and he has numerous family members who are educators. Derald graduated from Burlington High School and received his Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from Northwestern Oklahoma State University in 1985. He received his Masters degree in Educational Administration from OSU in 1993 and his Superintendent's Certification in 1999.
Derald began his teaching career at Bristow, Oklahoma in 1985 and spent 13 years in various capacities including: math teacher, coach, athletic director, and assistant principal at the high school. He served one year as assistant director at Central Technology Center in Drumright, Oklahoma, five years as superintendent of schools in Bristow, and the last 11 years as superintendent at Fort Gibson Public Schools. He has served as president of the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators, president of the Muskogee Area Education Consortium, Chairman of the Oklahoma Schools Advisory Council, Chairman of the Cooperative Council of Oklahoma Schools Administrators, and Chairman of the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Athletic Association. He is currently the chairman of the Lake Region Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Chairman of the Association of Christian Administrators, and an elder at Fellowship Bible Church.
Glover is the current Oklahoma Superintendent of the year, a member of the Oklahoma Girls’ Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame, and was named the Oklahoma School Advisory Council Outstanding Administrator in Oklahoma in 2015. He has been married 25 years to his wife Liz and they have three girls: Jodi, Allie, and Kayci.
Matthew R. Utterback has over 27 distinguished years in public education, the past four years as superintendent of the North Clackamas School District. A suburban school district serving over 17,000 students on 32 school campuses, North Clackamas Schools is continually recognized as innovative leaders in the state of Oregon and an example of what is right with public education today.
Under Utterback’s visionary leadership, North Clackamas has not only begun to close student opportunity gaps, those gaps have narrowed to nearly non-existent levels in many areas. With a laser-like focus on results, coupled with a lens of equity, the district’s overall four-year graduation rate has increased from 66 percent to 83 percent in the past four years. In addition, graduation rate gains made since 2011 with students with disabilities (+24 percent), African/Black students (+52 percent), and Hispanic/Latino students (+23 percent) are tremendously encouraging. Of significance is the 89 percent graduation rate in 2015 for the district’s African American/Black students. North Clackamas now maintains the second highest graduation and the highest attendance rates of the state’s largest school districts.
In 2013, Utterback oversaw the development of the district’s Strategic Direction and Plan. A community engagement process was integral to the plan’s development and success that resulted in three clearly articulated goals and action plans in the areas of student achievement, equity, and quality programs. The skillful packaging of the Strategic Plan with Utterback’s communication acumen as led to the district’s vision being felt and supported in every corner of the district.
Under Superintendent Utterback’s leadership, resource allocations of the district’s $182 million general fund budget have been strategically directed to improve student achievement and close opportunity gaps. The district continues to lower class sizes, while implementing full-day kindergarten and a five-year plan to renew all district curricula through a lens of equity and a focus on technology integration. In addition, the district is poised to pass a $433 million capital construction bond in November 2016 after two years of planning and community outreach in which Superintendent Utterback led nearly 200 public engagement and listening sessions.
With improved student achievement and strategic efforts to create inclusive learning environments for each student, the district has become a focus for innovative and creative investing. In the past year, the district’s flagship career and technical program has received over $750,000 in additional funding to expand and enhance 16 career and technical program offerings. North Clackamas also received a renewable $1.4 million grant from the Oregon Department of Education that will allow the school district’s administrators to work collaboratively with teachers in the areas of professional learning opportunities, career growth, and meaningful evaluation systems. The district is also known for its grant funded after school 21st Century Learning Centers and Student Health Centers operated collaboratively with community partners.
Superintendent Utterback has served the students of North Clackamas Schools since he began his teaching career in 1989. As a second year teacher, he partnered with a colleague to design and implement a new instructional model for the school’s most underserved students. This innovative program produced outstanding student results and received local and state recognition. As a middle school principal from 1998-2004 and working collaboratively with staff, McLoughlin Middle School recorded unprecedented student achievement gains earning the recognition as one of a handful of high achieving middle schools in the region. Utterback served as the district’s Director of Secondary Programs and Assistant Superintendent from 2004-2008 before proudly returning to the school level to serve as the principal of Clackamas High School from 2008-2012.
During Utterback’s leadership, Clackamas High achieved 12-14 percent gains in reading, mathematics, science, and writing performance. The school doubled its Advanced Placement enrollment while eliminating the enrollment gap for students of color. During this time period, student participation on Advanced Placement exams increased by over 500 percent while increasing overall passing rates. With high achievement and 90 percent of graduates pursuing post-secondary education, Clackamas High School was rated as one of the top high schools in Oregon and the United States.
A frequent presenter at state and regional conferences on cultivating equity in the classroom and leading with a sense of urgency, Utterback shares his learning and experiences with other educational leaders. Ensuring the future success of the school district, he brings the district’s new administrators together for monthly dinners at his home for mentoring, learning, and assistance in navigating the first years of educational leadership. Superintendent Utterback is a member of many civic organizations including the Clackamas Rotary and the North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce. He serves as chair of the Clackamas County Superintendents and is on the advisory boards of Portland State University’s Graduate School of Education and the Chalkboard Project. Utterback also serves as the school superintendent representative on the Governor’s Task Force on School Safety.
A native Oregonian, Utterback graduated from Newport High School before attending Western Oregon University to receive his Bachelor’s degree in secondary education in 1989. He earned his Master’s of Teaching degree and his educational administrative certification from Lewis and Clark College in 1995.
Utterback has been married to his wife Nancy, a high school English teacher in North Clackamas Schools, for over 28 years. They have one daughter, Emma, who is a graduate of the school district. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, attending sporting events, and running.
Dr. Joseph J. Roy is the Superintendent of Schools at the Bethlehem Area School District (BASD), the 6th largest school district in Pennsylvania. Since the start of his tenure as Superintendent in August 2010, Dr. Roy developed and implemented the BASD’s Roadmap to Educational Excellence, a framework for establishing goals for school improvement. Dr. Roy introduced restorative practices at both Liberty and Freedom High Schools to build positive relationships and improve school safety. Additionally, under Dr. Roy's leadership the district implemented full day kindergarten to increase equitable learning opportunities for all students and to close achievement gaps. The Bethlehem Area School District is a strong believer in the power of the community schools initiative and has extensive partnerships with local businesses, non-profits and colleges/universities.
Previously, Dr. Roy served as the Assistant Superintendent of the School District of Springfield Township in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Dr. Roy also served as principal of Springfield Township High School and Palisades High School. The creation of the Palisades Academy, a school-within-a-school and the implementation of a standards based curriculum ultimately resulted in Palisades High School earning National Blue Ribbon School recognition. At Springfield, the faculty’s focus on research and information literacy skills earned the school national acclaim. Dr. Roy began his career in education as a social studies teacher at Emmaus High School in the East Penn School District.
Dr. Roy serves as the vice-chair of the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley’s Board of Directors and received the 2011 the United Way Community Builder Award. Dr. Roy is also the 2004 recipient of the Montgomery County Human Relations Commission’s Multicultural Educator of the Year Award. Dr. Roy received the School Library Journal’s 2004 Administrator of the Year Award and the 2005 National School Public Relations Association’s Outstanding Communicator Award.
Dr. Roy received his undergraduate degree from Franklin and Marshall College, his master’s degree from Bucknell University and his doctoral degree from Lehigh
I am Dr. Kristen Stringfellow, Superintendent of Schools in South Kingstown RI. I am a happily married mother of 4 who started teaching in an urban elementary setting in 1988. In 1995 I became an elementary school principal and in 1998 an urban Assistant Superintendent, ESL Director, Title I Director, Principal of an Alternative High School and Director of Gifted and Talented programming. I remained an Assistant Superintendent in Rhode Island until 2009 when I assumed my current role of Superintendent. Since 2005 I have served as an adjunct professor at Johnson and Wales University teaching graduate level communications to English Language Learners and at Providence College teaching Educational Finance to teachers studying to become principals and superintendents.
As the only child of a single parent mother and as the first college graduate in my entire extended family, education was extremely important to me. I received my B.A. in Education and Psychology from Rhode Island College in 1988, a M.Ed. in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Rhode Island College in 1993, a M.Ed. in School Administration from Providence College in 1995, a CAGS (Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study) from the University of Rhode Island in Research and Curriculum in 2003, a CAGS in Educational Leadership in 2005 and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Educational Finance in 2007.
I have a deep commitment to my own professional learning and I am constantly attending local, state and national professional development. I have traveled all over the United States and China expanding my knowledge of best practice instruction on behalf of the students in my charge. I consider myself a champion in the area of Literacy, Finance, Negotiations, Technology (Blended & Personalized Learning), Early Childhood, Alternative Education, Differentiation Instruction, Growth Mindset, World Language, Student Centered Grading, Project Based Learning and High Leverage Policy Work.
I am a leader in Rhode Island education, joining the RISSA (RI Association of Superintendents) executive board in 2009, assuming an officer position shortly thereafter and as President-Elect I will become RISSA President in June 2017. In August, 2016 I was honored to be chosen as Rhode Island Superintendent of the Year.
I have devoted 28 years to serving the students, teachers and families of Rhode Island. It is a vocation and a calling. My life has been truly devoted to children (in my own family and in my educational community). I have loved every moment of my career from teacher to professor and Superintendent! We are so lucky to be in the most wonderful profession in the world; shaping the minds, hearts and lives of our future generation. I look forward to continuing to support teaching and learning for many years to come and I thank you for your consideration of National Superintendent of the Year!
Calhoun County School Superintendent
Dr. Steve Aaron Wilson
Dr. Wilson, of Columbia, is a native of Blair, South Carolina. He is the son of Mrs. Lugenia Wilson, of Blair, and the late Mr. Aaron Wilson. He has been married for 43 years to his childhood sweetheart, Mrs. Teresa Beaudell Hendrix Wilson. They are the proud parents of two children, Teresa and Steven (Haley), and the proud grandparents of three granddaughters: Teresa, Chloe and Kennedy.
Dr. Wilson was educated in the public schools of Fairfield County and went on to receive a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Benedict College in 1972. Upon graduation from Benedict, he was drafted the United States Army. During his tenure in the military, he rose to the rank of Major. In 1974, he began his career in education at his high school alma mater, McCrorey-Liston High School.
In 1978, Dr. Wilson received his Master's Degree in Agriculture Education from Clemson University. His studies continued at Winthrop University, the University of South Carolina, and in 2001, he earned his Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership from South Carolina State University. Dr. Wilson is a member of several professional organizations, NABSE, NASSP, AASA, ASCD, SCASA, and SCABSE. He is also a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and Weeping Mary Baptist Church.
After serving in various capacities for several school districts, Dr. Wilson advanced to serve as Principal of Newberry and Keenan High Schools. In 2008, he was assigned as Executive Director of High Schools for Richland School District One. He has served for the past six years as Superintendent for Calhoun County Schools.
Dr. Wilson was an effective bridge-builder at Newberry High School, after being named its first African-American Principal. During his tenure as Principal of Keenan, the school was named "Palmetto's Finest High School". Some of his other honors included "Secondary Principal of the Year" for the State of South Carolina, recognition by the State Legislature for his contributions in education, receiving the "Order of the Silver Crescent" awarded by the Governor, and "The Isaiah Reid Distinguished Leadership Award".
Dr. Wilson feels that high expectations and strong collaboration with administrators, teachers, students, parents, and the community is paramount for successful schools and districts. We must maintain an attitude of "Keeping Children First".
Created on 8/25/2010 - Last updated on 04/05/16
I am Jim Holbeck, Superintendent of the Harrisburg School District in South Dakota.
I remember when I first started as a superintendent in the early 90’s. I was the youngest superintendent in the state back then, and now I find that few superintendents in this state have been here longer than I have. Through these years, I have had the opportunity to enjoy a great profession that is a natural fit for me. I always enjoyed school, and after teaching and coaching, I knew I wanted to take the next step to administration.
I have always viewed education as a great equalizer for social economic groups. I was from very humble beginnings and found that through education, I could achieve anything I set my sights on. It was this philosophy, to share that vision, that has driven my years as a teacher, coach, principal and as a superintendent. As I moved on to larger schools, such as I am at now, I have never forgotten my roots and feel I have a clear picture of many diverse needs of schools in this state.
My wife, Rhonda, and my three grown children along with my six grandchildren are a large part of my life. Seeing my kids go through my schools as well as experiencing my wife’s position as an elementary teacher, I never forgot to look my leadership position as one of being a servant for others. Whether it was my wife or some other teacher or staff member, I was grounded enough to know what they too needed from a school. From observing and living my own children’s educational experience, along with every other student who graced our halls, I knew that each and every child had a different set of needs and abilities.
Striving to educate the public and our public officials on the worth of a free and public education, I have been a strong voice for education funding. I have served in our state legislature. I have been appointed by two Governors to head up educational task forces on improving education in our state. I have been a vocal (maybe sometimes too often) spokesperson in our statewide media or in lobbying efforts to expound on the values of our system and what we need to do to improve education in South Dakota.
And last, but most important, I have found through the years, what is most important for my success is finding quality people to work alongside me. My goal is to always find people better than I am. My administrative team is top notch and the best in the state. We market our school, along with broadcasting our strengths, to attract some of the best educators to work here. Our cutting edge programs are based on making change for the betterment of students and not just for change sake. Breaking the ground in our state on areas such as customized learning, many schools come to tour our schools to see what we have going for us and what we are doing differently.
I have lived a blessed life and am grateful for what education has done for me. Some of my colleagues asked me lately, would I do it all over again. I responded quickly. Yes, absolutely.
Dr. David A. Stephens has been serving as Superintendent of Bartlett City Schools since January 4, 2014. Dr. Stephens has worked in public education for the past 29 years. Prior to joining BCS, he served as Deputy Superintendent, Chief of Staff, and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction for Shelby County Schools. He was also Principal of Bolton High School, Vice Principal and Assistant Principal at Millington Central High School in Shelby County Schools.
Superintendent Stephens began his career as a physical education teacher and coach at Snowden Junior High School. He taught biology and physical science and coached basketball and soccer at Houston High School. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in education from Memphis State University, a Master’s degree in educational leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University and a Doctorate in Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Memphis.
Among his accomplishments, Dr. Stephens has earned a PTSA Lifetime Achievement award, District 14 AAA basketball coach of the year, and TSSAA soccer state championship. Dr. Stephens has dedicated his professional career to public education and is committed to ensuring that all students succeed.
Dr. Stephens has been married to his wife of 28 years, Cheri and has two children, John and Rachel.
Dr. Marcelo Cavazos started his teaching career as an English teacher in the Mission Consolidated ISD in 1990. In 1992, he moved to McAllen ISD where he taught English and government. He was named the secondary language arts supervisor for Mercedes ISD in 1993 and became associate adviser for San Benito Consolidated ISD in 1995. Cavazos went to work for the Texas Education Agency Department of School Finance and Support in 1998.
He joined the AISD in 1999 as associate superintendent for instruction and served as interim deputy superintendent for seven months before being named deputy superintendent in February 2009. He has previously served as a lecturer for the University of Texas at Arlington’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Cavazos served as interim superintendent for six months before being named superintendent Dec. 6, 2012. He holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from the University of Texas – Pan American and a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin.
In addition to his professional accomplishments, Cavazos is active in the community. He serves on the TASB Risk Management Fund Board, SafeHaven of Tarrant County Board, Texas School Alliance Board, United Way of Tarrant County Board Executive Committee, Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County Board, River Legacy Foundation Board and the Arlington ISD Education Foundation Board. He’s an ex-officio member of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce Board. Cavazos is a member of the Rotary Club of Arlington, an associate member of the Greater Arlington Lions Club, a Lifetime Supporting Member of the Texas Lions Camp, a Melvin Jones Fellow with Lions Club International Foundation, a member of the Knights of Columbus and active at St. Matthew Catholic Church. He received the 2009 Arlington MLK Celebration Sharing the Dream Award for Education, the 2012 YMCA Citizen of the Year Award, the 2012 Educator Award from the Asian-American Chamber of Commerce, the 2013-2014 Elks Distinguished Citizenship Award from the Arlington Elks Lodge No. 2114 and is the 2016 Seat 21 Honoree by the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation. He has been married to Nora for 16 years; his children, Theresa and Diego, attend school at Gunn Junior High and Key Elementary.
Dr. Martin W. Bates was appointed the superintendent of Granite School District, September 1, 2010.
Dr. Bates previously served as the Assistant Superintendent in the Granite District over Administrative and Legal Services. He served as an assistant to the superintendent since 1999 and in other district administrative capacities since 1997. He held previous school administrative positions in the Granite, Provo and Salt Lake City School Districts and taught Math for two years in the Provo School District. From the late 1980s through the mid 1990s, he worked in classrooms at the Park View Center (a part of Wasatch Mental Health), first as an instructional assistant and later as teacher with children with severe emotional and learning disabilities. During this time he was proud to serve our state and country in the Utah National Guard, including a six-month deployment in 1991 during Desert Storm.
His extensive educational background includes multiple degrees from Brigham Young University including a Bachelor of Science in Special Education, a Juris Doctor and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Educational Leadership. He was admitted to the Utah Bar in May of 1997.
James F. Lane, Ed.D.
Currently Chesterfield County Public Schools
Formerly Goochland County Public Schools
James Lane became superintendent of Chesterfield County Public Schools, one of the largest 100 school divisions in the nation, on July 1, 2016. Previously, he was superintendent of Goochland County Public Schools, where he collaborated with the Goochland community to create an innovative strategic plan focused on maximizing the potential of every student by personalizing the learning experience and infusing technology for every student to allow for anywhere, anytime learning.
Dr. Lane has been recognized by the White House for his innovative instructional programs, and his previous district won national recognition with the 2015 Flashlight Award for District Data Use for creating a balanced and authentic assessment system. Dr. Lane was named Virginia’s Superintendent of the Year in 2016 and was also honored as a Superintendent to Watch by the National School Public Relations Association. He was recognized by Style Weekly in 2014 as one of Richmond region’s Top 40 Under 40 and was named the 2016 Education Innovator of the Year by the Richmond Technology Council.
Dr. Lane holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in teaching from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Master of School Administration degree from North Carolina State University and a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Virginia. He and his wife, Sarah, have two children.
Tracy Wrend has served as Superintendent of Schools at Lamoille South Supervisory Union (LSSU) since 2007 for the communities of Elmore, Morristown and Stowe. Prior to becoming Superintendent for LSSU, Tracy performed many roles as an educator, including Director of Student Services for LSSU and special educator, consulting teacher and Education Support System Coordinator at the elementary, middle and high school levels. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont in 1989, and her MA in Special Education from Johnson State College in 1996.
Tracy serves many roles in regional and statewide educational organizations including Chair of the Lamoille Area Professional Development Academy, Chair of the Vermont Education Health Initiative, Board Member for the New England School Development Council and President of the Vermont Superintendents Association. She is also a 2008 graduate of the Snelling Center’s Vermont School Leadership Project and participated in the Education Leadership Program through the Executive Leadership Program at Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business in 2015. Tracy was recognized by the Vermont Superintendents Association in May, 2016, with the Vermont Superintendent of the Year Frederick H. Tuttle Service Award.
Dr. Gary Cohn was selected superintendent of Everett Public Schools in 2009. During five years of his leadership, Everett launched a district wide continuous improvement process generating significant increases in student achievement and five-year graduation rates and diminished achievement gaps among student groups. Strategic partnerships with higher education and businesses better prepare students for college and careers and help eliminate higher education enrollment barriers. Dr. Cohn has led a group of superintendents creating a superintendent evaluation model that mirrors the growth-focused evaluation used to evaluate and foster professional growth of Washington teachers and principals.
Dr. Cohn serves on the boards of United Way and YMCA of Snohomish County, Snohomish County Health Alliance, Washington Alliance for Better Schools, and the Governor's Council for the Healthiest Next Generation at the invitation of Governor Inslee. Cohn and his wife Sue serve as Co-Chairs for the Tocqueville Society of the United Way.
Dr. Cohn served as superintendent of the Port Angeles School District for eight years before coming to Everett. He was vice president at Lake Washington Technical College, where he was also appointed interim president. He taught marketing and business education for Northshore School District and was recently inducted into the Washington DECA Hall of Fame.
Dr. Cohn completed a doctor of philosophy degree in education at the University of Washington, earned a master of business administration degree at Seattle University and a bachelor’s degree with majors in economics and business administration from the University of Puget Sound.
Damian LaCroix currently serves as Superintendent of Schools for the Howard-Suamico School District (HSSD). A dedicated husband and father, a progressive educational administrator, an invested community member, an award-winning classroom teacher, and an All-American college athlete, LaCroix possesses 25 years of successful leadership experience.
Entering his 12th year as HSSD superintendent, LaCroix’s progressive vision for public education has resulted in the development of innovative student programming aimed at ensuring that all students are college, career, and citizenship ready. Under his leadership, HSSD won the Proficiency Award from the Wisconsin Center for Performance Excellence, Bay Port High School has been recognized nationally by Newsweek and The Washington Post as one of the top high schools in America, and two elementary schools have been acknowledged by the US Department of Education’s prestigious Blue Ribbon School of Excellence program. Furthermore, in the past five years he has mentored team members to high levels of professional achievement including the Wisconsin High School Principal of the Year, Assistant Middle School Principal of the Year, and the Business Official of the Year.
His partnership with community supporters has contributed to successful referenda efforts for school facilities totaling more than $60 million during his career. Additionally, more than $2.5 million has been recently raised through stakeholder donations for targeted community and educational causes such as the Giving Tree Food Pantry and Howard-Suamico Educational Foundation.
Vision, passion, and productivity are LaCroix’s trademarks leading to selection on the League of Innovative Schools, EdLeader21, the Educational Research and Development Institute, Achieve Brown County, and the Green Bay Chamber Partners in Education.
LaCroix earned his specialist’s certificate from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, his master’s degree from Marian University, and his bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University. A native of Madison, LaCroix lives in Suamico with Melissa, his wife of 23 years, and their four children: Maxwell (20); Zachariah (17); Abraham (16); and Abigail (15). LaCroix enjoys serving as a church elder, family travel, walking, reading, history, and barbecuing.
I believe the most challenging part of being a public school superintendent is diagnosing the when, how and how much change your community, staff, students and board are able to tolerate. I will use the example of trying to move junior high school and senior high school start times to no earlier than 8:30 a.m. as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control.
With all of the research to support making this change, I believed this would be a relatively easy undertaking and our community, staff and students would support making this change easily. During the fall of 2015 we began by having an informational tour of all the schools in the district presenting the research and engaging our staff in the conversation. When we had completed informational meetings at the schools we scheduled three public meetings to inform and gather feedback from our community. To our surprise we had about 150 stakeholders attend the first public meeting with most of people speaking against the idea of moving the start times for secondary schools back to the recommended time. The number of people attending the public meeting for all of the second high school issues didn’t total the number attending the first one for this topic. When we completed all of the public meetings and received written comments from our staff and community there was an overwhelming negative response to following the recommendation and changing the start times.
We brought the feedback to our school board at an informational meeting and have decided based on stakeholder response they would not take any action or move forward until we have completed some of the changes that are currently in action. Reflecting on the situation, I believe the saturation of change at this point—aligning our curriculum and assessment system to more rigorous standards, implementing new programs in both language arts and math at the elementary level, changing from an 8-period rotating block to a 7-period standard schedule, opening a Dual Language Immersion Program at a new elementary school, splitting Campbell County High School into two high schools, and changing attendance area boundaries to accommodate the new elementary school and two high schools—made the saturation of change in our district at such a high level, even with the backing and quality of research around moving the secondary start times back, it wasn’t supported. I believe my inability to diagnose the stress from all the other changes in the district caused the negative feedback received regarding the issue. I think when we have completed most of the large second-order changes we are currently completing, our staff, community and board will support following the research and moving the start times.
The most significant rewarding aspect of being a public school superintendent is providing resources, training, time, and support to our staff members working with students, allowing them to make a difference in the lives of each and every student in our district. I am very proud of the staff members in our district. Each fall we ask principals, supervisors, and managers to meet with their staff and review the Campbell County School District’s Mission, Vision, Values and Strategic Plan. After the review we ask the employees to internalize and match their personal mission and vision operationally to what they do and the strategic plan. I believe our staff understand they need to support helping students improve academically, socially, and emotionally. During late November and early December each year I provide all staff members in the district the opportunity to complete a Midterm Superintendent Feedback survey. I look at the results and share the results with the school board.
The feedback and comments I receive on the survey provide me the evidence in Campbell County School District that district administrators, building administrators, supervisors, managers, educational support staff, and certified staff members agree that I do support them in the role they play educating our students. The most rewarding part of being a public school superintendent is doing the work that allows people working with students the tools to make them successful in Campbell County School District and across the state of Wyoming. I have tried to not only be an advocate for my district but for all students across the state of Wyoming.
Comments from the 2015-16 Superintendent’s Midterm Feedback Survey
Question #2 Comments: Dr. Brown provides clear direction.
Certified Staff Member Comments:
1. It is nice to have a leader who makes the direction of our district clear. Even if I don't always agree with his direction I know that there is a reason behind it.
2. I have enjoyed his leadership in regard to the process for opening up the new high school and the fact that he seeks input from staff, students and community. I am a strong supporter of the Dual Immersion program and I have liked the fact that the process all involved all stakeholders in the process.
3. I think our district has a pretty clear plan set for this year and what we expect in future years as we go through some changes across the district. Dr. Brown doesn't address these changes to us directly, but we find out throughout other higher-ups.
4. I feel Dr. Brown has made it very clear that we are moving forward with positive changes. Even though controversial he has been willing to make these student-centered changes. It is inspiring when leadership is willing to take a strong stance regardless of the fear that comes with disrupting the status quo.
Educational Support Personnel Comments:
1. I believe Dr. Brown is very clear and concise when he conveys messages and/or information to CCSD staff.
2. I feel Boyd treats people as fair as he can, even support staff. Which some admin. don't...
3. I believe that this area is improving. Much better than 4 years ago.
Building Administrator Comments:
1. Transparent. Shares district vision with purpose in mind. Willing to assist to ensure success of all stakeholders. Dr. Brown is working diligently to make all transitions of our district as smooth as possible. With all the changes it will take strong leadership which he provides.
2. When it may not be clear he goes to great lengths to ensure that it becomes clear.
3. Dr. Brown has set up the strategic planning process to provide clear direction for the district. He communicates the direction with all stakeholders.
4. I appreciate the direction that Dr. Brown gives in many different areas. At times, it feels like as a district, we are going in so many directions that it's difficult to distinguish what is the most important.
District Administrator Comments:
1. I feel that Dr. Brown has a keen sense of what is needed in our community and can take those ideas and turn them into sound educational initiatives.
2. I am new to the team and feel that Dr. Brown provides clear and consistent messaging around direction while allowing professionals to use personal expertise to complete job responsibilities.
Question #3 Comments: Dr. Brown exhibits a mission of service.
Certified Staff Member Comments:
1. Dr. Brown has been visible in buildings and classrooms which is a clear contrast from the previous leadership approach. He is personable and takes a minute to talk to staff at every level of the organization.
2. You can tell he loves the school district and he believes in what he is doing by his sincere attitude, effort, and interactions with students and staff.
3. I have no doubt in my mind that if I asked Dr. Brown for help, he would help me.
4. Dr. Brown has a strong presence in the community and at school functions.
Educational Support Personnel Comments:
1. Dr. Brown is very invested in this district.
2. You are very visible at schools, functions and in the community.
Building Administrator Comments:
1. He is a public servant and shows this in his actions.
2. Dr. Brown is a servant leader and example for all administrators.
3. Dr. Brown is very committed to the success of students and support of staff.
4. Strong work ethic. Maintains a focus on student learning and student welfare.
District Administrator Comments:
1. Dr. Brown has always been fully committed to his mission to serve the district.
2. Dr. Brown is a servant leader - lives it!
3. One of Dr. Brown's strengths
Question #5 Comments: Dr. Brown assures measurable outcomes are attained.
Certified Staff Member Comments:
1. I feel he not only checks on the outcome, but also assists if someone needs guidance with how to measure the outcome.
2. I think he makes sure the best decisions are driven by what is best for our students.
3. I feel changes are being made in the district for specific and student-focused reasons. I believe positive measurable outcomes will be the result. I have observed that the changes being instituted are research and need based rather than changing for the sake of change. This is very reassuring.
4. I appreciate that before decisions are made, he welcomes feedback and actually listens!
Educational Support Personnel Comments:
1. This is hard, as they are making the goals extremely high.
Building Administrator Comments:
1. Always, with flexibility and in real world perspective.
2. Dr. Brown requires us to present our student data to the board on a yearly basis as well as the district data.
District Administrator Comments:
1. He will do whatever it takes to get the results we need.
2. I think we can frame this tighter once we have our strategic plan - Dr. Brown is very supportive growing the organization.
Question #8 Comments: Dr. Brown fosters empowerment.
Certified Staff Member Comments:
1. I completely agree. I feel that if I needed any guidance, he would be willing to help.
2. I've observed this as well throughout the district.
3. I believe he listens to everyone as if they are the only ones. We aren't numbers.
Building Administrator Comments:
1. This is an area that I have seen great growth for Dr. Brown. He has allowed his leadership team to take on the responsibilities and duties of their positions.
2. Dr. Brown trusts his administrators and allows them to make decisions and implement innovations based on what is best for their buildings. He supports those decisions and innovations.
District Administrator Comments:
1. Always...seeks to grow people.
2. This is the only area where I feel Dr. Brown is not at his strongest. Sometimes he has a tendency to be overly involved, but I feel like he is loosening up in this category and getting much more open to letting others lead instead of himself.