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Dr. Karen Gaborik has been an educator in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District since 1995. She was named superintendent in April 2014, and her current contract extends to June 30, 2021. Dr. Gaborik has earned numerous awards throughout her career including Alaska Superintendent of the Year, Alaska Principal of the Year and the Personalized Learning Pioneer Award. She has been active in the Alaska Council of School Administrators since her years as a building administrator and is currently past-president of the Alaska Superintendents Association. Dr. Gaborik is working to earn her national superintendent certification with the School Superintendents Association.
Dr. Gaborik holds a Doctorate of Education in K-12 education administration from Argosy University; a Master's of Education in special education from the University of Alaska, Anchorage; and a Bachelor of Arts in speech communication from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
A lifelong Fairbanks resident, Dr. Gaborik brings a unique and valuable perspective to the position of superintendent, having both attended and worked at multiple district schools. She served as a district assistant superintendent, Lathrop High School principal and assistant principal, and taught at the middle and high school levels.
Dr. Gaborik is passionate about building leadership capacity and facilitating collaborative teams at every level. She is committed to creating a system that empowers district educators to meet the individual academic and social-emotional needs of children so that every single student in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District can be a successful learner.
A community invested in him, now he in a community.
On the counter of a small country store near Goshen, Alabama sat a jar with the Wilkes family name taped to the outside. The year was 1975; Hurricane Eloise had just destroyed the eight-year old’s home and all of his family’s belongings. Donations from the store were the first fruits of the love of others. Extended family and friends gathered every weekend for months using personal tools, lay-STEM skills, and timber from the property to construct a new Wilkes family home. Influenced by the love, care, and dedication of neighbors and kin, Randy Wilkes has never forgotten the impact of community. Out of this experience, he has committed his life to the ministry of serving others - especially those of poverty.
With a system poverty rate of 70%, Randy’s primary focus has been to “STEM Students from Poverty™.” Phenix City has a diverse population of 37,000 and is host to Alabama’s fourth largest affordable housing development. Spurred by the i3 Initiative, which emphasizes inquiry-based instruction, innovative strategies and resources, and impact on college, career and life skills, the system is providing transformative educational opportunities today that will supply the ever changing workforce needs of tomorrow. The system is unique in that what it provides for one, it provides for all – no child is excluded. The results of the i3 Initiative’s (inquiry, innovation and impact) implementation over the past four years are nothing less than astounding! The socioeconomic gap in Phenix City Schools (PCS) is rapidly closing. The percent increases in mathematics proficiency scores from students of poverty are most notable: grade 3 - 44%, grade 4 - 29%, grade 6 - 23%, grade 8 - 28%. In that same time span, the federal graduation rate for students of poverty has increased 19%. There is a 100% increase in the following:
- number of students in grades 4-12 with 1:1 access to an electronic device,
- number of students in grades K-8 who participate in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses,
- number of students in grades K-5 who participate in arts programs, and
- number of students in grades 6-8 who have access to visual and performing arts classes.
Additionally, in 2017, the system yielded its highest math and ACT scores in system history. There has been an increase in Alabama graduation rate from 51% in 2010 to 96% in 2018. This past school year, there was an 81% spike in the number of eighth-grade students earning high school credit (321 credits) and 62% increase in the number of collegiate credit earned by high schoolers (1,264 hours).
Comradely philia is prevalent in the Valley region! Tapping into the area’s vast resources, Randy led efforts to garner support of individuals, businesses, and industry to raise more than $1.1 million for state-of-the-art technologies. Beginning in kindergarten, students are completely immersed in STEM education. All students attend the SmartLab® in their local elementary schools and are engaged in a curriculum containing modules of renewable energy, coding, digital media, engineering, robotics, and circuitry. In the Dyer Family STEM Center on the campus of Phenix City Intermediate School, all sixth and seventh graders annually receive nine weeks of instruction in each of the following laboratories: virtual science, coding, digital media, and engineering. The center’s exterior laboratories consist of saltwater aquariums, river tank ecosystem, interactive atrium, and a four-foot digital globe. The STEM center’s facilitator customizes and aligns middle school standards to the external labs lessons. All eighth graders participate in 12-week courses of coding/robotics, engineering, and digital media. All high school students may choose from 13 different academies including business, health occupations, advanced coding, engineering, and television production.
Randy understands that classroom improvement begins with appropriate teacher training. A local newspaper has reported him saying that McDonald's spends more time teaching employees to fry fries than school districts spend teaching teachers to teach. His first undertaking as superintendent was to convert a dilapidated cafeteria into a professional development center. Today, PCS invests over $1 million of local funds annually to provide staff with customized training. Of particular mention are the 24 teachers who have participated in more than 160 hours of STEM training and will be deemed STEM-certified in the spring of 2019. The premise of all of PCS’s instruction rests in the four Cs: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. Believing that one must inspect what one expects, Randy has demonstrated his conviction by conducting more than 150 teacher observations in the last calendar year, as well as served as an executive coach to the administrative leaders in his district.
Moreover, Randy Wilkes is an accomplished, visionary leader with extraordinary ability to build intuitive connections and impart common vision to motivate students and stakeholders toward achieving goals. He is a well-respected individual known for adhering to high standards of professionalism, moral character, and work ethic, while ensuring positive outcomes through collaboration and relationship-building. He is a consummate professional with comprehensive knowledge of curriculum development, instructional design, and financial procedures, with skills in development and implementation of appropriate projects and programs.
Randy knows that “STEMing Students from Poverty™” is synonymous with closing the opportunity gap. From personal experience, he understands that he cannot allow disparity, arbitrary circumstances, and pervasive inequities to define a student’s future. There is little doubt that the educational aspirations, achievement, and attainment of PCS’ students of poverty will yield productive citizens who are better prepared for college, career, and life.
Randy earned his education specialist degree from Auburn University at Montgomery and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Troy State University. He is in his 30th year of service to public school students.
Shawn Wayne Cook is currently the Superintendent of the Lakeside School district located in Hot Springs, AR; he is married to Amy Cook. They have been married for 27 years, and he has two children Hannah Cook and Colton Cook. Shawn and his family are members of First Baptist Church in Hot Springs. Prior to attending First Baptist, Shawn served as Deacon at Crossgate Church. Shawn graduated from Walnut Ridge High School, received his BSE from Arkansas State University, MSE from Henderson State University, and completed his Superintendent certification through UALR and UCA. He has been an Arkansas public school educator for 28 years, 25 years as a public school administrator. He served three years as a teacher/coach, one year as assistant principal, seven years as a high school principal, and just finished his seventeenth year as Superintendent. He has served as president of the Dawson COOP Board, President of the Regional Arkansas Activities Association, CO-Chair of the Governance committee for Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators, and he recently served on the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators Board and also served on the AASA board as president for the same organization. He was appointed by Governor Mike Beebe to serve on the Arkansas State Life and Health Insurance board. He served on a state advisory board for the Arkansas Public Schools Facility Division. Shawn took over as Superintendent of Magnet Cove and Lakeside after they were placed on fiscal distress. Both districts were removed from the fiscal distress list under his leadership. He has given multiple state presentations to Arkansas School Board Members and Superintendents on School Finance. Shawn lead the Lakeside School District to provide students with the most challenging curriculum available requiring every student (except students with an IEP) to take the Smart Core Curriculum. Lakeside was the first school in the state with this requirement to graduate according to Dr. Ken James (Arkansas Commissioner of Education at the time). Shawn also led the initiative to provide all academic school supplies and academic field trips to all students free of charge. One of his favorite initiatives was to provide special needs students an after-school opportunity to spend time with him, other school employees and board members doing a variety of fun activities. Parents drop their students off after school hours multiple times a year for a "Parents' Night Out." There is no cost to the families. Under Shawn's pursuit for funding FEMA awarded Lakeside 3.1 million dollars in grant dollars to build tornado shelters that also double for educational uses.His latest accomplishment happened when Lakeside received permission to offer a full Associate Degree on campus during the school day. Students at Lakeside can take up to sixty-five hours of college credit before graduating from high school. Classes are offered on campus during the school day at no charge to the student for tuition or books.
Howard C. Carlson, Ed. D., has been a superintendent for more than fifteen years, serving in Arizona, Minnesota, and Washington state. Dr. Carlson is co-author of So Now You’re the Superintendent!, a book co-published by AASA and Corwin Press. His second book, Accelerated Wisdom: 50 Insights for Today's Superintendent, will be co-published by AASA and Rowman & Littlefield in January, 2019. He has served on the AASA Governing Board, filled officer and board roles with the Arizona School Administrators (ASA) organization, and completed a term on the Arizona Governor’s E-Learning Task Force. In 2018, he was named Arizona Superintendent of the Year and was recognized in 2015 as Distinguished Administrator of the Year for the superintendent’s division of ASA. Dr Carlson was also honored as Man of the Year in 2010 by the Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce.
Carlson completed his doctorate in educational leadership through Washington State University (WSU), his masters degree in educational administration through Heritage University, and his bachelors degree in agriculture at WSU. During his teaching career he was recognized as Washington State Outstanding Young Member of the Year, and Western Region of the U.S. Outstanding Young Member of the Year through the National Vocational Agriculture Teachers' Association (NVATA).
Dr. Carlson serves on the boards of the Desert Western Caballeros Museum and the Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts. He served previously on the Wickenburg Hospital Foundation Board and is chairman of the Wickenburg Rotary club backpack project, which provides children in need with school supplies. Dr. Carlson also serves as vice-chair of the Greater Phoenix Education Management Council (GPEMC).
Dr. Mary McNeil has been the Superintendent of the Needles Unified School District since 2013. During this time, she has worked diligently to ensure that students and staff in her rural and isolated school District along the California, Arizona and Nevada borders, have all of the same opportunities as larger, urban and/or suburban districts. There is nothing that warms her heart more than the ability to serve her students every day at the highest capacity level. The challenges of extreme weather and lack of community resources do not phase her students, who demonstrate the joy of living life in Needles each and every day.
Dr. McNeil has worked with experts across the county to solve unique issues in order to move the District forward. Her ability to seek solutions and research possibilities has greatly benefited her school community. She is very proud of her entire school community who value tradition, rally in the face of need and enjoy what the hometown of Needles offers to all. Through the support of her Board of Trustees, teachers, classified staff and community stakeholders, the District has increased programs and services to ensure that ALL students are connected to school in their own unique way. When she hires staff, her priority is to determine the individuals ability to "love" and "serve" her students, first and foremost. She feels that her "hands-on" leadership style and ability to support others in building capacity has moved the District forward. Her inclusion of stakeholders in determining the District's pathway has created success with programs, including the Sixth Grade Family that is focused on a transition from elementary to middle school, Career Technical Education in culinary arts, digital media, business, technology, and family wellness support college and career goals for all students.
Prior to the Superintendency in NUSD, she served as Assistant Superintendent in the Los Nietos SD, Director, Middle School Principal and Elementary Principal in the Charter Oak Unified SD, Elementary Principal in the Little Lake SD, Assistant Principal in the Anaheim City SD and thirteen years as a bilingual advisor, coordinator and bilingual teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Her experiences have provided the breadth and depth to better understand today’s issues in education and to meet the needs of her school community. During her 39 years in education, Dr. McNeil has dedicated her professional life to provide ALL students with equity and access to high-quality educational programs that support their individual achievements, regardless of personal, cultural or economic factors.
Dr. McNeil has dedicated her time to give back to her profession through various organizations. She is currently the Chair of the ACSA State Small School District Committee and also serves on the ACSA State Superintendents' Council. She has served in multiple leadership positions, including with the California Latino Superintendents and Administrators (CALSA) as Regional Representative and Mentor in Cohorts 10 & 12; for ACSA's Women’s Leadership Network (Region 12 currently), Region 15 and State WLN Taskforce. She serves on the USC Dean’s Superintendent Advisory Group (DSAG) and leads the Women of DSAG who support women's success in the Superintendency. Dr. McNeil has continuously promoted women in leadership roles through educational and community organizations, to ensure that opportunities are available for female leaders.
Her successful completion of the Education Innovation Alliance (EIA), Chief Innovation Officer program, provided the opportunity to serve as faculty to support learning opportunities for administrators. As a life-long learner, Dr. McNeil is an Adjunct Assistant Professor with USC's School Leadership Academy for the administrative credential program. She is committed a legacy that the future of school administration is filled with highly successful and prepared individuals that do their very best for ALL students.
Dr. McNeil's leadership has been recognized at local, regional and state levels. The Needles Chamber of Commerce recognized Dr. McNeil for her outstanding work as the Educator of the Year (2014). ACSA recognized Dr. McNeil as the State Superintendent of the Year for 2018 and also as the State Administrator of the Year (2012) for her work as a Central Office leader. She has also been recognized by ACSA Region 15 for her service and leadership with the Robert Gray Award (2013) and Principal of the Year (2006). The LA County Bilingual Directors' Association awarded her with the Outstanding Administrator Award (2008) and the PTA recognized her service with the PTA Honorary Service Award and Continuing Service Award. The University of Southern California awarded her the Widney Alumni Award for service on the Dean's Superintendents Advisory Council where she leads the Women of DSAG.
Dr. McNeil earned a PhD in Policy, Planning and Administration and a MS in Education from USC following a BA in Developmental Psychology from UC Santa Barbara. She feels that her educational journey and professional experiences were essential in preparing her to meet the challenges she encounters as the Superintendent in the Needles USD. She is most proud of her family who has supported her journey through life. Her husband Jon, a retired Assistant Superintendent Business Services and ACSA leader has been a constant support and mentor in her work. Her two grown children are both successful products of public education and who have had multiple opportunities to present together, with their mother, on leadership topics throughout the state. She is dedicated to her family of children & their spouses, siblings, and nieces and nephews, all who are models of success.
Her lifelong belief in building capacity in others to support the collective strength in our society is evident throughout her career. She believes that public education is the quilt that binds our great nation together.
Rico Munn serves as the 16th Superintendent of Aurora Public Schools, the first person of color to serve in this role. Superintendent Munn joined APS in 2013. Since 2013, APS has experienced a 15% increase in graduation rates, a 15% decrease in dropout rates and overall increases in academic achievement, student growth and college readiness indicators. Recently, APS also earned its way off the Colorado Department of Education's Accountability Clock.
Prior to joining APS, Munn served in a variety of leadership roles in Colorado and nationally. In 2012, he was appointed to the Board of Governors for the Colorado State University System by Governor John Hickenlooper and currently serves as chair of that board. In 2002, he was elected to the Colorado State Board of Education where he served until 2007. In addition, he was a member of Governor Bill Ritter’s Cabinet where he served as the executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education from 2009-2011. Munn also served on Governor Ritter’s Cabinet as the executive director of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies from 2007-2009. He oversaw the Colorado Divisions of Civil Rights, Banking, Real Estate, Insurance, Financial Services, Securities, Professional Licensure, Public Utilities and Consumer Counsel.
Munn has also been a successful attorney and practiced commercial litigation as a partner with a national law firm for over a decade. He describes his law degree as “a graduate degree in problem solving.” As a litigator and trial attorney, Munn dealt with a wide variety of people and situations, including financing, construction, education, refugee populations and crisis management.
Munn is active in the metro Denver area’s non-profit community. He served on the board of The Denver Foundation and was a co-founder of the Denver Urban Debate League. Currently, he sits on the board of Early Milestones Colorado, an early childhood education organization.
Munn is a graduate of Midland Lutheran College (aka Midland University) in Fremont, Nebraska, where he received his B.A. in secondary education and was named Student Teacher of the Year in 1993. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law, where he had the honor of being named a Chancellor’s Scholar.
Mr. Munn has been married to his wife Kay since 1998, and he is the proud father of two APS students.
Dr. Alan Addley - Biography
Dr. Alan Addley is in his eleventh year as the Superintendent of Granby Public Schools in Granby, Connecticut. A native of Northern Ireland, Alan started his career as a professional soccer player and mathematics teacher. Alan has thirty-four years of administrative and teaching experience in private and public schools in the United States and Ireland.
Addley received his Ed.D. from UConn’s Neag School of Education in 2014. Prior to this, Addley earned his Connecticut Intermediate Administrator Certification in 1997 and a Connecticut Superintendent Certificate from the Executive Leadership Program in 2007, both from the Neag School. Addley received a Bachelor of Science degree in education and mathematics from the New University of Ulster in Northern Ireland in 1984 and a Master of Science degree in education from Western Connecticut State University in 1993.
Addley’s prior professional work experience includes working as the Director of Studies for Rumsey Hall Soccer School in Washington, Connecticut overseeing academic life starting in 1988. In 1993, Addley served as the Math Department Chair at the Gunnery School in Washington, Connecticut and, in 1994, became the Acting Math Department Chair at Wamogo Regional High School in Litchfield, Connecticut. He became Vice Principal of Watertown High School in 1996 and Assistant Principal in 1997 at Hazelwood Integrated College in Northern Ireland. In 1998, Addley returned to Connecticut and began working as Assistant Principal of Granby Memorial High School.
Addley became Principal of Granby Memorial High in 2001, where he implemented a professional learning community model for school improvement that has resulted in a significant increase in student achievement and increased program opportunities for all students. He has served as Superintendent of Granby Public Schools since 2008.
During his tenure, the high school was the first public high school in the state of Connecticut recognized by the Connecticut State Department of Education as a Connecticut Vanguard High Performing School, the middle school was recognized as a Connecticut Middle School of the Year and the intermediate school was recognized as a Federal Blue Ribbon School.
As a Solution Tree Associate Consultant for professional development, he has presented at national conferences and has worked with school districts across the country on professional learning communities, leadership and school improvement.
Addley is a Past President of CAPSS and was the recipient of the 2017 UConn Neag School Alumni Outstanding School Superintendent Award.
Matthew "Matt" Burrows, Ed.D. was appointed Superintendent of the Appoquinimink School District in July 2011. He has the distinction of being one of the youngest educational leaders ever chosen to serve in the role (in Delaware).
Dr. Burrows began his career as a social studies teacher, and has experienced the challenges associated with working as a teacher and later administrator in urban, suburban and rural settings – at the elementary and secondary level.
Eight years into the job, he's already led the state's fastest-growing school district through a successful 10-year, facility master plan process; attendance zone reconfiguration; and two referendums – including a $268 million effort that represents the single largest investment in new school construction ever made in the State of Delaware.
In 2017, he completed a busy year as President of the Delaware Chief School Officer's Association and chair of Delaware's ESSA Committee.
This year, in addition to overseeing the creation of three new schools, and the expansion of two existing facilities, he is once again working with volunteers to develop a proposal for new school construction and facilities that support career-related education in innovative ways. In recognition of all that he’s accomplished, he was recently elected by his peers as Delaware’s 2018 Superintendent of the Year.
During Burrows' tenure, education ranking service Niche has twice recognized the Appoquinimink School District as Delaware's Top School District (2017, 2018), national blue ribbon status has been awarded to two of our elementary schools, and the ASD has been a three-time national honoree (2016-18) as one of "America's Best Communities for Music Education."
In demand as a guest speaker at business round tables and collegiate conferences, he is a champion of the emerging national effort to identify workforce needs and provide career-related linkages for students within the context of a comprehensive public school setting.
All of my life I have been blessed. All I have ever attempted to accomplish is to work hard, set high expectations for myself and always treat others the way I expect to be treated. Throughout my life, I have been fortunate to be recognized by my friends and colleagues for doing the very best possible work regardless of the endeavor. My family had very little money when I was growing up on the north end of Escambia County. With four boys to feed my father held two jobs. He served as a minister to a small church and worked for Golden Flake Potato Chips Company. His paychecks were barely enough to provide for my family’s needs, but he and my mom filled our home with values and love, things that money cannot buy. We were always looking for a bigger house with cheaper rent. My family’s limited resources caused us to move frequently. As a result, I attended four different Escambia elementary schools. Entering elementary school at P. K. Yonge, moving on to Scenic Heights, transferring then to Pine Meadow, I finally finished my primary education at Jim Allen. When we found a house in Cottage Hill, Florida, that was big enough and cheap enough, we were able to stay put and grow some roots.
As I grew older, I learned to adapt and solve problems without money and to think creatively to find solutions. If I wanted something extra, I would work for it. Early on in life, I realized there was a big difference between what I wanted and what I needed. Even today, I ask myself this important question before spending money on extras: Is this something I want or something I need? My parents and my faith instilled high moral standards that became the cornerstone of my life. The training provided by my parents and Sunday school teachers established anchors that sustain me still. My father used to say, “Son, if something is worth doing, it is worth doing right.” Doing the right thing, caring for others and setting high standards for myself have been principles that have guided me through the years. I attended Tate High School for grades seven through twelve, completing all of my public school education in the Escambia School District.
Little did I realize what a transformation I would undergo during the tenth grade. No longer would I be the unassuming timid little boy growing up in Cottage Hill. As a ninth grader at Tate High School, I had remained the shy son of a preacher, wearing hand me-down clothes and sitting in the back of the classroom. Then one day, at the beginning of my sophomore year, an inspired teacher, Mr. Micky Rigby, recognized that the student in the back of his classroom had potential. And “that has made all the difference.” Because of a teacher, my transformation had begun. It was the teacher's inspiration, combined with his teaching skills which eventually empowered me to be elected Student Government President in my senior year. He saw more in me than I did myself. He encouraged me to join the speech team where I learned to organize my thoughts, deliver effective presentations and become confident in my abilities. I excelled at speaking and won many contests, changing my life forever. It was at Tate High School where I would meet my future wife - Sandra.
On June 8, 1973, Sandra and I exchanged vows that we continue to keep. This year marked our 45th wedding anniversary. There is an old adage that “Behind every successful man is a successful woman.” Sandra’s version of that old saying is that “Behind every successful man is a worn-out woman.” I could never have experienced my successes without her. She has been both a rock to lean on and my greatest cheerleader.
I served three years with the United States Army, starting with basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The rest of my tour of duty was spent at Fort Campbell, Kentucky with the 101st Airborne Division, a time of additional learning and transition. Viet Nam was the motivating force behind the training. Military duty has a unique way of accelerating the process of growing up. In the Army, I moved from boyhood into manhood. During my time in the Army, I continued to develop my leadership skills. I learned much about working within a unit and the importance of teamwork in getting a task done. I began to understand how motivation and the desire to achieve often allowed platoons to perform at a higher level than most would believe possible.
After my tour in the Army, I entered the business world and spent time building houses. The construction industry enabled me to develop additional skills which I would draw upon later in life and my educational career. Budgets had to be maintained in order to protect the profit margin – which represented the livelihood for my family. Clarity of communication meant that the homeowner, the home builder and all the laborers understood the inter-relatedness of timelines and procedures. Having a systematic plan and following it insured that the foundation was poured before the roofers were called in. Measuring twice and cutting once prevented costly mistakes. The end result was a tangible product, a house that would be someone’s home. My success was measured by the homeowners liking the house, the subcontractors being paid a fair wage and my family reaping the benefits of the profits I had made.
Building houses was purposeful and financially rewarding, but somewhere in my innermost being something was missing. Continuing to reflect on the influence of high-performing teachers on my life, I was drawn back to education - my true calling! After many discussions with Sandra and much personal soul searching, I left a successful homebuilding career and entered the much less lucrative, but much more fulfilling world of teaching. I have never regretted the choice! After earning a degree at the University of West Florida (UWF), my dream became a reality when I accepted a job as a special education teacher at Tate High School. I loved teaching and wanted to continue improving my skills. So, I earned a Masters degree at UWF. While at Tate, I became the Escambia County Teacher of the Year and was selected as a finalist for Florida Teacher of the Year!
Teaching special education students during the day, I also tutored students in mathematics after the school day was over. I have now completed 38 years serving Escambia students as a teacher, specialist, coordinator and administrator. I have worked in many capacities at the district level, but I still find time to tutor students every week. Tutoring has kept me directly connected to teaching. When I left my classroom at Tate High School in 1987, I made a vow that I would continue to make a difference in students’ lives through teaching. I have kept that vow. I still teach!
As a special education teacher, I had a close look at what makes a classroom work and how to get students excited about learning. Yet, there is another element in education that is equally responsible for academic success: the administration. Without strong, positive, accountable leadership, no school is able to perform well. Having excelled in the classroom, my reputation as a professional teacher, a hard worker and a person who could get things done caused the administration at the district level to seek me out to become a district administrator. They convinced me that I could improve students’ lives exponentially by helping to train other teachers to do the things that I had been doing. During my career I have served in many capacities: staffing specialist, program coordinator, director of evaluation services.
In 2008, I became Superintendent of Schools for the Escambia School District. A decade has passed and much has been accomplished. By creating a team with a winning attitude, I have learned we can overcome any obstacle. By practicing accountability on all levels, we rise to the challenge and deliver better service, create innovative solutions and change the direction of our school district. By setting standards, tracking results and providing transparent accountability, we have significantly improved the education for students in Escambia County. Observing the system through such wide-range perspectives has provided a more comprehensive understanding of the total system. This viewpoint has allowed me to recognize opportunities in four major areas: student achievement, discipline and safety, low pay for employees, and transparency and accountability.
Dr. Curtis L. Jones, Jr., a passionate educator dedicated to developing students as scholars, leaders and good citizens, joined the Bibb County School District in April 2015. Using his classroom and administrative experiences, Dr. Jones developed the Bibb County School District’s strategic plan, “Victory in Our Schools.” The strategic plan has five goal areas: increasing student achievement, increasing student and stakeholder engagement, increasing teacher and leader effectiveness, being a reliable organization, and learning and growth. This plan drives the district’s continuous improvement efforts through shared accountability for all stakeholders and resource alignment.
Dr. Jones works to ensure the district’s instructional practices meet the needs of students and prepares them to be college or career ready. Early on, he established one of the district’s main priorities as “getting students reading on grade level.” Through his guidance, district administrators have addressed equity issues by ensuring students have access to similar instructional practices, interventions and supports. Additionally, the development of a District Literacy Plan has led to student growth on the Georgia Milestones Assessments and an increase in the percentage of students reading on grade level.
When he joined the district, Dr. Jones set one of his first long-term goals as raising the district’s graduation rate to 90 percent by 2025. The district has made great gains in improving its graduation rate, which was 58.9 percent in 2014. In 2018, the district graduated nearly 1,300 students with a graduation rate of 78.5 percent. Three of the district’s six high schools had graduation rates over 80 percent in 2018, putting the district on track to achieving this goal.
Under his leadership, the Bibb County School District has been cited for its work to advance the district and its students. In 2017, the district received Georgia’s College Board Linking Award for having over 80 percent of juniors and seniors utilizing Khan Academy for SAT preparation. The District also received the 2018 Digital School District Survey Award for Large Student Population Districts category, and its Board of Education has been twice-named a Distinguished Board by the Georgia School Boards Association. The district’s work with elementary schedules was featured in District Management Journal, in an article titled “Raising Achievement and Addressing Equity at Bibb County Schools” and the district was featured as a case study with K12 Insight for its work in improving stakeholder communications through its use of the Let’s Talk! platform.
Dr. Jones is an educator with more than 20 years of experience. He began his career in education as a JROTC instructor with the Griffin-Spalding County School System in Griffin, Georgia. He became a high school principal and then advanced assistant superintendent, then superintendent before coming to Bibb County. Before his educational career, Dr. Jones served in the United States Army, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and earned a doctorate degree in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University.
Dr. Jones is engaged in numerous professional and community organizations. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Macon and the Kiwanis Club of Macon. He serves on several community boards including those for the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Central Georgia. Dr. Jones is a past governing board member for the American Association for School Administrators (AASA) and past president of the Georgia School Superintendents Association (GSSA). GSSA awarded him the President’s Award in 2012 and the Bill Barr Leadership Award in 2016. In 2018, Dr. Jones received the AdvancED Excellence in Education Award for the state of Georgia for his role in leading efforts to improve student learning and outcomes.
Susie (Evans) Meade was graduated from Clarion High School, Clarion, Iowa in 1985. She attended the University of Iowa and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Education with certification in Home Economics. Her first teaching position was in the Faribault Minnesota Community School District as a junior high and high school Home Economics teacher. While teaching, she obtained her Master’s Degree in Special Education from Mankato State University. Because her husband’s job transferred him often, she had the opportunity to teach in a variety of different school districts and in diverse positions. As a teacher, she served in the following positions:
*Junior High/High School Home Economics Teacher in Faribault, Minnesota
*Elementary Behavior Disorders Special Education Teacher in Fort Dodge, Iowa
*Secondary Learning Disabilities Special Education Teacher in Algona, Iowa
*Elementary Special Education Resource and Self-Contained Teacher in West Des Moines, Iowa
As an administrator, Dr. Meade has served in the following positions:
*Assistant Middle School Principal, in the Saydel School District,
*Elementary Principal in Saydel and Mesa, Arizona,
*Director of Special Programs in West Des Moines,
*Assistant Superintendent in Ankeny, and
*Superintendent in Winterset.
Her experiences in small rural districts, Des Moines metro districts, as well as a large metro district in Mesa Arizona, which served over 74,000 students, have given her a broad perspective of educational systems. Additionally, she has been an adjunct professor of special education at Grand View College and Morningside College and in Educational Administration at Iowa State University and Drake University.
Susie earned her PhD from Iowa State University in Educational Administration. Her dissertation was titled, “Look what boot camp’s done for me”: Teaching and Learning in Lakeview Academy Boot Camp. In 2017, Dr. Meade completed the AASA National Superintendent Certification becoming one of fewer than one hundred superintendents in the United States to receive this honor at the time. Susie is involved in local, state, and national organizations and efforts that support and enhance public school education. Her passion is ensuring that all students and professionals have access and the supports necessary to reach their potentials. Her most recent accomplishment was to spearhead the collaboration between the Iowa Department of Education, Area Education Agencies, and local school districts to provide access to trauma informed classrooms for rural Iowa students. This model is now being considered for future replication throughout the state.
She has been married to her husband, Rob, since 1989. Their daughter, Mackenzie, is a student at the University of Iowa pursuing her doctorate of Pharmacy. When not leading the district or in the crowd cheering for the Winterset Huskies, you'll most likely catch her on her bike exploring the numerous trails around the central Iowa area.
|Mary Ann Ranells||ID||
Mary Ann Ranells, PhD, has served in numerous roles in public education. With 45 years of experience, she has been a teacher, elementary principal, and has been the director of curriculum, assessment, special education, Title I, and other federal programs. Dr. Ranells served as the Deputy Superintendent for the state of Idaho and led the Lakeland Joint School District as superintendent for six years. Currently she serves as the superintendent for the West Ada School District. She has also been an adjunct professor and grant writer and has served in numerous leadership roles for state and national organizations. Dr. Ranells is married to a superintendent of a small, rural school district. They have four children and eight grandchildren.
Dr. Ranells has extensive knowledge and application of research on standards-based instruction, curriculum alignment, assessment practices, data-driven decision making, intervention strategies, and supervision of learning. She has also worked extensively with high school teachers in the areas of integrated project-based learning by designing units with an emphasis on the core standards, critical thinking, and student voice. As an active member in IASA, ASCD, and Phi Delta Kappa for over twenty years, Dr. Ranells has served in numerous leadership roles, provided hundreds of workshop presentations, and organized conferences at the local and state levels.
Publications include numerous articles, blog entries, and chapters in books for Solution-Tree.
A four-time recipient of school-based Teacher of the Year awards, Dr. Ranells has also been honored with the Idaho Association of School Administrators Leadership in Public Education Award on two separate occasions.
Dr. Ranells has a bachelor of arts from Idaho State University, a master of education from the College of Idaho, and an education specialist and doctor of education in educational administration from the University of Idaho.
Mary Ann Ranells
Dr. Gary Kelly is Superintendent of the DuQuoin Community Unit School District #300 located in DuQuoin, IL where he has served in this capacity for the past 22 years. As a thirty-three year career educator Dr. Kelly has served as a teacher, coach, principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent. Of his 33 years in education, 28 have been spent in the realm of school administration. Dr. Kelly is a student-focused leader who has served as past President, past Secretary and long-time Board of Director member of the Illinois Association of School Administrators. More recently, he completed a 3 year term as a member of the American Association of School Administrators Executive Committee and previously served on the AASA Governing Board for 5 years. For the past 13 years he has served as member of the Board of Regents for Illinois School District Agency a self-insurance pool representing school districts from throughout the state. At the regional level, Dr. Kelly has served his local colleagues as IASA Division President and as past President of the Southern Illinois School Master's Club. Dr. Kelly is engaged in his community as a member of the DuQuoin Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors including serving a two year term as President from 2013-2015, as a past President of the DuQuoin Lion's Club, as a Board member of the Perry CEO program, and as a Board of Director member of the Christopher Rural Health Planning Corporation which provides medical services to 13 communities in southern Illinois. In 2010, Dr. Kelly was recognized by the Southern Business Journal as a "Leader Among Us" award recipient. He is also a two-time recipient of the IASA Egyptian Division Superintendent of the Year award as chosen by his colleagues. In addition to serving as a school superintendent, Dr. Kelly is a Clinical Assistant Professor within the Department of Educational Administration and Higher Education at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He earned his bachelor of science degree as a 1985 graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and earned his master's degree in 1991 and Ph.D in 2006 from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Dr. Kelly's wife Deana is a first grade teacher, and his two grown children, son Jordan and daughter Kailah both hold advanced degrees in their chosen profession.
Dr. Jeff Butts is a proud graduate of Millikin University (BS), Illinois State University (MS), and Purdue University (PhD). He began his career as a public educator in 1992 in central Illinois. Over the past 26 years he has held positions as a bus driver, coach, teacher, athletic director, principal, assistant superintendent, and now superintendent. He became the fifth superintendent in the history of the M.S.D. of Wayne Township on January 1, 2011. He is a recipient of the 2019 IAPSS Indiana Superintendent of the Year, District V Principal of the Year from the Indiana Association of School Principals, Administrator of the Year from the Indiana High School Press Association, the Indiana Council for Exceptional Children Advocate of the Year, Minority Police Officers Association Award for Outstanding Work in the Community, Cause Driven Leadership Award from the YMCA, Indiana National Guard Awards for Exceptional Support to the Community, The Center for Digital Education Digital Content and Curriculum Achievement Award, Hobson’s Education Advances Award, and the Center for Digital Education Top 30 Technologists, Transformers and Trailblazers.
Dr. Butts holds leadership positions as the past president for the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents, past board chair with the Hendricks Regional Health YMCA, president of the Indiana Partnershare, and past president for the Indiana Urban Schools Association. He was selected to serve on the transition team for Dr. Jennifer McCormick, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction and remains active on several advisory committees with the Indiana Department of Education. He also serves as a board member for the West Side Chamber of Commerce, board member for Indy Gateway Inc., advisory board member for Safe Hiring Solution, member of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s Diversity Task Force, and member of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee Race and Cultural Relations Leadership Network. He is a co-facilitator and presenter for EPIC, a groundbreaking leadership excellence program for Indiana’s public school superintendents through Butler University and the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents, in collaboration with the College of Education and the Lacy School of Business. Dr. Butts previously served as an executive committee member for the Central Indiana Education Alliance, executive committee member for the Indiana Public Schools Study Council, and the Urban Education Excellence Advisory Council. In addition, Dr. Butts holds memberships with the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents, Midwest Suburban Superintendents Association, Northern Indiana Superintendents Association, American Association of School Administrators, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Phi Delta Kappa, National Association of Secondary School Principals, Indiana Association of School Principals, and Lions Clubs International. He has served as honorary co-chair of the UNCF Masked Ball since 2014 and served on the local planning team for the National Council for the Education of Black Children National Conference.
His wife, Tammy, is a lead teacher for the M.S.D. of Wayne Township’s volunteer literacy mentoring program, HOSTS. They are proud grandparents to Loela, daughter of Collin and Kassie Butts. A little-known fact about Dr. Butts is he is a fourth generation Standardbred horse trainer.
As I child raised in abject poverty, I experienced homelessness and food scarcity at an early age. Like any child, I looked to the adults around me for comfort. Instead I found adults with looks on their faces that I now recognize as the famous wondering from a Langston Hughes poem: “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?” His words capture the spirit of the community where I grew up.
Inner city Wilmington Delaware – a place so violent that Newsweek Magazine declared it “Murder Town USA – was a community full of hopelessness and despair. A community where the public education system was broken, unemployment was high, fathers were missing, and crime was rampant. For many black boys in my community, the road most travelled was the school to prison pipeline. However, because of my mother’s faith and belief in God, which was instilled in me at an early age, and the men, who were not always upright and righteous, but placed a protective barrier around me during my formative years; I took my lead from another poet.
Reflecting on my leadership journey in education, I am reminded of a familiar stanza from a Robert Frost poem, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
Like the poem’s narrator, I have come to points in my professional life where the road split and I had the choice to take the known path or venture out into uncharted territory. In each instance, I chose the road less travelled and as a result, my work has been a series of firsts, beginning with becoming the first member in my family to graduate from college. After earning a bachelor’s degree in education in 1996, I began teaching special education for grades 5-12 in the New Castle County Detention Center.
After teaching for five years, I left the classroom for administration, and as Dean of Students/special education coordinator became a founding member of the leadership team of the first charter middle school in the state of Delaware. Newark Charter School was the top performing middle school in the state when I left and they remain so today.
While teaching, I returned to school and earned both a master’s degree and a law degree. I went on to practice education law until I was hired as the second black prosecutor in Salem County, New Jersey. Working with juvenile matters in criminal court, family court and superior court I earned a more than 95 percent conviction rate.
I returned to education in 2003, when I was appointed to serve as principal of Eshelman Elementary School in Millersville, Pennsylvania. My appointment was historic as this was the first time Penn Manor School District hired an administrator of color. Our school was way out in the country where there were no streetlights and there were more deer than people. Although our mostly white student population lived in abject poverty, our team was able to increase student outcomes and raise student achievement by aligning assessments to classroom curriculum and adjusting instruction to provide supplemental support services.
My next leadership post was as principal of Newark High School, a large urban high school that had been aptly dubbed a dropout factory and targeted for “transformation.” In order to expand access and opportunity for our underserved students, we established the first rigorous international secondary program at that school by adopting the Cambridge Program. We also became one of the first traditional comprehensive high schools in the state to implement smaller learning communities when we established career academies.
During my tenure between 2004 and 2007, we raised the bar for student achievement, resulting in a 400 percent increase of African-American students taking AP courses and a 300 percent increase in Hispanic students taking AP courses. We moved Newark High School off of the “state watch list” and onto the list of Newsweek Magazine’s Top 500 High Schools. The first such turnaround anyone could recall.
From there I moved to Chicago in 2007, where I had the opportunity to open the first office of the Chicago School Performance Group, a school management organization. I was part of the high school transformation team charged with improving the lowest performing high schools and managed a start-up network of charter schools. Our work led to an increase in access to rigorous curriculum for all students, and an increase in teacher and school leader supports.
My journey took me next to East Baton Rouge, Louisiana where I was named the first black chief of high schools. Several elementary, middle and high schools in the district had been targeted for state takeover. In addition to overseeing the district’s 17 high schools, I was charged with working with the principals of the lowest performing high schools to prevent takeover.
We improved outcomes for students, boosting school performance score for our lowest performing schools with a history of under-performance by a minimum of 20 points. They subsequently made Adequate Yearly Progress for the first time and a year later, the state took over elementary and middle schools in the district, but not our high schools.
In my next post as an Assistant Superintendent in Philadelphia between 2009 and 2012, I supervised 36 K-8 schools and principals. Together we increased student outcomes, making great gains, building momentum, establishing relationships with our undocumented students and working with community based organizations.
While there, I served on leadership teams to develop the district’s first performance management system and first school report cards, and established the city’s first portfolio model to provide differentiated support for schools, including a weighted student funding formula.
In 2012, I was selected as the first black superintendent in the state of Maine when I became Chief Executive Officer of the Portland Public Schools. When I joined the district we faced as serious budget deficit, which required significant cuts to overcome. By working with the board to align its financial and human capital resources, we were able to tie spending to our strategic plan.
During my tenure we were able to increase expenditures while seeking the lowest tax rate in recent history. Investments included key school level and district level positions, driving innovation with such models as the first Spanish Immersion program in the state of Maine, online and blended learning, and 1:1 technology device initiative for secondary students.
We won passage all of our annual referendums and successfully negotiated three collective bargaining agreements, including an important first that took our district from having the least amount of student instructional hours in the state to the most.
During my tenure in Portland, I received the Presidential Citation Award from my alma mater, University of Delaware, for outstanding achievement. With more than 165,000 living alumni, only 233 have received this prestigious honor. I am proud to join such noteworthy past honorees such as former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Vice President Joe Biden.
When I became the first black permanent superintendent of the Fayette County Public Schools in June of 2015, I inherited a school district that a state audit team had found to lack capacity to support and turnaround its lowest performing schools. Once considered one of the premier school systems in the state, leadership turnover, dysfunction, and in-fighting led the Kentucky Commissioner of Education to question the district’s commitment to equity and threaten state action if “immediate and significant” changes were not made.
Three years later we have made significant gains. After the Kentucky Department of Education conducted its fourth and most exhaustive audit of the district in as many years – including 8,691 surveys, 180 classroom observations, site visits to 12 schools in the district, interviews with nearly 200 students, teachers, principals, district administrators, school board members, parents and community members, and the review of more than 1,200 pieces of evidence -- they concluded that I had “brought stability to the district,” highlighting dozens of accomplishments and affirming that the district has “capacity” to lead future improvements.
Our efforts include several firsts, including:
• The development and approval of the district’s first-ever “standards of practice” document outlining 14 agreements that school board members agree to hold themselves to.
• The adoption of the district’s first Strategic Plan in more than a decade. Developed with input from more than 18,800 students, employees, families and community members and the findings of five external reviews of the system, the plan includes a revised vision for the system, an affirmation of its mission, and the adoption of core values, an equity statement and a portrait of a graduate to guide our work.
• The establishment of a systematic and systemic way to review data, ensure progress on each of our strategic priorities, and regularly report accomplishments to the community.
• The investment of more than $12 million to support the adoption of a systemwide guaranteed and viable curriculum in English language arts and mathematics for the first time in more than 25 years. The district purchased textbooks and state of the art instructional materials for every classroom in every school for students in grades kindergarten through 12.
• The creation of accountability measures for school principals, which include the district’s first standard operating procedures, principal handbook, monthly principal performance timelines, leadership expectations, and monthly site visits.
• The identification of schools – based on data – in need of differentiated supports. Partnership Zone (PZ) schools and Empowerment Zone (EZ) schools receive increased staffing, intensive professional learning, and additional oversight from the district. The results show significant gains in just a short period of time.
• The opening of the district’s first Professional Learning Center where offerings reinforce the districtwide key core instructional processes established, development of our first New Teacher Induction program and first National Board Certification initiative.
• The requirement that school leaders conduct informal walkthroughs five days a week using a shared instrument gauges active student engagement, a focus on depth of understanding, and the application of knowledge and skills, resulting in more than 42,400 classroom observations over two years.
• The development of our first data warehouse, data dashboard, and district-created school scorecard have strengthened the availability and transparency of data for all stakeholders.
• The hiring of the district’s first lobbyist and development of legislative priorities and an advocacy strategy.
• The establishment of Family University to provide classes, workshops, and other informational events for families and the Give 10 campaign to encourage members of our community to give up to 10 hours a month volunteering with our schools.
• The publication of the district’s first-ever Annual Reports, which were delivered during our first-ever state of the schools addresses.
• The designation of Lexington as a Ford Next Generation Learning community in recognition of our partnership with the local chamber of commerce to reinvent the high school experience by establishing “The Academies of Lexington” – small, career-themed, academies within larger comprehensive high schools designed to better prepare students for college and professional success in today’s competitive global economy.
• The convening of a District Safety Advisory Council on the heels of tragic school shootings to examine best practices and develop specific, actionable recommendations to ensure that our children are safe at school, at home and in the community.
• The development of a Comprehensive 10-point Safety Investment Plan to not only prevent a school shooting, but to also mitigate the other risks our students face, including bullying, self-harm, suicide, drug use and online exploitation.
• To passage of a 5-cent property tax increase dedicated to safety to fund facility upgrades, a social emotional learning curriculum, social media monitoring, additional training for employees, students and families, an upgraded communication system and more than 200 additional mental health professionals, school nurses, law enforcement officers and security monitors.
Today in the Fayette County Public Schools, we can say with assurance that the changes made have shifted the direction of the school district onto a path to continued success. This dramatic turnaround has only been possible because of the hard work of our employees, students and families, and unwavering support from our elected officials, business leaders, faith communities, and civic organizations. But I also know we would not be on this path had I not chosen the Road Not Taken.
In December 2013, Dr. Theodis Lamar Goree was appointed superintendent of Caddo Parish Public Schools in Shreveport, Louisiana. Goree serves nearly 40,000 students with 62 schools, including three charter agreements.
Before Goree came back to lead his hometown school district, he was Area Superintendent with Mansfield Independent School District in the suburbs of Dallas -- one of the fastest growing school districts in Texas. While in Mansfield, Goree served over 33,000 students by leading curriculum and instructional program development, pushed for instructional technology enhancements and oversaw instructional budgets. He also supervised and coached campus administrators in ways to effectively evaluate student achievement and lead substantive professional development for principals and administrators. Goree is an educational leader who seeks to ensure each child receives a quality education which prepares them for college and career regardless of race, ZIP code, gender or socioeconomics. Furthermore, he believes community involvement in education is vital to the success of any school system as well as fostering learning cultures at every school campus led by highly-competent principals and effective teachers.
Goree began his career as a math teacher in Marietta, Georgia, following in the footsteps of his mother and father who were career educators in Caddo Parish Public Schools. A rising star for his ability to engage and inspire his students, Goree was recruited to serve in Fort Worth, Texas as a math teacher where he quickly gained a following. By 2000, he was selected to serve in his first administrative role as an Assistant Principal at Leonard Middle School in Fort Worth, where he worked in the role for three years before becoming the school’s Principal. Goree went on to serve as Principal at Danny Jones Middle School in Mansfield ISD and later Principal at Summit High School in the same district. In 2010, Goree was named Assistant Superintendent for Student Support Services in Mansfield where he oversaw the effective and efficient operation of programs including fine arts, special education, career and technical education and English language learners.
As superintendent, Goree has implemented the following educational initiatives: 1) created the district's first Transformation Zone which seeks to turnaround underperforming schools through intensive supports and interventions; 2) expanded Advanced Placement, dual enrollment and ACT preparatory opportunities; 3) expanded student interventions through districtwide implementation of Response to Intervention; 4) balanced the budget for the first time in more than a decade and 7) doubled funding for instructional technology. Goree’s mission is to develop each child as a lifelong learner prepared to globally compete for the jobs of tomorrow while also being committed to serving their community.
In addition to his work in the district, Goree serves Caddo Parish and Shreveport through his work with Downtown Rotary, Committee of 100, Step Forward, Strategic Action Council, Caddo Children and Youth Planning Board and Caddo Sheriff’s Safety Town Advisory Board.
Goree is a lifelong educator who strongly believes that education is the key to lifelong success. He is a graduate of Huntington High School and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Management from Morehouse College, a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of Texas at Arlington and a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Goree and his wife, Kimberly, met in math class during their junior year at Huntington High School. They are the proud parents of two children. The eldest Goree attends Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge while the Gorees' daughter attends middle school in Caddo.
After graduating from Brown University, Eric worked for AT&T for five years. From the corporate world Eric went back to Brown for his Masters in teaching science. As a seventh grade science teacher in East Greenwich, RI, Eric was nominated for the Sallie Mae first year teacher’s award. Eric attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison and worked for the Consortium for Policy Research in Education while earning his doctorate. Wisconsin led to an Assistant/Acting Superintendent’s position for the Manchester Essex Regional School District in Massachusetts. From Massachusetts, Eric took a job as Assistant Superintendent in Culpeper County, Virginia. Eric’s has been in his current position as Superintendent of the Burlington Public School district in Burlington, MA since 2008. Burlington is where all that he has learned along his many stops is being put to good use. He has been recognized nationally by eSchool News as a Top Ten Tech Savvy Superintendent and closer to home by his Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents colleagues with the organization's President's Award.
Dr. John Gaddis is completing his sixth year as Superintendent of Schools for the Somerset County Public School System. During his tenure, Dr. Gaddis has reorganized various departments at the Board of Education, worked with staff to secure a variety of grant funding, worked across the State to secure funding for a new technical high school and has brought various instructional and administrative programs to Somerset County.
Dr. Gaddis has been an educator for 30 years, serving Maryland for all 30 years. His past experience includes 3 years as an Assistant Superintendent for Instruction; 10 years as principal; 1 year as the Coordinator of Technology; 2 years as Assistant Principal; and 8 years as an elementary classroom teacher.
A graduate of Pocomoke High School, Gaddis earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a Masters in Education, with a concentration in Administration, from Salisbury University. He earned his Doctor of Education, with a concentration in Innovation and Leadership, from Wilmington University in 2005 and was awarded the prestigious Wilmington College Trustee Award for Service at commencement.
Active in a variety of organizations, Gaddis has served on the Executive Board of the Maryland Association of Elementary School Principals, is a Fellow of the Maryland Principals Academy, serves as an elected Commissioner for The Middle States Association, is a member of the Public School Superintendent’s Association of Maryland, a member of the District Management Council and serves on a variety of other boards at the local and state level. Recently, Dr. Gaddis’ efforts with the Community Eligibility Provision, which provides all students in Somerset County Public Schools meals at no cost, earned him the distinction as School Official of the Year, as recognized by the Maryland Food Alliance, which is comprised of several State organizations. Dr. Gaddis has also presented a variety of topics at local, state and national conferences.
Dr. Gaddis and his wife Sallie, who is a health teacher, have 5 children aging from 23 to 12 years of age and are kept very busy with swimming, basketball, lacrosse, dance and other practices! In their spare time they enjoy boating, fishing and spending time at other great local spots!
John McDonald was born on Vinalhaven Island, Maine in 1960. He helped pay his way through college by lobstering, caretaking and working in the island boatyard. A first generation college graduate, he attended the University of Maine and University of Southern Maine and was awarded degrees in English, Anthropology and a Masters in Educational Leadership.During his undergraduate years he won the Steven Grady Award in Writing and was appointed Editor of The Maine Review. An elementary teacher for fourteen years, he became a Teaching Principal, Elementary Principal, Middle School Assistant Principal, Technology and Assessment Director, Curriculum Director, Assistant Superintendent and is currently Superintendent of Schools in Regional School Unit #13 in Rockland, Maine. Father of two wonderful children who have now completed their own programs of studies in college, John remains committed to supporting all students in their journeys in learning and in life.
In 1995, Superintendent Glenn Maleyko, Ph.D. began his career in education at Oakman and Maples Elementary. In 1997, he was hired as a full-time teacher at Salina Elementary, a school that would become home for the next 12 years. He was named Assistant Principal in 2002 and then Principal of Salina Intermediate in 2003. In 2009, Dr. Maleyko was appointed Principal at DuVall Elementary. Two years later, Maleyko was selected as the new Director of Human Resources and then in 2013 was named Executive Director of Staff and Student Services. He remained in that role until 2015 when he was the unanimous choice of the Board of Education to take the top spot as the leader of the 21,000 student district.
Dr. Maleyko holds four degrees including a Bachelor’s degree in history and political science from the University of Windsor, a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and a Specialist degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Detroit Mercy. He graduated from Wayne State University in 2011 with a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.
Superintendent Maleyko has written several articles pertaining to educational practices and has authored research presented at a scholarly research conference. He also presented on a variety of educational topics at both state and national conferences. He is an Executive Board member of the Middle Cities Association, the Metropolitan Bureau, and is very active with the Michigan Association of School Administrators.
Maleyko has a long history of leadership in the district. He was named a model school principal by Dr. Bill Daggett’s International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE) in 2009. As the Superintendent of Dearborn Public Schools he has received a Highly Effective rating by the Board of Education three years in a row as Graduation Rates in Dearborn have achieved an all time high of over 95 percent district-wide. Dearborn was recently published as the cover story in the Michigan Association of School Administrators (MASA) summer magazine for success with Graduation rates and providing a high quality of education for Dearborn students.
Under Dr. Maleyko’s leadership the District has been recognized by Bridge Magazine and the Mackinac Center as one of the top school districts in the state. In addition, Becker Elementary received a National Blue Ribbon Award in 2017 which is the first school in the history of Dearborn Schools to receive that award. In 2018 Dearborn Public Schools was one of 45 districts that received recognition from the District Administration Leadership Institute (DALI) for success with the implementation of an innovative school improvement model. Dr. Maleyko continues to be very visible in the schools and community averaging over 400 school visits per year.
Dr. Maleyko is married with two children, is the President of the Dearborn Rotary Club, a member of the Dearborn Exchange Club, Amicus Club, and enjoys reading and cheering for his favorite hockey team, the Detroit Red Wings.
Jay Haugen is in his 23rd year as a MN superintendent, and his eighth for the Farmington Area School District, a growing district of 7200 students. Under his leadership Farmington was named one of Minnesota's first Innovation Zones and the first district of its size in Minnesota to implement a K-12, 1:1 digital learning platform. Prior to this, Jay was Superintendent of Schools in West St. Paul, Mendota Heights and Eagan Area Schools, as well as in Sleepy Eye, MN. He is a past President of The Minnesota Association of School Administrators, having also served as co-chair of the Federal Advocacy committee and was named a Green Scholar.
Haugen began his career as a high school science teacher, eventually moving on to pursue graduate studies while providing pioneering work in the development educational software. He returned in an administrative capacity serving a consortium of seven southwestern Minnesota school districts near Redwood Falls, MN as director of curriculum and staff development, also developing an on-line interactive learning program between all member schools. He next served as a regional coordinator for Minnesota Department of Education’s MEEP Program. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from North Dakota State University and a Masters of Science in Education and a Sixth Year Credential in Educational Administration from Tri-College University.
Dr. Tucker is in his fifth year as Superintendent of the Liberty Public Schools in Liberty, Missouri. Under his leadership, the district embarked on a facility master planning process that resulted in the passage of a $49 million no-tax increase bond issue with 82% voter approval. In 2017 Liberty Public Schools was accepted into the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools. League districts pioneer innovative learning and leadership practices that lead to improved outcomes for students and that help prepare them for learning for life. In addition, Dr. Tucker was named as a recipient of the “20 to Watch” educators for 2016-2017 by the National School Boards Association. Prior to arriving in Liberty, Dr. Tucker served as Superintendent, High School Principal, Teacher, and Coach in the Logan-Rogersville School District in Rogersville, Missouri. His first position in school administration was in the Dallas County School District in Buffalo, Missouri, where he served as a High School Assistant Principal. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Evangel University, Master’s Degree in Education Administration from Southwest Baptist University, and a Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership from Saint Louis University. Although born in Missouri, Dr. Tucker spent 12 years overseas with stays in France, Togo, and Burkina Faso. He has been married to Rebecca for 20 years and they have two children; Madison, an 8th grader and Jonas, a 5th grader.
I was born in Houston, MS, in 1964. I grew up there and graduated from Houston High School in 1982. I attended Itawamba Junior College and played football there for two years, before going to the University of Mississippi. I graduated from Ole Miss and began my teaching and coaching career back in Houston, teaching special education and coaching high school football. For the next few years, I continued to teach special education and coach high school football. In 1994, I was given the opportunity to coach college football, first at Delta State University, then Holmes Community College, Hinds Community College, and Itawamba Community College. In 2004, I entered administration in the Pontotoc City School District. I was an assistant principal, principal, then assistant superintendent in Pontotoc, where we were an A rated district. In 2012, I became the superintendent of the Amory School District. After receiving results from spring 2013 state testing, the Amory district was assigned an A rating for the first time in the district’s history. In the spring of 2015, I was given the opportunity to return to my hometown of Houston as the superintendent of the Houston School District. In the first two years, we raised our rating from a low C to a solid B, which we have maintained for two years. The B rating is the highest rating in the history of the Houston School District. Our goal is to become an A rated district by 2020.
In 1993, I married the former Ms. Pam Kyle from Pontotoc. She has been a true coach/administrator's wife, having never fussed or complained about moving when I had opportunities. Although we have never been blessed with children, we currently have 3 dogs, Bo, Molly, and Sadie, and two cats, Daisy and Biscuit, who all think they are children.
In July 2012, Rob Watson was selected to serve as the Superintendent of Bozeman Public Schools. Previously, Rob served as Principal of Bozeman High School (2009-2012), and as a middle and high school principal in Missoula County Public Schools (2001-2009). Rob has also worked as a school administrator in Great Falls and began his career as a math and science teacher in Anchorage, Alaska.
Rob has a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from Montana State University - Bozeman, a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Alaska, and received his Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Montana in 2009. Rob serves as an administrator representative on state education committees for the Board of Public Education and the Office of Public Instruction. Rob also serves as a board member for several local organizations: the Bozeman Public Library Foundation, Bozeman Deaconess Hospital, and Greater Gallatin United Way. Rob was in the inaugural group, joining 27 fellow superintendents from around the country, to achieve AASA - National Superintendent Certification in February 2015. In 2016, Rob was honored by the School Administrators of Montana with the GV Erickson Award - the highest recognition given to a school administrator for notable service and dedication. Recently, Rob was honored by the Montana Association of School Superintendents with the Montana Superintendent of the Year, 2018.
Rob believes that providing leadership for the local education community is important in establishing opportunities to help all students succeed.
Dr. Patrick C. Miller is the superintendent of Greene County Schools, NC. He has held this post since July 1, 2008..
Dr. Miller holds a Bachelor of Music Education (B.M.Ed.) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He taught choral music and theater arts at Greene Central High School for ten (10) years. In 2003, he applied for and received a North Carolina Principal Fellows Scholarship. In 2005, he graduated with a Master of School Administration from East Carolina University and was named principal of West Greene Elementary School. Three years later, in 2008, he was appointed superintendent of Greene County Schools. He graduated with his Doctor of Education from East Carolina University in 2011. Dr. Miller is the first native (graduate of Greene Central High School) to serve Greene County as superintendent.
Dr. Miller is very active in professional organizations in North Carolina. For example, Dr. Miller has been an active member of North Carolina Association of Supervision and Curriculum Design (NCASCD). He first joined the organization in 2005 and was named Young Educator representative to the NCASCD Board of Directors in 2009-10. He was named Influence Chair for 2010-12 before being elected president elect in 2012-13. Dr. Miller served NCASCD as president in 2013-14 and currently serves as Influence Chair. He was recognized by NCASCD in 2014 with an Award of Appreciation and in 2015, he was presented with NCASCD’s Distinguished Educator Award. NCASCD is the largest ASCD affiliate in the world.
Currently, Dr. Miller is most active in the North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA). Dr. Miller first joined NCASA in 2005. In 2015, he was named to the NCASA Board of Directors. Soon after, Dr. Miller was elected president. He served as president-elect in 2016-17, president in 2016-17 and is currently the immediate past president of NCASA.
At the national level, Dr. Miller is a member of the American Association of School Administrators’ (AASA) Century Club and Board of Governors. He was appointed to both of these positions in 2017.
Dr. Miller also serves on the following boards, commissions and committees:
• Partnership of Children of Lenoir and Greene Counties: 2008-present
• NC Principal Fellows Commission: 2009-present
• NC Center for After-School Programs (NC CAP): 2012-present
• Quality Schools Coalition: 2011-12
• Central Carolina Regional Education Service Alliance (CCRESA): 2012-present. Served as Chairman of the Board of Directors: 2014-16
• Public School Forum of NC: 2013-14
• Boys and Girls Clubs of Coastal Plain: 2014-present
• NC School Superintendents Association (NCSSA): 2015-present
• ASCD Legislative Committee: 2012-present
• Lenoir Community College Tennis and Golf (TAG) Committee: 2013-present
• Lenoir Community College Advisory Committee: 2010-present
• NC New Schools Board of Advisors: 2015-16
• NC Alliance for School Leadership Development (NCASLD): 2015-present. Served as president-elect in 2017-18 and as president in 2018-19
• Eastern North Carolina Employers’ & Superintendents’ Council: 2015-present
• Superintendents Bond Advisory Council: 2016-present
• NC Professional Educator Preparation & Standards Commission (PEPSC): 2017-present. He was elected Chairman of the commission at its first meeting in October 2017.
• Governor’s Commission on Access to Sound, Basic Education: 2017-present. He was appointed to the Executive Committee of this commission by the Chair and he chairs a subcommittee for this Commission.
• Scholastic’s North Carolina Superintendents Advisory Group: 2017-present
In December of 2011, he was named NC School Superintendent of the Year by NC Healthy Schools/NCSCHA.
Dr. Miller was named North Carolina’s Central Region Superintendent of the Year for 2014-15 and for 2018-19. He was a finalist for NC Superintendent of the Year in 2014-15.
He was inducted into the East Carolina University Educators Hall of Fame in October 2015.
Dr. Miller was presented with the Friday Medal for Educational Innovation by the Bill and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at N.C. State University on November 15, 2017.
On March 1, 2018, Dr. Miller was named the 2018 Citizen of the Year by the Greene County Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Miller has served as a “Thought Partner” for NCSSA’s Next Generation Superintendent Development Program, mentoring 5-9 new superintendents per year since 2014.
Dr. Miller has participated in the following leadership programs:
• Progress Energy Leadership Institute (2006-07)
• The Collaborative Project (2007-11)
• Leadership Program for New Principals (2007)
• Next Generation Superintendent Development Program (2013-14)
• Digital Leadership Institute for NC Superintendents (2015-16)
Dr. Miller has presented at various conferences at both the state and national level, including:
• North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA)
• American Association of School Administrators (AASA)
• National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
• School Improvement Summit
• Holshouser Legislative Retreat
Dr. Miller lives in Snow Hill with his wife, Rebecca; his two sons, Paul and James; and his daughter, Mary Amantha. He is a member of Snow Hill Presbyterian Church. He has coached soccer for the Greene County Parks and Recreation Department and basketball in the Upward Basketball Program. Dr. Miller, an Eagle Scout himself, has served as a local Cub Scout leader, and he has volunteered with Cub Scout Pack 162 and with Troop 74 of the Boy Scouts of America.
Paula Suda is currently serving her eleventh year as the superintendent of the Hillsboro School District. The school district of 490 students is centrally located between Fargo and Grand Forks in the eastern part of the state. Paula was born, raised and educated in Grafton, ND. Paula received her bachelors and master's degrees in education from the University of North Dakota. Paula taught elementary education in St. Thomas and Thompson, ND. Paula was an elementary principal and superintendent at Northwood School District prior to becoming the elementary principal and superintendent in Hillsboro. Paula has two grown sons and is getting married in November of 2018 to Ross Keller of Hillsboro, ND.
Dr. Michael Teahon is currently Superintendent of Gothenburg Public Schools in Gothenburg, Nebraska, where he has served for 18 years. Dr. Teahon, one of five children, grew up on a farm in central Nebraska graduating from Arnold High School in 1981. He attended college at Kearney State College receiving a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Education in 1985 with endorsements in Mathematics and History. Upon graduation, Dr. Teahon accepted a teaching position at Garden County High School in Oshkosh, Nebraska, where he taught math and coached football, basketball, and track for seven years. Dr. Teahon taught at Trumbull High School in central Nebraska for two years while he worked on a graduate degree at Kearney State College in Kearney, Nebraska. Dr. Teahon and family relocated to Dunning, Nebraska, where he became Principal at Sandhills High School upon receiving a Master’s Degree in Administration. Dr. Teahon received his Education Specialist from the University of Nebraska at Kearney eventually transitioning into the Superintendent's role in the Amherst Public Schools for two years and then into his current role in Gothenburg. While during his tenure at Gothenburg, Dr. Teahon received his Doctoral Degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2012. He has announced his retirement for the end of the year as he has been named Chair of the Educational Administration Department at the University of Nebraska at Kearney for the 2018-19 school year.
Dr. Teahon has served in numerous leadership roles within the state of Nebraska including leading the Nebraska Council of School Administrators (NCSA) as Chair and the Nebraska Association of School Administrators (NASA) as President. He has served as the Governor’s appointee to represent education on the Rural Nebraska Development Commission, the Vice Chair of the Nebraska AdvancEd State Council, and as a member of the Governor’s Race-to-the-Top Application Steering Committee. He has been equally busy within his community as a member of the Gothenburg Improvement Corporation Executive Board, being president of his local Rotary Club, and a founding board member of the new YMCA completed in 2017. Dr. Teahon has also been recognized by his peers being named the 2018 Nebraska Superintendent of the year by the Nebraska affiliate of AASA, the Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association Superintendent of the Year, the Region IV Distinguished Service Award and being awarded an Honorary State Degree by the Nebraska FFA Organization.
Dr. Teahon and his wife, Kelli, have been married for 35 years and are blessed with four children, Heather, and husband, Dr. John Blecha, Joel Teahon, and wife Joslyn, Heidi Teahon and Jaci Teahon. The Teahon family has grown in the past couple of years with the addition of grandchildren Stella and Vivienne Blecha, and Braxton and Paislee Teahon. Dr. Teahon and family have been lifelong Nebraska residents and pride themselves in being Husker fans.
Lorraine Tacconi-Moore, Ed.D.
* Superintendent of Schools SAU 24, Henniker, NH
* Graduate of Smith College, Rhode Island School of Design and University of Massachusetts, Lowell
* Served in a variety of positions in the field of education including art teacher, director of fine art, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent
* Instructor Boston College/Teachers 21 in Doctor of Education Program; Adjunct Professor: Fitchburg State College
I am proud of these accomplishments, however my biography would not be complete without noting that I am the granddaughter of four Italian immigrants who made a home for our family in the United States. I'm sure that my grandparents could not imagine that two short generations later, their granddaughter would be a superintendent of schools and manage an almost $50,000,000 budget on an annual basis. My loving mom stayed at home and cared for myself and my two siblings while my dad, with only a technical school background, became an associate in one of the oldest and most prestigious architectural firms in the country. I was fortunate to find a wonderful man to marry and he became the first "Mr. Mom" in an era that was difficult for a man to take on the role of full-time caregiver for our two children. I attribute my success, my work ethic, and my ability to learn, think, and love to all of them.
|Michael Salvatore, Ph.D.||NJ||
Michael Salvatore, Ph.D. was born on June 30, 1975 in Red Bank, New Jersey.
As a conscientious thought leader in education, Dr. Salvatore is known to bring humor, passion and inspiration to any audience, from infants to senior citizens. Contemporary estimates of his influence suggest his charismatic presence and innovative spirit has inspired educators and instructional leaders throughout the nation. In recent years his focus on creation in schools has teachers, learners and leaders re-imagining the possibilities of public education.
Michael Salvatore was appointed Superintendent of Schools in the City of Long Branch in April 2011, and later expanded his leadership role through an intergovernmental agreement with neighboring Deal Borough School District (2014-2017). Over the course of leading both, widely varying districts, he has developed a reputation as a personable, forward thinking instructional leader whose purpose is to ensure children matter most! Michael firmly believes access is the great equalizer, affording children access to modern technology and high quality content, creates learning opportunities far beyond the school walls. As a result, he has supported massive technology upgrades and deployments in both districts. Technology is essential in his vision for curricula enhancements, pedagogical relevance and assessment practices, which, in essence, are parallel to his respective district’s revamped digital infrastructure. As a result, he continues to support the implementation of a robust suite of educational tools. These digital platforms are designed to ensure children have high speed connectivity to bring content to life through multimedia and premiere digital devices. Teachers and leaders in his districts are able to quickly and accurately disaggregate student performance data to transform school and classroom practices when necessary; all in an effective and efficient manner.
As a result of his district’s advancements, in 2014, the Long Branch Public Schools were recognized as the first cohort of innovative schools by the New Jersey Office of Innovation, better known through the #InnovateNJ initiative. This honor was bestowed upon 13 school districts initially and Long Branch Public Schools remain a pivotal leader in preparing students, teachers and leaders for the future as the NJ Department of Education’s initiative continues to progress.
Currently underway, Michael’s promoting an aggressive paradigm shift in education by introducing career technical education processes to his earliest students. These career based courses are designed to foster a unique skill-set and a pathway to future earnings. Specifically, in the early childhood centers and elementary schools, children are being exposed to the language of Code as well as the principles of engineering. Economists predict the job market in these technical fields will continue to flourish and Michael wants to make sure his students are leading the way.
When President Obama decided to improve public education policies, he confidently focused on the expansion of early childhood. As a result, Dr. Salvatore was selected, by the United States Department of Education, as a national presenter. His evocative descriptions and detailed illustrations pertaining to the importance of early childhood education were well received by officials throughout the country.
Moreover, Michael Salvatore has been a longstanding partner with the New Jersey Department of Education. He has served on the NJ Department of Education Administrator Advisory Committee, which was charged with improving the existing processes of teacher and principal evaluation. Michael was also identified for another NJ initiative with the Department of Education; to develop collaborative tool-kits, which are anticipated to improve communication in schools throughout the country. His team assisted in the development of materials and protocols that were unveiled at a national education convening in Washington, DC. This convening was the final collaborative phase to the federally sponsored Race to the Top Initiative. Currently, Michael is collaborating with the Department and the CCSSO to redefine national early learning standards in mathematics.
Developing partnerships has been a focal point for Dr. Salvatore, especially in Higher Education, as he realizes the importance of earning a college degree for his students. Thus, he has forged relationships and acts in an advisory capacity with Monmouth University, Rutgers University, Montclair State University, Kean University, The College of New Jersey, University of Denver and Brookdale Community College. Dr. Salvatore has imparted his practical experiences through steering committees, development councils and even serving as ‘teaching fellow’ and course designer for Monmouth University's inaugural doctoral program. Further, he has worked as an adjunct professor for graduate and undergraduate coursework since 2001.
Sustainability is another priority in Michael’s schools, having two United States Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (2017) and every school certified under SustainableNJ guidelines. His schools have consistently set a new standard outscoring every school in New Jersey for two consecutive years, which means green practices are embedded throughout the day and extend into daily teaching and learning.
Lastly, Dr. Salvatore serves as the past President of the Monmouth County Superintendents’ Roundtable and has been selected as an executive committee member since 2012. Each month, this group brings together educational leaders from 53 districts throughout Monmouth County to collaborate on trends, policies, legislation and innovation impacting our children. He initiated and coordinated the first ever virtual meetings among the executive committee members, which eventually lead to pioneering a Virtual Roundtable Meeting, with remarkable participation. Michael also serves the greater high needs districts in New Jersey as president of Great Schools New Jersey. This association of more than 180 districts focuses on advocacy for fair and equitable funding, as well as other important topics such as preschool expansion, immigration, equity and school security. Needless to say, Dr. Salvatore’s influence reaches far and wide!
Dr. Michael Salvatore is married to Christine DiMaio (wedded 2001). They have three children: twin boys, Carmen (2006) and Luciano (2006), as well as a beautiful daughter, Rosabella (2008). Conversations surrounding education are extremely common in his household, as his wife, a former teacher and current behaviorist, discuss the routine evolution of a career they entered last century. Even the children chime in, especially when the topics of homework, uniforms and snow days emerge. Michael enjoys spending time with his family, whether at the soccer field, pool, surfing, skateboarding or at school events. Creating something new is always his favorite, so crafting with wood or producing low budget home movies are amongst the many moments that make him smile.
Notable: Dr. Michael Salvatore is a crowd pleasing favorite as a keynote presenter. Michael is often tagged to speak on various topics including, but not limited to: early childhood education; digital leadership; accountability; teacher evaluation; standardized assessment; and 21st century leadership. Recently, Michael served as a keynote speaker for NJ ASCD, Rutgers University CEFM, NPMA, Future Teachers of America and the NJ Department of Homeland Security; he proved to keep the diverse crowd highly engaged as he outlined several relevant solutions in their respective fields. In 2017, Michael presented his revolutionary collaborative observation process, coined as “Virtual Rounds” in front of a worldwide audience in San Antonio, TX, at the annual ISTE conference. Recently, he attended ISTE-2018 in Chicago and presented with a panel of experts on the use of technology to influence social and emotional learning.
Michael Salvatore, Ph.D.
Hagerman Municipal Schools Superintendent, Mr. Ricky Williams, has served the students, staff, and community of Hagerman since July of 2013 after serving the previous three years as Director of Secondary Instruction for Las Cruces Public Schools.
Prior to working for Las Cruces Public Schools, the 28 year veteran held the following previous positions: principal, Loving High School, Director of Special Education, principal Carlsbad Middle and High Alternative program, middle school assistant principal, high school assistant principal, Director of Student Service New Mexico State University-Carlsbad, high school counselor, secondary gifted facilitator, and elementary special education teacher. Before moving to New Mexico in 1995, Mr. Williams worked for Odessa High School (Odessa, TX) as a high school special education teacher and high school football coach.
Superintendent Williams holds a Bachelors of Business Administration degree from Angelo State University (San Angelo, TX), a Masters of Arts degree in School Counseling from the University of Texas Permian Basin (Odessa, TX), and a Masters of Science in School Administration from the College of Southwest (New Mexico). Ricky has completed post master hours in administration and school psychology from New Mexico State University-Las Cruces.
Mr. Williams served as President for New Mexico School Superintendents’ Association (2017-2018). He was appointed to the South Central Comprehensive Center (SC3) Regional Advisory Board by Secretary of Education, Hanna Skandera and approved by Governor Martinez, to represent the State of New Mexico.
Mr. Williams’s public service goes beyond education. He dedicated 8.5 years as a Police Officer and County Attorney Investigator in Odessa, TX, which provided lessons in leadership that he has applied to 28 years in public education service. Ricky is married to Clorinda, a career educator.
As a superintendent, Mr. Williams is dedicated to the development and implementation of strategic plans for school turnaround efforts that lead to improved student academic achievement that will ensure that every student is given an opportunity to succeed in college and a career of their choice.
Dale Norton is in his 29th year as a school administrator in Nye County School District (NCSD), the largest geographical school district in the contiguous 48 states located just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. He is in his seventh year as the Superintendent of Schools. Dale made the decision to join Nye County School District when he accepted the position as Principal of Amargosa Valley Schools for Kindergarten through 8th-grade students. This school is a remote rural school of 190 students, primarily Hispanic and an underperforming school. Little did he know he would be involved with the same school again as the Superintendent of a nearly one million dollar School Improvement Grant (SIG) and be in a national spotlight of the Journey’s Project from WestEd featuring the work being done at that particular school.
Dale opened up a brand new building as principal of Rosemary Clarke Middle School, NCSD’s largest middle school with over 1200 students in attendance. During the four years as principal of Rosemary Clarke Middle School Dale was selected as Nevada’s Middle School Principal of the Year. He received his state award in Washington DC in the fall of 2005.
In June 2018 Dale’s peers selected him as the Nevada Superintendent of the Year 2018. He was recently notified by the Nevada Association of School Boards that he has been selected as their Superintendent of the Year for 2018. He will be receiving the honor later this month during their annual conference and will be recognized for his consistent use and development of skills and programs focused on board-superintendent cooperation and teamwork to improve student achievement.
During much of Dale’s leisure time, you will find him officiating high school basketball and football. In his twenty-nine years of officiating in Nevada, he has reached the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association championship games more than a dozen times. In addition to these state championship games, he has recently officiated some of the nation’s top twenty-five teams on ESPN-U out of the Las Vegas area. Along those same lines, he has held an officiating contract with the semi-professional American Basketball Association (ABA) for the past seventeen years officiating in the Las Vegas area.
Dale’s motto is “Lead by Example.” He does not just verbalize his motto, he lives by it.
Jason A. Andrews, Ed.D. is the current Superintendent of Windsor Central School District. Prior to that, he served as a high school teacher, coach, co-curricular advisor and Middle School Principal in the district. In this role, he focuses on systemic implementation of Professional Learning Communities as the vehicle to ensure student learning and a culture of continuous improvement. He currently also serves as an Adjunct Professor at SUNY Oswego in the Superintendent’s Development Program, and in the Teaching, Learning and Educational Leadership Department at Binghamton University.
Dr. Andrews serves on the Executive Committee for the NYS Council of School Superintendents, the NYS Education Commissioner's Advisory Council, and the National Center for Educational Research and Technology National Board and is a charter member of the Institute for Innovation. He also facilitates Board of Education Strategic Planning Sessions and retreats for the NYS School Boards Association. In addition, he served on the Board of Directors for the NYS Council on Leadership and Student Activities, the National Association of Student Councils and the School Administrators Association of NYS. Dr. Andrews served on the Board of Education for the Harpursville Central School District from 1993 -2000. He also serves on numerous community boards and committees with a particular emphasis on issues related to workforce development and poverty.
Dr. Andrews received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Secondary Social Studies from SUNY Cortland, a Master of Science in Education degree from the University of New England, a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Educational Administration from SUNY Cortland and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Sage Graduate School in Albany, NY. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus at SUNY Cortland in 2006.
Dr. Andrews is a national presenter and consultant and currently works as an Associate for Solution Tree. He conducts workshops, presentations, and consultation on a variety of topics including:
• Systemic Implementations of PLC’s
• Creating a Culture of Collaboration and Continuous Improvement
• PLC’s as the Vehicle for Successful Change Efforts
• Building a Climate to Prevent Bullying/Harassment
• Fostering a Positive Workplace Culture
• Strategic Planning and Goal Setting for Student Success
• Effective Communication Skills for School Leaders
He also acts as an Expert Witness including in the United States Federal Court’s Northern District of Georgia in a prominent bullying case.
Dr. Kevin Miller was named superintendent of Ottawa Hills Schools in 2010. There, he serves a school district considered among the very best in Ohio and the nation. In 2015, Ottawa Hills became the first district in Ohio to earn all A’s on its district and building Local Report Cards issued by the Ohio Department of Education. The district repeated that feat in 2016, 2017, and 2018, the only school district in Ohio to do so. Ottawa Hills has received statewide and national recognition by Forbes, US News and World Report, Newsweek, Startclass.com, 24/7 Wall Street, the Washington Post, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Already a high-performing school district when he arrived, Ottawa Hills has experienced growth during Dr. Miller’s tenure through infusion of research-based practices, effective use of data to strengthen district intervention services, the addition of curricular offerings while keeping the budget in check, and enhancement of an already strong system of support through active engagement of stakeholders.
Among other things, under Dr. Miller’s leadership, the district:
•implemented a K through 12 one-to-one technology program, “OH Global”;
•built a uniquely designed STEM program;
•redesigned gifted programming to ensure more students were being served;
•revamped math programming not only to provide more math opportunities for students, but also to provide additional support to ensure student success;
•enriched the district’s Advanced Placement course offerings;
•added courses relevant to 21st century learning, such as Entrepreneurship, Professional Networking and Communications, and Honors Research;
•increased opportunities for students in the Arts through the establishment of an “Acting Out” program for fourth through eighth graders;
•infused research-based practices in redesigning intervention services to meet the unique needs of students dealing with issues of phonemic awareness and dyslexia;
•established the Ottawa Hills Schools Foundation, which has amassed over $1.5 M in donations and pledges in its short existence.
Before coming to Ottawa Hills, Dr. Miller was Superintendent of Hicksville Village Schools in Defiance County, Ohio. When he began at Hicksville, the district was rated as “In Continuous Improvement” by the Ohio Department of Education. When Dr. Miller left Hicksville seven years later, the district was rated “Excellent with Distinction.” Under his direction, Hicksville Elementary was named a School of Promise and Hicksville High School twice received the National Pacesetter Award for the district’s implementation of the High Schools That Work school improvement model. Under his leadership, Hicksville instituted the first one-to-one laptop computer program in northwest Ohio. While at Hicksville, Dr. Miller worked with the community on the design and construction of a new Pre-K through 12 school building. The building’s 21st Century design elements, combined with many features that connect the building to Hicksville’s history, make the school the pride and joy of the community.
In 2016, Dr. Miller joined with other northwest Ohio superintendents to form the Coalition of Advocates for Pre-K – 16 Education (CAPE), a group of public school and public university officials who advocate at the state level for the school districts and students of northwest Ohio. He serves as Vice President of that organization. He also serves as President-Elect of the Ohio Association of Local School Superintendents. Dr. Miller is sought after as a public school representative on advisory committees for the Ohio Department of Education, the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, and the Ohio High School Athletic Association. He has also provided testimony before the Ohio Senate Education Committee.
Dr. Miller serves on the Executive Boards of the Ottawa Hills Schools Foundation, the Ottawa Hills Community Foundation, and the American Cancer Society of Lucas County. He is a member of the Toledo Rotary Club and coaches a variety of youth sports in the Ottawa Hills community—basketball, baseball, soccer, and football. He notes that he wins more goodwill with community members on the baseball field than anything else he does as superintendent.
Dr. Miller makes regular presentations to organizations, churches, and schools throughout Ohio. He is a regular speaker for Defiance Area Youth for Christ and has been a featured speaker at their JV Getaway Weekend. He has also been a featured speaker at the Northwest Ohio Youth Super Spectacular, for the Northwest Ohio Educational Service Center’s Art of Administration series, and at several school in-services and professional conferences. In 2016, he was honored by The Defiance College with its Alumni Citation for Academic Excellence and in 2018 he was inducted into the Wayne Trace Schools Staff Hall of Fame. He has also been named Volunteer of the Year by Van Wert County Project You and Me.
A graduate of The Defiance College, Dr. Miller taught English and Language Arts for 13 years at Wayne Trace Jr./Sr. High School, where he was named the district’s first Teacher of the Year. He then served as principal of the school for six years. Dr. Miller earned a Master of Science in Secondary Education from Indiana University and completed additional graduate work at the University of Dayton. He received his Doctorate of Education degree in Organizational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.
Dr. Kevin Miller credits his parents for teaching him vital lessons that impacted his educational journey. His mother, Carlotta, was a school secretary at Grover Hill Elementary for 25 years. There, she impacted so many lives that when she passed away, the line of mourners extended far beyond the funeral home doors as they stood in line for two hours to pay their respects. Dr. Miller notes, “My mother taught me that there are educators everywhere in the school building. You don’t have to be in a classroom to be a teacher.”
Ron Miller, Dr. Miller’s father, was an eighth-grade dropout who later earned his GED. A factory worker, Ron contributed to his community as a church leader, a coach, a volunteer, and a school board member. Dr. Miller shares, “My father taught me that there are many paths to success.”
Dr. Miller has carried those lessons through 36 years as an educator.
Dr. Miller lives in Ottawa Hills with his wife, Carla, and their four sons: Yale, Collin, Breckin, and Sterling.
Sean McDaniel, longtime Oklahoman and educator with more than three decades experience, is Oklahoma City Public Schools’ new superintendent. McDaniel joined OKCPS from Mustang Public Schools, a suburban district located southwest of Oklahoma City, where he has served as superintendent since 2012.
McDaniel began his career in education as a language arts instructor at Denver’s Highland High School from 1986-1988. He has served in several teaching, coaching and administrative capacities in both Colorado and Oklahoma. A proud graduate of Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Dr. McDaniel went on to earn his master's degree in educational administration from NSU and his doctorate in educational leadership from Oklahoma State University. This year marks his 33rd year in education and 17th as a district superintendent.
Dr. McDaniel is highly respected by his peers across the state and was recently named Oklahoma Superintendent of the Year by CCOSA. His knowledge and expertise are recognized at the state level, where he has served on the governor’s education advisory board, the state superintendent’s advisory council and on the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association’s board of directors. He also serves on the Cavett Kids Foundation Board.
Sean and his wife, Traci, have two children: Erin and Mac. Erin, a computer analyst, resides in Coweta with her 3-year old son, Russell and his 1-year old baby sister, Mila. Mac is a freshman at Tulsa University, majoring in Computer Science. Sean’s wife, Traci, teaches private piano and vocal lessons.
So much of who Tim Sweeney is can be seen in his children.
Rory is a 16-year-old senior at Coquille High School; she is busy applying to Northwestern University where she wants to study law and political science. She wants to serve as a human rights lawyer. Tim knew entering adulthood he wanted a career to serve others. As the seventh of eight children of a man who went through military, law enforcement, and teaching careers, Tim learned from a young age that helping others be their best was how he would spend his adulthood. His calm demeanor and acceptance of and desire to help all types of children steered him toward education.
Tim’s career launched in 1988. He worked through college by coaching soccer and basketball in the Medford School District and served ice cream at Baskin Robbins. Completing his degree in political science at Southern Oregon State College, Tim spent one more year there in their teacher licensure program.
His older daughter Anna just started her junior year at the University of Washington to become an elementary special education teacher. She calls her parents--both teachers-- to tell them what she's learning in her teacher preparation classes. They listen with a smile to her anticipation of helping children who struggle with learning. Anna didn't entertain education as a career until her sophomore year of college. As she wove through her general studies, she worked full time searching for her place in the world. Her epiphany surrounding the teaching profession created a few challenges regarding her full time work and school schedules. Student teaching tends to happen during the day, so Anna now keeps a full time job at night plus her full course load.
In 1996, Tim began teaching in Eagle Point as a junior high humanities teacher. He spent the next ten years developing his teaching craft and how to meet students’ and families’ needs. He dabbled in administration. After the turn of the century, Oregon’s financial setbacks resulted in school days cut, staff layoffs, and piling on the remaining educators. In addition to teaching, Tim became the dean of students, junior high athletic director, lead the student council, and coached every sport he was asked to coach--many as a volunteer. His indefatigable efforts remain an inspiration to those in Jackson County today. As he worked through the school’s copious departments, Tim began to see education outside of just his classroom. In the summer of 2006, he returned to school to become an administrator.
Ryan, the second of the four, served in the Navy and became the office manager for an industrial refrigeration company. Ryan strives to keep his family his priority. He eschews barriers to efficiency within the management systems he creates and respects his coworkers. He intuitively seeks out ways to incorporate both fairness and equity.
In 2007, upon completion of his administrative licensure program a neighboring district hired Tim as superintendent and principal. Since he wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do during the summer, Tim spent a good part of his first month pulling staples out of the of wall in the gym. His summers didn’t look like that again. Instead, remembering the stress of pay reductions, he spends his summer painstakingly working with his district budget. In eleven years as a superintendent with tenure during the Great Recession, Tim has never laid off anyone, cut school days, or even frozen wages.
Butte Falls has a small district of 190 students, but their problems are real and important. With the students and staff, Tim tackled issues like racism, teen pregnancy, and full-day kindergarten. Concurrently, he guided the district from “needs improvement” status to “outstanding” status under No Child Left Behind. He learned much about leading all levels of staff and children in Kindergarten through twelfth grade.
Michael, the oldest of Tim’s children, works for Jackson County Mental Health as a case manager for adult mentally handicapped people. Michael’s desire to serve those less fortunate than he and his siblings is a distinct point of pride for Tim. Michael’s wife is a police officer. Tim watches them with immense joy raise their daughter Lauren to honor all human beings.
The Coquille School District hired Tim in 2010 as superintendent. He continues to serve in that capacity. Though Tim realized it immediately upon his arrival, a 2016 report in Wall Street 24-7 concluded Coquille was the most impoverished community in Oregon. Families living in tents in the county park; children with no access showers, warm meals, or clean clothes. Working with the board, staff and community, Tim endeavored to improve the fortunes of students in Coquille. The district began busing all students to and from school--whether they lived a few blocks from their school or at the perimeter of the district boundaries. Tim accessed Community Eligibility Provision allowing every student three free meals a day. The district eliminated pay-to-participate for students joining extra-curricular activities. The district began paying college tuition for high school students. During the 2017-18 school year, Coquille students earned over 1300 college credits. Tim works diligently to remove barriers to students’ success.
The Coquille School District grew from 871 students in September 2010, to over 1200 students today. Tim created a culture of acceptance in Coquille. Students and their families are welcome regardless of the money they have, what their physical or intellectual capabilities are, or what their emotional needs are. Bring it all to us, because in Coquille, we strive to do what’s best for kids.
Tim has spent thirty years in public education. He’s also spent thirty years raising his children. Rory will leave for college soon. Anna will finish it and start her teaching career. Ryan will hone his business skills. Michael will keep serving those with special needs. Tim’s inkling to serve morphed into the question he asks himself daily: Is this what's best for kids? Tim’s imprint on his children is what he’s hoped his imprint is on his staff at Coquille School District.
Dr. Gennaro R. Piraino, Jr. proudly serves as Superintendent of Schools for the Franklin Regional School District. It is his honor and privilege to lead a school system with a strong tradition of academic, artistic, and athletic excellence.
As a professional educator, Dr. Piraino finds his role as a community leader to be both exciting and personally rewarding. However, his greatest gratification comes from collaborating with various stakeholders and community partners to create world-class educational opportunities for students that extend beyond the four walls of a classroom.
Due to his personal and professional experiences, Dr. Piraino passionately advocates for the cultivation of a school environment that supports students in their growth as scholars, artists, athletes, and citizens. In addition to academic excellence, Dr. Piraino also recognizes and deeply appreciates the immeasurable value that arts and athletics have on the personal development and future success of students. According to Dr. Piraino, “Arts, athletics, clubs, and service organizations enable students to develop character traits that are not measured by standardized tests, yet continue to benefit them personally and professionally throughout their entire life.”
As a leader, Dr. Piraino’s influence extends across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In June of 2018, Governor Tom Wolf appointed him to Pennsylvania’s new School Safety and Security Committee. As a member of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA), Dr. Piraino served on the Technology and Research & Development Committees.
Regionally, Dr. Piraino is an instrumental leader in workforce development and school/community partnerships. Through his role as Chairperson of the Westmoreland County Forum for Workforce Development, Dr. Piraino has been successful in building partnerships between schools, businesses, institutions of higher education, and local government. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce and Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland.
Professionally, Dr. Piraino is a proud member of the Western Pennsylvania Forum for School Superintendents and Tri-State Study Council’s Executive Board, both sponsored through the University of Pittsburgh. Locally, he founded the Franklin Regional Panther Foundation and serves on its Board of Directors.
Throughout his career, Dr. Piraino has demonstrated notable success as a K-12 leader in curriculum, instruction, assessment, technology integration, online learning, college and career programming, educational foundations and fundraising, professional development, teacher and principal supervision systems, federal, state and local grant facilitation, and other areas of organizational leadership.
Pennsylvania Administrator Magazine published Dr. Piraino’s work on Differentiated Teacher Supervision. He has presented to both education and business colleagues at various local, regional and state conferences.
Prior to arriving at Franklin Regional in 2013, Dr. Piraino served his alma mater, the Greater Latrobe School District, for 16 years as a Special Education Teacher, Assistant Secondary Principal, Elementary Principal, Director of Elementary Curriculum, and Assistant Superintendent.
Dr. Piraino holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania; a Master of Education degree in Leadership from Saint Francis University of Loretto; and a Doctorate of Education in Administrative and Policy Studies from the University of Pittsburgh.
Dr. Piraino and his wife, Carol, reside in Murrysville, PA with their five children (Anthony, Gino, Maria, Nico, and Rocco).
Phil Auger has been the Superintendent of the North Kingstown School Department in Rhode Island since 2011. His career in education spans thirty one years and includes positions as an instructor of secondary and college English, Assistant Principal of Chariho Regional High School, and Assistant Superintendent also in North Kingstown. He has taken on various professional development roles and was a Rhode Island cohort leader for the University of Pittsburgh's Disciplinary Literacy Program in Secondary ELA. Phil was the 2006 RI Assistant Principal of the Year and is the 2019 RI Superintendent of the Year.
Phil grew up in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, graduated with a bachelors degree in English and a masters in School Administration from Providence College, and earned a Doctorate in English from the University of Rhode Island. He and Kristin, his wife of thirty one years, live in North Kingstown and have two children, James (23) and Emily (21) are both proud graduates of North Kingstown High School.
Phil also enjoys playing acoustic rhythm guitar and lead singing in The Ten Rod Ramblers, a folk-rock band featured in several venues in South County Rhode Island.
Harrison Goodwin is originally from Camden, SC. In May of 2012, Dr. Goodwin was appointed Superintendent of Chesterfield County Schools and officially took on those duties in July of 2012. During his tenure in Chesterfield County, the district and its schools have received many accolades. Under his leadership, the district received their first ever Excellent on the South Carolina State Report Card. During Dr. Goodwin’s tenure the district has developed a comprehensive literacy program, expanded services for 4 year old kindergarten students, and implemented many district wide support services for students including school based mental health services, mobile medical and dental services as well as neurological telehealth services for athletes. Dr. Goodwin believes that in order to best serve students in a rural high poverty district that we must be find ways to improve access to basic services so that children are physically and mentally ready to learn.
He began his teaching career at Camden High School in 1987 where he taught Career and Technology and math classes. In 1993 he went to Ninety Six High School in Ninety Six, South Carolina where he taught Career and Technology classes. He then spent a short time with the South Carolina Department of Education in 1995 before returning to Ninety Six High School as assistant principal. During his tenure in Ninety Six he also was an adjunct instructor with Piedmont Technical College and various other colleges teaching computer application classes.
Prior to being named superintendent of Chesterfield County Schools, Dr. Goodwin was the principal of Chapman High School in Spartanburg School District One from 1998-2005. During his tenure as principal the school received many accolades and awards including Excellent on the South Carolina School Report Card for multiple years. In 2005, Dr. Goodwin was appointed as Coordinator of Operations and Administrative Services and he held various titles and responsibilities for the next seven years with his title later transitioning to Assistant Superintendent in 2009. During his tenure as a district administrator he oversaw construction projects with a value totaling almost $100 million that impacted every facility in the district and resulted in the addition of two new high school facilities. While this was a very large part of his duties, he also was responsible for addressing patron concerns, served as the district hearing officer, served a period of time as the district assessment coordinator, oversaw the school food service program, the district transportation program and the district maintenance program.
In 2012, Dr. Goodwin was honored by the South Carolina Music Educators Association as the “Honor Administrator of the Year.” In 2016 he was honored by the South Carolina Athletic Administrator Association as Superintendent of the Year as well as Outstanding Superintendent by the Career and Technology Administrators Association. He has recently been named the 2019 South Carolina Superintendent of the Year.
Dr. Goodwin holds both a Bachelors and Masters degree from Clemson University and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Dr. Kelly Glodt Named South Dakota’s 2018 Superintendent of the Year
Pierre School District Superintendent Dr. Kelly Glodt has been named South Dakota's 2018 Superintendent of the Year. The Pierre Area Superintendent’s Association nominated Dr. Glodt for the award. He was selected for the state award by the South Dakota School Superintendent's Association (SDSSA).
Dr. Glodt was selected for the state award based on the following selection criteria: leadership for learning, communication, professionalism, and community involvement.
Dr. Glodt will receive his South Dakota Superintendent of the Year award at the SDSSA State Conference at a noon luncheon on July 17, 2018 at the Arrowwood Cedar Shore Resort in Chamberlain/Oacoma.
Dr. Glodt will represent South Dakota at the 2019 National Conference on Education sponsored by the American Association of School Administrators in Los Angeles, California on February 14-16, 2019. Dr. Glodt will be South Dakota's nominee for the National Superintendent of the Year award.
Dr. Glodt has been the Superintendent at the Pierre School District since 2007. Prior to Pierre, he served as the superintendent for six years in Oberlin, Kansas. He also served as a principal for five years, assistant principal for two years, science teacher and coach for seven years in Garden City, Kansas. Dr. Glodt’s career in education has spanned 31 years.
Dr. Glodt earned his Bachelor’s degree in teaching and Master’s degree in school administration at South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota. He earned his District School Administrator Certification at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. Dr. Glodt earned his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Curriculum and Instruction at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.
Congratulations to Dr. Glodt on a well-deserved honor!
Linda Gilbert, a native of Murfreesboro, received her B.S. in Music and Elementary Education, M.A.T. in Music, and Ed.S. in Administration and Supervision from Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), followed by an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Tennessee State University.
After receiving her undergraduate degree, she taught 8th grade math and music at Rutherford County’s Central Middle School for a year. Then, for fifteen years, she taught private lessons and worked high school band camps while raising her two children--Brian, a Methodist Minister in Illinois, and Cherry, an Academic Coach in Murfreesboro.
In 1987, Gilbert taught part-time music in Murfreesboro; and when Black Fox opened in 1990, she accepted a full-time position. There, she designed and implemented one of the first piano keyboard labs in Tennessee, was featured as an NEA Innovator in TEA Today, was the district spokesperson for the consolidation referendum, chaired the accreditation process, and her students received superior ratings in solo and ensemble competitions.
In 1998, she was named the Tennessee Teacher of the Year. Subsequently, she became Murfreesboro’s Associate Director for Instruction. Community partnerships increased four-fold. Innovative programs—a steel drum band, youth leadership program, STEM camp, banks in schools, etc.--were begun. Authoring more than four million dollars in grants, she expanded afterschool and family outreach programs. The preschool program grew from 4 to 13, six off-site preschools were established, and two Parents as Teachers and Even Start programs were begun. Also, a comprehensive safety plan and Intensive Assistance Program for marginal teachers were developed.
Believing that schools must link with the community, Gilbert co-founded the Community Anti-Drug Coalition of Rutherford County, the St Thomas Mobile Health Unit, Read To Succeed literacy program, and co-authored start-up grants for Rutherford County’s Books from Birth Foundation. For her efforts, she received Rutherford County’s first Karen Claud Award for Literacy. She co-located adult education, preschools, childcare, a Parents as Teachers Program, and Family Resource Center in the Franklin Heights Federal Housing Project. That concept garnered the AASA National Civic Star Award, AASA Leadership for Learning Award, Tennessee Department of Health’s Healthy Kids Community Award, and International City Management Association’s Best Practices Award. She also founded the Franklin Heights and Patterson Park community coalitions to focus on the needs of the underserved areas of the city, for which she received the NAACP Freedom Fund Humanitarian Award.
While Associate Director, Gilbert worked as an adjunct professor at Cumberland University and MTSU. However, in 2004, Gilbert accepted a full-time Associate Professor position in MTSU’s Department of Educational Leadership. While there, she received the Outstanding Teacher Award, presented at national and international conferences, and helped MTSU partner with Japan in a faculty and student exchange program. She also established the Middle Tennessee P-16 Council, which laid the foundation for dual enrollment between MTSU and surrounding school districts. From 2007 to 2011, she authored a weekly newspaper opinion column. At MTSU, she was the first Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Fellow—bringing together instructors to collaborate in learning. She also actively worked to engage MTSU with the community, and was president of the Tennessee Association of School Supervision and Administration (TASSA). Before leaving MTSU, she co-authored the MTeach grant to enrich the STEM teacher pipeline. As a result of her efforts, she was elected to the Band of Blue Hall of Fame, received the Tennessee Higher Education Commission’s Harold Love State Outstanding Public Service Award, TEA’s Distinguished Higher Education Professional Award, Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center’s Honoree for Public Service to Youth, and the first True Blue Citation of Distinction for Achievement in Education from MTSU’s Alumni Association.
In 2010, Gilbert was appointed Director of Murfreesboro City Schools. Within four years, the district moved from School Improvement II status to one of eighteen districts with double-digit, value-added scores and straight A’s in achievement on the State Report Card. Two schools received Consumer Value-Added Achievement Awards, one school was named a National Blue Ribbon School, and one was a National Title I school. In Summer 2013, the district was chosen as one of six districts to be part of TNLEAD Fellowship with Vanderbilt and East China Normal University. Since 2015, the Confucius Center has provided three Chinese teachers to the district to help with better understanding the culture of the nation.
Today, Murfreesboro City is a state-identified Exemplary School District. The district is noted for its approach to the whole child, its Farm To School and Junior Chef programs, nine Model Demonstration Schools for the Tennessee Behavior Support Program, STEAM initiatives, gifted programs, model Professional Learning Communities process, steel drum band, Habitat panel builds, community partnerships, early childhood practices, Extended School Program, CHOW buses, BOB (Books on Bus) mobile library, technology programs (Drone Racing League), visits to the MTSU farm and basketball game, employee day care, and teacher and principal leadership development. In the past three years, the district has produced two Mid-Cumberland Teachers of the Year, a Middle Tennessee Principal of the Year, and a 2018 finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. In the past two years, Murfreesboro’s students captured top awards at the National Beta Club Convention, the Cheer team made nationals in its first year, and a Siegel team received the Henry Ford Innovator Award for the national Invention Convention.
Still tightly connected to the community, Gilbert serves on sixteen community boards and remains as organist in the church where began playing at the age of twelve. She is a member of numerous professional organizations and serves on several local and state councils. She has presented nationally and internationally, and has written and been awarded almost $16 million in grants. However, she is not finished. She wants a working farm for the district, would like for sixth graders to design and build a house in the community, and is planning community externships for teachers and students. She believes education can change the world, and has absolutely no doubt that “We can do this!”
Dr. Brian T. Woods, a longtime Northside ISD educator, became Superintendent in July 2012.
Dr. Woods began his career in Northside in 1992 as a social studies teacher at Marshall High School. Woods then helped open O’Connor High School as an Assistant Principal. He was later named Vice Principal and Principal at Clark High. Dr. Woods has also worked in Northside as Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Administration and Deputy Superintendent.
Dr. Woods has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree and doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Dr. Woods is Vice President of the Texas Association of School Administrators and is a past Chair of the Regional Advisory Executive Committee for Education Service Center, Region 20. He is a member of the Go Public Steering Committee, the Board of P16Plus Council of Greater Bexar County, and the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. He also serves as President of the Board of Texas Academic Decathlon and is a member of the Superintendents Advisory Board of the Principals’ Institute, the steering committee for Fast Growth School Coalition, the Superintendent’s Advisory Council for the Holdsworth Center, and is an officer in Texas School Alliance. He was selected Texas Superintendent of the Year in 2018.
Dr. Woods and his wife Meredith have a son who attends a Northside ISD high school.
I was born and raised in the small town of Cokeville, Wyoming. I couldn't have been raised by two better people, and most of my teachers were model educators. I was involved in athletics and music, and I loved being in the outdoors. I was the valedictorian of my class and received a football and basketball scholarship to the College of Eastern Utah in 1981. I served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Colombia, South America in 1982-84. I came home, married my wife, Diane, and attended the University of Utah and received my bachelors degree in 1986. I also received my masters degree at Utah State University. I started my career at Ben Lomond High School in Ogden, Utah. I was hired as an English teacher and football/basketball coach. After four years I moved my family to Rich County School District in Utah and became the principal after three years there. While serving as principal, I was the head football and basketball coach. In 1994-96 we won 28 games in a row and earned three state championships. In 2000 we moved to Coalville, Utah, and I became the principal while coaching football and basketball at North Summit High School. We were fortunate to win two state titles in basketball and two championships in football. In 2010 I was offered the superintendent job at North Summit School District, which is my current position. Three years ago I was voted into leadership for the Utah Schools Superintendents Association. This year I am the president of the association, and my colleagues have given me the distinct honor of receiving the superintendent of the year for 2019. Diane and I reside in Coalville. We have four daughters and one son. We have three sons-n-law and one daughter-in-law and nine grandchildren.
Dr. Jared A. Cotton holds a bachelor’s degree in Middle School Education from Old Dominion University, a master’s degree in Educational Administration from The George Washington University, and received his doctorate in Educational Administration and Policy Studies from The George Washington University in 2003. He holds an Instructional Technology Certificate from the University of Virginia and a Certificate in Change Leadership from Cornell University. In 2011, Dr. Cotton attended the Leadership Institute for Superintendents at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He received his National Superintendent Certification through the AASA, The School Superintendents Association, in 2016.
Dr. Jared A. Cotton is a proud graduate of Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake and started his twenty-five year career in education as a fifth grade teacher at Crestwood Intermediate School, where he once attended as an elementary student. He later served in various roles throughout the division to include Instructional Technology Specialist, Summer School Coordinator for the Chesapeake Career Center (formerly known as the Center for Science and Technology), Assistant Principal at both Hickory Middle School and E. W. Chittum Elementary School, Principal at G. A. Treakle Elementary School, and Director of Assessment and Accountability.
Dr. Cotton served for more than six years as the Associate Superintendent for Educational Leadership and Assessment for Virginia Beach City Public Schools before being appointed as the Superintendent for Henry County Public Schools in 2012. He served Henry County for over six years and was recently named the 2019 Virginia State Superintendent of the Year by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents.
Dr. Cotton has a strong background in strategic planning and curriculum and instruction. As Superintendent of Henry County Public Schools, he facilitated revisions to the strategic plan guiding their division. As a result, Henry County Public Schools continues to experience success.
Dr. Cotton believes curriculum and instruction should be the core business of a school system. In that regard, he initiated the development of the current curriculum in use in Henry County, one that focuses on student development and the demonstration of critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, and collaboration. This focus has yielded high results in the area of student achievement for Henry County.
My name is John Alberghini. I am a native Vermonter who cares deeply about the Green Mountain State. I have lived in Vermont my entire life and feel connected to the rural nature of the state and the independent spirit of its residents. I have a wonderful wife who has been integral to my work as an instructional leader and three amazing children. My professional career as an educator began right after college. I have been fortunate to work in Vermont schools as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, associate superintendent and superintendent for the past 26 years.
"There is no more noble of a profession than that of an educator" was what Michael Nelson’s mom said almost every day while he was growing up. She would be pleased that he is now in his 34th year as an educator and in his twelfth year as Superintendent in the Enumclaw School District.
Under Michael’s leadership as Superintendent, systems and partnerships have been put in place to bring to life the district’s mission of “ensuring the equity of all students achieving at high levels.” Michael has led the development of a strategic plan which staff, parents and community members can now articulate. Building on a vision of the pillars of head, heart, hands and habit, the district has four initiatives of instructional improvement (head), and supporting the whole child (heart), system development (hands) and multi-tiered system of support (habits). These initiatives are measured through carefully monitoring of our values gaps (whole child), opportunity gaps (system development and multi-tiered system of support) and achievement gaps (instructional improvement). Each school develops their school improvement plans in concert with the district strategic plan and regularly reports progress to the superintendent and board of directors.
The relatively recent shift in the staff evaluation process has been embraced by the Enumclaw School District. Using the district’s strategic plan as a guide, goals from the board to superintendent to directors to building leaders to teachers are all in coherence thus maximizing the results in closing the value, opportunity and achievement gaps.
Of particular note, Michael works tirelessly to build relationships and collaborative partnerships with community organizations and businesses. These partnerships have directly supported students and bring meaning to the word “all” in the district mission statement.
One core leadership value in how Michael leads is the development of a kind and compassionate culture rooted in equity throughout the school district and communities of Enumclaw and Black Diamond. This is evidenced by numerous school and community initiatives he created and through his daily actions whether that be answering the phone with his trademark question, “How can I help you?” or by the countless handwritten cards he writes each year. He recognizes you must always model what you lead.
Michael is seen and recognized as a champion for public education in the Enumclaw School District and across the state of Washington. He believes in order for public education at the district, state and national levels to make substantial improvements we must increase the tenure of superintendents. He believes there are too many examples of a superintendent being in a district for three years or less before substantial and sustained improvements can be put in place for students. This is why he is now helping Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) develop and facilitate a program to train mentors supporting first year superintendents (WASA Mentor Academy) and develop and facilitate a program for superintendents with three years or less experience (WASA Early Career Superintendent Academy).
Michael is a superintendent who “grew up” through the educational system. Before becoming Superintendent, Michael served seven years as Assistant Superintendent in Enumclaw leading the instructional programs throughout the district. During this time period he was the primary author of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation five year grant for innovation. The Enumclaw School District was awarded $2.2 million. As a result of this grant, many nationally recognized educational leaders visited Enumclaw facilitating professional development for staff. This included Tony Wagner, Shelley Harwayne, Roland Barth, Stephanie Harvey, Kris Tovani, Debbie Miller and Kelly Gallagher.
Michael spent six years in Federal Way Public Schools; the first four as a Principal and the second two was Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. During his time as
Principal of Camelot Elementary he led the school from the lowest performing to the top performing in the area of literacy. As a result, Camelot was received the National Blue Ribbon Award for School Excellence in 1997.
As an elementary school teacher, Michael’s students loved to read and write. His classroom was often filled with educators from across the state desiring to learn strategies for supporting their students. He conducted many workshops across the state and nation on literacy instruction and has been a speaker at several International Reading Association Conferences.
Michael has received many local and state awards during his time as superintendent. He has received the Washington Association of School Administrators Award of Merit and Student Achievement Leadership Award. He also has received the Washington State Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development Educating the Whole Child Award. The Muckleshoot Indian Tribe awarded him with their official blanket, the highest honor of the Tribe, for building a collaborative partnership focused on the success of Muckleshoot students in the Enumclaw School District.
Michael has been married to his wife Britt for 32 years. They have two children; Hans is an Assistant Principal in the Bethel School District and Anna is a Controller for Foundation for Affordable Housing in Southern California.
PS Michael was born and raised in Enumclaw which makes being superintendent extra special to him!
Born in 1971 in Fond du Lac, WI, he served in the US Army as a cavalry scout after graduating high school in 1990. Earning degrees from UW-Madison and Marian (Wisconsin) University, in the fall of 1997 he began his career in education as a social studies teacher (psychology and history) in Manitowoc, WI. He taught for the next 9 years in Manitowoc and Fond du Lac, WI, mostly at the high school level, with his passion and specialty of helping students learn about psychology. In 2006 he was selected to be middle school principal at Bessie Allen in the School District of North Fond du Lac, WI, where he served for 3 years until becoming the Superintendent for the District, which he has served in for the past 10 years.
His passion is developing, serving and sustaining a culture of happiness in the School District of North Fond du Lac so they can recruit, retain and reward a world class staff, while working to prepare all students to be career, college and life ready. He believes the School District of North Fond du Lac is an example of how the science of happiness and positive psychology can revolutionize the way that organizations are working to best impact success of students, staff and the community.
He has a beautiful and caring wife Kelly (married for 23 years) and three great kids - Paige (20), Lilly (17) and Ethan (13). When he is not at school he loves helping people learn about the power of happiness, working around his home and relaxing with family & friends. Two of his biggest out of school, non-family accomplishment are briefly holding the local Buffalo Wild Wings Blazin’ Challenge for almost a year, eating 12 of the hottest wings in 2 minutes and 15 seconds; and caddying for the President George H. W. Bush.
Gary L. Price is in his ninth year as Superintendent of Marion County Schools in Fairmont, West Virginia. Price graduated from Mannington High School in Mannington, WV, lettering in three sports and setting numerous records in track. Later, at Fairmont State College, Price was a member of the FSC Falcon Football Team and Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity. Price then married his wife, Jacquie, a medical secretary. They have two children and four grandchildren; Kris Price and Lora of Buckeye, AZ, parents of Izzy and Jaxon and Tiffany Wells of Purcellville, VA, mother of Lincoln and Logan. Price's father, Orval, was a lifetime administrator for Marion County Schools and his daughter, Tiffany, is a special education teacher in Purcellville, making three generations of proud educators.
Price has been active in community leadership positions, having been elected to Councilman at Large for City of Mannington, WV, President of the Mannington Lions Club, President of the Mannington Little League, President of the Mannington Park Board, President of the Marion County Athletic Association, President of the Mason-Dixon Athletic Association, President of the Marion County Principals' Association, President of the West Virginia Personnel Directors Association and President of the West Virginia Association of School Administrators. Price is proud to say he has been elected President of every organization to which he has belonged. In addition, Price has been Sunday School teacher and Sunday School superintendent at the Union Valley Baptist Church in Flat Run, WV and a founding member of the Sharing and Caring Cancer Support Group, the largest cancer support group in West Virginia.
Forty-one of his forty-four years in education has been spent in administration. After graduating from Fairmont State College in 1975 with a degree in elementary education, Price was assigned a Teaching-Principalship at Hess Elementary School (1-6) in Worthington, WV. Following short term teaching positions in other schools, Price was named Assistant Principal at East Park Elementary School (K-8) in Fairmont in 1980. Price then became Principal of Barrackville Elementary and Middle School (K-8) in 1985, a position he held for nineteen years.
Price moved into the Marion County Board of Education central offices in 2004 as Assistant Superintendent in charge of personnel, maintenance, transportation and child nutrition. Following a national search, Price was named Superintendent in 2010. Under the leadership of Superintendent Price, the following Marion County Schools and employees have received recognition for excellence; Fairmont Senior High School (2010) and Monongah Middle School (2015) were recognized as National Blue Ribbon School Award Winners, Title I National Distinguished School, two West Virginia State Principal of the Year recipients, one West Virginia Teacher of the Year recipient, and two finalists for the West Virginia Teacher of the Year.
Price has led numerous facility improvement initiatives, including construction of East Fairmont Middle School, complete fifteen million dollar renovation of Fairmont Senior High School, a high school on the National Register of Historic Places and construction and upgrades at various athletic facilities, including historic East-West Stadium. Price has instituted an aggressive preventive maintenance program which has greatly reduced energy costs and eliminated costly repairs. Price also acquired the former National Guard Armory, converting it into central offices and renovating the gymnasium into what many have called the best high school gym in West Virginia. While the new central offices are handicapped accessible, more attractive and more efficient, Price has partnered with public housing authorities to convert the old central office building and one empty school into low income housing, providing a positive use for those building destined to be torn down or become eyesores.
Price was President of the West Virginia Association of School Administrators during the now famous West Virginia teacher walkout of 2018. Price rallied fellow county Superintendents to unanimously support the teachers in their effort for competitive pay and reliable health insurance. When movement in the State Senate stalled, Price brokered meetings with the leadership of the State Senate and the Governor to garner support for passage of the pay raise and an obligation to work on improving health insurance. Price received statewide acclaim, including being named State Superintendent of the Year, for his leadership in prodding the Senate to move forward on passage of those issues and, despite the fact that he had publicly announced his retirement prior to the start of last school year, was literally drafted into another contract by a raucous crowd at a Board of Education meeting.
Mr. Ray Schulte started his career in education in the early 80s as a vocational agriculture teacher in South Dakota. Over the years he has served as high school/adult education teacher, middle-high principal, and high school principal and was named as the Hot Springs County, Wyoming school district superintendent in December of 1999. In 2006 he assumed the role of superintendent in Goshen County and in 2013 was hired to lead Park County School District 6 in Cody, Wyoming, where he is currently practicing. Mr. Schulte earned a BS degree from South Dakota State University, a Master of Educational Administration degree from the University of South Dakota and a Specialist Degree in Educational Administration from the University of South Dakota.
Mr. Schulte is an 18 year member of Wyoming Association of School Administrators as well as an 18 member of AASA. He has been a member of Rotary International since 1999. He has held several positions on a number of state and national committees, including past president of the Wyoming Association of School Administrators, chair for the Wyoming School University Partnership, and Tri-partite rep to the National Network for Educational Renewal.
Ray is married to Rhonda Schulte. They have three children Jorden, Brandon, and Amanda and four grandchildren.