NASS Superintendent of the Year

NASS 2018 Superintendent of the Year - Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald

“Dr. Fitzgerald is an incredible leader and educator who is laser-focused on advocating for students,” said Tom Armelino, NASS Executive Director. “This honor is an acknowledgment of Kevin’s hard work and determination to build an educational environment where students and teachers can grow.”

Fitzgerald has been Caesar Rodney School District (CRSD) superintendent since 2007, previously serving as a principal and assistant principal at a district high school.  Kevin’s experience also includes more than 13 years as a classroom social studies teacher. 

“I am humbled by this honor. When you enter the field of education it’s not about winning awards or seeking individual recognition,” Fitzgerald said. “This is about students and making sure there are provided with the tools necessary to succeed in an ever changing world. Whether as a teacher, administrator or superintendent, I’m proud to say that this has always been my focus.”

The CRSD is comprised of approximately 8,000 students in 12 schools, with one middle/elementary school campus located on the Dover Air Force Base and another school serving as the county’s school for students with Autism. 

Fitzgerald’s tenure at CRSD has seen marked growth in technology, blended learning, and community and stakeholder outreach. The district is one of the state’s technology leaders, leveraging multi-platform learning modules to offer high school courses to middle school students and middle school courses in elementary schools. The district offers students the opportunity to take seven different world languages, which is top in the state. Under Fitzgerald’s leadership the district became one of the state’s pioneers in world language immersion programs. Parents of kindergarten students have the opportunity to have their children immersed in Chinese or Spanish language.  Fitzgerald has also used student and staff voices, as well as the community to showcase the district’s successes.

“Students need a visionary who is willing to consider the entire population and how equitable practices can be used to build our next generation of leaders,” Armelino said. “Dr. Fitzgerald is that visionary and he’s guided by a strategy that captures community values and most importantly, his students.”

Fitzgerald will be formally honored at the NASS National Advocacy Conference, September 23-25 in Washington D.C. The conference offers school leaders a unique opportunity to come from different parts of the nation and advocate on behalf of students on Capitol Hill.

Two educators finished as runner-up for the NASS Superintendent of the Year award. They include Ernest Rose of Maricopa County Regional School District and Phoenix, Arizona, as well as Paul Gausman, superintendent of Sioux City Community Schools in Sioux City, Iowa. Iowa superintendent chosen as a finalist for national education honor

Arizona superintendent Ernest Rose chosen as a finalist for national education honor

Ernest Rose, superintendent of Maricopa County Regional School District (MCRSD) in Phoenix, Arizona, was recently recognized as one of the three finalists for National Superintendent of the Year, as awarded by the National Association of School Superintendents (NASS).
“Ernest is a committed leader that has worked to ensure that every student has access to the resources needed to be successful,” said Sonny Da Marto, NASS Associate Executive Director. “But his work goes beyond the students because he plays a personal role in ensuring that every person joining MCRSD is aware of the expectation of not giving up on students.”
As a longtime advocate in various capacities for at-hope students, Mr. Rose has partnered with colleagues and community to provide opportunities for local youth for more than two decades, including serving as principal at a school designed for homeless children. He is an education visionary who has implemented innovative processes to promote a complete learning community of students, parents and teachers.
Mr. Rose, a lifetime NASS member, became MCRSD superintendent in 2008 after serving three years as a principal in the district. MCRSD is an accommodation school district serves more than 3,600 students in six schools comprised of 13 sites throughout the county.
As superintendent, Mr. Rose has implemented a transition course district-wide that encourages students to develop short- and long-term goals by creating Education and Career Action plans that allow students to set smart goals in four areas: Home and family; Hobbies and recreation; Community and Service; and Education and Career. He has built relationships with stakeholder groups and implemented a three-tiered structure for professional development that encourages teacher growth.

Iowa superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman chosen as a finalist for national education honor

Dr. Paul Gausman, superintendent of Sioux City Community Schools in Sioux City, Iowa is recognized as one of the finalists for National Superintendent of the Year, as awarded by the National Association of School Superintendents.

“Paul is an incredible student advocate and a true example of a role model for teachers and leaders,” said Sonny Da Marto, NASS Associate Executive Director. “He has guided strategic efforts to improve academic achievement and graduation rates, strengthen student’s access to technology, and implement programs to prevent school-based bullying.”
Dr. Gausman became Sioux City Community Schools’ superintendent in 2008 following three years as superintendent of West Central School District in Hartford, South Dakota. He has also served as a coordinator of middle school education and fine and performing arts. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Master’s Degree at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and a doctoral degree from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. Sioux City Community School District has more than 14,000 students in more than 20 schools.
 “I accept this honor on behalf of the hard work of our Board, the 2,000 staff members and nearly 15,000 students,” said Dr. Gausman. “I am honored to be a part of the team that has placed progressive and student-centered programs at the heart of the Sioux City School District and in service to our community.”
As superintendent, Dr. Gausman has worked in collaboration with district colleagues to enhance opportunities for students. The district has implemented the largest 1:1 student computing initiative in the state. SCCS was labeled one of the 100 original Future Ready districts in the nation, including being earmarked as a Digital Equity Program, and a Next Generation High School district by the United States Department of Education and White House.  The district has implemented progressive programs through Specialty Elementary Schools, as well as middle school STEM-focused exploratory offering and Career Academy high school offerings. The district has also been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation.

NASS 2017 Superintendent of the Year - Dr. Michelle King

Dr. Michelle King, Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District in California, has been named NASS Superintendent of the Year for 2017. Dr. King is a product of LA Unified, entering the district in kindergarten. She returned to the district as a secondary school life sciences teacher in 1985 and has served in a number of capacities within the district, including principal and senior deputy superintendent. She became district superintendent in 2015. Read more about Dr. Michelle King, NASS 2017 Superintendent of the Year

Other finalists for the award include Dr. Eric Andrew of Campbell USD (CA), Dr. Darrell Adams of Coachella Valley USD (CA), Dr. Ron Williams of Victor Valley UHSD (CA), and Allan Cameron of Wrentham Public Schools (MA). 

NASS 2017 Superintendent of the Year Sponsor - Ray Morgan Company

Past NASS Superintendents of the Year

2018      Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald
2017      Dr. Michelle King
2016      Dr. Timothy Purnell and Dr. Cedrick Gray
2015      Dr. A. Katrise Perara
2014      Dr. James P. Capolupo
2013      Dr. Don Haddad
2012      Dr. Michael Richie
2011      Dr. Linda Chapman