NASS Superintendent of the Year

NASS 2019 Superintendent of the Year Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart

Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart of Hazelwood School District in Florissant, Missouri, has been named the winner of the National Association of School Superintendents 2019 Superintendent of the Year.
“Dr. Collins-Hart is a champion for students and continuous improvement,” said Jon Roach, NASS Executive Director. “Her commitment to collaboration and mutual support in her district proved she is a leader with a demonstrated vision of building the next great generation of American students.”
Hazelwood School District serves nearly 18,000 students north of St. Louis. HSD is the second largest district in St. Louis County and the seventh largest district in Missouri. She has more than 40 years of experience in education and has served as superintendent in school districts in Illinois and North Carolina. She is also the first African American woman to permanently lead HSD, where more than 50% of the population is African American and 62% are minorities.
Collins-Hart says her role in school leadership stems from her experiences with students and the work her mentors have done to shape her lens for equity and student achievement.
“People I respected and admired encouraged me to become a school administrator,” Collins-Hart said. “They helped me pursue the positions and supported me along the way.”
Collins-Hart is focusing on several important issues at HSD. They include early childhood education expansion, school climate and culture that meet the needs of student populations, studying potential models for Thematic Schools to drive innovation, focusing on gifted education programming for students across the spectrum, redesigning an instructional model that supports teachers through in-classroom assistance, as well as effective classroom management that reduces disproportionality.
“If you look at what Dr. Collins-Hart has done within her district and community and what she is focused on, you’ll see why she is the type of school leader that our students really need,” said Sonny Da Marto, NASS Assistant Executive Director.
Semi-finalists for the award include California superintendents Kevin Skelly and Blanca Cavazos, Arizona superintendent Lily Matos Debrlieux, and Massachusetts superintendent Edward Bouquillon.
Collins-Hart will be honored in Washington, D.C. at the NASS IgnitED Conference September 15-17.

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

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