Finalists Named for AASA’s 2020 National Superintendent of the Year

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Earlier this month, the School Superintendents Association (AASA), announced the finalists for the 2020 National Superintendent of the Year. The award honors school system leaders nationwide who are making a positive difference in the lives of the students they serve.

Co-sponsored by AASA, AIG Retirement Services and First Student, the 2020 National Superintendent of the Year will be announced during AASA’s National Conference on Education, Feb. 13-15, 2020, in San Diego, Calif.

The four finalists for the 2020 National Superintendent of the Year are:

  • Gustavo Balderas, Eugene School District 4J, Eugene, Ore.
  • Samantha Fuhrey, Newton County School System, Covington, Ga.
  • Michael Nagler, Mineola Public Schools, Mineola, N.Y.
  • Jeffery Smith, Hampton City Schools, Hampton, Va.

“It’s an honor to congratulate these four superintendents who mean so much to the school districts and communities they serve,” said Rob Scheinerman, CEO of AIG Retirement Services. “These outstanding educators share a passion for students and have helped thousands of children realize their potential. AIG Retirement Services is proud to co-sponsor this program as we pay tribute to school district leadership.”

“These four superintendents represent the gold standard in leadership, excellence in public education and raising the academic standards in our country,” said Paul G. Osland, president of First Student. “On behalf of the five million passengers we transport to and from school every day, we congratulate the finalists for the 2020 National Superintendent of the Year. We are honored to partner with AASA to celebrate the extraordinary contributions of these four leaders as they help shape our tomorrow.”

“This announcement represents an opportunity for AASA to recognize the tremendous work and outstanding leadership carried out by four ambassadors of public education who I would refer to as ‘champions for children,’” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA. “The National Superintendent of the Year program celebrates both these education thought leaders and the critical role public education plays in our society. We are grateful to AIG Retirement Services and First Student for supporting our program.”

The National Superintendent of the Year finalists will have an opportunity to meet the national education community during a press conference on Thursday, Jan. 9, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The briefing will begin at 3:00 p.m. (ET).

The National Superintendent of the Year program, now in its 33rd year, is open to all U.S. superintendents who plan to continue in the profession. The program also honors international school superintendents.

The applicants were measured against the following criteria:

  • Leadership for learning – creativity in successfully meeting the needs of students in the school system.
  • Communication – strength in both personal and organizational communication.
  • Professionalism – constant improvement of administrative knowledge and skills, while providing professional development opportunities and motivation to others on the education team.
  • Community involvement – active participation in local community activities and an understanding of regional, national and international issues.

A $10,000 college scholarship will be presented in the name of the 2020 National Superintendent of the Year to a student in the high school from which the superintendent graduated, or the school now serving the same area.

For more information about the program, contact Jennifer Rooney, AASA director, meetings and awards, at jrooney@aasa.org.

The AASA 2020 State Superintendents of the Year.

Name                             State

Mark Adler                      NE
Joanne Avery                  SC
Greg Baker                     WA
Gustavo Balderas            OR
David Baugh                   PA
Mike Bitz                        ND
Kevin Blankenship           IL
Kerry Boyd                     AK
Keith Bryant                   TX
Stacey Butterfield            OK
Heath Chasanov              DE
Brian Creasman               KY
Kathryn Crowley              RI
Daniel Curry                    MD
Robin Daquilante              WV
Philip Downs                    IN
Samantha Fuhrey             GA
Cory Gibson                     KS
Jeff Goodwin                    AL
Kathleen C. Greider          CT
David Hansen                  CA
Sandra Himmel                FL
Dustin Hunt                     WY
Anthony Jackson              NC
Bradford Jackson              MA
Joel Jorgenson                 SD
Kelli Joseph                     LA
Kevin Lancaster               ID
David Law                       MN
Mark MacLean                  NH
Robert Mayfield                WI
Les Meyer                        MT
David Murphy                   ME
Mark Murphy                    OH
Michael Nagler                  NY
Rick Nielsen                      UT
John Pandolfo                    VT
Joel Pedersen                    IA
Mackey Pendergrast           NJ
Wayne Rodolfich                MS
Kristi Sandvik                    AZ
Robert Shaner                   MI
Jeffery Smith                     VA
Scott Spurgeon                  MO
Pamela Swanson                CO
Benny Weston                    AR
Teri White                          NV
Jamie Widner                     NM
Donna Wright                     TN

About AIG Retirement Services

For more than half a century, AIG Retirement Services has served as a leading defined contribution retirement plan provider for tax-exempt and public sector employers, including K-12, higher education, healthcare, government, religious, charitable and other nonprofit organizations. AIG Retirement Services has more than $100 billion in total assets under administration, managing thousands of plans serving approximately 1.8 million participants. It includes the VALIC family of companies: Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, VALIC Financial Advisors, Inc. and VALIC Retirement Services Company. www.aig.com/RetirementServices

About First Student

As the leading school transportation solutions provider in North America, First Student strives to provide the best start and finish to every school day. First Student completes 5 million student journeys each day, moving more passengers than all U.S. airlines combined. With a team of highly-trained drivers and the industry’s strongest safety record, First Student delivers reliable, quality services including full-service transportation and management, special-needs transportation, route optimization and scheduling, maintenance and charter services for 1,100 school district contracts. http://www.firststudentinc.com

About AASA

AASA, the School Superintendents Association, which was founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders nationwide and worldwide. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education. www.aasa.org