One manages a system with more than 100,000 students encompassing urban neighborhoods and middle-class suburbs in central Florida. Another oversees a series of tiny island schools off the coast of Alaska.
They are two of the four superintendents comprising the most diverse array of final four candidates in the 30-year history of the National Superintendent of the Year program run by AASA, The School Superintendents Association. The 2017 national titlist will be revealed in mid-morning on Thursday, March 2, at the 1st General Session of AASA’s National Conference on Education in New Orleans.
The four finalists for the 2017 AASA National Superintendent of the Year are: Stewart McDonald, Kodiak Island Borough School District, Kodiak, Alaska; Barbara Jenkins, Orange County Public Schools, Orlando, Fla.; James Merrill, Wake County Public School System, Cary, N.C.; and Matthew Utterback, North Clackamas School District, Milwaukie, Ore.
A $10,000 college scholarship will be presented in the name of the 2017 winner to a student in the high school from which the superintendent graduated or the secondary school now serving the same area.
Aramark and Valic co-sponsor the NSOY award program.
A full rundown on the four and the annual recognition program, including a list of the state superintendent of the year winners, is available in the official AASA press release.