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Five Aspiring Candidates Contend for Coveted Slots on the 2024 AASA Presidential Ballot

From left: David Law, Martha Group, Martha Salazar-Zamora, Wayne Vickers and Tobin Novasio.

The election season for the AASA presidency this winter will be an especially competitive one. Five members of the association have filed papers for candidacy, and three of them will be selected by the AASA Governing Board when it meets on Feb. 14 to decide who will advance to the ballot for the general election.

The Governing Board meets one day prior to the opening of the 2024 National Conference on Education in San Diego. Under the association’s bylaws, the board has the responsibility for selecting the presidential candidates whenever more than three file for the elected leadership post.

Voting officially launches at 6:30 p.m. ET (3:30 p.m. PT) on Feb. 15 for balloting among the three contenders. The top vote getter will serve as president-elect beginning July 1 and assume the AASA presidency the following July.

Eligible members of the association can expect to receive their official ballot by e-mail. If a member previously opted not to vote electronically, she or he will receive a paper ballot in the mail from AASA. Only about a dozen members chose the latter route for voting in 2023.

The deadline for voting is 11:59 p.m. ET (8:59 p.m. PT) on March 8. The election result will be announced during the week of March 11, according to Kat Sturdevant, advocacy and governance coordinator at AASA.

Whoever emerges as the victor will follow Gustavo Balderas, superintendent in Beaverton, Ore., to the association’s highest elected office.

Here’s a brief rundown of the five aspirants for the AASA presidency heading into the Governing Board meeting.

  • Martha K. Group, superintendent of Vernon Verona Sherrill Central Schools in Verona, N.Y., since 2011 and previously the district’s assistant superintendent for 11 years. An AASA member since 2014, she served for two years on the AASA Governing Board and currently sits on the Executive Committee. She holds a master’s from the College of Saint Rose in Albany, N.Y. Group was president of the New York State Council of School Superintendents in 2022-23.
  • David Law, superintendent in Minnetonka, Minn., since 2022 and previously superintendent of Anoka-Hennepin Public Schools in Anoka, Minn., from 2014-2022. An AASA member since 2010, he served a year on the AASA Governing Board and currently serves on the Executive Committee. Law holds a law degree from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minn.
  • Tobin S. Novasio, superintendent in Hardin, Mont., since 2023 and previously superintendent of Lockwood School District in Billings, Mont., for 11 years. An AASA member since 2012, he spent three years on the AASA Governing Board and now sits on the Executive Committee. Novasio holds a master’s degree from Montana State University. He is a former president of the Montana Association of School Superintendents.
  • Martha Salazar-Zamora, superintendent in Tomball, Texas, since 2017 and previously the district’s chief academic officer for three years. An AASA member since 2003, she served on the AASA Governing Board and currently sits on the Executive Committee. Salazar-Zamora is president-elect of the Texas Association of School Administrators. She holds a doctorate from Texas A&M University.
  • L. Wayne Vickers, superintendent in Alabaster, Ala., since 2013 following a previous superintendency in Saraland, Ala., from 2009-2013. An AASA member since 2007, Vickers, a past member of the AASA Governing Board, currently serves on the AASA Executive Committee. He holds a doctorate from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

(Jay Goldman is editor-in-chief of Conference Daily Online and editor of AASA’s School Administrator magazine.)  

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