Conference Daily Online

AASA's award-winning newsletter, providing daily coverage of events, photos and video clips of the conference.
Close this search box.

Joe Gothard of St. Paul, Minn., Named 2024 National Superintendent of the Year at AASA Conference’s 1st General Session

Joe Gothard accepts the 2024 National Superintendent of the Year Award during the General Session at the 2024 AASA Conference on Thursday, February 15, 2024 in San Diego, Calif. Photo by Sandy Huffaker.

Joe Gothard, who has served as superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools in St. Paul, Minn., since 2017, was crowned Thursday afternoon as the 2024 National Superintendent of the Year. He becomes the 37th recipient of the profession’s highest honor.

The announcement was made at the 1st General Session of AASA’s National Conference on Education in San Diego.

(Check back soon for a brief VIDEO of Gothard’s acceptance remarks. Also, read a profile of Gothard and assorted tidbits about his distinctive nature.)

Gothard, 52, leads a 33,000-student district that’s the second largest in the state. He earlier served for four years as superintendent in Burnsville, Minn.

While on stage to accept his moment in the limelight, Gothard received the traditional blue blazer that was given to him by the previous year’s recipient, Kevin McGowan, superintendent of Brighton Central Schools, a suburban district in Rochester, N.Y.

Gothard also will receive the chance to award $10,000 in scholarship funds to a student at the high school from which he graduated in Madison, Wis., or in his current school system.

The three other finalists on stage with Gothard were:

The National Superintendent of the Year program is co-sponsored by AASA, Corebridge Financial (formerly known as AIG Life & Retirement) and First Student. The program honors school system leaders throughout the country who are making a positive difference in the lives of the students they serve in addition to ensuring the safety and wellness of their school communities.

“Congratulations to Minnesota’s Joe Gothard, an outstanding leader in public education throughout the St. Paul community as well as the entire nation,” said Terri Fiedler, president of retirement services, Corebridge Financial, said in a prepared statement. “Corebridge Financial is honored to support this program because it recognizes the tireless work being done by school superintendents and the students they serve. We thank this year’s finalists as well as all of the State Superintendents of the Year for their commitment to building the future of our country.”

“It is with great pleasure to congratulate Joe Gothard, the 2024 National Superintendent of the Year®,” said John Kenning, CEO and president, First Student, in prepared remarks. “We know how vital superintendents are to the young learners who walk through the doors of our public school buildings every day. Superintendent Gothard and our three other finalists selected for this prestigious recognition represent the hallmark of education excellence. First Student is pleased to partner with AASA as we celebrate the immeasurable contributions these leaders are creating to foster positive learning environments in our classrooms.”

The AASA National Superintendent of the Year® program is open to all U.S. superintendents who plan to continue in the profession. The program also honors Canadian and other 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; and
  • Community involvement – active participation in local community activities and an understanding of regional, national and international issues.

To learn more about Gothard, also read “Odds and Ends: Joe Gothard’s Inclusive Nature and His Distinctive Deeds Define a National Honoree in the Superintendency.”

(Jay Goldman is editor-in-chief of Conference Daily Online, and Jimmy Minichello is senior editor of Conference Daily Online.)

Share this story
Related Posts