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Suburban Chicago Leader Reacts to Being Named National Superintendent of Year® as ‘Surreal, Just Crazy’

A suburban Chicago superintendent who has developed and promoted an initiative known as Redefining Ready! to rethink the assessment of student learning was named 2018 National Superintendent of the Year® on Thursday afternoon.

David Schuler, 47, superintendent of the high school district in Arlington Heights, Ill., received news of the honor at the 1st General Session of the AASA National Conference on Education in Nashville, Tenn.

“Surreal, just crazy,” Schuler said at the stage podium, moments after the announcement. “This is super overwhelming.”

In brief remarks, which he said were unprepared, he said he “loved being a public school superintendent” and pointed to “the joys of the work.” Schuler added he relished the thought that “Redefining Ready! is now a national movement.” The initiative, which he launched three years ago during his term as AASA president, encourages wider measurements of student learning and growth beyond standardized test scores.

As the 2018 honoree, Schuler has the chance to award a $10,000 scholarship in his name to a college-bound senior from the high school he graduated or from one of the high schools in his district.

The 2017 National Superintendent of the Year winner, Matt Utterback, a superintendent in North Clackamas, Ore., helped his successor put on the traditional blue blazer given to each new recipient.

The three other superintendent finalists for honor were:

The National Superintendent of the Year® program has two major co-sponsors. On stage to represent First Student was the company’s CEO, Dennis Maple. On hand for VALIC was John Kevin, who serves as vice president and K-12 market manager.

Complete details about the announcement and the other three national finalists is available in the official AASA press release.

A profile of the 2018 winner and a collection of short takes about Schuler’s distinctive leadership and accomplishments are available on AASA’s Conference Daily Online.

(Jay P. Goldman is editor of AASA’s Conference Daily Online.)

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