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Veteran Members from Alabama, Minnesota and Montana Emerge as the Official Contenders for the 2024 AASA Presidency

From left: David Law, Tobin Novasio and Wayne Vickers.

The election season for the AASA presidency this winter will be an especially competitive one. Three veteran members of the association, hailing from Alabama, Minnesota and Montana, emerged from the AASA Governing Board meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 14, as the official candidates for AASA’s highest elected office.

The three candidates are David Law of Minnesota, Tobin Navasio of Montana and Wayne Vickers of Alabama.

The roughly 100 Governing Board members selected the trio following two rounds of paper balloting. Initially, five AASA members had filed to run for the presidency. Under association bylaws, the Governing Board has the responsibility for selecting the presidential candidates whenever more than three aspire for the 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. He will assume the presidency in July during a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Here’s a brief rundown, alphabetically, of the three aspirants in 2024 for the AASA presidency.

  • 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.
  • 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.

In brief pitches to the full Governing Board on Wednesday, Law, Novasio and Vickers shared narratives about their difficult upbringings as students themselves to illustrate the fundamental capacity of public education to change students’ lives in powerful ways.

Law, a native of Iowa, said he was part of a family with seven kids who spent time in eight different schools over 12 years. At one point, he said, he and his mother were homeless.

Novasio said he and his family lived in 10 homes during his school-age years, and he became the first in his family to graduate from college with a degree.

Drawing on the remarks of his fellow contenders, Vickers said he wanted to see AASA and its Governing Board reclaim the narrative about the capacity of public education to make a meaningful difference in so many lives.

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

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