People

Mike A. Bitz
Mandan School District 1 in Mandan, N.D., has hired Mike Bitz as assistant superintendent. An AASA member since 1996, Bitz moves from the superintendency in the 400-student Hillsboro, N.D., district, where he spent 11 years. An educator in North Dakota for 22 years, he also served as the shared superintendent of the Milnor and North Sargent districts for three years and as elementary school principal in Emerado. Bitz began his career as a 3rd-grade teacher in Burlington. He earned a doctoral degree in educational leadership from the University of North Dakota.

Jean M. Broadwater
The Houston Public Schools, Independent School District 294, in Houston, Minn., welcomed Jean Broadwater as the district’s new superintendent in August. Broadwater previously served as the superintendent in Kewaunee, Wis., since March 2009. She began her career in education as a teacher in Milwaukee Public Schools, where she taught in elementary and middle schools for eight years, through 2003. She then joined the West Bend, Wis., School District as principal of a middle school. Broadwater has been a member of AASA since 2009.

Constance R. Collins
After spending five years as superintendent of the Oak Park, Ill., Elementary School District 97, Constance Collins has moved into the top district post of the 7,300-student Round Lake, Ill., schools. Earlier, Collins served as superintendent of the Zion, Ill., Elementary School District 6, and worked as special education supervisor, elementary principal and area superintendent in Grand Rapids, Mich. Starting as a speech pathologist, she also has worked in Indiana, Tennessee and Texas. An AASA member since 2001, Collins earned a Ph.D. in communication disorders at Pennsylvania State University.

J. Roland Hernandez
The Corpus Christi, Texas Independent School District has a new chief administrative officer in Roland Hernandez. An AASA member since 2001, he spent the past four years as superintendent of the Waco, Texas, Independent School District. Previously, he worked for three years as the deputy superintendent of the Tyler, Texas, Independent School District. Hernandez also was the state director of the National Assessment of Educational Progress. He began his career as a teacher and coach in Angleton, Texas, and earned a doctorate of educational administration from University of Texas at Austin.

Mary von Rotz Sakuma
Following a four-year stint as a superintendent/principal in Junction Elementary School District in Palo Cedro, Calif., Mary Sakuma has become superintendent of the Durham, Calif., Unified School District. Sakuma held various posts in California districts since 1988, including a principalship in Red Bluff, where she also directed religious education at a parish. She also was a principal in Antelope. An AASA member since 2007, Sakuma was named the 2010 Superintendent/Principal of the Year for her region by Shasta County School Administrators’ Association.

Gregory E. Thornton
A 33-year educator, Gregory Thornton has assumed the superintendency of Milwaukee Public Schools after serving as superintendent in the Chester Upland School District in Chester, Pa., for three years. He previously worked as chief academic officer of the School District of Philadelphia and held school leadership positions in Montgomery County, Md., and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County and Charlotte-Mecklenburg, both in North Carolina. An AASA member since 2001, Thornton earned a doctorate in educational leadership at Nova Southeastern University.