Superintendents Join Top Policy Groups to Create Healthy Communities, Prevent Childhood Obesity

May 12, 2009

School and government officials convene to address access to healthy food and physical activity; four mayors and school superintendent honored for exceptional leadership


Amy Vogt

Kathryn Bertram


Washington, D.C.—Eleven of the nation’s most prominent policymaker groups, including the American Association of School Administrators, have endorsed a host of comprehensive policy strategies and environmental changes to create healthier communities and help reverse the childhood obesity epidemic. Their support was announced last week at the second Childhood Obesity Prevention Summit hosted by Leadership for Healthy Communities.

More than 200 elected and appointed officials and other leaders attended the biennial summit, which took place May 7-8 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington. Representing states, schools and localities nationwide, attendees focused on policy options to advance healthy eating and increase physical activity in schools and communities.

Eleven superintendents received scholarships to attend the summit and represent public schools in the discussions and strategizing that took place, including AASA President Randy Collins from Waterford, Conn. Other AASA scholarship recipients included: Roel Gonzalez (Rio Grande City, Texas), Ron Hutchings (Tishomingo, Okla.) Katherine Kelly (East Dubuque, Ill.) T. Jason Martinez (Denver, Colo.), Hector Montenegro (Arlington, Texas), Anthony Morris (Natchez, Miss.), Barbara Pulliam (Jonesboro, Ga.), Bettye Ray (Social Circle, Ga.), Annie Wimbish (Hattiesburg, Miss.) and Nancy Zambito (Jackson, Tenn).

Summit attendees also honored five colleagues whose communities have implemented innovative approaches, including superintendent and scholarship recipient Roel Gonzalez of the Rio Grande City Consolidated Independent School District in Texas.

Leadership for Healthy Communities is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that works in collaboration with 11 influential groups: the American Association of School Administrators; International City/County Management Association; Local Government Commission; Council of State Governments; National Association of Counties; National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund; National Association of State Boards of Education; National Conference of State Legislatures; National League of Cities; National School Boards Association; and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

“The need for action is clear,” the organizations declare in an unequivocal joint statement. Signed by each group’s executive director, it concludes, “When policy leaders unite for a common purpose, it enables communities to tap into a larger network of social and financial resources. Together, they can support healthy schools, healthy communities and healthy children.”


About AASA
The American Association of School Administrators, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit

About Leadership for Healthy Communities
Leadership for Healthy Communities is a $10-million national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation designed to support local and state government leaders nationwide in their efforts to reduce childhood obesity through public policies that promote active living, healthy eating and access to healthy foods. For more information, visit

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more information, visit