Texas School Superintendent Roel Gonzalez To Receive National Healthy Community Leadership Award

May 1, 2009

Kathryn Bertram
Leadership for Healthy Communities

Amy Vogt


Washington, D.C.— Superintendent Roel Gonzalez of the Rio Grande City, Texas, Consolidated Independent School District, is among five national leaders who will receive the first-ever Leadership for Healthy Communities’ Healthy Community Leadership Award. The award recognizes outstanding elected and appointed officials representing schools and communities who have implemented innovative policies that can help prevent childhood obesity. The American Association of School Administrators is a grantee of Leadership for Healthy Communities and has highlighted Gonzalez’s accomplishments in his district on several occasions. Gonzalez was also chosen as the state of Texas’s Superintendent of the Year in 2007.

Leadership for Healthy Communities will recognize Superintendent Gonzalez during an awards dinner on the first evening of its second biennial Childhood Obesity Prevention Summit. The summit will be held May 7-8, 2009, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington.

“I am pleased to accept this award on behalf of my colleagues and the 10,000 kids in the Rio Grande City Consolidated Independent School District,” said Superintendent Gonzalez. “It is rewarding for Rio Grande to be recognized for our efforts as it’s always been my philosophy that lessons are not just about reading, writing and math but about living healthy and having long, enjoyable lives.”

While serving a school district in one of the most poverty-stricken areas of the nation, Superintendent Gonzalez created a new school wellness program that revamped lunch and breakfast menus—eliminating unhealthy foods, adding healthier items and ensuring each school has a full-service kitchen—and he added innovative physical activity opportunities. He introduced track meets, pee wee football and other events, and incorporated an evidence-based physical activity curriculum, the Coordinated Approach to Child Health program, into the school day.

More than 130 policymakers from the state, local and school district level – including 11 AASA members and several staff - will join federal legislators and childhood obesity policy experts as participants in this year’s summit. The summit is designed to help policy leaders advance healthy eating and active living options in their communities. Special emphasis is placed on collaborative policy approaches that address childhood obesity among vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by the epidemic.

Chosen from more than 40 nominees representing states, localities and school districts, the other award winners include: Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City; Darwin Hindman, mayor of Columbia, Mo.; Gavin Newsom, mayor of San Francisco; and Claude Ramsey, mayor of Hamilton County, Tenn.

“We are excited to give this award to Superintendent Gonzalez because of his demonstrated commitment to supporting healthy kids and healthy communities,” said Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, Ph.D., director of Leadership for Healthy Communities. “His outstanding efforts in his district represent a shining example that can be replicated by other schools across the country.”

“Obesity is a critical issue that is impacting the health and success of our youth, especially in our poorest communities," said AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech. “We applaud Superintendent Gonzalez for taking a leadership role in addressing this issue. His efforts are not only improving the students' health, but also their chances for academic success."

For more information, visit www.leadershipforhealthycommunities.org.


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. Grantees include 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.

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 www.aasa.org.