Four Veteran Educators Win 2009 Dr. Effie H. Jones Humanitarian Award

February 4, 2009

Amy Vogt


ARLINGTON, Va. -- Four veteran educators and members of the American Association of School Administrators, including the immediate past president of AASA, will be honored with the 2009 Dr. Effie H. Jones Humanitarian Award during the 2009 AASA National Conference on Education, Feb. 19-21 in San Francisco, Calif.

The award honors the memory of Effie H. Jones, an educator and leader who performed groundbreaking work in elevating the status of minorities and women in education during her tenure as the organizer of the Office of Minority Affairs at AASA. She was profiled in the film “Women at the Top” for her work in the 1970s with women who aspired to the superintendency. Prior to coming to AASA, Jones worked as a teacher, counselor, and school administrator.

The recipients were selected based on their dedication and efforts related to the advocacy, support, mentoring, encouragement and successful advancement of women and minorities in education.

The 2009 winners are:

Lois Harrison-Jones, chair of the Department of Educational Administration and Policy at the Howard University School of Education in Washington, D.C. Harrison-Jones oversees a department of more than 100 graduate students, 80 percent of whom are women. Throughout her 54-year career, she has mentored and promoted women and minorities in education, and as a result, three of her women protégés now serve as school superintendents. She has also recognized the leadership qualifications of several women by appointing them to her administrative cabinets. Harrison-Jones has striven to remove stumbling blocks for women, as she herself has broken down gender barriers. For example, she served as the first woman superintendent in Richmond, Va., and Boston, Mass., Public Schools, as the highest ranking woman in the Dallas, Tex., Public Schools, and as the first African-American woman superintendent in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Sarah Jerome, superintendent of Arlington Heights School District 25 in Arlington Heights, Ill., and immediate past president of AASA. In 2007-08, Jerome served as the second woman president in AASA’s 144-year history. A superintendent for 18 years in two districts, and a long-time champion for the advancement of women and minorities in education, Jerome stands apart because she took bold, courageous action in employing the first women and minorities in key administrative positions in districts where she has worked. She continues her efforts at AASA, where she has appointed women and minorities to AASA committee positions at every opportunity, and contributes to research projects and publications and encourages partnerships with organizations promoting and encouraging women in education. As a result of her strong advocacy efforts, Cardinal Stritch University and Women Leading Education Across Continents has become a formal partner with AASA.

Wilfredo Laboy, superintendent of Schools in Lawrence, Mass., and past president of the Association for Latino Administrators and Superintendents. Laboy has made equity and opportunities for students and adults an important part of his tenure. In particular, he has implemented opportunities for career advancement for women teachers and teachers of color. Since the start of his superintendency, student enrollment in advanced placement courses and college acceptance rates have risen. In addition, the Leadership in Education Advancement Program, operated in partnership with the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, gives teachers the opportunity to advance as supervisors and administrators, and enables the district to develop a diverse work force attuned to the needs of the minority student body, 90 percent of whom are Hispanic. Recently, Laboy implemented a district based doctor cohort of 18 principals, assistant principals and supervisors, two-thirds of whom are female, minority, or both.

Charol Shakeshaft, professor and chair of the Department of Education Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va. Shakeshaft has served as an expert witness and consultant in a number of legal proceedings on sexual harassment of students, as principal investigator for the National Science Foundation on projects aimed at increasing the achievement of low-income students of color in science and mathematics, and as principal investigator on a $5.3 million grant for the equitable preparation of assistant principals and principals with a focus on instructional leadership. For the past 30 years, she has prepared graduate students, particularly women, for leadership in school administration. She is an internationally recognized researcher in the area of gender patterns in educational delivery and classroom interactions, and has shared her knowledge by presenting workshops, evaluating programs and curriculum, conducting gender audits, and assisting school systems across the United States, Canada and Europe in making schools more welcoming to females and students of color.


About AASA
The American Association of School Administrators, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders across the United States. 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