Four Finalists Selected for the 2012 National Superintendent of the Year Program



Kitty Porterfield, AASA, 703-774-6953,
Karen Cutler, ARAMARK Education, 215-238-4063,
Kelly Banaszak, ARAMARK, 215-238-3559
Audria Belton Benn, ING, 770-980-5715,

Finalists selected from 49 state-level winners; Program celebrates 25th year

Frost HeathMorrison-web.jpg LorraineLange-web.jpg  SusanBunting

Diane L. Frost, superintendent, Asheboro City Schools, Asheboro, N.C.

Heath Morrison, superintendent, Washoe County School District¸ Reno, Nev.

Lorraine Lange, superintendent, Roanoke County Public Schools, Roanoke, Va.

Susan Smith Bunting, superintendent, Indian River School District, Selbyville, Del.

ALEXANDRIA, Va., January 3, 2012 – The American Association of School Administrators has announced four finalists in the 2012 National Superintendent of the Year program. The program, co-sponsored by ARAMARK Education, ING and AASA is celebrating its 25th year honoring the contributions and leadership of public school superintendents. AASA will announce the 2012 National Superintendent of the Year on Feb. 16, 2012, at the National Conference on Education in Houston, Texas.

The four finalists for 2012 AASA National Superintendent of the Year are:

  • Diane L. Frost, superintendent, Asheboro City Schools, Asheboro, N.C.
  • Heath Morrison, superintendent, Washoe County School District¸ Reno, Nev.
  • Lorraine Lange, superintendent, Roanoke County Public Schools, Roanoke, Va.
  • Susan Smith Bunting, superintendent, Indian River School District, Selbyville, Del.

"AASA is pleased to recognize these four outstanding superintendents," said AASA Executive Director Daniel A. Domenech. "Their dedication to transforming schools, providing quality education for all students and working with the school community to advance student success represents the best in school system leadership today."

“We congratulate the four Finalists, all of the State winners and AASA for their ongoing leadership, innovation and commitment to excellence in education,” said Dennis Maple, President, ARAMARK Education. “As a founding sponsor of the National Superintendent of the Year program, all of us at ARAMARK are happy and proud to be celebrating its Silver Anniversary, and we thank all of the talented superintendents who have been dedicated to advancing student achievement and creating positive student learning environments over the past 25 years.”

"ING is proud to sponsor the 25th anniversary of the National Superintendent of the Year program and extends our congratulations to the national finalists and all the state winners," said Rhonda Mims, president of the ING Foundation. "We are committed to education, and honoring the superior leadership of our public school superintendents for their efforts in advancing student achievement and positively influencing our youth is one way we can support excellence in education."

The four national finalists were chosen from 49 State Superintendent of the Year finalists. The finalists will be at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 10, 2012, where they will be interviewed by a national blue-ribbon selection panel of educators, businesspeople and government officials. The finalists are:

Diane L. Frost, superintendent, Asheboro City Schools, Asheboro, N.C.
Diane Frost is currently in her 35th year in public education, with the past 20 years in Asheboro City Schools. She was named Assistant Superintendent in 1995 and Superintendent in 2000. Strategic planning and community engagement are hallmarks of Dr. Frost’s tenure with Asheboro City Schools. Leading the district through multiple strategic planning processes has unified the community around setting high expectations for all students and providing the tools needed to accomplish this goal. Her collaborative leadership style, creativity, and fierce determination to produce globally competitive students have resulted in a sharply narrowed mathematics achievement gap and a record-high graduation rate (84%).

Frost earned her bachelor and master degrees from the University of Nebraska and Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Both universities have honored her with their Alumni Achievement Award. She served on the governing board for the American Association of School Administrators and is the NC State Textbook Commission chairman, appointed by the Governor.

Heath Morrison, superintendent, Washoe County School District¸Reno, Nev.
Heath Morrison has been superintendent for Washoe County School District since 2009. Despite the fact that Nevada’s once-booming economy was in steep decline, Morrison led the community in the development of the District’s five-year strategic plan. Between 2009 and 2011, the District’s graduation rate jumped from 56 percent to 70 percent with increases in every student subgroup. The district also has achieved significant test score gains and has narrowed the achievement gap in many subject areas.

Morrison holds a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Planning and a Master of Educational Administration from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of the Arts in government from the College of William and Mary. Before coming to Nevada, Morrison was community superintendent for the Down County Consortium in Montgomery County Public Schools, Md. Morrison has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the 2012 Leadership through Communication Award from AASA, NSPRA, and Blackboard Connect and the Distinguished Educational Leader Award from the Washington Post.

Lorraine Lange, superintendent, Roanoke County Public Schools, Roanoke, Va.
Lorraine Lange began her educational career in 1969 as a special education teacher. Lange was named superintendent of Roanoke County Public Schools in June 2006. She led the effort to develop and implement a laptop initiative which has helped close the socioeconomic gap and level the playing field so all high school students have access to the same technological resources by assigning a laptop to every high school student personalized to meet their needs. The success of this program is evidenced by the school system’s On-Time Graduation Rate: 91.8 percent for 2010, up 2 percent from 2009 and exceeding the statewide average of 86.6 percent.

Lange holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Roanoke College, a Master’s Degree from Hollins University and a Doctorate from Virginia Tech. She has held the positions of kindergarten teacher, assistant principal, principal, supervisor of language arts K-12, associate director of instruction, assistant superintendent of instruction and deputy superintendent of instruction. She is a former adjunct professor at Hollins University and Roanoke College where she taught aspiring teachers.

Susan Smith Bunting, superintendent, Indian River School District, Selbyville, Del.
Susan Bunting is currently serving in her sixth year as superintendent of the Indian River School District. Bunting has articulated a clear vision that has molded the district into an exemplary system with programs that school and district leaders from Delaware and surrounding regions have sought to replicate. Under her leadership, Indian River was selected as one of the original participants in Delaware’s Vision 2015 initiative and has become a trailblazer in Delaware’s Race to the Top. In 2011, IRSD’s students scored first, second, and third in reading, math, science and social studies in the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System, and all fourteen IRSD schools are ranked “Superior” in Delaware’s accountability system.

Bunting earned her B.S. in psychology and elementary education from The American University, a Masters in Education from Salisbury University, and a Doctorate in Education Leadership from the University of Delaware. Additionally, she attended Harvard’s Principals’ Academy and completed the Executive Leadership Program at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. She received the University of Delaware’s Outstanding Alumni Award in 1999 and 2008, AASA’s Civic Star Award and NSBA’s Magna Award in 2003, and Delaware Superstar in Education recognition in 2000, 2006, 2009, and 2010.

The annual Superintendent of the Year program is open to all U.S., Canadian, and International School superintendents who plan to continue in the profession. The applicants were measured against the following criteria:

  • Leadership for learning – creativity in successfully meeting the needs of students in the school system.
  • Communication – strength in both personal and organizational communication.
  • Professionalism – constant improvement of administrative knowledge and skills, while providing professional development opportunities and motivation to others on the education team.
  • Community involvement – active participation in local community activities and an understanding of regional, national and international issues.

A $10,000 college scholarship will be presented in the name of the National Superintendent of the Year to a student in the high school from which the superintendent graduated, or the school now serving the same area.

The National Superintendent of the Year will receive a jacket emblazoned with the National Superintendent of the Year emblem and, with the three other national finalists, will be recognized at the AASA National Conference on Education on Feb. 16, 2012, during the ceremony announcing the National Superintendent of the Year.

The 49 state-level, Canadian and international winners will also be honored at the AASA National Conference on Education. The winners are:



School District


Larry E. DiChiara

Phenix City Public Schools


Jim Nygaard

Cordova School


Calvin Baker

Vail Unified School District


Kay Johnson

Greenwood School District


Sandra Sanchez

Whittier Union High
School District


Charlotte Ciancio

Mapleton Public


Diane Ullman

Simsbury Public


Susan Smith

Indian River School District


Wallace P. Cox

School Board of
Highlands County


Emily Lembeck

Marietta City Schools


Mary Vagner

School District 25


Peter Flynn

Freeport School
District 145


Jerry Thacker

Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation


Kathleen S.

Linn-Mar Community School District


Michael Mathes

Seaman Unified
School District 345


Lu Settles Young

Jessamine County Schools


Wayne R. Savoy

Calcasieu Parish
Public Schools


Suzanne T. Godin

South Portland
School Department


Karen Salmon

Talbot County Public


Maureen LaCroix

Bedford Public


Tina A. Kerr

Coldwater Community


Lynn Christopher

Northfield Public Schools
ISD 659


Malcolm Kuykendall

Tishomingo County
School District


Terry Adams

Wentzville R-IV
School District


Daniel T. Farr

Sidney Public Schools


Bill Mowinkel

Northwest Public Schools


Heath Morrison

Washoe County
School District

New Hampshire

Elaine F. Cutler

Litchfield School

New Jersey

Roy R. Montesano

Ramsey Public

New Mexico

J. Mike Phipps

Artesia Public

New York

Henry L. Grishman

Jericho Union Free
School District

North Carolina

Diane L. Frost

Asheboro City

North Dakota

Richard J. Buresh

Fargo Public Schools


Gene T. Harris

Columbus City


Robert Everett

Newcastle Public Schools


Ronald D. Wilkinson

Bend-La Pine Schools


Patrick T. O'Toole

Upper St. Clair
School District

Rhode Island

Donna M.

North Providence
School District

South Carolina

Joseph R. Pye

Dorchester School
District 2

South Dakota

Mark Greguson

Chester Area Schools


Kathleen M. Airhart

Putnam County
School System


Jeffrey Turner

Coppell Independent School District


Jim Johnson

Iron County School District


Jeanne Collins

Burlington School District 15


Lorraine S. Lange

Roanoke County


Patricia Anne Banks

University Place
School District 83

West Virginia

Larry Edwin Parsons

Preston County


Kristine A.

D.C. Everest Area
School District


Paul Grube

Sweetwater County School District 1


Linda Fabi

Waterloo Region
District School Board,


Curtis Brown

South Slave Divisional Educational Council,
Northwest Territories

International Schools

Richard Spradling

American School of
The Hague, Netherlands

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. The mission of AASA is to advocate for the highest quality public education for all students, and develop and support school system leaders. For more information, visit Follow AASA on twitter at Become a fan of the AASA Facebook page at

About ARAMARK Education
ARAMARK Education provides a complete range of food, facility, uniform and other support services to more than 500 K-12 school districts in the U.S. It offers public and private education institutions a family of dining and facility services including: on-site and off-site breakfast and lunch meal programs, after-school snacks, catering, nutrition education, retail design and operations, maintenance, custodial, grounds, energy management, construction management, and building commissioning. For more information on ARAMARK’s K-12 food service programs, please visit

ARAMARK is a leader in professional services, providing award-winning food services, facilities management, and uniform and career apparel to health care institutions, universities and school districts, stadiums and arenas, and businesses around the world. The company is recognized as the industry leader in FORTUNE magazine's "World's Most Admired Companies," and as one of America's Largest Private Companies by both FORTUNE and Forbes magazines. ARAMARK seeks to responsibly address issues that matter to its clients, customers, employees and communities by focusing on employee advocacy, environmental stewardship, health and wellness, and community involvement. Headquartered in Philadelphia, ARAMARK has approximately 255,000 employees serving clients in 22 countries. Learn more at the company's Web site,, or

About ING
ING is a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, investments, life insurance, and retirement services to over 85 million residential, corporate and institutional clients in more than 40 countries. With a diverse workforce of about 115,000 people, ING is dedicated to setting the standard in helping our clients manage their financial future. For more information, visit

About the ING Foundation
The ING Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life in communities where ING operates and its employees and customers live. Through charitable giving and employee volunteerism, the foundation focuses on programs in the areas of financial literacy, children’s education, diversity, and environmental sustainability. For more information, visit


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