School Administrator, August 2015


PW1Anael Alston
Anael Alston has taken the helm of the Hamilton Central School District in Hamilton, N.Y. Previously, he held principalships in Great Neck, N.Y., and Glen Cove, N.Y., where he garnered the National Association of Secondary School Principals’ Breakthrough Schools award for school turnaround. He served in assistant principal roles from 2000 to 2005. Alston earned his Ed.D. in curriculum and teaching from Teachers College at Columbia University and was named New York State Principal of the Year in 2011. He has been an AASA member since 2011.


PW2Christopher W. Heilig
The Rancocas Valley Regional High School District in Mt. Holly, N.J., has welcomed Christopher Heilig as its new superintendent. For the previous three years, he was director of programs and planning for the Lenape Regional High School District in Shamong, N.J., where he also served as assessment, accountability and programs director for three years. An AASA member since 2009, Heilig holds an Ed.D. in educational leadership from Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J.


PW3Sam Miller
After spending the past five years as superintendent of the Solon Community School District in Solon, Iowa, Sam Miller has assumed the chief administrator position with Area Education Agency 267 in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Previously, Miller spent 12 years with the Davis County School District in Bloomfield, Iowa, where he served as a secondary school principal and as superintendent for five years. Earlier this year, he co-authored The Secret Solution: How One Principal Discovered the Path to Success with Todd Whitaker and Ryan Donlan. Miller has been an AASA member since 2005.


PW4Pedro A. Rivera
Pedro Rivera, an AASA member since 2008, is Pennsylvania’s new secretary of education. The appointment comes after seven years as superintendent in Lancaster, Pa., and two years as the executive director for the School District of Philadelphia, where he also worked as assistant principal and principal. Rivera began his career as a teacher and worked on the staff of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. In 2014, he was honored by the White House as a Champion of Change for his efforts to transform urban education.




Joe CroninA spare bedroom in the Boston home of Joe Cronin is something of an art gallery, with more than 20 landscapes and seascapes on walls — all painted by the 50-year AASA member. An avid painter since age 10 when his mother dispatched him to the city’s renowned Museum of Fine Arts to stay out of trouble, Cronin relied on his hobby as a stress-relieving diversion during his career as a chief state school officer in Massachusetts and Illinois and a college president. Those roles demanded the same concentration and attention as his avocation. Cronin, 80, has signed off on more than 100 acrylic paintings on canvas, 25 of which have been sold at charity auctions to benefit Boston Children’s Hospital and other groups. A custom painting has been promised to each of his 19 grandchildren upon their graduation from college. “I like to acknowledge the fact that they hung in there for education,” says the retiree. With five down and 14 to go, Cronin is stocking up on art supplies.




Becky Albrecht, from superintendent, Trenton, Mo., to superintendent, Maryville, Mo.
Joseph Davis, from superintendent, Washington County, N.C., to superintendent, Ferguson-Florissant School District, Florissant, Mo.
Sean Dusek, from interim superintendent to superintendent, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Soldotna, Alaska
Richard Markwardt, from superintendent, Beachwood, Ohio, to superintendent, West Geauga Local Schools, Chesterland, Ohio
Karen McPhee, from superintendent, Ottawa Area Intermediate School District, Holland, Mich., to education policy adviser to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder
Shay Mikalson, from assistant superintendent of secondary education to superintendent, Bend-La Pine Schools, Bend, Ore.
Jeffrey R. Newton, from director of special services, Westbrook, Conn., to superintendent, East Lyme, Conn.
Christopher Ragsdale, from interim superintendent to superintendent, Cobb County School District, Marietta, Ga.
Ken Schroeder, from superintendent, Franklin, Neb., to superintendent, Ravenna, Neb.
Craig Witherspoon, from superintendent, Birmingham, Ala., to superintendent, Richland County School District One, Columbia, S.C.



Ron Anderson, superintendent, Jackson, Mo.
Brenda Dietrich, superintendent, Auburn-Washburn Unified School District 437, Topeka, Kan.
Frances Gallo, superintendent, Central Falls, R.I.
Robert Greene, superintendent, Athens, Tenn.
Jerry Kjergaard, superintendent, Willmar, Minn.
Margaret Smith, superintendent, Volusia County, Fla.



Kenneth N. Cole, 72, retired executive director, Wisconsin Association of School Boards, April 25
Robert Grantier, 58, retired superintendent, Troy, Pa., April 25
Alan McCartney, 67, superintendent, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central Schools, Ravena, N.Y., May 8
Orvin L. Plucker, 92, retired superintendent, Kansas City, Kan., March 30
John Schroth, 53, superintendent, Oberlin, Ohio, April 23
Paul L. Vance, 83, retired superintendent, Montgomery County, Md., May 2

News about AASA members’ promotions, retirements, honors and deaths should be addressed to: Editor, School Administrator, 1615 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Fax: 703-841-1543. E-mail: