Governing Board, in Unique Move, Picks AASA’s Next President

By Jay P. Goldman/Conference Daily Online, Feb. 10, 2016 

 Gail Pletnick
    Gail Pletnick

For the first time in its modern history, AASA’s governing body has selected the next president, eliminating a general election of the association’s members following the national conference.

The unusual move means Gail K. Pletnick, a superintendent from the suburbs of Phoenix, Ariz., will become president-elect on July 1 and assume the presidency of the 151-year-old organization the following July.

The AASA Governing Board took this step because only a single candidate, Pletnick, had submitted the required materials to be considered for the leadership post. A second member withdrew his candidacy shortly after submitting the nomination materials because he was moving earlier this year from a superintendency into a new position in education.

In presenting the resolution to elect Pletnick to the Governing Board at its day-long meeting Wednesday, past president David Pennington said AASA had consulted legal counsel, receiving assurances the Governing Board had the authority to make this move. He said he expected the board to consider a bylaws change at its next meeting in July to codify this option for presidential selection.

Had the measure not been adopted, AASA would have conducted an election by electronic and paper ballots between mid-March and mid-April. The elimination of the election will save the association several thousand dollars in expenses.

The last time only a single candidate ran for the AASA president was 2003 when Don Kussmaul, a longtime superintendent of rural schools in Illinois, was the lone contender.

Pletnick, an AASA member since 2005, is superintendent of the Dysart Unified School District in Surprise, Ariz. She is a member of the AASA Executive Committee.

A profile of Pletnick appeared in the January 2015 issue of AASA’s School Administrator magazine. You can read her views on serving as AASA president in Conference Daily Online.

(Jay P. Goldman is editor of AASA’s Conference Daily Online.)