School System Leaders Earn National Superintendent Certification



James Minichello
703-774-6953 (cell)

Superintendents Honored at AASA’s National Conference on Education

Phoenix, Ariz. – Feb. 11, 2016 – Excellence in leadership in our nation’s public schools took a major step forward today when AASA, The School Superintendents Association, announced the 2016 class of superintendents to earn National Superintendent Certification.

AASA, founded in 1865, is the premier organization for our nation’s superintendents serving thousands of education leaders throughout the United States. The national conference brings public education’s best thought leaders together under one roof to discuss the most critical issues facing our schools. The nearly 30 superintendents who completed the certification process were honored during the first general session at the conference.   

“On behalf of public schools throughout the U.S., it gives me great pleasure to congratulate the outstanding leaders being honored for completing our National Superintendent Certification program,” said Daniel A. Domenech, AASA executive director. “Our certification program develops real-world skills that superintendents need to build a network of mentors, colleagues, critical friends and experts to call on throughout their career.” 

Launched in 2013, the National Superintendent Certification process is spread over 18 months and is tailored for superintendents who have been in the job five years or fewer. The forums, seminars and coaching provide opportunities to define and examine issues that surface in real life situations. These issues include:

  • Providing world-class instructional leadership,
  • Building and managing a district budget,
  • Mastering effective communication and political skills, 
  • Using 21st century technology effectively in instruction and management,
  • Managing superintendent/school board relations, and
  • Designing a career path for oneself. 

Last year, the inaugural cohort gave anonymous feedback that ranked the value of the academy with a score of 4.8 on a 5 point scale. The camaraderie, honesty and openness that participants described illustrate the experience that AASA members have been asking for. 

Superintendents honored for successfully completing AASA’s National Superintendent Certification program are:

  • Emmanuel Caulk, Portland Public Schools, Portland, Maine
  • Matthew Conway, Derby Public Schools, Derby, Conn.
  • Jaret Cotton, Henry County Public Schools, Collinsville, Va.
  • Richard Faidley, Boyertown Area School District, Boyertown, Pa.
  • Jill Gildea, Fremont School District 79, Mundelein, Ill.
  • Lolli Haws, Racine Unified School District, Racine, Wis.
  • Shane Hotchkiss, Bermudian Springs School District, York Springs, Pa.
  • Carol Kelley, Branchburg Township, Branchburg, N.J.
  • Michael Laub, Avon Local Schools, Avon, Ohio 
  • Michael Lubelfeld, Deerfield Public Schools District 109, Deerfield, Ill.
  • Lily Matos DeBlieux, Pendergast Elementary, Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Bryan McGraw, North Pocono School District, Moscow, Pa.
  • Katrise Perera, Isle of Wight County Schools, Smithfield, Va.
  • Nick Polyak, Leyden Community High School District #212, Lombard, Ill.
  • Charles Proffit, Cloverport Independent School District, Cloverport, Ky.
  • Jeremy Ray, Biddeford School Department, Biddeford, Maine
  • Kevin Smith, Wilton Public Schools, Wilton, Conn.
  • Melinda Smith, North Providence School Department, Pascoag, R.I.
  • Andre Spencer, Harrison School District Two, Colorado Springs, Colo.
  • Brian Troop, Ephrata Area School District, Ephrata, Pa.
  • Nikki Woodson, M.S.D. of Washington Township, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Michael Zalar, North Olmsted City Schools, North Olmsted, Ohio 

The AASA National Superintendent Certification Program is a collaborative effort with AASA state affiliates, the National School Boards Association, and business and corporate leaders. The master teachers and guest instructors have all been sitting superintendents and have demonstrable track records of success. 

For more information about AASA’s National Superintendent Certification program, contact Mort Sherman, AASA associate executive director, leadership services and awards, at 

For more information about the 2016 National Conference on Education, click here.


About AASA
 AASA, The School Superintendents Association, 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