AASA Honors Veteran Educators for Distinguished Service at National Conference on Education



James Minichello

703-774-6953 (cell)


Phoenix, Ariz. – Feb. 12, 2016 – AASA, The School Superintendents Association, honored four outstanding educators today, including the immediate past president of the association, with Distinguished Service Awards. A ceremony to recognize these individuals was held at AASA’s National Conference on Education in Phoenix, Ariz.  

These educational leaders are recognized by AASA for bringing honor to themselves, their colleagues and their profession; rendering exemplary service to their state or national professional association; and contributing to the education field through writing, public advocacy or other activities. 

The 2015 recipients are:

Bruce Hunter
Bruce Hunter’s influence on Capitol Hill helped AASA shape legislation to meet the needs of children, including sharing one of AASA’s most controversial decisions not to endorse the No Child Left Behind Act as it was being passed into law in 2001. Hunter’s direct work has been imbedded in countless pieces of legislation throughout the past three decades. He has always been at the center of the education policy debate in Washington, D.C., and has created countless coalitions that continue to exist today, including the Committee for Education Funding. The federal education landscape is much of what it is today due to the lasting impact Hunter had on it. Countless millions of children have benefited from his staunch advocacy and policies he helped to create.

Spike Jorgensen
Spike Jorgensen
was a founding member and later executive director of Citizens for the Educational Advancement of Alaska’s Children. His achievements include recognition as Alaska Superintendent of the Year and National Superintendent of the Year finalist, recipient of Black Hills State University’s Outstanding Achievement Award, president of the Horace Mann League and a double recipient of the Friend of the Horace Mann League Award. He has served as a superintendent, principal and teacher in South Dakota, Wyoming and Alaska, and as an adjunct professor at the Universities of Wyoming and Alaska. He also served four terms as Commissioner on the Professional Teaching Practices and Post-Secondary Education Commissions. This marks his 44th year attending AASA’s national conference.               

Arthur Stellar
Arthur Stellar is the vice president of the National Education Foundation and CyberLearning. He was vice president for Renaissance Learning and president/CEO of HighScope Education Research Foundation. A 25-year superintendent, Stellar is recognized as an educator who generates excellence and equity and develops leaders — 52 of his protégés have become superintendents. Stellar was president of ASCD and the Horace Mann League, among other national associations. A four-time Fulbright Scholar, Stellar is widely published and received numerous honors throughout his career, including AASA’s Leadership for Learning and Dr. Effie H. Jones Humanitarian awards.

David K. Pennington
David Pennington is the immediate past president of AASA and superintendent of the Ponca City Public School District in Ponca City, Okla. Pennington served on AASA’s governing board from 2004–2010 and has been a member of the organization and the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators since 1993. He was president of the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators in 2004 and continues to serve on its board of directors. Prior to coming to Ponca City Public Schools, he was superintendent of Blackwell Public Schools in Blackwell, Okla.

For more information about AASA’s 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 www.aasa.org.