Public School Leadership Makes Critical Gain with Announcement of Urban Superintendents Academy Graduates


James Minichello
703-774-6953 (cell)

Alexandria, Va. – May 24, 2016 – Efforts to improve the leadership in our public schools took a major step forward when the first-ever cohort of educators successfully completed the AASA-Howard University Urban Superintendents Academy.

Today’s announcement follows this past weekend’s celebration when nearly 30 participants graduated from the nearly yearlong program created to develop thought leaders who will represent the vast number of children in urban communities across the country.

“With roughly half of America’s children living in low-income households, it is critical that our nation provides solutions to ensure that each and every child receive a quality education. Our Urban Superintendents Academy is one solution,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA, The School Superintendents Association. “We congratulate the 2015-16 graduates who will represent the next generation of effective urban district leadership. The partnership between AASA and Howard University is a formidable step to bolster urban school systems.”

“The members of our inaugural cohort are to be commended for their dedication to become impactful superintendents,” said Leslie T. Fenwick, dean, Howard University School of Education. “We are grateful to partner with the nation’s premier superintendents association in an effort to provide the best possible learning experiences for those striving to become urban superintendents. There is a yawning diversity gap between our students and the school personnel serving them. Our Academy will help narrow that gap.”

Launched in 2015, the Urban Superintendents Academy prepares individuals for certification and success in urban and increasingly diverse suburban settings. The AASA-Howard University partnership is also designed to expand the pool of underrepresented superintendent groups.

Key aspects throughout the Academy included:

  • A consistent emphasis upon “problems of practice,” enabling the two participating cohorts to investigate together potential solutions for universal and site-specific problems, issues and dilemmas facing urban superintendents today.
  • Engaging coursework options at Howard University.

The Academy also offered prospective and in-service superintendents a revolutionary new approach to ensuring success in urban settings.

Six Academy participants have recently accepted administrative positions.

  • Anthony Hamlet, superintendent, Pittsburgh Public Schools (Pa.)
  • Jessica Huizenga, receiver, Southbridge Public Schools (Mass.)
  • Essie McKoy, principal/executive director, Philo-Hill Magnet School, Winston-Salem Forsyth County School District (N.C.)
  • Gwendolyn Page, superintendent, Southampton County Public Schools (Va.)
  • Eric J. Rosser, assistant superintendent, Buffalo Public Schools (N.Y.)
  • Andrae Townsel, principal, Southbridge Public Schools (Mass.)

For more information about the AASA/Howard University Urban Superintendents Academy, visit the AASA website. For questions, contact Mort Sherman, AASA associate executive director, at / 703-875-0726 or Bernadine Futrell, AASA director, awards and collaborations, at / 703-875-0717.

The 2015-16 AASA/Howard University Urban Superintendents Academy cohort is comprised of:

Cohort 1:

  • Joycelyn Hughes, Howard University
  • Walter Lundy, Howard University
  • Miriam Lynch, Howard University
  • Diane Abbie Martin, Howard University
  • Mykia Olive, Howard University

Cohort 2:

  • Rosa Cabrera, principal, Houston Independent School District (Texas)
  • Traci Davis, superintendent, Washoe County School District (Nev.)
  • Lendozia Edwards, campus dean, Strayer University (Ga.)
  • Christine Fowler-Mack, chief portfolio officer, Cleveland Metropolitan School (Ohio)
  • Eric Gallien, deputy superintendent, Racine Unified School District (Wis.)
  • Anthony Hamlet, Area superintendent, Palm Beach County School District (Fla.)
  • Lisa M. Hathaway, account general manager, Pearson (Md.)
  • Jessica Huizenga, assistant superintendent, Cambridge Public School District (Mass.)
  • Martha James-Hassan, commissioner, Baltimore City Public School District (Md.)
  • Essie McKoy, principal, Winston-Salem Forsyth County School District (N.C.)
  • Michael Merriman, teacher, Garland Independent School District (Texas)
  • Gwendolyn Page, superintendent, East Jasper School District (Miss.)
  • Thomas Parker, superintendent, Ecorse Public School District (Mich.)
  • Joseph Prisinzano, assistant to the superintendent, Jericho Union Free School District (N.Y.)
  • Eric J. Rosser, assistant superintendent, Buffalo Public Schools (N.Y.)
  • Rose Skepple, assistant professor, Eastern Kentucky University (Ky.)
  • Anthony W. Smith, superintendent, Clayton County Public Schools (Ga.)
  • Inger H. Swimpson, director, Human Resources and Development, Montgomery County Public Schools (Md.)
  • Rod K. Thompson, superintendent, Shakopee School District 720 (Minn.)
  • Andrae L. Townsel, vice principal, Washington D.C. Public Schools (D.C.)
  • Milton Walters, assistant superintendent, Youngstown City School District (Ohio)
  • Douglas J. Ward, principal, Fulton Leadership Academy (Ga.)
  • Sherrod D. Willaford, principal, Fulton County Schools (Ga.)
  • Jonathan Woods, chief leadership and operations officer, Provost Academy (Ga.)


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