AASA President-Elect to Testify at Senate ESSA Hearing


Embargoed for Release:
July 14, 2016 / 9:30 a.m. (ET)

James Minichello
703-774-6953 (cell)

Alexandria, Va. – A day after being sworn in as the 2016-17 president-elect of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, Gail Pletnick, superintendent of Arizona’s Dysart Unified School District 89, is testifying today before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor & Pensions.

The hearing, “ESSA Implementation: Perspectives from Education Stakeholders on Proposed Regulations,” is taking place at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill. 

The following is an excerpt from Pletnick’s testimony:

“The power of ESSA is the flexibility it provides to states and schools - allowing them to focus on each student. The ESSA environment promises to be in stark contrast to the prescriptive and restrictive ‘one size fits all’ landscape of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). I understand the value of carefully crafted regulations in supporting ESSA implementation, but it is critical those regulations reflect the carefully constructed language that speaks to intent in this law: state and local flexibility and leadership.”

Others testifying include Stephen Pruitt, commissioner of education, Kentucky Department of Education; Linda Darling-Hammond, president and CEO, Learning Policy Institute; and Alison Harris Welcher, director of school leadership, Project L.I.F.T.

Pletnick, the 2016 Arizona Superintendent of the Year, has been a member of AASA’s governing structure since 2008 and has served on the organization’s executive committee since 2013. She has also been a member of the Arizona School Administrators Association since 2002.

AASA’s installation ceremony was held last night in conjunction with AASA’s Legislative Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chair of the Senate HELP Committee, delivered remarks during a breakfast meeting at the conference. Alton L. Frailey, superintendent of the Katy Independent School District in Katy, Texas, was sworn as AASA president during the ceremony.


For specific questions about ESSA implementation, please contact Noelle Ellerson, AASA associate executive director, policy and advocacy, at nellerson@aasa.org.


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.