Virginia, Michigan and California Educators Receive 2017 Women in School Leadership Awards


James Minichello
703-774-6953 (cell) 

New Orleans – March 3, 2017 – As part of its mission, AASA, The School Superintendents Association, works to increase the number of females in leadership roles. AASA is pleased to announce the 2017 Women in School Leadership Awards at its National Conference on Education in New Orleans.

AASA recently added a new awards category—the School Based Award—for aspiring female leaders in public schools. This year’s honoree is Kristin Shymoniak, lead special education teacher at Arlington Public Schools in Arlington, Va. With this new awards category, AASA can now recognize the leadership skills of talented teachers, coaches and other school-based employees seeking leadership positions.

Other Women in School Leadership honorees include:

  • Superintendent Award: Yvonne Caamal Canul, superintendent of Lansing School District in Lansing, Mich.
  • Central Office/Principal Award: Lisette Estrella-Henderson, associate superintendent, student programs and educational services, Solano County Office of Education, Fairfield, Calif.

The awards were sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and AASA. Each honoree received $1,000 and a one-year membership to AASA. The awards continue a longstanding tradition of AASA honoring exceptional female superintendents, district-level administrators and principals whose talent, creativity and vision are exemplary. The criteria include demonstration of strength in both personal and organizational communication, professionalism and community involvement.

“The talented women educators we are honoring today are paving the way for more female leaders in education to enter the field of administration,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. “We are most grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for supporting our program. These awards should send a signal nationwide to ignite our efforts to create leadership opportunities for the outstanding women in education today.”        

The Women in School Leadership Award pays tribute to the talent, creativity and vision of outstanding women educational administrators in the nation’s public schools.

The following criteria were used as measures for the awards:

  • Leadership for learning – creativity in successfully meeting the needs of students in the school system
  • Communication – strength in both personal and organizational communication
  • Professionalism – constant improvement of administrative knowledge and skills, while providing professional development opportunities and motivation to others on the education team
  • Community involvement – active participation in local community activities and an understanding of regional, national and international issues 

Members of the 2017 AASA Women in School Leadership Award Selection Committee included:

  • Jill Cook, assistant director, American School Counselor Association, Alexandria, Va.
  • Martha Morris, director, K-12 Outreach and Resources, College Readiness Assessments, Reston, Va.
  • Amy Sichel, superintendent, Abington School District, Abington, Pa.
  • Kathleen Vail, director of editorial services, National School Boards Association, Alexandria, Va.

For more information about AASA’s Women in School Leadership Awards, contact Bernadine Futrell, AASA director of awards and collaborations, at

Read Conference Daily Online and stay up to date with AASA’s 2017 National Conference on Education.


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