School System Leaders Honored for Earning National Superintendent Certification at AASA’s National Conference on Education


James Minichello 


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Nashville, Tenn. – Feb. 16, 2018 – Leadership in our nation’s public school districts took a major step forward when more than 30 superintendents and other administrators were recognized for successfully completing the National Superintendent Certification Program®, administered by AASA, The School Superintendents Association. Yesterday’s ceremony was part of AASA’s National Conference on Education in Nashville, Tenn.

The conference is also serving as a platform to highlight AASA’s I Love Public Education campaign, a yearlong initiative designed to highlight why public schools are essential to developing the future generations who will maintain our country’s status as a world leader.

“At a time when our public schools have never been more vital to the future success of our children, today’s superintendent must possess the skills, knowledge and professional networks to excel on the job. It’s truly an honor to congratulate these outstanding education leaders for completing the National Superintendent Certification Program®,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. “Our process develops the practical skills that superintendents need to excel on the job. It’s also important for our graduates to build a cadre of mentors, colleagues, critical friends and experts to call on throughout their careers. Our program provides these opportunities.”  

Launched in 2013, the program 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.

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 and other administrators honored were:

  • Peter Aiken, superintendent, Manheim Central School District, Manheim, Pa.
  • Jessica Aquilina, superintendent, Forest City Regional School District, Forest City, Pa.
  • Tony Aylsworth, superintendent, Pleasantville Community School District, Pleasantville, Iowa
  • Paul Brennan, superintendent, Riverside School District, Taylor, Pa.
  • David Buck, superintendent, Wright City R-II School District, Wright City, Mo.
  • Jay Burkhart, superintendent, South Western School District, Hanover, Pa.
  • Shari Camhi, superintendent, Baldwin Union Free School District, Baldwin, N.Y.
  • Frank DeFelice, assistance executive director, Colonial Intermediate Unit 20, Easton, Pa.
  • Barry DePaoli, superintendent, Lake Chelan School District 129, Chelan, Wash.
  • Robert Fraser, superintendent, Council Rock School District, Newtown, Pa.
  • Beth Giese, superintendent, Cannon Falls Area Schools, Cannon Falls, Minn.
  • Arina Goldring-Ravin, executive director, Los Angeles Leadership Academy Charter, Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Nicholas Guarente, superintendent, Greenwood School District, Millerstown, Pa.
  • Mark Hansen, superintendent, School District of Elmbrook, Brookfield, Wis.
  • Laurie Heinz, superintendent, Park Ridge-Niles District 64, Park Ridge, Ill.
  • Melissa Kaczkowski, superintendent, Roselle School District 12, Roselle, Ill.
  • Trisha Kocanda, superintendent, Winnetka Public Schools District 36, Winnetka, Ill.
  • Ann Kox, preschool and elementary principal, American School of Valencia, Valencia, Spain
  • Bryan Luizzi, superintendent, New Canaan Public Schools, New Canaan, Conn.
  • Susan Patterson, superintendent, Cullman City Schools, Cullman, Ala.
  • Ray Queener, superintendent, Cambridge-Isanti Schools, Cambridge, Minn.
  • Brian Reas, superintendent, East Haddam Public Schools, Moodus, Conn.
  • Belinda Selfors, superintendent, Stewartville Public Schools, Stewartville, Minn.
  • Marci Shepard, superintendent, Orting School District, Orting, Wash.
  • Thomas Sisk, superintendent, Limestone County Schools, Athens, Ala.
  • Peter Stiepleman, superintendent, Columbia Public Schools, Columbia, Mo.
  • Jeanice Kerr Swift, superintendent, Ann Arbor Public Schools, Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Danny Tipton, superintendent, Hogan Preparatory Academy, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Nancy Wagner, superintendent, River Trails School District 26, Mount Prospect, Ill.
  • David White, superintendent, King William County Public Schools, King William, Va.
  • Alena Zachery-Ross, superintendent, Okemos Public Schools, Okemos, Mich.
  • Randy Ziegenfuss, superintendent, Salisbury Township School District, Allentown, Pa.

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 2018 National Conference on Education, access AASA’s Conference Daily Online.

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