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



James Minichello
703-774-6953 (cell)

Los Angeles – Feb. 15, 2019 – Leadership in our nation’s public school districts took a 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.

The ceremony was part of AASA’s National Conference on Education in Los Angeles, Calif.  

The conference is also serving as a platform to highlight AASA’s Leaders Matter campaign, an initiative to showcase school districts where the exemplary leadership of the superintendent has resulted in meaningful outcomes for schools and students.

Excellence in leadership in our public schools has never been more vital in today's education landscape, said Daniel A. Domenech, AASA executive director. It is truly an honor, at our national conference, to congratulate the outstanding education leaders for completing the National Superintendent Certification Program®. As the nation's premier organization for public school district leadership, we encourage superintendents who are in their early years on the job to consider enrolling in this program.   

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. 

Superintendents and other administrators honored were:

West Coast Cohort:  

  • Krin Abraham, superintendent, Houston Public Schools, Houston, Minn. 
  • Giovanni Annous, superintendent, Upper Lake Unified School District, Upper Lake, Calif.  
  • Benjamin Barton, superintendent, Princeton Public School District 477, Princeton, Minn.  
  • Doug Brubaker, superintendent, Fort Smith School District, Fort Smith, Ark.
  • Amy J. Carter, superintendent, Meridian Public School District, Meridian, Miss.
  • Heather Davis Schmidt, superintendent, Whitefish School District 44, Whitefish, Mont.
  • Lisa Floyd, deputy director, education, Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice, Richmond, Va
  • Karen Gaborik, superintendent, Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, Fairbanks, Alaska
  • Brian Harvey, superintendent, Oxford School District, Oxford, Miss.     
  • Kyle Heath, superintendent, Cleburne Independent School District, Cleburne, Texas
  • Suzzette Hesser, superintendent, Hoopeston Area School District 11, Hoopeston, Ill.   
  • Louis E. Laffitte, Jr., superintendent, Salt River Schools, Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • Donna S. Leak, superintendent, Community Consolidated Schools District 168, Sauk Village, Ill.  
  • Mark E. Marshall, superintendent, Los Banos Unified School District, Los Banos, Calif.      
  • Paul A. Penna, superintendent, School Administrative District 6, Buxton, Maine
  • Craig Skaluba, superintendent, Muncy School District, Muncy, Pa
  • Daniel Streeter, superintendent, Humboldt Unified School District 22, Prescott Valley, Ariz.  

Midwest Cohort    

  •  Laurie Barron, superintendent, Evergreen School District, Kalispell, Mont.  
  •  Paul Blanford, superintendent, The School District of Elmwood, Elmwood, Wis.  
  •  Robert Breidenstein, superintendent, Salamanca City Central School District, Salamanca, N.Y.
  •  Xandra Brooks-Keys, superintendent, Coahoma County School District, Clarksdale, Miss.  
  •  Curtis Cain, superintendent, Wentzville School District, Wentzville, Mo.
  •  Sean Dusek, superintendent, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Soldotna, Alaska
  •  Annette Freiheit, superintendent, Pine City Public Schools, Pine City, Minn.
  •  Brian Hartwell, district superintendent, Cayuga Onondaga BOCES, Auburn, N.Y.
  •  Nicholas Henkle, superintendent, Channahon School District 17, Channahon, Ill.
  •  Eugene Kotulka, superintendent, Alleghany County Public Schools, Low Moor, Va.  
  •  Crystal LeRoy, superintendent, Chief School Business Official, Kenilworth School District 38, Kenilworth, Ill.
  •  Delesicia Martin, superintendent, Hinds County School District, Raymond, Miss.  
  •  Daniel Moore, superintendent, Banta Elementary School District, Tracy, Calif.
  •  Kevin Patterson, chair of graduate studies in education, Southwest Baptist University, Bolivar, Mo.  
  •  Bhavna Sharma-Lewis, superintendent, Diamond Lake District 76, Mundelein, Ill.
  •  Wade Shipman, superintendent, Tallassee City Schools, Tallassee, Ala.
  •  Bilal Tawwab, superintendent, Flint Community Schools, Flint, Mich.  
  •  Rachel Udstuen, superintendent, Spring Grove School District, Spring Grove, Minn.  
  •  Brad Voehringer, superintendent, Morton Grove School District 70, Morton Grove, Ill.

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, at

For more information about the 2019 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 equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education. For more information, visit