AASA Honors Veteran Educators for Distinguished Service at National Conference on Education



James Minichello 
703-774-6953 (cell)

Los Angeles – Feb. 15, 2019AASA, The School Superintendents Association, honored two outstanding educators today, including the immediate past president of the association, with its Distinguished Service Awards. A ceremony to recognize these individuals was held at AASA’s National Conference on Education in Los Angeles, Calif.

These educational leaders are recognized by AASA for bringing honor to themselves, their colleagues and their profession; rendering exemplary service to their state or national professional association; and contributing to the education field through writing, public advocacy or other activities. 

The 2019 recipients are:

Dwight Jones serves as senior vice president of equity, inclusion and urban markets at McGraw-Hill Education. In this role, he works with leading national, regional and local associations and organizations to find new ways to partner together to address the needs of administrators, teachers and students in some of the largest and most academically diverse U.S. school districts. Most recently, Jones served as the superintendent of Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nev. During his tenure, he initiated a school reform agenda designed to raise the academic bar and ensure all the district’s 315,000 students were prepared for college and career. His other past positions include: Colorado Commissioner of Education, superintendent at Fountain-Fort Carson School District Eight, Fountain, Colo., operational vice president at Edison Learning, Knoxville, Tenn., and assistant superintendent at Wichita Public Schools, Wichita, Kan. Before taking on those roles, Jones held several positions as an elementary, middle and high school principal and as an elementary and middle school teacher.

Gail Pletnick is an educational innovator with a demonstrated history of success. She is a past president of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, and a recently retired public school superintendent. Pletnick is skilled in personalized and digital transformation, strategic planning and educational reform. She currently serves as co-chair of the AASA Personalized Learning Cohort, a mentor for the 2020 AASA Superintendent Certification Program, the Aspiring Superintendent Academy and lead superintendent faculty for the AASA/NAESP Aspiring Principals program. Pletnick’s experience included serving as an assistant superintendent, director of school accountability, principal, plus teaching at the pre-school through higher education levels. The Alliance for Excellent Education recognized her work to build a culture of transformation. She was accepted into the League of Innovative Schools and served as chair of the EdLeader21 Advisory Committee. She was named as 2016 Arizona Superintendent of the Year and a 2014 Education Week Leader to Learn From. Pletnick has presented at several conferences, including NSBA, AASA, Global Education Research Association, Education Week Leaders to Learn From and Learning Forward, and is actively involved in several educational initiatives tied to school innovation.

For more information about the 2019 National Conference on Education, access AASAs 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 www.aasa.org.