Equity: A Key Driver in Public Education

soy 17 galaSuperintendents from as far away as Alaska are in the nation’s capital this week as part of AASA’s 2017 State Superintendent of the Year Forum.

It’s an annual gathering honoring excellence in district leadership showcasing the nation’s State Superintendents of the Year, including the finalists for National Superintendent of the Year®. The Forum kicked off with a Gala held at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.

“As State Superintendents of the Year, you represent the models that represent the face of public education,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA, in his opening remarks. “You are the champions of our children. You are the ones that have done incredible work in your states on behalf of your communities.”

 soy 17 gala domenechThe forum is co-sponsored by AASA, VALIC and First Student.

Toward the end of the evening, the nation’s 2017 National Superintendent of the Year®, Matthew Utterback, addressed the audience.

It’s an “amazing opportunity” to serve as National Superintendent of the Year®, said Utterback, the superintendent of Oregon’s North Clackamas School District. “To say it’s been a unique experience would be a significant understatement.”

Just last month, Utterback spoke at the Superintendent Summit on Equity and Social Justice, co-hosted by AASA and the Children’s Defense Fund, an event held at the CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tenn. He reiterated why equity is a key driver in public education today.

soy 17 gala utterback“Success as education leaders depends on your ability to recognize each person’s history and culture,” said Utterback. “I am proud of the work we’ve done to embrace equity to begin inclusive learning environments for our students.”

Utterback is in his sixth year as superintendent at North Clackamas, a suburban school district serving more than 32,000 students. It’s a district that continues to be recognized as innovative leaders in the state of Oregon.

“One of the most powerful actions we can take is engage our students in respectful conversations,” he said. “When we allow our students to listen to one another, we develop their confidence as critical thinkers.”

Day No. 2 of the Forum gets underway today.

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