Nevada Superintendent Heath Morrison Named AASA 2012 Superintendent of the Year

February 16, 2012 Arlington, VA Share: Print Subscribe to Email Alerts

Heath Morrison, superintendent of Washoe County School District, Reno, Nev., has been named the 2012 AASA National Superintendent of the Year. Morrison was honored today at the opening ceremony of the American Association of School Administrators’ National Conference on Education in Houston. 

Celebrating its 25th year, the National Superintendent of the Year program, co-sponsored by AASA, the ING Foundation and ARAMARK Education, highlights the contributions and leadership of public school superintendents.

In announcing the selection, Daniel Domenech, AASA executive director had high praise for Morrison.

“Despite the fact that Nevada’s once-booming economy has been in steep decline,” Domenech said, “Heath has led his community in the development of a district-wide five-year strategic plan to ensure that every child receives a high-quality education and graduates from high school ready for college or a career.  Already, the district is seeing results.  We can learn from his success.”

Morrison has been superintendent for Washoe County School District (WCSD), an urban system with an increasingly diverse student population, since 2009.  WCSD is the second largest school district in Nevada with approximately 63,000 students enrolled in 93 schools.  Between 2009 and 2011, the District’s graduation rate jumped from 56 percent to 70 percent with increases in every student subgroup. The district also has achieved significant test score gains and has narrowed the achievement gap in many subject areas. 

At the same time, Washoe County School District is actively engaging its community by working with parents through its new Parent University and involving businesses and volunteers in schools through the Community Compact, a program between the district and several community organizations.

“Congratulations to Dr. Heath Morrison for his outstanding leadership and contributions to improving public education,” said Rhonda Mims, president of the ING Foundation and senior vice president of ING U.S.’s Office of Corporate Responsibility. “ING is proud to sponsor this program as part of our commitment to education. It’s important to honor educators like Dr. Morrison and all superintendents for their dedication toward advancing student achievement, helping to ensure every student receives a quality education for a brighter future.”

“ARAMARK congratulates Dr. Heath Morrison for being named the 2012 National Superintendent of the Year in recognition of his valuable work and untiring commitment on behalf of the students in the Washoe County School District,” said Dennis Maple, President, ARAMARK Education. “For 25 years, ARAMARK has been honored to sponsor the National Superintendent of the Year program. We truly thank and pay tribute to our nation’s superintendents for the leadership and inspiration they demonstrate everyday, which promotes the successful growth and education of today’s students.”

Morrison has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including recognition as Superintendent of the Year in 2011 from the Nevada Association of School Superintendents and the Nevada Association of School Boards; the 2012 Leadership Through Communication Award from AASA, NSPRA, and Blackboard Connect; and the Distinguished Educational Leader Award from the Washington Post.

Morrison holds a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Planning, a Master of Educational Administration from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of the Arts in government from the College of William and Mary. Morrison was a member of the 2009 Broad Superintendent Academy. Before coming to Nevada, Dr. Morrison was a community superintendent in Montgomery County (MD) Public Schools, where he supervised 34 schools and approximately 23,500 students. He also served as a middle and high school principal and teacher in Charles County, Md.

As the 2012 National Superintendent of the Year honoree, Morrison is entitled to present a $10,000 college scholarship to a student at the high school from which he graduated or to a student from a high school in his current district.

A national blue ribbon panel of educators, business leaders and government officials selected Morrison from four national finalists. The other national finalists were:

  • Diane L. Frost, superintendent, Asheboro City Schools, Asheboro, N.C.
  • Lorraine Lange, superintendent, Roanoke Country Public Schools, Roanoke, Va.
  • Susan Smith Bunting, superintendent, Indian River School District, Selbyville, Del.

The four national finalists were chosen from 49 state Superintendent of the Year finalists, all of whom represent excellence in school leadership nationwide. The annual awards program is open to all U.S. public school superintendents as well as superintendents in Canada and in American International Schools.

The national Superintendent of the Year finalists are measured against the following criteria:

  • Leadership for learning – creativity in successfully meeting the needs of students in his or her 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.

More information on the Superintendent of the Year program and a list of the 49 state-level award winners can be found at http://www.aasa.org/content.aspx?id=21520.

Contact:
Kitty Porterfield, AASA, 703-774-6953, kporterfield@aasa.org
Kelly Banaszak, ARAMARK, 215-238-3559    Banaszak-Kelly@aramark.com
Audria Belton Benn, ING, 770-980-5715, audria.benn@us.ing.com

About AASA
The American Association of School Administrators, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. The mission of AASA is to advocate for the highest quality public education for all students, and develop and support school system leaders. For more information, visit www.aasa.org. Follow AASA on twitter at www.twitter.com/AASAHQ. Become a fan of the AASA Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AASApage.

About ING
ING U.S. constitutes the U.S.-based insurance, retirement services and investment management operations of ING Groep N.V.  In the U.S., the ING (NYSE: ING) family of companies offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, which includes retirement plans, life insurance, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, institutional investment management, annuities, employee benefits and financial planning.  ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves approximately 15 million customers across the nation.  For more information, visit http://ing.us.

About the ING Foundation
The ING Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life in communities where ING operates and its employees and customers live. Through charitable giving and employee volunteerism, the foundation focuses on programs in the areas of financial literacy, children’s education, diversity, and environmental sustainability. For more information, visit www.ing-usafoundation.com or connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/act2impact and Twitter @INGact2impact.

About ARAMARK Education
ARAMARK Education provides a complete range of food, facility, uniform and other support services to more than 500 K-12 school districts in the U.S.  It offers public and private education institutions a family of dining and facility services including:  on-site and off-site breakfast and lunch meal programs, after-school snacks, catering, nutrition education, retail design and operations, maintenance, custodial, grounds, energy management, construction management, and building commissioning.  For more information on ARAMARK’s K-12 food service programs, please visit www.aramarkschools.com.

About ARAMARK
ARAMARK is a leader in professional services, providing award-winning food services, facilities management, and uniform and career apparel to health care institutions, universities and school districts, stadiums and arenas, and businesses around the world. The company is recognized as the industry leader in FORTUNE magazine's "World's Most Admired Companies," and as one of America's Largest Private Companies by both FORTUNE and Forbes magazines. ARAMARK seeks to responsibly address issues that matter to its clients, customers, employees and communities by focusing on employee advocacy, environmental stewardship, health and wellness, and community involvement. Headquartered in Philadelphia, ARAMARK has approximately 250,000 employees serving clients in 22 countries. Learn more at the company's Web site, www.aramark.com, or www.twitter.com/aramarknews.