Oregon’s Gustavo Balderas Named 2020 AASA National Superintendent of the Year


San Diego, Feb. 14, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Gustavo Balderas, superintendent of Eugene School District 4J in Eugene, Ore., has been named the 2020 AASA National Superintendent of the Year®. Today’s announcement came at the National Conference on Education, hosted by AASA, The School Superintendents Association.

VIDEO: Gustavo Balderas’ remarks following the announcement.

Regarded as the most comprehensive professional learning and networking event for school superintendents and administrators, this event is addressing the most critical issues affecting public education today including equity in education, social and emotional learning, personalizing education, early learning, technology, school safety and administration and leadership.

The other National Superintendent of the Year® finalists were:

“It is truly an honor to serve in the role of superintendent of the Eugene Public Schools. I am blessed to be in my community,” said Balderas as a 2020 National Superintendent of the Year® finalist. “Seeing that kids are succeeding because of the changes we’re making drives me. We, as leaders, need to be champions for our profession. Education is the backbone to our democracy.”

Balderas became the district’s 23rd superintendent in 2015. His career highlights include improving equity and cultural proficiency in the state’s K–12 instruction through the Oregon Leadership Network and the Oregon State Action for Educational Leadership Project, and developing equity systems around instruction, student behavior and hiring practices in the school districts where he has worked. He is a founding member and past president of the Oregon Association of Latino Administrators, and currently serves as the northwest regional representative and treasurer for the National Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents.

Now in its 33rd year, the National Superintendent of the Year® program, co-sponsored by AASA, AIG Retirement Services and First Student, celebrates the contributions and leadership of public school superintendents.

“Gustavo Balderas demonstrates the highest standards when it comes to leading a school district and working to building a lasting future for students,” said Paul G. Osland, president, First Student. “Superintendents play an integral role in our public schools as well as the communities in which they’re located. Gustavo exemplifies the importance of today’s announcement as we work to create new beginnings for our young learners in school districts large and small. We are thrilled to partner with AASA in this program.”

“On behalf of public education and the more than 50 million students learning and growing in our public schools, it is truly an honor to congratulate Gustavo Balderas for being named the 2020 National Superintendent of the Year®,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. “We truly appreciate the tremendous work he is doing to promote academic achievement in Eugene School District and beyond. It is also an honor to congratulate our three other finalists, Samantha Fuhrey, Michael Nagler and Jeffery Smith. These individuals are all champions for children. I thank AIG Retirement Services and First Student for supporting our program.”

Members of the 2020 AASA National Superintendent of the Year® Award Blue Ribbon Selection Committee include:

  • Rich Bagin, executive director, National School Public Relations Association, Rockville, Md.
  • Wanda Cook-Robinson (former National Superintendent of the Year® finalist, 2013), superintendent, Oakland Schools, Waterford, Mich.
  • Tom Gentzel, executive director and CEO, National School Boards Association, Alexandria, Va.
  • Patricia Neudecker (past AASA president),director, School Leadership Programs, Alverno College, Milwaukee, Wis.
  • Darline Robles, professor, Clinical Education, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Thomas Tucker, 2016 National Superintendent of the Year®, superintendent, Douglas County School District, Castle Rock, Colo.

The AASA National Superintendent of the Year® program is open to all U.S. superintendents who plan to continue in the profession. The program also honors Canadian and other international school superintendents. The applicants were measured against the following criteria:

  • Leadership for learning – creativity in successfully meeting the needs of students in the 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; and
  • Community involvement – active participation in local community activities and an understanding of regional, national and international issues.

A $10,000 college scholarship will be presented in the name of the 2020 AASA National Superintendent of the Year® to a student in the high school from which the superintendent graduated, or the school now serving the same area.

For more information about the program, contact Jennifer Rooney, AASA director, meetings and awards, at jrooney@aasa.org.

Click here to access a list of the AASA 2020 State Superintendents of the Year. For more information about the National Conference on Education, access AASA’s Conference Daily Online.

About AIG Retirement Services
For more than half a century, AIG Retirement Services has served as a leading defined contribution retirement plan provider for tax-exempt and public sector employers, including K-12, higher education, healthcare, government, religious, charitable and other nonprofit organizations. AIG Retirement Services has more than $100 billion in total assets under administration, managing thousands of plans serving approximately 1.8 million participants. It includes the VALIC family of companies: The Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, VALIC Financial Advisors, Inc. and VALIC Retirement Services Company. Additional information can be found at www.aig.com/RetirementServices.

About First Student
As the leading school transportation solutions provider in North America, First Student strives to provide the best start and finish to every school day. First Student completes five million student journeys each day, moving more passengers than all U.S. airlines combined. With a team of highly-trained drivers and the industry’s strongest safety record, First Student delivers reliable, quality services including full-service transportation and management, special-needs transportation, route optimization and scheduling, maintenance and charter services for 1,100 school district contracts. For more information, please visit http://www.firststudentinc.com/.

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.

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