The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) has named Heath Morrison, superintendent of the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nev., the organization’s 2012 National Superintendent of the Year.
Morrison has led Nevada’s second-largest school district, home to 63,000 students and 93 schools, since 2009, according to an AASA press release. In that time, the district’s graduation rate has increased from 56 percent to 70 percent, with gains in every subgroup. The AASA also cited increasing test scores and a narrowing of the achievement gap in awarding Morrison.
“Despite the fact that Nevada’s once-booming economy has been in steep decline, 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,” Daniel Domenech, executive director of the AASA, said in a statement. “Already, the district is seeing results. We can learn from his success.”
Morrison was praised for the district’s Parent University, which aims to educate parents on what they can do to help their students, and its Community Compact program, which seeks to engage businesses and other community organizations in supporting the district’s success.
As part of his award, Morrison will receive a $10,000 college scholarship that he can give to a student at the high school from which he graduated or a student graduating from a high school in Washoe County, according to the AASA.
Morrison was chosen by a panel of educators, business leaders and government officials, according to the AASA, working from a list of the 49 state-level Superintendents of the Year. The panel evaluated candidates based on their leadership capabilities, communication with stakeholders, professionalism and involvement with their community.