NSPRA names its 25 superintendents to watch for 2023

2023's honorees spearheaded innovative strategies surrounding the effective use of technology to engage their school communities and expand two-way communication efforts.

Since the 2015-16 school year, the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) has recognized 152 K12 district leaders as Superintendents to Watch, a nomination that requires fewer than five years as a superintendent and demonstration of dynamic, fast-paced leadership and strong communication skills. 2023’s honorees were no different as they spearheaded innovative strategies surrounding the effective use of technology to engage their school communities and expand two-way communication efforts.

That’s according to the NSPRA, which recently released its 2023 award recipients just ahead of Christmas break for most districts. In 2023, the organization recorded a record number of nominations (more than 70), making it a very competitive year for the selection process, the NSPRA notes in a news release.

2023’s list of Superintendents to Watch celebrate on behalf of a wide array of states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

“This year’s honorees understand the critical role that effective, two-way communication plays in building trust with students, families employees and community members,” NSPRA Executive Director Barbara M. Hunter said in a statement. “Each of these leaders have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to championing innovative communication strategies to advance their district’s success.”

The award recipients will also be recognized at the NSPRA 2024 National Seminar in July. Here’s a look at 2023’s list of honorees:

  • Fal Asrani, Marysville Joint Unified School District, Marysville, California
  • Philip Brown, Jackson County School System, Jefferson, Georgia
  • Jessica Dain, Piper Unified School District 203, Kansas City, Kansas
  • Monique Darrisaw-Akil, Uniondale Union Free School District, Uniondale, New York
  • Trey Duke III, Murfreesboro City Schools, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  • Mary Gorr, Mount Prospect School District 57, Mount Prospect, Illinois
  • Raquel Greer, Maize Unified School District 266, Maize, Kansas
  • Trenton Hansen, Jurupa Unified School District, Jurupa Valley, California
  • Melanie Kay-Wyatt, Alexandria City Public Schools, Alexandria, Virginia
  • Marcus Lewton, Dickinson Public Schools, Dickinson, North Dakota
  • Bradford Lusk, Hamilton Community Schools, Hamilton, Michigan
  • Jay Mann, Creighton School District, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Jeff Mayo, Arlington Community Schools, Arlington, Tennessee
  • Eric Melbye, Bloomington Public Schools, Bloomington, Minnesota
  • Rachel Monárrez, Worcester Public Schools, Worcester, Massachusetts
  • Whitney Oakley, Guilford County Schools, Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Herbert O’Neil, Hempstead Independent School District, Hempstead, Texas
  • Sheila Quinn, Clover School District, Clover, South Carolina
  • Lori Rapp, Lewisville Independent School District, Lewisville, Texas
  • Frank Rodriguez, Beaufort County School District, Beaufort, South Carolina
  • Nate Rudolph, Cambridge-Isanti Schools, Cambridge, Minnesota
  • Kirk Shrum, Visalia Unified School District, Visalia, California
  • Kelly Tess, The Winnetka Public Schools, Winnetka, Illinois
  • Maria Vazquez, Orange County Public Schools, Orlando, Florida
  • Iranetta Rayborn Wright, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati, Ohio

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Micah Ward
Micah Wardhttps://districtadministration.com
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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