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Movers & Shakers

Gail Pletnick, superintendent of Dysart Unified School District 89 in Surprise, Arizona, was elected president of AASA for 2016-17.

Gail Pletnick, superintendent of Dysart Unified School District 89 in Surprise, Arizona, was elected president of AASA for 2016-17.

The 2016 Arizona Superintendent of the Year and a member of AASA’s digital and personal learning consortia, Pletnick will focus on reshaping the national public education agenda and empowering district leaders through advocacy, networking and PD. She begins her term July 1.

New Oklahoma City Superintendent Aurora Lora has been a district administrator in Portland, Seattle and Dallas.

After a shake-up in Oklahoma City Public Schools that resulted with Superintendent Rob Neu and the district “parting ways,” Aurora Lora has taken over as superintendent.

Harry “Doc” Ervin will head up Bakersfield elementary schools after reducing truancy rates in another area district.

Harry “Doc” Ervin is the new superintendent for Bakersfield City School District, the largest elementary school district in California, effective July 1.

Ervin, who is fluent in Spanish and is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, has served in education for more than two decades as a classroom teacher and principal. He is currently superintendent of the Greenfield Union School District in South Bakersfield, where he reduced truancy rates.

New Glendale superintendent Winfred Roberson Jr. had led Davis Joint USD for the past six years.

Winfred Roberson Jr. was unanimously voted new superintendent of economically and culturally diverse Glendale USD in California, where he will oversee 33 schools and more than 25,000 students.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has spearheaded the creations of college savings account for the city's low-income students.

Libby Schaaf, mayor of Oakland, established in January the Oakland Promise, a project with more than 100 community partners working to triple the number of the city’s low-income, public school students who go on to graduate college.

Since Cedrick Gray Gray became superintendent of Jackson Public Schools in 2012, the Mississippi district’s state and national accreditation was restored, graduation rates increased and dropout rates decreased.

Cedrick Gray of Jackson Public Schools in Mississippi was named 2015 Superintendent of the Year by the National Alliance of Black School Educators in November. The award goes to an administrator whose leadership has brought significant improvements for students of African descent.

Malika Anderson's takes over Tennessee's Achievement School District, a state-run, turnaround district.

Malika Anderson became superintendent of the Achievement School District in Tennessee this month. She had been the district’s No. 2 official.

The state-run, turnaround district was created in 2010 with a Race to the Top grant. It takes the bottom-performing 5 percent of schools in the state and assigns them to charter operators to help move them to the top 25 percent.

Superintendent Kathy Kelly worked with the local police to create outreach programs so students could interact with officers.

Kathy Kelly, superintendent of Columbia Heights Public Schools in Minnesota, received the 2015 L. Anthony Sutin Civic Imagination Award from the U.S. Department of Justice. The award recognizes Kelly’s efforts to build trust between law enforcement and students.

Working with the local police chief, Kelly instituted youth outreach programs designed to provide students with opportunities to interact with law enforcement and create an open dialogue. Juvenile arrests in the town dropped from 243 in 2007 to 106 in 2014. And K12 suspensions are down 130 percent.

Under Principal Alan Tenreiro’s leadership, Cumberland High School has seen increases in academic achievement, graduation rates, and the number of students admitted to college. (Photo: Lifetouch Photography)

Alan Tenreiro, principal of Cumberland High School in Rhode Island, was named 2016 National Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals in October. Under Tenreiro’s leadership, the high school (which is part of the Cumberland School Department) has seen increases in academic achievement, graduation rates, and the number of students admitted to college.

The school has also doubled its Advanced Placement class offerings and expanded its STEM courses to include pre-engineering and robotics.

Former New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott

Former New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott was appointed by the state in August to lead a team studying the troubled East Ramapo Central School District in New York. Last fall, a state investigation found that the district’s school board members diverted money from public schools to children attending private religious institutions, leaving the district in financial trouble.

Walcott’s team will study the district’s operations and offer recommendations to the school board.

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