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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.

New Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool takes over a district grappling with a budget shortfall of about $1.1 billion.

Forrest Claypool, a top aide to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, was named CEO of Chicago Public Schools in July. Previous CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennet resigned in June amid a federal investigation into a $20.5 million no-bid contract awarded by the school board to her previous employer.

New National Association of School Nurses president Beth Mattey is the school nurse at Mt. Pleasant High School in Delaware.

Beth Mattey was named president of the National Association of School Nurses in June. Mattey is the school nurse at Mt. Pleasant High School, part of Brandywine School District in Delaware. In her remarks at the group’s annual conference in June, Mattey said that school nursing is the foundation of healthy schools.

New Birmingham Superintendent Kelley Castlin-Gacutan is a native of the area and formerly served as  interim superintendent for Bibb County Schools in Georgia.

Kelley Castlin-Gacutan was unanimously chosen superintendent of Alabama’s Birmingham City Schools in May. Birmingham City is the fourth-largest district in the state, with more than 30,000 students.

Curtis Jones is the first permanent superintendent in two years at Georgia's Bibb County School District.

Curtis Jones began his job as the new superintendent of Bibb County School District in Georgia in April. On his first day on the job, he met with every school board member.

His first task was finalizing the board’s governance handbook and the 2016 district budget. Jones says he also wants to focus on the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support program the district implemented this year.

Katy ISD superintendent Alton L. Frailey was elected 2015-16 president-elect of AASA.

Alton L. Frailey, superintendent of Katy ISD in Texas and president of the Texas Association of School Administrators, was elected 2015-16 president-elect of AASA, and will begin his post in July.

Frailey became Katy ISD chief in 2007, after previously serving as chief of DeSoto ISD in Texas and Cincinnati Public Schools. “AASA champions the efforts to improve the lives” of public school children, Frailey says. “I look forward to advancing the mission in my new role.”

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