Districts of Distinction is a national recognition program created by District Administration magazine to honor school districts that are leading the way with new ideas that work. We’re looking to recognize established initiatives that are yielding quantifiable benefits, and that could be replicated by other districts.

If your school district is engaged in an innovative project that is improving student outcomes, streamlining operations or meeting the needs of your community, it could be a District of Distinction.

Honorees for the third round of the “Districts of Distinction” program will be announced in the July 2015 edition of District Administration. 

Districts of Distinction honorees will:

  • Be identified in District Administration magazine and on the magazine’s website
  • Be included in a nationally distributed press release and in The District, a newsletter distributed to superintendent-members of the District Administration Leadership Institute
  • Receive a District of Distinction plaque along with a letter of commendation from the Publisher of District Administration
  • Receive a press release template to promote their recognition to local media

The nomination period for the July 2015 round is now closed. Honorees will be announced in early July. Districts of Distinction will have multiple opportunities for participation in 2015 and 2016. For the November round, you can apply starting July 1 through Aug. 14 and for March 2016, you can apply starting Nov. 1 through Dec. 15. 

Featured Honorees

2015 Honorees

Public/private partnerships

Organization: Alden Hebron School District Superintendent: Debbie Ehlenburg State: Illinois
Organization: Elmsford Union Free School District Superintendent: Joseph Ricca State: New York
Organization: Enid Public Schools Superintendent: Darrell Floyd State: Oklahoma
Organization: Lake Wales Charter Schools Superintendent: Jesse L. Jackson State: Florida
Organization: Madison-Oneida BOCES Superintendent: Jacklin Starks State: New York


Organization: Arlington Public Schools Superintendent: Patrick K. Murphy State: Virginia
Organization: Montgomery County Schools Superintendent: Joshua Powell State: Kentucky
Organization: Owensboro Independent Schools Superintendent: Nicholas Brake State: Kentucky


Organization: Baldwin Senior High School Superintendent: Shari L. Camhi State: New York
Organization: Chartiers Valley School District Superintendent: Brian White State: Pennsylvania
Organization: Lawton Public Schools Superintendent: Tom Deighan State: Oklahoma
Organization: Niagara Falls City School District Superintendent: Cynthia A. Bianco State: New York

College/career readiness

Organization: Blackstone Valley Vocational Regional School District Superintendent: Michael Fitzpatrick State: Massachusetts
Organization: Butler County Schools Superintendent: Amy Bryan State: Alabama
Organization: East Granby Public Schools Superintendent: Christine Mahoney State: Connecticut
Organization: Eminence Independent Schools Superintendent: Buddy Berry State: Kentucky
Organization: Geneva City School District Superintendent: Trina Newton State: New York
Organization: Lyndonville Central School District Superintendent: Jason A. Smith State: New York
Organization: Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools Superintendent: Jesse Register State: Tennessee
Organization: Michigan City Area Schools Superintendent: Barbara Eason-Watkins State: Indiana

Student achievement

Organization: Compton Unified School District Superintendent: Darin Brawley State: California
Organization: Howard-Winneshiek Community School District Superintendent: John Carver State: Iowa
Organization: Joliet Township High School District 204 Superintendent: Cheryl McCarthy State: Illinois
Organization: Napa County Office of Education Superintendent: Barbara Nemko State: California
Organization: Natick Public Schools Superintendent: Peter Sanchioni State: Massachusetts
Organization: New Buffalo Area Schools Superintendent: Mark Westerburg State: Michigan
Organization: Papillion-La Vista School District Superintendent: Andy Rikli State: Nebraska
Organization: Prince William County Public Schools Superintendent: Steven L. Walts State: Virginia
Organization: Saginaw Township Community Schools Superintendent: Doug Tromley State: Michigan
Organization: Solon Community Schools Superintendent: Sam Miller State: Iowa
Organization: The School District of Lancaster Superintendent: Pedro A. Rivera State: Pennsylvania

BYOD 1-to-1 or other district-wide technology initiative

Organization: Corinth School District Superintendent: Edward Lee Childress State: Mississippi
Organization: Haverhill Public Schools Superintendent: James F. Scully State: Massachusetts
Organization: Suffield Public Schools Superintendent: Mel Chafetz State: Connecticut

Graduation rate

Organization: Davenport Community School District Superintendent: Arthur W. Tate State: Iowa
Organization: Everett Public Schools Superintendent: Gary Cohn State: Washington
Organization: Franklin Pierce School District #402 Superintendent: Frank Hewins State: Washington
Organization: Gowanda Central School District Superintendent: James Klubek State: New York
Organization: Spokane Public Schools Superintendent: Shelley Redinger State: Washington

Innovative staff leadership model

Organization: Geneseo Community Unit School District 228 Superintendent: Scott Kuffel State: Illinois

Strategic planning

Organization: Goochland County Public Schools Superintendent: James F. Lane State: Virginia

Innovative Operational Transformation

Organization: Kingsport City Schools Superintendent: Lyle C. Ailshie State: Tennessee

Global learning

Organization: Lake Shore Public Schools Superintendent: Chris Loria State: Michigan

Fostering principal leadership

Organization: Linn-Mar Community School District Superintendent: Katie Mulholland State: Iowa
Organization: Mt. Lebanon School District Superintendent: Timothy Steinhauer State: Pennsylvania

Efficiency and operations of the district, reducing costs

Organization: North Penn School District Superintendent: Curtis R. Dietrich State: Pennsylvania

Health and wellness

Organization: North Tonawanda City School District Superintendent: Gregory Woytila State: New York

Personalized/individualized learning

Organization: Owsley County Schools Superintendent: Tim Bobrowski State: Kentucky
Organization: Taylor County School District Superintendent: Roger Cook State: Kentucky
Organization: Utica Community Schools Superintendent: Christine M. Johns State: Michigan

Serving students with special needs

Organization: Pemberton Township Schools Superintendent: Michael R. Gorman State: New Jersey

School climate

Organization: Portola Valley School District Superintendent: Lisa Gonzales State: California

Blended or online learning

Organization: Poudre School District Global Academy Superintendent: Sandra Smyser State: Colorado
Organization: Putnam County Schools Superintendent: Jerry S. Boyd State: Tennessee
Organization: Ridley School District Superintendent: Lee Ann Wentzel State: Pennsylvania

Professional development

Organization: Rochester Community Schools Superintendent: Robert Shaner State: Michigan
Organization: School District of Baraboo Superintendent: Crystal Ritzenthaler State: Wisconsin
Organization: Socorro Independent School District Superintendent: José Espinoza State: Texas

Early learning

Organization: Sioux City Community Schol District Superintendent: Paul Gausman State: Iowa

Behavior management

Organization: Township High School District 211 Superintendent: Daniel Cates State: Illinois

Innovative building design/philosophy

Organization: Virginia Beach City Public Schools Superintendent: Aaron Spence State: Virginia