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 second round of the “Districts of Distinction” program will be announced in the March 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 certificate 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 application period for the March 2015 round is closed.

Districts of Distinction will have multiple opportunities for participation in 2015. For the July round, you can apply starting on March 1 through April 13; for the November round, you can apply starting July 1 through Aug. 14.; for March 2016, you can apply starting Nov. 1 through Dec. 15. 

Featured Honorees

2014 Honorees

Graduation rate

Organization: Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent: S. Dallas Dance State: Maryland
Organization: Keokuk Community School District Superintendent: Tim Hood State: Iowa
Organization: Metropolitan School District of Pike Township Superintendent: Nathaniel Jones State: Indiana
Organization: Northfield Public Schools Superintendent: L. Chris Richardson State: Minnesota

Student achievement

Organization: Benjamin Banneker Charter Academy of Technology Superintendent: Marian Brown State: Missouri
Organization: Chambersburg Area School District Superintendent: Joseph Padasak State: Pennsylvania
Organization: Clinton Community School District Superintendent: Deborah Olson State: Iowa
Organization: Grosse Pointe Public School System Superintendent: Thomas Harwood State: Michigan
Organization: Guilford County Schools Superintendent: Maurice Green State: North Carolina
Organization: Lake Orion Community Schools Superintendent: Marion Ginopolis State: Michigan
Organization: Otsego Public Schools Superintendent: Jeffery Haase State: Michigan
Organization: Timothy Purnell Superintendent: Somerville Public Schools State: New Jersey
Organization: Vail Unified School District Superintendent: Calvin Baker State: Arizona
Organization: Metropolitan School District of Washington Township Superintendent: Nikki Woodson State: Indiana
Organization: West Valley School District #208 Superintendent: Michael Brophy State: Washington

Efficiency and operations of the district, reducing costs

Organization: Bethel School District Superintendent: Tom Seigel State: Washington
Organization: Colorado Springs School District 11 Superintendent: Nicholas Gledich State: Colorado
Organization: Houston Independent School District Superintendent: Terry B. Grier State: Texas
Organization: Lake Shore Central School District Superintendent: James Przepasniak State: New York
Organization: Sycamore Community Schools Superintendent: Adrienne C. James State: Ohio

College/career readiness

Organization: Blue Valley School District Superintendent: Tom Trigg State: Kansas
Organization: Clarke County School District Superintendent: Philip D. Lanoue State: Georgia
Organization: Daviess County Public Schools Superintendent: Owens Saylor State: Kentucky
Organization: Dorchester School District Two Superintendent: Joseph Pye State: South Carolina
Organization: Hampton Bays Schools Superintendent: Lars E. Clemensen State: New York
Organization: McPherson USD 418 Superintendent: Randy Watson State: Kansas
Organization: Napa Valley USD Superintendent: Patrick Sweeney State: California
Organization: Valley View ISD Superintendent: Rolando Ramirez State: Texas

Public/private partnerships

Organization: Bozeman Public Schools Superintendent: Rob Watson State: Montana
Organization: Harmony-Emge School District Superintendent: Pam Leonard State: Illinois
Organization: Vancouver Public Schools Superintendent: Steven T. Webb State: Washington

School safety

Organization: Coeur d'Alene School District Superintendent: Matthew Handelman State: Idaho

Professional development

Organization: Colton-Redlands-Yucaipa Regional Occupational Program Superintendent: Stephanie Houston State: California
Organization: Indian River School District Superintendent: Susan Bunting State: Delaware

Personalized/individualized learning

Organization: Dysart Unified School District Superintendent: Gail Pletnick State: Arizona
Organization: Kent School District Superintendent: Edward Lee Vargas State: Washington
Organization: Seminole County Public Schools Superintendent: Walt Griffin State: Florida

Health and wellness

Organization: Encinitas Union School District Superintendent: Timothy Baird State: California

Behavior management

Organization: Excelsior Springs School District Superintendent: David Lawrence State: Missouri


Organization: Francis Tuttle Technology Cente Superintendent: Tom Friedemann State: Oklahoma
Organization: Mount Airy City Schools Superintendent: Greg Little State: North Carolina

Whole-child education

Organization: Kenilworth Public Schools Superintendent: Scott Taylor State: New Jersey

Innovative building design/philosophy

Organization: Maplewood Richmond Heights School District Superintendent: Karen Hall State: Missouri
Organization: Metro Technology Centers Superintendent: Elaine Stith State: Oklahoma

Portfolio strategy/school choice

Organization: Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township Superintendent: Shawn Smith

Early learning

Organization: Olathe Public Schools Superintendent: Marlin Berry State: Kansas

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

Organization: Richmond County School System Superintendent: Angela Pringle State: Georgia

Student engagement

Organization: Rio Rancho Public Schools Superintendent: Sue Cleveland State: New Mexico

Technology and literacy

Organization: Wayne Township Public Schools Superintendent: Mark Toback State: New Jersey