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Movers & Shakers

Gail Pletnick elected president of AASA

Donn K. Harris named executive director for creativity and the arts for San Francisco USD
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.

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.

Donn K. Harris was recently named executive director for creativity and the arts for San Francisco USD. Harris will lead in targeting access and equity in arts education. And he’ll spearhead ArtsCenter, an initiative to support arts education for the district, including developing a new custom-built facility for the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts.

Portland Public Schools board member Mike Rosen introduced a resolution—that was subsequently passed—banning textbooks and other materials that deny climate change. The resolution calls for students in the Oregon district to study the causes, consequences and solutions of the climate crisis and “become ‘climate literate.’”

Rosen also works for the Audubon Society and leads the NW Ecoliteracy Collaborative focused on environmental curriculum standards.

Karen B. Salmon steps in as the new Maryland state superintendent of schools after having served as interim deputy superintendent earlier this year. Salmon is a technology advocate who aims to streamline state education department programs and increase equitable opportunities for students, particularly those of color. Maryland has had four state superintendents in the past five years.

Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania signed into law in June a school funding reform plan which takes politics out of how the state distributes public education money.

The old system mostly used poverty rates and local tax data to determine how much money a district received. And it used a “hold harmless clause” that said a district would not get less than it did the previous year regardless of enrollment.

The new system bases new spending on student population and socioeconomic and tax factors that are key to individual districts.