Dr. Michael Cowan, Mesa Public Schools superintendent, was named Distinguished Administrator of the Year by Arizona School Administrators, Inc. for his leadership and contributions to education. The award was presented on June 9 at the organization’s annual conference.
“I am honored to receive this award,” acknowledged Cowan. “To be recognized by your peers is humbling because so many individuals are worthy of this honor.”
Cowan leads a district of more than 63,000 students, yet he is focused on each child’s success. He believes the strength of the community and its economic viability depends on today’s students, tomorrow’s leaders. Working directly with community and business leaders, parents, teachers, administrators and staff he has established innovative programs and comprehensive services to support student achievement. Cowan also closely monitors and directs the use of district resources.
Local and national leader
Cowan serves in a leadership capacity for many community organizations, including Mesa United Way, Mesa Chamber of Commerce, Mesa Foundation for Educational Excellence, Boy Scouts of America and Arizona Brainfood.
His leadership extends well beyond the boundaries of Mesa Public Schools, as he is widely regarded as an expert on public policy and innovative educational practices. He is a member of the national Large Countywide and Suburban District Consortium that advises the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and other federal policy matters.
A gifted visionary
During his more than 25-year career with Mesa Public Schools, Cowan has served in a variety of capacities – teacher, curriculum specialist, curriculum director, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, and associate superintendent. He was named superintendent in 2009.
“We are proud of Dr. Cowan,” said Mike Hughes, Mesa Public Schools Governing Board President. “He is a gifted visionary with a big-picture view, always strengthening what is best for student achievement. He is a one-of-a-kind individual and we are lucky to have him as our leader.”