School administrators celebrated for leadership and innovation - AZEdNews
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School administrators celebrated for leadership and innovation

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Phoenix, Arizona –  The Arizona School Administrators, Inc. (ASA) is honoring four most deserving  district superintendents with recognition awards for their outstanding leadership and contributions to their profession. The awards will be presented during a luncheon at the Arizona School Boards Association/Arizona School Administrators Annual Conference at the Biltmore Conference Center on Thursday, December 12, 2013.

Roger Freeman, ASA President believes, “These outstanding individuals set the gold standard in leadership. Innovative, dedicated, forward-thinking and collaborative are the words that delineate their strengths and contributions. We are fortunate to have them as district leaders and as ambassadors to enhance the ASA organization and improve our state educational system. We are very proud of their accomplishments on behalf of students, staff, families and the communities they serve.”

National Superintendent of the Year Arizona Representative – Dr. Tim Ham

Dr. Tim Ham has been selected as Arizona’s Superintendent of the Year, and he will serve as the Arizona representative to the American Association of School  Administrator’s (AASA) National Superintendent of the Year program. The Arizona Superintendent of the Year program is supported by Classworks a division of Curriculum Advantage, Inc.

Ham’s leadership skills can be articulated best through his actions and results in achievement in the Madison Elementary School District. An urban district located in central Phoenix, this renowned district is comprised of eight schools that serve 6,000 students, with 45% of its population receiving free and reduced lunch.

Madison has earned the distinction of being an “A” rated district by the Department of Education and is the first and only elementary district to become “Internationally Accredited” through AdvancED. Additionally, The Arizona Republic newspaper has deemed it the “top school district in Phoenix.” Dr. Ham initiated a “Systems Approach” when he joined the district as superintendent in July 2007 to focus on quality assurance and continuous improvement. Ham’s colleagues are the first to praise his leadership,
citing his “effectiveness through transparency, understanding, ethical and moral conduct and leadership development.”

His mantra, “Trust the Process” demonstrates the well thought out procedures and processes in place in Madison that continuously empowers students, staff, families and the community. In Ham’s words, “Closing the achievement gap in our district is critical to our success. From goal setting in every school, department and district group to strong internal and external communication, it takes all stakeholders to ensure the excellent reputation of our district.”

Best described as a leader with credibility, sensibility and capability, Ham is the consummate professional educator and known for being a “collaborator”, “education advocate” and a “systemic change agent” who believes deeply in the power of public education to make a difference for all.

All Arizona Superintendent Award 2013 – Small District
Nathan McCann, Altar Valley School District
Superintendent of the Altar Valley Elementary School District, Dr. Nathan McCann has been chosen as the Arizona School Administrator’s Association’s All Arizona Superintendent Award winner for Small Districts.

McCann is known and widely respected for his hard work and dedication, engaging leadership style, positive relations with the school board and community and especially for his focus on academic achievement.

McCann is credited with focusing on a “whole child” approach to learning and has invested in comprehensive professional development and early childhood education. All of this is being achieved through the direction and guidance of a long range strategic plan. McCann has used his engaging leadership style to help shift the image of this rural, diverse community to one that is communicative, connected and professional.

With student engagement as a critical need, Nathan worked to develop a student council leadership class for middle school students and an afterschool 21st Century Program. The district, under McCann’s tutelage, is thriving with strong fiscal management, increased teacher salaries, and high expectations for all.

ASA All Arizona Superintendent Award – Medium District
Barbara U’Ren, Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District 

Superintendent of the Cottonwood-Oak Creek Elementary School District, Barbara U’Ren has been chosen as the Arizona School Administrator’s Association’s All Arizona Superintendent Award winner for Medium Districts.

Superintendent U‘Ren’s recognized strengths are in the areas of leadership, curriculum and instruction and vision for the future. She is described as focused, courageous, with a keen sense of humor.

Using the District’s Blueprint for Continuous Improvement Plan, her collaborative leadership style has resulted in the district opening an International Baccalaureate School, receiving AdvancED Accreditation, forming the COCSD Community Foundation, creating professional learning communities on each school campus, and a community preschool.

In addition to securing many grants funding preschools to resource officers, U’Ren has established high expectations and strong communication practices for all staff, students, families and the communities of Cottonwood and Oak Creek.

She began her career as a paraprofessional library technician in the district in 1984 and has worked her way to the CEO for one of the largest employers in the Verde Valley.

U’Ren is a living example of the “American Dream” and is respected by all for her grace, dignity, humility and style. Barbara demonstrates how collaborative leadership makes a world of difference for students, staff, families and the community.

ASA All Arizona Superintendent Award – Large District
Dr. Debbi Burdick, Cave Creek Unified School District

Superintendent of the Cave Creek Unified School District, Debbi Burdick, has been chosen as the Arizona School Administrator’s Association’s All Arizona Superintendent Award winner for Large Districts.

Dr. Burdick is an effective, visionary leader in the Cave Creek Unified School District and the five distinct municipalities that it serves. Student outcomes are at the forefront of this superintendent’s focus. All goals lead to student achievement through a 21st Century approach.

Through Dr. Burdick’s empowering leadership style, she has collaborated with staff, students, families and the community to achieve a world class education for students. Through the goals set, the district now offers a renowned World Languages with the district becoming the first in Arizona to teach Spanish, French and Chinese as a Core Curriculum in grades K-12.

Additionally, the CCUSD Technology Plan has added the implementation of 2:1 student devices, Wi-Fi in all schools and a new infrastructure and broad band to support leading edge technologies.

The Strategic Plan is responsible for the goals and learning that enables the district to celebrate being designated an “A” District from the Arizona Department of Education for the past 3 years.

Colleagues describe Burdick as being visible, open and honest, possessing an open door policy that shows how devoted she is to every student, staff member, and parent and community organization in the district.

A life-long learner, Debbi Burdick models the consummate professional behavior and high expectations she wishes to see in everyone. Cave Creek School District and its superintendent are leaders in every educational facet in the state, setting the standard shown with the highest caliber of performance for students.