Please Wait a Moment

Superintendents to Watch

The nomination submission portal for the 2024 award will open in August 2024.

Each year the National School Public Relations Association recognizes up to 25 superintendents as Superintendents to Watch. Honorees are school district leaders who have fewer than five years of experience as a superintendent and who demonstrate dynamic, fast-paced leadership with strong communication at its core. They use communication technology in innovative and effective ways to engage and inform their school communities and to expand two-way communication and outreach efforts.  

From a record number of nominations this year, 25 superintendents nationwide were selected for the honor.

NSPRA will recognize each award recipient with a profile piece in upcoming issues of its monthly Member Memo e-newsletter to association members as well as on its website and social media channels. Honorees will also be recognized at the NSPRA 2024 National Seminar in Seattle/Bellevue in July.

Read more in our news release here.

Congratulations to the 2023 Superintendents to Watch!

Fal Asrani, Ed.D.
Marysville Joint Unified
School District
Marysville, Calif.

From Dr. Asrani's nomination:
"Dr. Asrani continually prioritizes excellence
and leadership through her strategic actions,
which elevate and empower student voices,
connects with families, fosters an inclusive
environment, engages the community with
our schools and encourages collaborations."

Philip Brown, Ph.D.
Jackson County 
School System
Jefferson, Ga.

From Dr. Brown's nomination:
"With an emphasis on transparent
communication within the Jackson
County School System, Dr. Brown
continuously welcomes ideas to
become more open and engaging."

Jessica Dain, Ed.D.
Piper Unified
School District 203 
 Kansas City, Kan.

From Dr. Dain's nomination: 
"She is a proponent of transparent
communication, highlighted through her
rollout of the District Strategic Dashboard.
She has a keen ability to not only connect
with external stakeholders but with
internal stakeholders as well."

Monique Darrisaw-Akil, Ed.D.
Uniondale Union Free School District
Uniondale, N.Y.

 From Dr. Darrisaw-Akil's nomination:
"Dr. Darrisaw-Akil has been a tireless
advocate for transparent and
effective communication within the
Uniondale School District. Her innovative
approach to communication encompasses
both new and traditional channels,
fostering a vibrant and connected community."

Trey Duke III, Ed.D.
Murfreesboro City Schools
Murfreesboro, Tenn.

From Dr. Duke's nomination:
"The best communicators are clear, consistent
and courageous, and no one does this
better than Dr. Duke."

Mary Gorr, Ed.D.
Mount Prospect School District 57

Mount Prospect, Ill.
From Dr. Gorr's nomination: 
"Dr. Gorr takes a holistic approach when
addressing change, including key stakeholders
in crucial conversations and
maintaining a fair, open-minded attitude
to all input."    



Raquel Greer, Ed.D.
Maize Unified School
District 266
Maize, Kan.
From Dr. Greer's nomination:
"Dr. Greer's leadership has led to significant
improvements in transparency, community
engagement and trust-building."

Trenton Hansen, Ph.D.
Jurupa Unified
School District
Jurupa Valley, Calif.
From Dr. Hansen 's nomination:
"Dr. Hansen is a visionary who shares lofty goals
for our district and encourages his team to take
risks and to think differently so that we can better
serve our community." 

Melanie Kay-Wyatt, Ed.D.
Alexandria City

Public Schools
Alexandria, Va.

From Dr. Kay-Wyatt's nomination:
"Dr. Kay-Wyatt demonstrates a commitment to
transparency, responsiveness and a
genuine interest in meeting the needs of
our constituents."

Marcus Lewton, Ed.D.
Dickinson Public Schools
Dickinson, N.D.

From Dr. Lewton's nomination:
"Dr. Lewton's exceptional efforts in
establishing authentic communication and
engagement within the school community
align seamlessly with the objectives
outlined in the district's strategic plan."

Bradford Lusk, Ph.D.
Hamilton Community Schools
Hamilton, Mich.

From Dr. Lusk's nomination:
"Dr. Lusk has shown refreshing
transparency to parents and stakeholders
to make sure we’re informed and
understand the process of decision making."

Jay Mann
Creighton School District 
Phoenix, Ariz.

From Superintendent  Mann's nomination:
"Superintendent Mann prioritizes conversations
across the district.  He taps experts in times of need
 and turns to trusted advisors to tackle big
decisions and programs."

Jeff Mayo
Arlington Community Schools

Arlington, Tenn.
From Superintendent Mayo's nomination:
"Superintendent Mayo has a dynamic, fast
paced leadership style, and 
keeps communication as the key to operating
such a successful school district."

Eric Melbye, Ed.D.  
Bloomington Public Schools
Bloomington, Minn.

From Dr. Mebye's nomination:
"Effective communication with all stakeholders
is a bedrock priority for Dr. Melbye."

Rachel Monárrez, Ph.D.
Worcester Public Schools
Worcester, Mass.

From Dr. Monárrez's nomination:
"Dr. Monárrez places communications and
engagement at the core of her work in a school
district that did not even have a
communications office prior to her arrival."

Whitney Oakley, Ed.D.

County Schools
Greensboro, N.C.

From Dr. Oakley's nomination:
"Dr. Oakley focuses her energy on
bringing people together, unifying our efforts and  
strengthening support from the community."

Herbert O'Neil
Hempstead Independent
School District
Hempstead, Texas
From Superintendent O'Neil's nomination:
"Superintendent  O'Neil plays a pivotal role in
ensuring that the school district clearly and
consistently communicates
with both internal and external stakeholders."

Sheila Quinn, Ed.D.
School District
Clover, S.C. 
From Dr. Quinn's nomination:
"Dr. Quinn plays a vital leadership role in connecting so
many people from different backgrounds,
beliefs, and opinions, and she does so with love,
kindness and authenticity."

Lori Rapp, Ed.D.
Lewisville Independent

School District
Lewisville, Texas

From Dr. Rapp's nomination:
"Dr. Rapp's style of communication can
be described in one word: Authentic."
Frank Rodriguez, Ph.D.
Beaufort County

School District
Beaufort, S.C.

From Dr. Rodriguez's nomination:
"Dr. Rodriguez's efforts in outreach to
our multilingual families are especially
commendable. He has bridged cultural
divides, making education more accessible
to diverse communities and fostering a sense of
belonging among students and their families."

Nate Rudolph, Ed.D.

Cambridge, Minn. 

From Dr. Rudolph's nomination:
"Dr. Rudolph is a natural storyteller whose stories
are always centered on our children. He
consistently reminds us of our 'why' and the
privilege we have to transform the lives of
our students."

Kirk Shrum
Visalia Unified School District 
Visalia, Calif.
From Superintendent  Shrum's nomination:
"Superintendent Shrum has quickly become a
catalyst for transformative change.
His focus on communication and
community engagement are
nothing short of remarkable."

Kelly Tess, Ed.D.
The Winnetka Public Schools
Winnetka, Ill.

From Dr. Tess' nomination:
"Dr. Tess values the importance of communication,
ensuring that communication is enveloped
in the district's strategic plan and goals each year." 

Maria Vazquez, Ed.D.
Orange County Public Schools
Orlando, Fla.

From Dr. Vazquez's nomination:
"Over her years in education, Dr. Vazquez's
hallmark has been to create open cultures that
increase trust and connection for parents,
students and employees." 

Iranetta Rayborn Wright
Cincinnati Public Schools
Cincinnati, Ohio

From Superintendent Rayborn Wright's nomination:
"Superintendent Rayborn Wright is committed to constant
communication with all constituents, through community
town halls, principal roundtables, a Student Leadership Council and more."

To be considered for the award, nominees must have:

  • Fewer than five years of cumulative experience as a superintendent of schools in a school district/school board system(s) at the time of nomination;
  • Implemented a communication program for the district that includes the use of new communication technology as well as more standard communication tools;
  • Integrated communication goals and strategies into the district’s strategic plan; and
  • Active, visible involvement in the district's communication effort (e.g., tweets, blogs, participates in face-to-face engagement activities, responsive to media requests, models good communication for staff).

Nominees do not have to be an NSPRA member.

Selected superintendent honorees receive a special certificate and are recognized on the NSPRA website, in an NSPRA e-newsletter, on NSPRA social media and during the Superintendents' Luncheon at the annual NSPRA National Seminar

Nominations for the 2024 award will open in August 2024. For more information about this program, contact Communications Manager Sarah Loughlin at or 301-519-1221. View previous winners here.