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About the District Data Leader of the Year Program

The Florida Department of Education's District Data Leader of the Year Program highlights the critical role district superintendents play in supporting and encouraging the use of data to improve students' college and career readiness. This year's District Data Leader Program focuses on district data leaders contribution to improve student education outcomes, including academic performance, college and career readiness, and graduation and post-graduation success. The program recognizes superintendents who are leading the way, using education data to drive student improvement.

District Data Leader of the Year Finalists

The Florida Department of Education District Data Leader of the Year Program recognizes the following finalists for their innovative strategies in leading student achievement.

Dr. Michael A. Grego, Pinellas

Dr. Michael A. Grego, Pinellas

From 2008 to 2011, Superintendent Grego oversaw Osceola County school's dramatic academic improvements. Since becoming the Pinellas County Superintendent in 2012, Dr. Grego has continued to improve student success by overseeing the development of Student Level Readiness Data charts to identify the percentage of students prepared to be successful upon exit of elementary school and transition and exit to middle school. He also aligned the district's budget decisions with the Strategic Plan/School Improvement Plan processes and doubled the funds to target students with reading and/or math deficiencies, helping students stay on grade level and graduate on time. Dr. Grego also directed the formation of a District Graduation Committee and used data from ReadiStep, PSAT and SAT scores to drive student placement in more rigorous courses.

Dr. Barbara Jenkins, Orange

Dr. Barbara Jenkins, Orange

Superintendent Barbara Jenkins has been dedicated to serving the needs of students for more than 25 years. She was named superintendent for Orange County Public Schools in 2012. Superintendent Jenkins leads the district through the use of student data systems, impacting practice and student performance. Under Superintendent Jenkins' leadership, Orange County public schools are at the forefront of innovative strategies to increase parent and community involvement, support teachers and administrators in the use of student data to achieve district goals, and provide targeted support to schools as needed. For example, she used student data to monitor and improve opportunities for acceleration. She also created the Minority Achievement Office and School Transformation Office to focus district attention and support to close achievement gaps and support schools that require targeted assistance.

Mr. Robert W. Runcie, Broward

Mr. Robert W. Runcie, Broward

Superintendent Runcie is a visionary school district leader with an innovative track record of improving performance in all domains of a large urban school district, including curriculum and instruction, family and community engagement, and operations and technology to raise achievement for all students. Superintendent Runcie is a graduate of the Superintendents' Academy of the Broad Center for the Management of School Systems. The program is an executive management training program preparing top executives to lead urban public school systems. He developed a strategic plan to ensure the district's ability to meet its responsibility of improving academic performance, increasing graduation rates, and closing achievement gaps. Superintendent Runcie also created a new portfolio management framework to integrate facilities, demographics, programs and school performance data to guide school improvement strategies.

Mr. Tim Wyrosdick, Santa Rosa

Mr. Tim Wyrosdick, Santa Rosa

Superintendent Wyrosdick has worked consistently to ensure that all decisions are data-driven relative to curriculum, resource needs, stakeholder participation and professional development. He has created specific positions, such as the Director of Continuous Improvement, Coordinator of Assessment and Coordinator of Virtual Education, to drive the district's use of data to educate students, informs parent, and enables our teachers. He also established mentor programs at district high schools to encourage minority students to meet the challenge of accelerated coursework and developed consistent Multi-tiered Student Support (MTSS) processes beginning in kindergarten to monitor each student's progress toward successful high school graduation. Through his leadership, he has influenced many teachers, administrators, and district staff members by his reliance on data to inform instruction, guide decision-making and determine the success or failure of a lesson.

Application Process

This year marks the launch of the web-based District Data Leader of the Year Award application. The application can be found at Each district may nominate their superintendent for the District Data Leader award by September 30, 2013. The nomination packet of each candidate will be reviewed by the selection committee and the commissioner will choose the award recipient. Finalists will be invited to attend a roundtable discussion with the commissioner and the awards luncheon on November 6, 2013 where the winner of the District Data Leader Award will be announced and the recipient recognized.

Previous Award Winners

2012 - Alberto Carvalho

Superintendent Carvalho was selected as the 2012 District Data Leader of the Year Award Winner based on his visionary leadership of implementing a Data Assessment & Technical Assistance/Coordination of Management (DATA/COM) process to monitor the immediate operational needs of the districts' most struggling schools and deploy resources to deal with critical issues in an efficient and timely manner. Superintendent Carvalho led initiatives that supported Florida's successful bid for RTTT funding resulting in $700 million for Florida's schools and helped students in Miami-Dade County Public Schools outperform their national peers on the 2009 Reading, Mathematics, and Science NAEP.

2011 - MaryEllen Elia

Superintendent Elia was selected from among five finalists based on her leadership in gathering stakeholder input to create customized school- and district-level performance scorecards, as well as building a comprehensive, secure, user-friendly dashboard that combines a variety of data for her district. Leading Hillsborough County Public Schools since 2005, Superintendent Elia was instrumental in earning the district's $100 million Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant in 2009 to raise student achievement by promoting effective teaching. Since then, the district successfully negotiated a new teacher evaluation system that uses data to gauge the effectiveness of teachers.

2010 - Tom Townsend

Superintendent Townsend received the award for his work in implementing the Learning Gains Index, an informative tool that uses student achievement data to help Putnam County administrators and teachers evaluate their work to determine ways they can drive continued student improvement. In his service as Putnam County's superintendent of schools, Mr. Townsend has been a strong supporter of financial planning and transparency in the local public school system. His leadership in the creation of the Learning Gains Index, which quantifies teacher effectiveness in terms of student growth, has helped to better inform his educators about their work in the classroom by examining average student growth per teacher using FCAT scores.

If you have any questions about the District Data Leader of the Year Program or if you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact the Office of Communications and External Affairs at 850-245-9608 or e-mail .

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