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About the Lavan Dukes District Data Leader of the Year Program

The Florida Department of Education's Lavan Dukes 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. The Lavan Dukes District Data Leader of the Year Program recognizes superintendents who are leading the way using education data to drive student improvement. The program focuses on district data leaders' contributions to improve students' education outcomes through the use of data. The District Data Leader of the Year Award has been renamed in memory of Lavan Dukes and his countless contributions to the Florida Department of Education and the nation in building a strong foundation in the collection and use of K-12 education data. Lavan served the FDOE and the state of Florida for 40 years, most recently serving as Chief of the Bureau of Education Information and Accountability Services.

Application Process

The Lavan Dukes District Data Leader of the Year Award application can be found at Each district may nominate their superintendent for the District Data Leader award by September 15, 2014. The nomination packet of each candidate will be reviewed by the selection committee and the commissioner will choose the award recipient. The finalists of the Lavan Dukes District Data Leader of the Year award will be recognized at the December meeting of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, and the winner of the award will be announced at that meeting.

Previous Award Winners

2013 - Dr. Barbara Jenkins

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.

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 Lavan Dukes 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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