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Press Release

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Florida Department of Education Announces District Data Leader Finalists

~ Five superintendents recognized as the state’s top data leaders ~

TAMPA – The Florida Department of Education (DOE) is proud to announce that five school superintendents were recognized today during the Florida Association of District School Superintendents Fall Leadership Conference for their exemplary leadership in using data to increase student achievement in their districts. The first-ever District Data Leader of the Year Award program was launched this year by DOE to highlight the critical role district leaders play in supporting and encouraging the use of data, and in communicating data’s relevance to teachers, administrators, parents, students and other education stakeholders.

“Data has the unique ability to inform our decisions and give our teachers and school leaders the information they need to help their students succeed,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “I applaud our finalists for their leadership in identifying the strengths within their existing systems, capitalizing on effective data strategies, and investing in technology to further integrate the use of data into Florida’s classrooms every day.”

The finalists are as follows:

In Region 1, finalist Supt. Bill Husfelt from Bay County was recognized for providing teachers with in-depth hands-on learning experiences that increased content knowledge in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) that enabled more than 100 teachers to gain access to materials needed to engage students in the classroom.

In Region 2, Putnam County’s Supt. Tom Townsend collaborated with teachers, principals, and district staff to implement the Learning Gains Index that will be used during the quarterly review of data as administrators and teachers work together to determine effective practices to improve student achievement.

In Region 3, finalist Supt. Michael Lannon in St. Lucie County utilized trend data to evaluate the impact of the district instructional technology and literacy system. A longitudinal study was conducted to examine the efficiency of the implementation of instructional technology on student learning and achievement in 30 St. Lucie schools. The published results were significantly positive and have received national and international acclaim.

In Region 4, Hillsborough County’s Supt. MaryEllen Elia is recognized for gathering stakeholder input to develop customized school- and district- level performance scorecards and a comprehensive data dashboard that will integrate existing longitudinal district and state data for students, teachers, and principals into a single, secure, user-friendly interface.

In Region 5, Supt. Alberto Carvalho in Miami-Dade County implemented 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.

The DOE’s Division of Accountability, Research and Measurement, in partnership with Microsoft, is sponsoring the District Data Leader of the Year award to recognize the top school superintendent who employs innovative data research strategies, researches new methods and opportunities to improve the use of data, and builds partnerships within the community to bolster support and use of data systems. A selection committee will interview the five regional finalists and announce the statewide District Data Leader winner on October 19th in Tallahassee.

For more information about the District Data Leader of the Year Award program, visit