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Women School Leaders Honored At Superintendents' Conference

Phoenix, Ariz.

The superintendent of Tacoma, Wash., public schools and a middle school principal in Florence, Ala., were this year's recipients of the Women in School Leadership award at the AASA, the School Superintendents Association's annual education conference here.

The award "pays tribute to the talent, creativity and vision of outstanding women educational administrators in the nation's public schools," according to the AASA.

One award is given to a superintendent or assistant superintendent, while the other is given to a central office administrator or school-based principal or specialist.

Carla Santorno, Tacoma's schools chief since 2012, won in the superintendent category. She is a career educator, who started as a teacher in Denver, Colo. She served as Seattle's chief academic officer before moving to Tacoma to be the district's deputy superintendent.

Aimee Rainey, the principal of Florence City Middle School, was the winner in the central office administrator/ principal category. Rainey, Alabama's current Middle School Principal of the Year, has been a principal for 12 years and has led award-winning schools.

She has a track record of involvement in both state and national leadership work. According to the AASA, she served as a member of Alabama's Commission of AdvanceED, a non-profit that reviews k-12 school systems, and as a reviewer on the Educational Leadership Constituent Council, or ELCC, which oversees college and university accreditation. 

The AASA said that the winners were judged on leadership for learning, communication, professionalism, and community involvement.

"The outstanding women educators we are honoring today are strengthening public education," said Daniel A. Domenech, AASA's executive director. "This ceremony should send a signal to America that more needs to be done to bring more women into leadership positions."

There were two finalists for each of the awards. Karen Rue, the superintendent of the Northwest Independent School District in Justin, Texas, was the other finalist in the superintendent category. Kimberly Clark, an assistant principal at Pinelands Regional School District in Little Egg Harbor, N.J., was the finalist in the central office administrator/principal category.

The award was sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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