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20 Finalists Named for Top Award in Urban Education Leadership

  • A highlight of the upcoming Council of the Great City Schools’ 64th virtual annual Fall Conference will be the naming of the Urban Superintendent of the Year. 

    This year there are 20 finalists for the nation’s top award in urban-education leadership. The winner will be honored by peers in a live, virtual awards ceremony on Oct. 15.

    The Green Garner Award in Urban Education program, now in its 31st year, recognizes outstanding leadership and is presented in alternate years to either an urban-district superintendent or a board member.

    The 2020 finalists are:

    • Mark Bedell of Kansas City Public Schools;
    • Austin Beutner of Los Angeles Unified School District;
    • Deena Bishop of Anchorage School District;
    • Kriner Cash of Buffalo Public Schools;
    • Sharon Contreras of Guilford County Schools;
    • Addison Davis of Hillsborough County Public Schools;
    • Donald Fennoy II of The School District of Palm Beach County;
    • Guadalupe Castaneda Guerrero of Portland Public Schools;
    • Anthony D. Hamlet of Pittsburgh Public Schools;
    • Michael Hinojosa of Dallas Independent School District; 
    • Cindy Marten of San Diego Unified School District; 
    • Pedro Martinez of San Antonio Independent School District;
    • Rico Munn of Aurora Public Schools;
    • Michael Prayor of the New York City Department of Education;
    • Joris Ray of Shelby County Schools;
    • Robert Runcie of Broward County Public Schools;
    • Sonja Brookins Santelises of Baltimore City Public Schools;
    • Alicia Thompson of Wichita Public Schools;
    • Erika Tobia of the New York City Department of Education; and
    • Nikolai P. Vitti of Detroit Public Schools Community District. 

    The award is named for Richard Green, who held posts as chancellor of the New York City Public Schools and superintendent of the Minneapolis Public Schools and was a mentor to fellow urban superintendents nationwide, and Edward Garner, a notable businessman and board president of Denver Public Schools who helped establish and fund the award. 

    This year Cenergistic, Curriculum Associates and K12 Insight have joined with the Council in sponsoring the award program, which includes a $10,000 scholarship for a graduating senior from the winner’s school system.

    Last year’s winner was Miami school board member Lawrence Feldman, and the scholarship winner was Laura Garcia, 2020 valedictorian of South Dade Senior High School in Miami.