Matthew Utterback, a superintendent in Oregon, was named on Thursday as the 2017 National Superintendent of the Year at the annual gathering of school superintendents and district leaders in New Orleans.
Utterback, who leads the North Clackamas school district in Milwaukie, Ore., was chosen from a group of four finalists. The other contenders for the award were James Merrill of Wake County schools in Cary, N.C.; Barbara Jenkins of Orange County schools in Orlando, Fla.; and Stewart McDonald of Kodiak Island Borough schools in Kodiak, Alaska.
The AASA, the School Superintendents Association, which gives out the annual award, noted the strides that the North Clackamas district has made in closing achievement gaps under Utterback’s leadership.
The district’s four-year graduation rate rose from 66 percent to 83 percent in the last four years, with significant increases for subgroups, including students with disabilities, black students, and Hispanic students, the AASA said.
Utterback has also earned kudos for leading the district’s 2013 strategic direction and development plan, which focused, according to the district, on equity, student achievement, and quality education programs. Under his leadership, the district has received numerous grants to expand career and technical programs.
He also serves as chair of the county’s superintendents’ association and represents superintendents on a state task force on school safety, according to the AASA.
Utterback started his education career as a teacher in the district in 1989 and has been superintendent since 2012.
The award comes with a $10,000 scholarship for a student who either attends the high school from which Utterback graduated, or a student enrolled in the district that the superintendent now leads. The award is sponsored by Aramark K-12 Education, a nutrition and food services vendor.
Top: Matthew Utterback, the superintendent of North Clackamas school district in Milwaukie, Ore., is the 2017 National Superintendent of the Year. --courtesy of James Minichello, AASA
Above: Utterback, at left, is congratulated by James Merrill, the superintendent of Wake County public schools in Cary, N.C.; Stewart McDonald, superintendent of Kodiak Island Borough schools in Kodiak, Alaska; and Barbara Jenkins, superintendent of Orange County public schools in Orlando, Fla. --courtesy of James Minichello, AASA
A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.