Magazine article Curriculum Administrator

A Most Decorated Educator

Magazine article Curriculum Administrator

A Most Decorated Educator

Article excerpt

Rod Paige capped his flurry of recent educational awards by being named the AASA Superintendent of the Year.

The way Rod Paige has been picking up awards lately, he could even make the contestants at a Miss America pageant nervous. Paige began his roll in September when he was named one of three winners of the McGraw Prize in Education. Late last year he was named Texas' superintendent of the year. His big prize, however, came after his former governor, George W. Bush, tapped him to become the U.S. Secretary of Education.

So when Paige showed up in Orlando for the American Association of School Administrators conference in February, the three other candidates for superintendent of the year must have been as sure of the results as the 4,000 people in the audience. Although AASA Executive Director Paul Houston tried to add some drama to the event by walking up and down repeatedly past the finalists--besides Paige, Wilton, Conn., Superintendent David Clune, Chapel Hill-Carrboro, N.C., Superintendent Neil Pedersen, and Rochester, N.H., Superintendent Raymond Yeagley--everyone knew who would win.

And when Houston finally stopped at Paige, the former superintendent of Houston Independent School District picked up his latest honor. If Paige earned the honor for his seven-and-a-half years of work in Houston, he proved the association voters right during the three-day conference, sitting on panel discussions and sharing his ideas on topics as diverse as leadership, testing, school boards and school bus breakdowns.

While his 10-minute, post-award speech did not mention the most controversial part of the Bush Administration's education plan--vouchers--at his press conference Paige did say school leaders shouldn't fear school choice. "We can outperform these other alternatives. The problem is we're defined by our weakest schools," he said.

Paige added that Bush's commitment to education since he took office mirrors the importance that education played during his tenure as Texas governor. "He's committed to closing the inexcusable gap between students. He will do this with flexibility for you to make decisions," Paige told association members. "In exchange, the president is asking for accountability. That's nothing new for you. …

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