People Watch

School Administrator, September 2017

Jaime Alicea

The Syracuse, N.Y., City School District has removed the interim tag and made Jaime Alicea its superintendent. He has spent the entirety of his 33-year career as an educator in Syracuse, beginning as a teaching assistant and working his way up to chief operations officer before taking the top post. Alicea’s administrative trail also includes the principalship at Seymour Elementary School and Fowler High School and area superintendent responsible for supervising 19 schools. He recently was awarded the Syracuse University Chancellor’s Citation for Public Education as an advocate and leader. Alicea has been an AASA member since 2016.


B. Lynn Brown

Lynn Brown is now superintendent in Fort Atkinson, Wis., after three years as the Montello, Wis., superintendent. Brown began in the business world before serving as a teacher in Markham, Ill. She moved to the Chicago Public Schools, serving as an assistant principal before becoming principal of an elementary school in Oshkosh, Wis. Brown earned her Ed.D. in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University in North Miami Beach, Fla. She became an AASA member in 2013.

Eric Gallien
With four years as deputy superintendent in Racine, Wis., Eric Gallien will transition into the superintendency in fall 2018. Previously, he was regional director of school support in Milwaukee, Wis. Before becoming an educator, Gallien served with the Marines in Operation Desert Storm. He holds an Ed.D. in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Wiscon-sin-Madison. A graduate of the inaugural cohort of the Urban Superintendents Academy run by AASA and Howard University, Gallien became an association member in 2016.


Alicia Henderson
After serving as superintendent for five years in the Bellevue Union School District in Santa Rosa, Calif., Alicia Henderson has assumed the superintendency in Aberdeen, Wash. She previously was an assistant superintendent in the Franklin-McKinley School District in San Jose, Calif., and a middle and elementary school principal in the Mountain View-Whisman School District in Mountain View, Calif. Henderson, who earned her Ph.D. in speech and hearing science from the University of California, San Francisco, began as a speech pathologist. An AASA member since 2013, she earned her AASA National Superintendent Certification last year.


Suzzette Hesser
After 15 years in administration in Sterling, Ill., Suzzette Hesser has returned to Hoopeston, Ill., where she got her start as a teacher in 1996, to take over the school district’s top administrative position. Hesser held several elementary and middle school principalships in Sterling before returning to a 5th-grade classroom in 2014 while working on her doctoral dissertation at Aurora Uni-versity. A member of AASA’s National Superintendents Academy, Hesser joined the association in 2016.

Michael J. Shimshak
Michael Shimshak, who spent 38 years working in public education, has assumed a new administrative berth as head of primary school at Kaiwen Academy, a Tsinghua University-affiliated K-12 school in Beijing, China. His career includes 18 years as a superintendent in Wisconsin and Illinois, most recently in Carbondale, Ill. An AASA member since 1998, he served two terms on the association’s Governing Board. Shimshak also led the Wisconsin School Music Association and the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators as president.


Damon Alvey, from superintendent, Scotland, S.D., to superintendent, Vermillion, S.D.
Gary Barber, from superintendent, Marion, Ohio, to superintendent, Tiffin, Ohio
Pat Bershinsky, from superintendent, Edison School District 54-JT, Yoder, Colo., to executive director, Pikes Peak BOCES, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Michael Bregy, from superintendent, North Shore District 112, Highland Park, Ill., to superintendent, Beverly Hills, Calif.
Keith Brown, from superintendent, Bay City, Texas, to superintendent, Taylor, Texas
Vincent Butera, from superintendent, Bayport-Blue Point School District, Bayport, N.Y., to superintendent, Manhasset, N.Y.
Mark Foust, from chief of schools, Fort Bend ISD, Sugar Land, Texas, to superintendent, Kerrville, Texas
Mark Kruzynski, from director of finance and human resources to superintendent, Medina, N.Y.
Eric Kurre, from superintendent, Marion C. Early R-V District, Morrisville, Mo., to superintendent, Savannah R-III School District, Savannah, Mo.
Chris Parra, from interim superintendent to superintendent, Bethel School District, Eugene, Ore.
Michael Penca, from interim superintendent, Mason City, Iowa, to superintendent, Flagstaff, Ariz.
Blake Prewitt, from superintendent, Ferndale, Mich., to superintendent, Lakeview School District, Battle Creek, Mich.
Jeannie Stone, from interim superintendent to superintendent, Richardson, Texas
Matthew Strine, from assistant superintendent, Shippensburg, Pa., to superintendent, Tuscarora School District, Franklin County, Pa.
John Strycker, from superintendent, Algonac, Mich., to superintendent, Butler County Schools, Greenville, Ala.
Jane L. Westerhold, from retirement to interim co-superintendent, North Shore School District 112, Highland Park, Ill.
Stephen Wiseman, from superintendent, Atchison County Community Schools USD 377, Effingham, Kan., to math teacher, Benton High School, St. Joseph, Mo.
Joseph A. Ovick, 69, retired superintendent, Pleasant Hill, Calif., March 30
Elizabeth Ann Sorrell, 69, retired superintendent, Carver, Mass., May 29

News about AASA members’ promotions, retirements, honors and deaths should be addressed to: Editor, School Administrator, 1615 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Fax: 703-841-1543. E-mail: