People Watch

School Administrator, April 2018

Carol D. Birks

New Haven, Conn., Public Schools has its first female superintendent in Carol Birks. Previously chief of staff and assistant superintendent in Hartford, Conn., Birks also served as a leadership coach in Chicago and Hartford. She began her career in education as a language arts teacher in Bridgeport, Conn., before becoming assistant principal and principal in the district. Birks also was vice president of operations at Global Partnership Schools in New York. An AASA member since 2016, she earned her Ed.D. in urban edu-cation from Columbia University Teachers College.


Nicholas E. Ceglarek
Nick Ceglarek, an AASA Governing Board member, has been appointed superintendent of the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District in Traverse City, Mich. In his 15th year as a superintendent, Ceglarek most recently spent eight years in the top post in Hudsonville, Mich., after previous superintendencies in Fruitport, Mich., and Baldwin, Mich. He taught in Rockford, Mich., where he also directed student testing and academic assessment. Ceglarek, who earned his Ed.D. in educational leadership from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Mich., has been an AASA member since 2003.

Travis L. Dempsey
After five years at the helm of Cloudcroft, N.M., schools, Travis Dempsey is now the superintendent of the Gadsden Independent School District in Sunland Park, N.M. Earlier, Dempsey was principal in Mountainair Public Schools in Mountainair, N.M., the same district where he began his career as an elementary and middle school teacher and coach in 1999. He also served in the U.S. Air Force as a munitions systems specialist. Dempsey has been a member of AASA since 2012.


Jason M. Fountain
Jason Fountain has worked in the Central Community Schools in Baton Rouge, La., for almost as long as it has existed and is now only the second superintendent to lead the 10-year-old district. He was elevated to the top post after a stint as director of secondary curriculum and instruction. He also served as assistant principal and principal. Fountain got his start teaching math in Bay Minette, Ala. An AASA member since 2017, he earned his Ed.D. in educational leadership from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.


Donald A. Kirkegaard
Having spent his entire education career in South Dakota, Don Kirkegaard has taken the reins of the state department of education as its secretary, an appointment of the governor. Kirkegaard previously held superintendent posts at the local level in Sturgis (2011-17) and Britton (1994-2011). The 2009 South Dakota Superintendent of the Year also worked as a principal for six years in the Britton-Hecla School District. Between 2011 and 2017, he was president of the South Dakota State Board of Education Stand-ards, a body he served for three terms. Kirkegaard became a member of AASA in 1997.

Tracy L. Krum
After serving the Dover, Pa., Area School District in several high-level roles, Tracy Krum has been elevated to the superintendency. She came to Dover from Bloomsburg, Pa., where she served for six years as director of curriculum and instruction. Krum also worked as an assistant principal and principal in Lewisburg, Pa., after an almost 20-year teaching career and six years as a contracted trainer. Krum, who joined AASA last year, has served as an adjunct professor at Bloomsburg University.

Jennifer Backer-Johnson, from dual superintendent, Lyle, Minn., and Mabel-Canton, Mabel, Minn., school districts, to superintendent, Lewiston-Altura Independent School District 857, Lewiston, Minn.
Mark Baker, from interim superintendent to superintendent, Carthage, Mo.
Brian Benigni, from assistant superintendent to superintendent, Berlin, Conn.
Michael Dantona, from director of core curriculum, Middle Country Central Schools, Centereach, N.Y., to superintendent, Floral Park-Bellerose Union Free School District, Floral Park, N.Y.
Norm Enfield, from deputy superintendent to superintendent, Chino Valley Unified School District, Chino, Calif.
Robert Gadomski, from superintendent, Northwood, N.H., to superintendent, Somersworth, N.H.
Michael Martirano, from interim superintendent to superintendent, Howard County, Md.
Jeffrey R. Moorhouse, from director, Greeneville, Tenn., to director, Kingsport, Tenn.
Joe Siano, from superintendent, Norman, Okla., to vice president of public finance investment banking, BOK Financial Securities, Tulsa, Okla.
Brian T. Uplinger, from superintendent, Central Greene School District, Waynesburg, Pa., to superintendent, Hazleton, Pa.
Thomas Bertrand, superintendent, Rochester, Ill.
Constance Collins, superintendent, Round Lake, Ill.
D’Ette Devine, superintendent, Cecil County, Md.
Vincent DiLeo, superintendent, Central Cambria School District, Ebensburg, Pa.
Alan Dunn, superintendent, Sugar-Salem School District, Sugar City, Idaho
David Erwin, superintendent, Berlin, Conn.
Ashby Kilgore, superintendent, Newport News, Va.
Catherine C. Latham, superintendent, Lynn, Mass.
Joe Lopez, superintendent, Branch Intermediate School District, Coldwater, Mich.
Mary Moran, superintendent, Rutland, Vt.
Brad Pollitt, superintendent, Sedalia, Mo.
James T. Roberts, superintendent, Chesapeake, Va.
Joe Sheehan, superintendent, Sheboygan, Wis.

Robert Bredesen, 89, retired superintendent, Altoona, Wis., Oct. 29
Robert "Bob" Cleveland Jr., 73, retired superintendent, Norwich, N.Y., June 7

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: