People Watch

School Administrator, March 2020

Gustavo Balderas
Gustavo Balderas was nominated as one of the four finalists for AASA’s 2020 National Superintendent of the Year® award at the National Conference on Education. Balderas serves as superintendent of the Eugene, Ore., School District. He previously held the same position in Huntington Beach, Calif., and Madera, Calif. Prior to his time in California, he was assistant superintendent and executive director in Hillsboro, Ore. Balderas holds a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Oregon. He joined AASA in 2011.

Samantha Fuhrey
After being named the first female superintendent of her district in 2013, Samantha Fuhrey was selected as one of the four finalists for the 2020 AASA National Superintendent of the Year® award. Fuhrey has been in the 20,000-student Newton County School System in Covington, Ga., since 2000, working her way up from assistant principal to principal, director of professional learning, deputy superintendent and superintendent. Before going to Newton County, she served as an assistant principal in DeKalb County, Ga. She has been a member of AASA since 2013.

Michael P. Nagler
Ten years into his first district superintendency, Michael Nagler was named one of four finalists for the 2020 AASA National Superintendent of the Year® award. Nagler has spent most of his administrative career in the 3,000-student Mineola, N.Y., Union Free School District, beginning as a middle school assistant principal and then high school principal before moving to deputy superintendent and superintendent. Earlier, he worked as an assistant principal in Brooklyn, N.Y. Nagler earned his doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University. He has been a member of AASA since 2001.


David F. Piperato
A longtime educator in Pennsylvania, David Piperato has become the superintendent in Easton, Pa. He previously was superintendent of the Pleasant Valley School District in Brodheadsville, Pa., and served a combined 13 years as principal in high schools in Emmaus, Pa., and Ardmore, Pa. Piperato held his first principalship at Palisades High School in Kintnersville, Pa. He began his career as a business and technology teacher at Liberty High School in Bethlehem, Pa. Piperato has been a member of AASA since 2017.


Jeffery O. Smith
A longtime Virginia educator was honored last month as one of the four finalists for the 2020 AASA National Superintendent of the Year® award. Jeffery Smith has been the superintendent of the 19,600-student Hampton City Schools since 2015 and was superintendent of West Point Public Schools for the previous seven years. He also served as assistant superintendent in Newport News, Williamsburg and Amelia, all in Virginia. Smith earned his Ed.D. in educational leadership and policy studies from Virginia Tech. He joined AASA in 2008.

John D. Strycker
The Jackson County School District in Mississippi has welcomed John Strycker as its new superintendent. Strycker comes from superintendencies in Greenville, Ala., Algonac, Mich., and New Lothrop, Mich., over the past 15 years. He also worked as director of facilities and technical services and director of technology and information systems in Bay City, Mich., and director of technology in Bedford, Ind. He began as an industrial technology education teacher in Englewood, Colo. Strycker, a 20-year member of AASA, earned his Ed.D. in school administration and leadership from Walden University.

Charlene Brennan, from executive director, Colonial Intermediate Unit 20, Easton, Pa., to acting superintendent, Pleasant Valley School District, Brodheadsville, Pa.
Gary Dawson, from superintendent, Tussey Mountain School District, Saxton, Pa., to superintendent, Juniata County School District, Mifflintown, Pa.
Rebecca Dunckel-King, from superintendent, Remsen, N.Y., to superintendent, Lowville, N.Y.
Wendy Eldredge, from deputy superintendent, Garland, Texas, to superintendent, Crandall, Texas
Scott Hall, from principal, Southland Middle/High School, to superintendent, Southland School District, Adams, Minn.
Susan Kincannon, from superintendent, Belton, Texas, to superintendent, Waco, Texas
Erich May, from superintendent, Morgan County Schools, Berkeley Springs, W.V., to superintendent, Brookville, Pa.
Douglas McQueer, from superintendent, Morristown, N.Y., to superintendent, Hammond, N.Y.
Blake Peuse, from superintendent, St. Francis, Wis., to senior business consultant, Unesco, St. Paul, Minn.

Rita D. Bishop, superintendent, Roanoke, Va.
Brian Busler, superintendent, Oregon, Wis.
Mike Gilbert, superintendent, White Oak, Texas
Eric Holmes, superintendent, York, Pa.
Gary E. Maestas, superintendent, Plymouth, Mass.
Jody Manning, superintendent, Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES, Syracuse, N.Y.
Jim Vaszauskas, superintendent, Mansfield, Texas

Kelvin Adams, superintendent, St. Louis, Mo., inducted into National Alliance of Black School Educators Hall of Fame
Frank Dick, AASA president 1976-77, received tribute from Michigan legislature commemorating WWII service
Elgin L. Dixon, superintendent, Twiggs County Public Schools, Jeffersonville, Ga., received the American Institute for Public Service’s Jefferson Award

Stephen E. Gauthier, 77, retired superintendent, St. Mary Parish Schools, Jeanerette, La., Dec. 11
Joe A. Hairston, 72, retired superintendent, Baltimore County, Md., Dec. 27
Earl Lennard, 77, retired superintendent, Hillsborough County, Fla., Dec. 23
Barry Ricci, 62, superintendent, Chariho Regional School District, Wood River Junction, R.I., Dec. 23


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: