Rhode Island's Alan Tenreiro named Principal of the Year
Alan Tenreiro, principal of Cumberland High School in Rhode Island, was named 2016 National Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals in October. Under Tenreiro’s leadership, the high school (which is part of the Cumberland School Department) has seen increases in academic achievement, graduation rates, and the number of students admitted to college.
The school has also doubled its Advanced Placement class offerings and expanded its STEM courses to include pre-engineering and robotics.
Maryland state schools Superintendent Lillian Lowery resigned in September to lead educational nonprofit FutureReady Columbus in Ohio. After taking the state superintendent job in 2012, Lowery led Maryland through Common Core implementation and changes to standardized testing and teacher evaluations.
She was named Policy Leader of the Year by the National Association of State Boards of Education in July 2015. Her deputy, Jack Smith, was named interim superintendent until the term ends in July 2016.
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner in August signed what is widely considered the most sweeping law in the nation aimed at stopping punitive disciplinary practices that have pushed disproportionate numbers of African-American students out of school.
Under the law, students can be suspended, expelled or referred to an alternative school only if all other options are exhausted. It also allows students returning from a suspension to make up work they missed, and to access needed academic counseling and mental health professionals.
Former Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa stepped back into his old job this fall. Before retiring in 2011, he was the district’s longest-serving superintendent. Hinojosa left the district to work as an education consultant for a private firm, but stepped in as interim superintendent after Mike Miles resigned in June.
Hinojosa was also previously a teacher, coach and administrator in Dallas ISD.
The Utah Aerospace Pathways pilot program announced in September by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert will train the next generation of aerospace manufacturing technicians.
Utah students in the program can dual-enroll in community college courses and graduate high school with a certificate in aerospace manufacturing. The state’s 100-plus aerospace firms employ about 20,000 people.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will step down in December, the White House announced in October.
Duncan is one of only a few members remaining from President Barack Obama’s original cabinet, and has been the longest-serving education secretary in the nation’s history.
Since taking the position in 2009, Duncan has promoted the Common Core State Standards, increasing accountability in teacher evaluations, and enrolling more low-income children in preschool. He also helped create the Race to the Top program and No Child Left Behind waivers—which more than 40 states now hold.
In late September, Duncan urged states and local school districts to find paths other than incarceration for students convicted of nonviolent crimes. Doing so could potentially save the nation $15 billion per year.
Duncan announced in a farewell letter to colleagues that he would move back to Chicago, where he was formerly the head of schools. In the letter, he called the opportunity to serve as education secretary “the greatest honor of my life.”
President Obama selected Deputy Education Secretary and former New York State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. to replace Duncan.