West York leader named 2014 Superintendent of the Year

Emilie Lonardi, West York Area School District superintendent, has been named 2014 Pennsylvania Superintendent of the Year, according to a news release from the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators.

She’ll be honored in Harrisburg tomorrow. Here’s the full press release. Watch for follow up later!

(Update: Read a Q&A with Lonardi here.)

“HARRISBURG  (Nov. 14) — Dr. Emilie Lonardi, Superintendent of the West York Area School District, has been named the 2014 Pennsylvania Superintendent of the Year.

The National Superintendent of the Year Program was instituted 27 years ago by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) to honor outstanding public school superintendents.  ARAMARK Education, ING Foundation and AASA are co-sponsors of the award program.

The goal of the prestigious awards program is to further inspire exemplary educational leadership and promote a sense of confidence and pride in the nation’s public schools.  The Pennsylvania Superintendent of the Year is selected by a PASA (Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators) panel of school administrators.

Superintendent of the Year nominees are evaluated on how each candidate demonstrates leadership for learning, communication skills, professionalism and community involvement – active participation in local community activities, and understanding of regional, national and international issues.

Dr. Emilie Lonardi has served as superintendent of the West York Area School District for the past 16 years.

In her tenure as superintendent, Dr. Lonardi has moved the district toward high levels of achievement by utilizing consistent yet innovative leadership focused on closing the achievement gap, developing strategies and programs to increase student accountability and motivation, engaging all constituencies with a focused, directed message, implementing an effective teacher and administrator evaluation and professional development system, and generating cost-savings through a focused action plan.

Dr. Lonardi’s initiatives to raise student achievement among struggling students included implementing the READ 180 program and developing a math intervention model.  She also directed a multi-year, district-wide initiative to increase student accountability and motivation through goal setting, charting and reflection, with both students and teachers taking an active role in “owning” student growth.  Each of these initiatives has been highly successful in raising both student achievement and engagement.

In addition, Dr. Lonardi has implemented a differentiated staff development process, and has focused all constituencies on the district’s strategic plan through the use of a graphic organizer that delineates the academic vision for the district, and provides a clear and consistent message concerning the district’s long- and short-term goals, focus and direction. Her efforts to keep everyone’s eyes on the “main things” provides a resonating message for the entire district and community.

Already in 2001-02, Dr. Lonardi began an initiative that focused on creating a professional culture whereby teacher capacity is built through collaboration focused on the structured study of student work.  This process has provided staff with effective feedback and strengthened professional development strategies.  In addition, the district’s self-made and positive administrative evaluation system includes unified teacher/administrator goals and individual accountability through a collaborative growth model.

Finally, Dr. Lonardi implemented a high-energy initiative focused on communication.  Branded as the “West York Way,” the strategy engages all stakeholders in identifying potential cost-savings throughout the district.  This initiative has netted over $3 million in savings over the last two years.

Since 2006, Dr. Lonardi has been Region 12 representative to the PASA Board of Governors, and for the past years has served as PASA’s representative on the board of the PIAA.  A member of AASA throughout her career as a central office administrator, she was the 1991 recipient of AASA’s Forrest E. Conner Scholarship, awarded to graduate students in school administration who intend to make the school superintendency a career.

In addition, Dr. Lonardi is an adjunct professor in the education leadership departments of Penn State Harrisburg and York College, and has been keynote speaker at many statewide educational events, presenting sessions relative to leadership, board/superintendent communication, school reform, ethics, teacher reflection, brain research, student engagement, and other “best practices” in the educational setting.

Dr. Lonardi is a strong, honest advocate for public schools, engaging both the school community and policymakers in discussions that are transparent, targeted and effective.   As superintendent of West York, she is known for her inspiring and visionary leadership, staff engagement, knowledge and understanding of research-based practices, and focus on the achievement of all students.  As one of her peers has stated, she is “a leader who challenges convention, stirs others into action and encourages staff to stretch to the edge of their competence.”

Dr. Lonardi will be recognized at a special PASA luncheon on Friday, November 15 in Harrisburg.  As the Pennsylvania honoree, she and 49 other state honorees will be recognized in February during the AASA National Conference on Education in Nashville.”

About Angie Mason

I'm the education reporter at the York Daily Record. Follow me on Twitter: @angiemason1
This entry was posted in Angie Mason, Awards and honors, Inside schools, West York Area School District and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to West York leader named 2014 Superintendent of the Year

  1. Patrick Euker says:

    I knew Email when we where teenagers. She was impressive then. It’s no surprise she has done so well. Congrats Em ya done good! Thanks for all the hard work

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