Dr. Kevin McGowan, Brighton Named 2023 AASA National School Superintendent of the Year

Announcement Made at AASA's National Conference on Education / February 16, 2023

San Antonio Texas - Dr. Kevin C. McGowan, superintendent of Brighton Central Schools in Rochester, N.Y., has been named the 2023 AASA National Superintendent of the Year®. Today’s announcement came at the National Conference on Education, hosted by AASA, The School Superintendents Association.  

VIDEO: Click here to see the National Superintendent of the Year® announcement and remarks.

VIDEO: Click here to see the 2023 NYS Superintendent of the Year award ceremony and remarks. 

Now in its 36th year, the National Superintendent of the Year program is co-sponsored by AASA, Corebridge Financial (formerly known as AIG Life & Retirement) and First Student and celebrates the contributions and leadership of public school superintendents. 

The other National Superintendent of the Year finalists were:

"We're on the right path," McGowan, when asked in January what it means to be a National Superintendent of the Year finalist. "The work that's happening in our district for children is approaching a place where people are noticing the gaps we've closed for children, the work that's gone into that and the leadership that's been provided to support each child and each family. This is really such a recognition of that work."

"Congratulations to Kevin McGowan, a proven leader in public education and inspiration to the Brighton Central Schools community," Said Terri Fiedler, president of retirement services, Corebridge Financial. "Corebridge Financial is honored to support school superintendents, and we thank this year's finalists for their commitment to students, teachers and staff."

Council President Martha Group also acknowledged, “Kevin is recognized as a model of leadership for superintendents and educators throughout the greater educational community. His vision and commitment to children coupled with his thoughtful, deliberate, respectful, and selfless approach to meaningful state and local policy change, and developing and coaching current and future leaders is immeasurable. Recognizing Kevin as the 2023 New York State Superintendent of the Year last September and now as the 2023 National Superintendent of the Year serves to highlight how we all can embrace the challenges of the 21st Century and ensure that every child, every family, and each of our public schools continues to thrive.”

"It is an honor to congratulate Kevin McGowan on being named the 2023 National Superintendent of the Year," said John Kenning, CEO and president, First Student. "We appreciate how vital superintendents are to the future of our students and the communities we serve. Superintendent McGowan and our three other finalists selected for their prestigious recognition represent the hallmark of education excellence. First Student is proud to partner with AASA in celebrating the profound contributions these leaders are making to create positive learning environments in our classrooms."

Council Executive Director Charles Dedrick, Ed.D. said, “Congratulations to this year’s national superintendent of the year selection of Kevin McGowan. I have known Dr. McGowan through all his years as a superintendent and want to congratulate him on this important achievement. Kevin was president of the NYSCOSS Executive Committee at the beginning of COVID in 2020. He led the organization and our superintendents during that most difficult period. Dr. McGowan truly exemplifies the fact that leadership matters.” 

"Navigating the myriad of challenges that school district face on an ongoing basis requires unparalleled leadership. Superintendent Kevin McGowan exemplifies a leader who is excelling on the job on behalf of the learning community he serves, and I am so pleased to congratulate him as the 2023 National Superintendent of the Year," said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. It is truly an honor to recognize Kevin, as well as our other three finalists, PJ Caposey, Mathew Hillmann, and Trent North, for serving as champions for children and empowering their students to lead us into a better world. I thank Corebridge Financial and First Student for supporting our program.

The AASA National Superintendent of the Year program is open to all U.S. superintendents who plan to continue in the profession. The program also honors Canadian and other international school superintendents. The applicants were measured against the following criteria:

- Leadership for Learning: creativity in successfully meeting the needs of students in the school system;
- Communication: strength in both personal and organizational communication;
- Professionalism: constant improvement of administrative knowledge and skills, while providing professional development opportunities and motivation to others on the education team; and
- Community involvement: active participation in local community activities and an understanding of regional, national, and international issues.

A $10,000 college scholarship will be presented in the name of the 2023 New York State Superintendent of the Year to a student attending the high school from which the superintendent graduated, or the school now serving in the same area.

For more information about the program, contact Jennifer Rooney, AASA director, meetings, and awards, at jrooney@aasa.org. Click here to access a list of the AASA 2023 State Superintendents of the Year. For more information about the New York State Superintendent of the year program contact Theresa Wutzer Moore, Associate Director, NYSCOSS at theresa@nyscoss.org.

Regarded as the most comprehensive professional learning and networking event for school superintendents and administrators, AASA's National Conference on Education addresses the most critical issues affecting public education today, including leading through the COVID-19 pandemic, health and wellness, equity in education and emotional learning, personalizing education, technology and school safety. 

For more information about the AASA National Conference on Education, access AASA's Conference Daily Online.

NYSCOSS will honor Dr. Kevin McGowan at our 2023 Winter Institute on Monday, March 6, 2023. Thanks to these partners for sponsoring special events related to this important program including Campus Construction Management Group, Day Automation, SEI Design Group, SuperEval and ThoughtExchange.

More About Dr. Kevin C. McGowan, Superintendent and the Brighton Central School District

Dr. McGowan has been the Superintendent of the Brighton Central School District since 2009. He began his career as an elementary teacher in the Starpoint Central School District before becoming a High School Assistant Principal at Iroquois High School and then an elementary principal at Wales Primary School. Prior to Brighton, Kevin was the Superintendent of the Warsaw Central School District in Wyoming County.   

Under his leadership in Brighton, the district has emphasized that excellence is for everybody. Brighton has closed achievement gaps by focusing on the needs of each individual child. Other recent highlights for the district include:   

  • Niche.com ranked BCSD as the No. 1 district in both the Rochester area and Upstate New York in its 2022 Best School Rankings.
  • Niche ranked Brighton High School as the No. 1 high school in the Rochester area and Twelve Corners Middle School as the No. 2 middle school. 
  • Niche also ranked the district No. 1 for best places to teach in the Rochester area, No. 1 for best teachers in the Rochester area. 
  • Brighton High School was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2018 and a NYS Reward School for increased student achievement and closing gaps in student performance in 2017. 
  • BHS was named one of Newsweek’s Top 500 STEM High Schools in its nationwide 2020 ranking. BHS was ranked No. 1 in the Rochester area, No. 10 in New York, and No. 117 in the country for its excellence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. 
  • Twelve Corners Middle School was re-designated as an Essential Elements: School to Watch for 2021. This was the sixth time TCMS was selected. 
  • Council Rock Primary School became the first primary school in the United States to receive an International Habits of Mind School of Excellence Award in 2019. 
Kevin is a graduate of Canisius College with an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and a master's degree in Educational Leadership and Supervision. Kevin completed his doctoral work in Educational Leadership and Policy at the University at Buffalo. His dissertation was selected for presentation at the graduate research conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. 

Kevin previously served as president of the New York State Council of School Superintendents and president of the Monroe County Council of School Superintendents. He currently leads the Leadership for Educational Achievement Foundation, Inc. (LEAF, Inc.) as president and is a member of the National Governing Board of the American Association of School Administrators. He is also active in mentoring and coaching superintendents and aspiring superintendents throughout the state. 

Most importantly, Kevin proudly holds the title of husband and dad in his Brighton household. Among his three children are two sons, one a high school senior who constantly reminds him of the need for more snow days, additional free periods, and better school food; one in college who bemoans the same concerns from his K-12 days; and a daughter in fifth grade who seems to enjoy her dad being in her classroom slightly more than her brother does and is generally more appreciative of his performance. His children and exceptionally supportive wife, an educator herself, help him keep perspective and focus our most important priorities - the needs of each and every child and all their families.  

2024 Fall Leadership Summit

Public Education: The Pathway to Everywhere

Saratoga Hilton and Saratoga Springs City Center
Saratoga Springs, NY 

September 22-24, 2024

Attendee registration is now open.
See deidre@nyscoss.org for Strategic Partner registration.