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New York State Superintendent of the Year Award

Newburgh Enlarged City School District Superintendent Dr. Roberto Padilla Named 2021 New York State School Superintendent of the Year

The New York State Council of School Superintendents (The Council) has named Newburgh Enlarged City School District Superintendent Dr. Roberto Padilla the 2021 New York State Superintendent of the Year.

“This is a phenomenal achievement for Newburgh,” said Dr. Roberto Padilla. He added “Over the last seven years, we have had the NYS Teacher of the Year and the National CTE Teacher of the Year. From the moment I stepped foot in the district, it was abundantly clear, we have exceptional talent here! We are honored and humbled by this prestigious award. This recognition is the result of a very dedicated and committed district. It truly takes a team to achieve success and I am excited that this is just the beginning.”

Council President and Palmyra-Macedon Superintendent Dr. Robert Ike said, “Selection as the New York State Superintendent of the Year is a testament to Dr. Padilla's unwavering commitment to students. As a champion for equity and access, Dr. Padilla's leadership is a model for leaders across the New York State.”

Board President for the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, Ms. Carole Mineo said, "Especially during such a scary and unpredictable time in our lives, this award brings joy and hope to the people of our city and towns. Our district is often overlooked for notable achievements. I am thrilled that Dr. Padilla has been recognized, joining some of our exceptional educators earning a statewide recognition and being nominated on a national level." 

Dr. Roberto Padilla is the proud Superintendent for the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, located 60 north miles of New York City. Dr. Padilla is a teacher who just happens to be a superintendent. He is nationally recognized as a champion for all children. In 2019, Dr. Padilla was selected as one of Education Week’s National Leaders to Learn From for his visionary leadership on equity and inclusive excellence. 

The award is part of AASA, The School Superintendents Association’s National Superintendent of the year award, which was established in 1988. Dr. Roberto Padilla is the first superintendent to win this award from Orange County and from the upper mid-Hudson region. The announcement was made official at the November 10, 2020 Board of Education meeting.

There are several key initiatives that continue to propel Newburgh to new heights. They include, but are not limited to, hiring a Chief Equity Officer, ensuring all 12,000 scholars receive breakfast and lunch at no cost regardless of their zip code and socioeconomic status, starting two additional high school campuses: NFA West and NFA Noche (evening high school), where scholars receive more personalized learning and opportunities to take more advanced courses and catch up if they fall behind. 

Additionally, Dr. Padilla is committed to ensuring all scholars enter Pre-K prepared to learn at the same level as their peers by bringing the Boston Basics to Newburgh, which is implemented in the local hospital neonatal department for new mothers, at our local library, and through community partnerships.

Newburgh also has the largest Energy Performance Contract for school districts in New York State. This $29 million project was at no cost to the taxpayers, will provide an annual savings of $1.3M in energy costs and reduce greenhouse gases by 60%.  In May 2019, voters in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District passed a $257M bond referendum, the largest in New York State, which focuses on improvements to each school building as well as building a state of the art facility for the 23 Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs currently offered in the district. The new facility will give scholars an opportunity to explore career paths as well as earn required hours and experience to be ready for college and career upon graduation. 

Dr. Padilla leads a district of approximately 2,000 employees, 1100 teachers, 12,000 scholars, 14 school buildings spread throughout four municipalities and manages an operating budget of $287 million. Dr. Padilla holds a doctorate in Education with a focus on Urban School Leadership. He was previously a teacher and principal for the NYC Department of Education, a member of Harvard University’s Principal’s Advisory Board, an Education Policy Fellow at Columbia University, a fellow for the Broad Center at the Yale School of Management, and a Deeper Learning Equity Fellow. He is a published author and an adjunct professor at SUNY New Paltz and Fordham University. 

Dr. Padilla is a member of the Board of Trustees for Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital as well as the Newburgh Armory Unity Center. He is the founding President of the New York Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (NYSALAS), and a member of the Greater Newburgh Rotary Club. 

Dr. Padilla is New York’s nominee for consideration as the National Superintendent of the Year to be awarded at the National Conference on Education of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) held virtually February 18-19, 2021. Dr. Padilla will also be recognized at The Council’s 2021 Winter Institute and Lobby Day, March 7-9 in Albany, NY as New York State’s Superintendent of the Year. The Council has not yet determined if the Winter Institute will be in-person, hybrid or virtual and will depend on decisions made at the state level as related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Council Executive Director Dr. Charles Dedrick said, “Roberto Padilla is respected statewide as an educational leader and always exemplifies the best of our profession. Dr. Padilla is a thoughtful and informed leader providing keen insight on key issues affecting our state. He understands how important superintendent leadership is to a school district’s success to provide students with a comprehensive educational experience.”

Under Dr. Padilla’s leadership, together with educators and community members, the Newburgh Enlarged City School District has established programs and served scholars through a variety of initiatives that you can read more about here: 

2017-2018 Accomplishments Report

2018-2019 Accomplishments Report

2019-2020 Accomplishments Report

PHOTO CREDIT: Photos provided courtesy of Mike Bradley, Education Week

The 2022 Selection Process and Deadlines

AASA, The School Superintendents Associations' National Superintendent of the Year Award is acclaimed as the most prestigious honor a school system leader can attain.The Council uses the AASA awards application process to also select the New York State Superintendent of the Year.

Our Distinguished Services Committee, composed of current officers (with the word president in their title) and past presidents who are active superintendents, review all applications and make their final selection in October for our New York representative. The Council will coordinate an announcement in November each year with our selected candidate's school district. We will recognize our 2022 New York State winner at our 2022 Winter Institute and Lobby Day March 6-8, 2022.

After we select a superintendent from New York to represent us, we provide access for AASA's national blue-ribbon panel to review the application so they can narrow the field to four candidates. On January 8th, AASA will announce the four finalists who will participate in a virtual interviews and moderated press conference. The National Superintendent of the Year is announced at AASA’s National Conference on Education typically held in February each yearAll state superintendents of the year are also recognized.

A $10,000 scholarship is awarded to a student from the high school from which the National Superintendent of the Year graduated from AASA. 

Selection Criteria

Each candidate will be judged on the following attributes and skills:

  • Leadership for Learning – creativity in successfully meeting the needs of students in his or her 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.

  • Community Involvement – active participation in local community activities and an understanding of regional, national and international issues.

AASA's program is open to all public school superintendents in the United States and overseas and is co-sponsored by First Student, AIG Retirement Services, and AASA. New York's program is only open to active New York State Superintendents. Please contact The Council's offices at 518. 449.1063 with questions. Here is a a complete list of past winners