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New York State Superintendent of the Year Award

Mineola Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael P. Nagler Named 2020 New York State School Superintendent of the Year

Congratulations to Mineola Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael P. Nagler who was named the 2020 New York State Superintendent of the Year by the New York State Council of School Superintendents (The Council). 

Dr. Nagler was honored at the 2020 Winter Institute on Monday, March 2 at the Albany Capital Center in Albany, NY. The award was presented by his son James Nagler and Board of Education President Christine Napolitano. Also pictured Executive Director Chuck Dedrick; Council President Kevin McGowan, Brighton; and Distinguished Service Chair William Johnson, Rockville Centre. 

Dr. Mike Nagler was also one of four finalists for AASA's National Superintendent of the Year award. You can meet the four finalists here or view images from their press conference. The National Superintendent of the Year was awarded at AASA’s National Conference on Education in San Diego this past February. 

The award is part of AASA, The School Superintendents Association’s national superintendent of the year award, which was established in 1988. The announcement was made at the Oct. 24, 2019 Mineola Board of Education meeting. 

“To be nominated for and receive this designation is truly an honor,” Dr. Nagler said. “I believe strongly in Mineola’s mission statement to create lifelong learners who contribute positively to a global society, and there is nothing more satisfying to me than being in a classroom and seeing both staff and students fully immersed and engaged in a lesson. 

This award is really a testament to the work my teachers, staff and administrators do every single day in those classrooms by impacting the lives of our students, and to Mineola’s Board of Education, who have embraced my ideas and sometimes out-of-the-box approaches, to drive this district forward. I am humbled to receive this honor on behalf of Mineola’s everyday heroes.”

Council President and Brighton Superintendent Kevin McGowan said,Mike Nagler has consistently demonstrated excellence in leadership throughout his tenure as a school leader. He has worked exceptionally hard to be an innovative leader always focused on making hard decisions the right way in order to improve performance and outcomes in his district. We are so proud of the ways in which Mike has given his staff the opportunity to innovate, given his students innumerable opportunities to grow and learn and his colleagues immeasurable ways to be inspired by his work. Congratulations Mike!”

After graduating with his doctorate in education from Columbia University, Dr. Nagler began his career in the New York City school system. He quickly advanced to an assistant principal position and joined Mineola, originally, as assistant principal of its middle school in 1999. Dr. Nagler has been with the Mineola School District for 21 of his 33 years in education and served as its high school principal and deputy superintendent before becoming superintendent in 2009.

In his first years, Dr. Nagler was responsible for convincing the community of the need to consolidate and reorganize its school structure to remain fiscally responsible. With that change and savings, the district was able to begin funding transformational technology advancements for all of its students, including being among the first to adopt a 1:1, take-home, iPad initiative that eventually rolled out to all students in grades K-12. Since then, the district has continued to thrive and advance, not just with technology, but with its curriculum offerings, initiatives, professional development and facilities, all while remaining at or below the tax cap for its residents.

Under Dr. Nagler’s leadership, the Mineola School District has continued to soar:

  • Mineola is one of the only, and first, districts to have all five of its schools earn the distinction of an Apple Distinguished School.

  • All five schools have been recognized as a Common Sense School for Digital Citizenship.

  • The district is one of only 114 members nationwide in the League of Innovative Schools.

  • In 2018, Mineola was also named one of the Top 25 Most Innovative Districts by the AASA and Successful Practices Network (SPN).

  • Mineola High School and Mineola Middle School became the first on Long Island with a Fabrication Lab, commonly referred to as a Fab Lab, where students learn, design, collaborate and build in a small-scale workshop environment.

  • Mineola was named among the Top 10 Digital School Districts in 2017-18 by The Center for Digital Education and the National School Boards Association.

  • In the last three years, there has been a significant decrease in the achievement gap of the district’s ENL students.

  • Expansion of the district’s fine arts and music offerings, including a recent win in its division at the New York State Field Band Conference competition.

  • Mineola is the first and only district on Long Island to offer full-day pre-K to all of its residents.

  • All curriculum has been rewritten for K-7 in the last few years to take a more integrative approach.

  • Integration of AKAs (Application of Knowledge Assessments) that require students to illustrate their understanding of a concept in different ways.

  • Established a culture of growth mindset districtwide, and of cultivating the 4Cs of creativity, communication, critical thinking and collaboration into all of its innovative learning environments.

  • Capital work continues each year to advance the schools for our students and protect taxpayers’ investment in buildings, all without the need to bond any work. To date, more than $45 million in capital improvement work has been done at no additional expense to our taxpayers.

Dr. Nagler is past president of the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents, a member of the National Council on Digital Convergence, an AASA member, and is on the advisory board for Digital Promise’s League of Innovative Schools. He has also received the Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award for 2019 and the The Council's Appreciation Award in 2017, and was named one of 2017’s Top 30 Technologists, Transformers and Trailblazers by the Center for Digital Education. Dr. Nagler recently kicked off a new format with his 10-minute ignite session at The Council’s 2019 Fall Leadership Summit in September.

As the New York State Superintendent of the Year, Dr. Nagler was New York’s candidate for national superintendent of the year, which was awarded at AASA’s National Conference on Education in San Diego in February 2020. Dr. Nagler was nominated for the award by Board of Education President Christine Napolitano and selected by The Council's Distinguished Service Committee. He was honored on March 2 at The Council’s New York State Winter Institute & Lobby Day in Albany.

The 2021 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.

  • If you are interested in applying for the 2021 award go to AASA's online nomination and application portal for more information and instructions on how to apply. Nominations for the 2021 award have been extended until August 15, 2020 because we appreciate the current demands our educational leaders are experiencing during the pandemic.

  • Completed applications for the 2021 award are due on October 1, 2020 at AASA's online nomination and application portal at

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 2020 with our selected candidate's school district. We will recognize our 2021 New York State winner at our 2021 Winter Institute and Lobby Day March 7-9, 2021 on Monday, March 8, 2021

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 December 18, 2020, AASA will announce the four finalists who will participate in a national briefing and interviews at the National Press Club. The National Superintendent of the Year is announced at AASA’s National Conference on Education held February 15-17, 2021 in New Orleans, LAAll 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 for a complete list of winners.