Dr. April Grace, superintendent of Shawnee Public Schools, has served as an educator in Oklahoma for more than 30 years. She is a proud tribal member of the Choctaw Nation. Known as a visionary, Dr. Grace’s focus has always been on redesigning education to better serve students. This focus has led to several unique initiatives in her district, including a nationally recognized National School Boards Association’s Magna-award-winning partnership with a telemedicine provider and a commitment for every school to focus on staff and student health and wellness. Under her leadership, SPS has been recognized as a top workplace in local and statewide publications, and recognized twice for being a model school for Oklahoma Tiered Intervention Systems of Support.
Dr. Grace recently finished her term as the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators President, only the second female elected in the 88-year history of the organization, and the only one in the past 27 years. In June 2020, she was named as one of the members of the 34th Class of Leadership Oklahoma. Her most recent awards include the 2021 Oklahoma Association of School Administrators State Superintendent of the Year, the Distinguished School Administrator Award from the American Association of School Librarians, the Oklahoma Library Association’s Bill Lowry Library Champion Award, Shawnee Forward 15 for excellence in community leadership, Pottawatomie County Power 10 leaders of the decade, the State Superintendent’s Award for Arts Excellence and the Oklahoma School Administrator Award from Oklahoma School Librarians. She is one of only seven administrators from across the nation to serve on the AASL Administrative Collaborative. She is a member of the 2018 AASA National Women’s Leadership Consortium. Dr. Grace serves on the RELSW Governing Board examining the research of best practices across a five-state region with University and State Department of Education leaders from those states. She teaches adjunct graduate classes, writes courses for several universities, and serves as a regular contributor to the Oklahoma education community statewide. Dr. Grace has been featured on numerous podcasts and publications and is a sought out speaker, presenter, and trainer for her expertise in a variety of education topics including HR, teacher-leader evaluation systems, innovation in education, and leadership just to name a few.
Dr. Grace is on a mission to improve education, as well as the lives of students and staff, while reimagining, redesigning, and redefining education.
Past AASA Oklahoma Superintendent of the Year Winners:
2021 Oklahoma Superintendent of the Year: Robert Romines
2020 Oklahoma Superintendent of the Year: Stacey Butterfield
2019 Oklahoma Superintendent of the Year: Sean McDaniel
About the Superintendent of the Year:
As a sponsor of the superintendent of the Year program, First Student wants to recognize these leaders in a special way this year, because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the disruption that has affected all education systems but also the innovative approaches that the superintendents and school districts addressed through radio, television, zoom and take-home packages. These superintendents are the very best in public education and are needed more than ever during this crisis.
About the Award:
The superintendent of the Year program, sponsored by First Student and AASA, The School superintendents Association, pays tribute to the talent and vision of the men and women who lead the nation’s public schools.
State level winners are selected on the following criteria:
- Leadership for Learning
- Community Involvement