June 22, 2008

Decatur Superintendent Earns National Award

By Bayne Hughes, The Decatur Daily, Ala.

Jun. 22--Decatur City School Superintendent Sam Houston received national recognition for his contribution to Alabama's training of future superintendents and principals.

The University Council for Education Administration, a consortium of university education leadership programs in the United States and Canada, recognized Houston with the "Excellence in Education Leadership Award."

Dave Dagley, professor of education leadership at The University of Alabama, presented Houston with the award June 17 at the North River Yacht Club in Tuscaloosa, where the university's Superintendents Academy was meeting.

"This is one of the most prestigious awards the organization, that's really our accreditation agency, gives," Dagley said.

Dagley said the award goes to individuals considered outstanding in their mentoring of prospective superintendents and principals.

About five years ago, Gov. Bob Riley appointed Houston and Decatur Assistant Superintendent Ed Nichols to the Governor's Congress Scholarship Leadership Committee.

He appointed the committee to examine and redesign education leadership programs.

Dagley said there was a perception that the programs focused too much on management and not enough on supervising instruction and curriculum issues.

He said Houston had a major leadership role.

The 60-year-old Houston is in his 40th year in education. He has been Decatur superintendent since 1993.

"Dr. Houston is held in such high esteem," Dagley said. "His experience is invaluable. Superintendents with his longevity are hard to find."

"He's very student-oriented, and he makes sure the people who work for him are very student oriented," Dagley said. "He's a good role model for people who want to be a superintendent or principal."

Houston said the award means more to him because his university nominated him. He earned two degrees from Alabama.


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