• Dec. 1, 2020

    Administrator named Women in School Leadership Award Finalist

    Amy Pfender An Upper St. Clair School District administrator has been named a finalist for a national leadership award. Amy Pfender, assistant to the superintendent, is one of two finalists in the Women in School Leadership Award in the Central Office/Principal category, a program of AASA, The School Superintendents Association.

    The awards, sponsored by Horace Mann and AASA, pay tribute to the talent, creativity and vision of outstanding women educational administrators in the nation’s public schools.

    “Horace Mann is a proud sponsor of the AASA Women in School Leadership Awards. These awards complement AASA’s effort to drive change in American education, and increase the number of women in leadership roles,” Marita Zuraitis, president and CEO of Horace Mann, said. “We are committed to encouraging more women to aspire to become lead teachers, principals, administrators and superintendents. Congratulations to our finalists.”

    Candidates are judged on leadership in meeting the learning needs of students, personal and organizational communication strength, constant professional improvement of knowledge and skills, and active community involvement.

    “Our program is designed to recognize the exceptional leadership from exemplary women in public education administration who are making a positive difference in the lives of students every day,” Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, said. “Recognizing their accomplishments and shining a spotlight on the positive contributions they’re making has been a long-standing tradition of AASA. We are extremely proud of our finalists and look forward to honoring them at our national conference. We thank Horace Mann for partnering with us on this initiative.”

    Mrs. Pfender was nominated for the award by Dr. John Rozzo, superintendent of schools, with support from Dr. Sharon Suritsky, deputy/assistant superintendent.

    “As a female leader, Mrs. Pfender is second to none,” Dr. Rozzo said. “She continues to be the driving force in program development for young women and girls, provides mentoring to numerous female staff members, and leads a positive, collaborative, and student-centered culture within our district.”

    Hired as a special education teacher at Boyce Middle School in August 2005, Mrs. Pfender became the district’s elementary special education department chairperson in 2009 and the following year ascended to special education curriculum leader. In March 2012, she was appointed assistant middle school principal and was promoted to principal of Boyce Middle School a year later. In January 2016, Mrs. Pfender was named director of student support services and remained in that leadership role until her promotion to assistant to the superintendent in 2019.

    Earlier this year Mrs. Pfender was named the Emerging Woman in Education Award recipient by the Tri-State Area School Study Council. She was previously honored with the 2018 University of Pittsburgh School of Education’s Distinguished Departmental Alumni Award from the Department of Administrative and Policy Studies. In 2015, she earned statewide recognition for her early leadership skills when she received the Wanda McDaniel Honorary Membership Award from the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators. The annual award recognizes an aspiring school administrator who demonstrates evidence of great leadership potential.

    Mrs. Pfender earned a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a bachelor’s degree from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She holds certifications for administrative principal, K-12 supervisor of curriculum and instruction, and K-12 supervisor of special education. She also recently earned her superintendent’s letter of eligibility from California University of Pennsylvania.

    A resident of Robinson Township, Washington County, she and her husband, Keith, have two school-aged children, Jonah and Emily.

    The 2021 Women in School Leadership Award finalists include: 

    The Central Office/Principal Award – awarded to any female central office or building-level leader

    • Tanzy Kilcrease, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, Bibb County School District, Macon, Ga.
    • Amy Pfender, assistant to the superintendent, Upper St. Clair School District, Upper St. Clair, Pa.

    The Superintendent Award – awarded to any female superintendent

    • Noreen Bush, superintendent, Cedar Rapids Community School District, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    • Elizabeth Lolli, superintendent, Dayton Public Schools, Dayton, Ohio

    The final award recipients in each category will be announced during the virtual AASA National Conference on Education, Feb. 18-19, 2021. For more information on the Women in School Leadership Awards, visit the AASA website or contact Jennifer Rooney, AASA director, meetings and awards, at jrooney@aasa.org.

    AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education. For more information, visit www.aasa.org.