Rochester Community School District Dr. Robert Shaner 2020 Michigan Superintendent of the Year

The Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators (MASA) announced that Rochester Community School District Superintendent, Dr. Robert Shaner, has earned the award of 2020 Michigan Superintendent of the Year.

“Dr. Shaner has proved himself to be an impeccable leader for Rochester Community Schools and I am honored to give him the award of Michigan Superintendent of the Year,” said MASA Executive Director Chris Wigent. “With a focus on bridging the diversity, equity, and inclusion gap, Dr. Shaner is committed to his philosophy: ‘All Means All.’ Under his leadership, the district created a strategic plan to ensure that all students and staff have a high degree of cultural awareness to make sure every person who comes into the district feels welcome.”

Dr. Shaner and Mr. Wigent pose for a photo

Dr. Shaner and Mr. Wigent

The Michigan Superintendent of the Year Award is presented by MASA to a member who has shown tremendous effort and dedication to enriching the lives of children and the community as a whole. Dr. Shaner’s nomination for the award, which included input from staff, students, and local leaders, stated in part:

Dr. Shaner continually demonstrates the courage to improve regional cooperation, progress, and support of public education. In the past year, he has worked relentlessly to ensure K-12 education has a stronger voice in high-level conversations with business executives, community leaders and lawmakers, from Lansing and Detroit to Mackinac Island and beyond. By showcasing what is right about public education, Dr. Shaner has flipped the narrative to build an understanding of the important benefits of investing in the children of our district and our state.  

Dr. Shaner was appointed superintendent of the Rochester Community School District in 2013. Leading up to his career in education, Dr. Shaner served in the United States Marine Corps and worked as a police officer with both the St. Clair Shores and Troy Police Departments. Dr. Shaner began teaching history and leadership at Sterling Heights High School while earning a Master of Arts Degree in Education from Central Michigan University. He later earned his Education Specialist Degree in Administration from Wayne State University and the following year was appointed assistant principal at Grissom Middle School. Dr. Shaner was then selected as principal of Sterling Heights High School, his alma mater. He earned his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Oakland University and was inducted into the esteemed Gerstacker Fellowship program that same year. Dr. Shaner was subsequently appointed executive director of instruction and technology for the Warren Consolidated School District.

Under his direction, the Rochester Community School District is focusing on community health and well-being, which includes the formation of a social-emotional task force to deal with societal issues, such as opioid addiction and depression. He has also implemented an enhanced budgeting process for the district, earning the Association of School Business Official’s Meritorious Budget Award for two years consecutively.

MASA’s superintendent selection committee includes representatives from Michigan’s various education stakeholders, including superintendents, the Michigan Parent Teacher Association, local school boards, principals, and teachers. The committee selected Dr. Shaner from a pool of highly qualified nominees.

As the MASA honoree, Dr. Shaner is now in the running for the national Superintendent of the Year Award that is given out by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA). AASA will convene a Blue Ribbon Selection Committee to select four national finalists in December. The four finalists will participate in a national briefing and interviews in January at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The National Superintendent of the Year winner will be announced in February.

MASA will also recognize Dr. Shaner at its 2020 Midwinter Conference in January in Detroit.

MASA serves public school leaders in nearly 600 public school districts and intermediate school districts across the state, helping the leaders of Michigan’s most important public institutions get better results for our more than 1.5 million students.

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