Michael P. Nagler, who is the superintendent of the Mineola Union Free School District, has been named as a finalist by The School Superintendents Association for the 2020 National Superintendent of the Year. The profound distinction honors school system leaders throughout the United States, who are making a positive difference in the lives of the students they serve. Nagler was in the running for this honor after being named New York State Superintendent of the Year in October.
In its 33rd year, the National Superintendent of the Year program is open to all U.S. superintendents who plan to continue in the profession. In order to be nominated, each candidate must meet the following criteria: leadership for learning—creativity in successfully meeting the needs of students in the 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 and community involvement—active participation in local community activities and an understanding of regional, national and international issues.
Nagler, who earned his doctorate in education from Columbia University, has been in education for 33 years. He began his career in the New York City school system and advanced to an assistant principal position. In 1999, he joined Mineola as assistant principal of its middle school and later served as its high school principal and deputy superintendent before becoming superintendent in 2009.
In his first years, 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 Nagler’s leadership, the Mineola School District has continued to soar:
• Mineola is one of the only 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 American Association of School Administrators and Successful Practices Network.
• 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 improvement in the achievement of English as a New Language (ENL), students as evidenced by NYS Regents results
• 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 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 its 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 the taxpayers.
Nagler is the past president of the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents, a member of the National Council on Digital Convergence, a member of the American Association of School Administrators, 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 New York State Council of School Superintendents Appreciation Award in 2017, and was named one of 2017’s Top 30 Technologists, Transformers and Trailblazers by the Center for Digital Education. Nagler also most recently gave the keynote address at New York State Council of School Superintendents conferences this past September.
Nagler was nominated for the award by Board of Education President Christine Napolitano and will be honored on March 2 at the State Conference in Albany.
A $10,000 college scholarship will be presented in the name of the 2020 National Superintendent of the Year to a student in the high school from which the superintendent graduated, or the school now serving the same area. Co-sponsored by AASA, AIG Retirement Services and First Student, the 2020 National Superintendent of the Year will be announced during AASA’s National Conference on Education, Feb. 13 to 15, 2020, in San Diego, CA. Nagler is one of four finalists for the title.
—Submitted by the Mineola Union Free School District