Hawthorne named finalist for 2023 Superintendent of Year

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

Dodd Hawthorne, superintendent of Crenshaw County Schools, has been named a finalist for School Superintendents of Alabama/Schneider Electric 2023 Superintendent of the Year for District 3. 

Hawthorne was nominated along with superintendents from SSA’s other eight districts.

According to correspondence from the School Superintendents of Alabama, nominated district finalists are distinguished leaders who provide a leading voice in sound public policy development and advocacy, and foster innovative ideas and student achievement. Nominees are held in high regard by the parents, the community, teachers, staff, and superintendents throughout their district as well as by their school board.

Board of Education member Sheri Claybrook thinks that Hawthrone is a great choice for the award and said superintendent Hawthrone has worked hard to uphold the mission of Crenshaw County Schools – to promote and support a culture of excellence for all students to achieve personal, academic and career success.

Claybrook added he was instrumental in leading the school system through the pandemic.

Mr. Hawthorne worked hard to ensure that our students and staff could remain in school,” she said. “Many places were either not having school or operating totally online. We remained in school as much as we safely could.
“We are fortunate as a board to work well together to get things done, and our system is in great shape financially thanks to some decisions made by Mr. Hawthorne. We have over four months of operating reserve, which is well over what is required by the state.”

The announcement of the School Superintendents of Alabama/Schneider Electric 2023 Superintendent of the Year will occur during the SSA Fall Conference in Florence, Alabama, and the winner will then be honored at a luncheon sponsored by Schneider Electric March 7, held during SSA’s Legislative Conference in Montgomery.

The state winner will be determined based on career achievements and success in advancing public education.
Hawthorne’s accomplishments include currently serving on the Central Board for the Alabama High School Athletic Association, board member for School Superintendents of Alabama, President of District 2 for the Alabama High School Athletic Association, and President of District 3 for School Superintendents of Alabama. He said he sees the nomination as an honor and said it is a privilege to be involved in the further development of Crenshaw County Schools. 

“I’m both honored and humbled to have been selected as a finalist for Superintendent of the Year,” Hawthorne said. “We have many great superintendents in our district, which includes the southeast Alabama area, that are very deserving so to have been chosen is a great honor.

 “As far as the future of Crenshaw County Schools, certainly, the last two years have been difficult in regard to dealing with COVID, but hopefully, that’s in our rear-view mirror. Our top priority in Crenshaw County Schools is continuing to recover from the learning loss that occurred during the pandemic. Test scores on state achievements are on the rise, but we still have a lot of work to do.”

Schneider Electric will provide Alabama’s winner with a Superintendent of the Year ring and will pay travel expenses to the AASA National Conference on Education, Feb. 16-18, in San Antonio. 

At the National Conference, Alabama’s winner will receive a bronze medallion with the Superintendent of the Year emblem on it and a plaque from AASA – The School Superintendents Association, SSA’s national affiliate and sponsor of this program. Each state’s winner will be recognized during the AASA National Conference where the national winner for 2023 will be announced.