Washington County School Superintendent Betty Morgan was named national superintendent of the year by the American Association of School Administrators at a conference in Phoenix, Ariz., on Thursday night.
Maryland's superintendent of the year, Morgan was chosen as one of four finalists last fall from around the country. She went through lengthy interviews in Washington, D.C., in January before being chosen the winner.
The announcement was made as the four finalists stood on a stage in front of 2,500 colleagues from around the nation. Morgan said she was "really excited and really humbled" by the prize. "I think I have incredible colleagues in Maryland and so I am accepting this for them."
She is the first Maryland superintendent to win in the 23-year history of the award.
Morgan was chief academic officer in Baltimore under CEO Robert Booker before taking the Washington County job in 2001. She has worked in four school districts in Maryland.
"Morgan's unwavering commitment to advancing student success, her dedication to providing quality educational opportunities for all students, and her ability to bring people together make her a model for school leaders nationwide," AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech said in a statement.
Under her leadership, the Washington County school system has seen its graduation rate rise and its dropout rate decline.
Wayne Ridenour, president of the Washington County Board of Education, called Morgan a "tireless advocate for academic success" who has made the system one of the best in the state.
-- Liz Bowie