Empowered by SVSU program, Meridian Public Schools leader named Superintendent of the Year in Michigan
For the second consecutive year, a member of a prestigious Saginaw Valley State University leadership development program that empowers K-12 education leaders was recognized as the top superintendent in Michigan.
Craig Carmoney, superintendent at Meridian Public Schools in Midland County’s Sanford, earned the 2021 Michigan Superintendent of the Year award from the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators.
“This community and school district have been through a tremendous amount the last several months — with COVID and the flood — so I was incredibly honored and humbled to receive the award as there are so many others in this profession that deserve the same recognition,” said Carmoney, also an SVSU alumnus.
He was nominated by staff, students, regional leaders and colleagues from across the state.
Carmoney is a candidate for the national Superintendent of the Year Award from the American Association of School Administrators, the parent organization of the Michigan chapter that presented him with the statewide honor. The national award recipient will be selected in February 2021.
Carmoney is a member of the Gerstacker Fellowship Program, an SVSU-operated leadership development initiative for professionals in K-12 education. The program was established in 2005 with a $1.5 million endowment from the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation, which invested an additional $1 million to expand the initiative in 2011. Each year, a new group of K-12 educators is selected to participate in leadership development seminars as well as international travel experiences that involve meeting educational leaders across the globe.
Carmoney’s latest recognition reinforces the value of the Gerstacker Fellowship Program, say organizers of the SVSU initiative. After all, his recognition represents the second consecutive year a participant in the Gerstacker Fellowship Program received the Superintendent of the Year award from the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators. Last year, Robert Shaner, superintendent at Rochester Community Schools in Macomb County, earned the award. He was selected as a participant in SVSU’s Gerstacker Fellowship initiative in 2010.
Carmoney, who joined the SVSU program in 2014, said he holds “so many fond memories” of the Gerstacker Fellowship initiative.
“The program really provided with me some great tools and networking opportunities that I’ve utilized to a great extent over the last several years,” Carmoney said.
“In the program, you are led by the best mentors and surrounded by esteemed colleagues that push you to do your best; you are asked to leave your comfort zone in order to grow your skills as a leader; you clearly understand what it takes to be a servant leader for your students, staff and community; and you continually seek to provide opportunities that produce outcomes that matter for your students.”
Shaner agreed, saying the program provides “a transformational leadership experience that exponentially expands the ability to maximize potential, creatively solve problems and implement meaningful change in our K-12 teaching and learning communities.”
Shaner said his participation in the SVSU initiative also empowered him with many of the skills that earned him the state’s top superintendent award in 2019.
“Through international travel opportunities, Gerstacker fellows can appreciate the cultural elements that frame educational systems from around the world,” Shaner said. “My personal experience also provided me with life-long mentors and friends. I am forever grateful for this educational leadership experience.”
Carmoney was familiar with SVSU before participating in the initiative. He earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from the university in 2000.
His other credentials in leadership development include his participation in the Michigan Leadership Institute SUPES (Superintendent Professional Preparation Series) Academy as well as the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance Institute for Leaders initiative.
He also remains active in state and regional organizations including the Michigan High School Athletic Association, the New Tech Network District Leadership Council, the Midland County Long-Term Disaster Recovery Committee, Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce, the Midland Business Alliance, and the Midland County Career and College Access Network leadership team. He is a board of directors member for both the Greater Midland Community Center as well as Midland County Project DARE.