Grace named Oklahoma’s Superintendent of the Year

Vicky O. Misa
The Shawnee News-Star
Shown, from left, are Dr. Pam Deering, CCOSA executive director and OASA executive director; Dr. April Grace, Shawnee Public Schools superintendent; and April Buoy, Oklahoma manager at American Fidelity.

On Wednesday, the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators (OASA) named Dr. April Grace of Shawnee Public Schools as the 2021 OASA State Superintendent of the Year. Grace was also named OASA District 9 Superintendent of the Year. She will be recognized at the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration (CCOSA) Summer Leadership Conference in June and the National AASA School Superintendents Association Conference in February 2022.

“Dr. Grace is a leader in our state and is very deserving of this honor,” Dr. Pam Deering, CCOSA/OASA executive director, said. “She currently serves as the president of OASA and is recognized nationally for her work with aspiring female superintendents as she continues to lead her school district for learning and student success."

Under Grace's leadership, Deering said students, staff and the Shawnee community have benefited from innovative programs and services.

"During the pandemic, the telemedicine clinics made a difference for student attendance and health," she said. "Her expertise is recognized in education circles at the local, state and national levels. Dr. Grace is an exceptional leader in these challenging times.”

The recipient of this award is selected by a committee of school administrators. In order to be selected as the State Superintendent of the Year, the following criteria must be met:

• must be a member in good standing of OASA and AASA;

• should have a recent successful experience in top level educational administration in such positions as superintendent, assistant superintendent, administrative assistant, or director;

• must have a sound, dynamic and realistic philosophy of education;

• must be a person who can inspire and motivate people and give support and recognition for the contributions of others;

• must have a record which evidences continued professional and personal growth through appropriate training and experiences including skills in human relations and the stamina to cope with the pressures of the job;

• must have the ability to speak for education on all levels with special emphasis on the district level; and

• must have made contributions to educational administration.

“I am truly humbled by this award recognition and being selected by my peers,” Grace said. “I am grateful to the selection committee and my staff at Shawnee Public Schools. I believe this is a collective representation of the people I serve alongside in my district and in this profession daily.”

Grace has been an Oklahoma public school educator for more than 30 years. She began her career as a science teacher, then transitioned to building administration and central office leadership. In 2016, she became superintendent of Shawnee Public Schools. In her five years at the helm of Shawnee, Grace has received numerous state and national awards recognizing her philosophy of reimagining, redefining and redesigning education to ensure learning and development for all. These awards include a Magna Award from the National School Boards Association for the district’s telemedicine clinics, the State Superintendent’s Award for Arts Excellence, and the Distinguished Administrator Award from the American Association of School Librarians. In addition to her responsibilities as superintendent, Grace serves as an adjunct professor teaching new and emerging school leaders.

For more information about OASA and CCOSA, visit