Three School Districts Earn Top Honors in 2015 Magna Awards

National award program recognizes innovation and excellence in public schools
March 10, 2015

Alexandria, Va. (March 10, 2015) – Swan Valley School District in Saginaw, Mich., Albemarle County Public Schools in Charlottesville, Va., and ABC Unified School District in Cerritos, Calif., have been named the grand prize winners in the 21th annual Magna Awards program sponsored by the National School Boards Association’s flagship magazine, American School Board Journal. The Magna Awards recognize school districts and their leaders taking bold and innovative steps to improve the lives of their students and their communities.

The Magna Awards, supported by Sodexo, honor districts across the country for outstanding programs. An independent panel of school board members, administrators, and other educators selected the winners from nearly 250 submissions.

“In a time when public schools are under attack, we are pleased to showcase schools and their leaders who are dedicated to innovation and excellence,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director of NSBA. “The winning programs are proof that public education is leading the way to advance student achievement.”

This year’s three grand prize, 15 first place, and 15 honorable mention winners were selected from three enrollment categories: under 5,000 students, 5,000 to 20,000 students, and over 20,000 students. Each of the grand prize-winning school districts will receive a $5,000 contribution from Sodexo during a special presentation at NSBA’s 75th Annual Conference, to be held March 21 to 23 in Nashville.

“Sodexo’s commitment to student well-being and achievement extends beyond the nearly 500 districts with which we currently partner and is focused on supporting all students nationwide, which is why we proudly sponsor the annual Magna Awards for the 21st consecutive year,” said Steve Dunmore, President of Sodexo Education-Schools. “We applaud the innovative spirit these winning districts possess and we share their passion for improving quality of life and education for students.”

The grand prize winning programs:

All of the 2015 winners are highlighted in a special section in the April issue of ASBJ and will be formally recognized on Saturday, March 21, at the Best Practices for School Leaders Luncheon, which is part of NSBA’s Annual Conference.

In addition to the ASBJ special section, the districts’ winning entries are posted at

2015 Magna Award First Place Winners (read more)

Under 5,000 students:

  • Franklin Special School District, Franklin, Tenn.
  • Mercer Area School District, Mercer, Pa.
  • Sauk Rapids-Rice School District (ISD 47), Sauk Rapids, Minn.
  • Unionville-Chadds Ford School District, Kennett Square, Pa.
  • Valley View Independent School District, Pharr, Texas

5,000 to 20,000 students:

  • Cave Creek Unified School District, Cave Creek, Ariz.
  • Encinitas Union School District, Encinitas, Calif.
  • South Bay Union School District, Imperial Beach, Calif.
  • Topeka Public Schools, Topeka, Kan.
  • Tuscaloosa City Schools, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Over 20,000 students:

  • Arlington Public Schools, Arlington, Va.
  • Des Moines Public Schools, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Humble Independent School District, Humble, Texas
  • Paradise Valley Unified School District, Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Vancouver Public Schools, Vancouver, Wash.

Honorable mentions – under 5,000 students:

  • Belton School District #124, Belton, Mo.
  • Bristol City Schools, Bristol, Tenn.
  • Mineola Union Free School District, Mineola, N.Y.
  • Owensboro Public Schools, Owensboro, Ky.
  • West Valley School District #208, Yakima, Wash.

Honorable mentions – 5,000 to 20,000 students:

  • Cajon Valley Union School District, El Cajon, Calif.
  • Center Grove Community Schools, Greenwood, Ind.
  • Commack Union Free School District, Commack, N.Y.
  • Roanoke County Public Schools, Roanoke, Va.
  • Ritenour School District, Ritenour, Mo.

Honorable mentions – over 20,000 students:

  • Cherokee County School District, Canton, Ga.
  • Clarksville-Montgomery County School System, Clarksville, Tenn.
  • Pomona Unified School District, Pomona, Calif.
  • Richland School District Two, Columbia, S.C.
  • St. Tammany Parish Public School System, Covington, La.

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National School Boards Association
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is the leading advocate for public education and supports equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. NSBA represents state school boards associations and their more than 90,000 local school board members throughout the U.S. Learn more at:

American School Board Journal
American School Board Journal (, published bi-monthly by the National School Boards Association (, serves almost 25,000 school board members and top-level administrators from districts across the nation. The K-12 magazine, published continuously since 1891, has won 17 national honors for education reporting and design since 2006.

Sodexo in North America
Sodexo, Inc. (, leading Quality of Life Services Company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, delivers On-site Services in Corporate, Education, Health Care, Government, and Remote Site segments, as well as Benefits and Rewards Services and Personal and Home Services. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Foundation (, an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $22 million in grants to end childhood hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog at

Sodexo supports achievement by providing expert solutions that improve the quality of life for the students, staff, and communities we serve. It does this by designing, managing, and delivering services that keep people healthy, safe, and productive while also enriching the learning environment. Sodexo helps the nation’s schools be vibrant contributors to the success of their communities.

Sodexo Contact:
Gregory Yost


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