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Four Lessons From Four Top Schools Superintendents

Four school system superintendents have been recognized for their efforts in addressing these challenges, and each is a finalist for the 2015 National Superintendent of the Year by AASA, the School Superintendents Association. Patrick Murphy, Arlington’s superintendent, joins counterparts from Hillsborough County, Fla. (MaryEllen Elia), Clarke County, Ga. (Philip Lanoue), and the Ascension Public Schools in Donaldsonville, La. ­(Patrice Pujol), as candidates for the top honor.

The superintendents gathered in ­Alexandria for a panel discussion Thursday, where they talked about the issues that their districts face — from long-standing community mistrust to widespread poverty and poor communication with parents — and their attempts to turn them around. Their answers will be part of what they are judged on as the organization selects the next superintendent of the year, which will be announced next month.