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Superintendent Recognized as Outstanding Leader

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Superintendent Recognized as Outstanding Leader
Posted on 06/27/2022
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Portland Public Schools Superintendent Xavier Botana has won an Outstanding Leadership Award for 2021 and 2022 from the Maine School Superintendents Association (MSSA). The award recognizes superintendents for leadership, the implementation of exemplary educational programs; and service to the profession of education.

Botana was recognized June 27 at an awards ceremony at the 109th Annual Commissioner's Conference for Superintendents, being held in Bar Harbor from June 26-28.

Eileen King, MSSA executive director, commended Botana on being selected. “Any recognition is important,” she said. “When it is initiated by your colleagues, it is of even great significance. Congratulations!”

“I am honored to receive this recognition,” Botana said. “It is especially meaningful to me because I was nominated by my peers – other superintendents in my region. I am grateful for their support and also for that of various champions of education in our community.”

Educational leaders who provided written or video testimonials in support of Botana’s nomination for the award were Brian Elowe, CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Maine; Liz Cotter Schlax, President and CEO of United Way of Southern Maine; Westbrook School Superintendent Peter Lancia; Glenn Cummings, President of the University of Southern Maine; Pious Ali, founder of Portland Empowered and a Portland City Councilor; and Portland Board of Public Education Chair Emily Figdor.

“Xavier is such an exemplary leader that I feel humbled and honored to work with him every day,” Figdor said. “I can think of no one who is more deserving of this award. Xavier leads with integrity, rigor, focus, grace, courage, and compassion. He has a deep moral commitment to our students and particularly students who are marginalized by our society. And he is a visionary and powerful force for equity – which is the key defining challenge of our district.”

The award honors superintendents whose efforts and initiatives have resulted in programs that provide solutions to the specific needs of students in their school system and who have been involved in exemplary education programs.

The Portland Public Schools is Maine’s largest school district, with approximately 6,500 students, and is also the most diverse. About one-third of the district’s students come from homes where languages other than English are spoken—a total of more than 50 languages. 51 percent of the district’s students are white and 49 percent are students of color. Approximately half of PPS students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.