Superintendent of the Year | Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators

MASA presents the Superintendent of the Year Award each year to a superintendent who has shown tremendous effort and dedication to enriching the lives of children and the community as a whole.

The Michigan Superintendent of the Year is recognized for strong leadership, creativity in successfully meeting the needs of students, communication skills, professionalism, community involvement and the success of students that has taken place during their tenure.

MASA’s 2024 Superintendent of the Year award is made possible with support from our Partners at Williams & Company.

Dr. Jeffrey Collier Named 2024 Michigan Superintendent of the Year

Dr. Jeffrey Collier, Superintendent of Saginaw Intermediate School District, was named Michigan’s 2024 Superintendent of the Year by the Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators (MASA) during a surprise presentation at the Saginaw ISD board of education meeting on Tuesday evening.

Michigan’s Superintendent of the Year award is presented annually by MASA to a superintendent who has shown tremendous effort and dedication to enriching the lives of students and the community as a whole. After an open nomination and application process, the annual award winner is then selected by a panel representing education stakeholders across the state. Collier received seven separate nominations for this year’s award, inclusive of testimonials from current staff and stakeholders, as well as previous colleagues and educators he has mentored during his career.

“I’ve known Dr. Collier a long time, having worked with him as both a district leader and now in his current role, and can absolutely say that he truly is a transformational leader,” said MASA Executive Director Dr. Tina Kerr. “He has an innate ability to always work in true partnership with those around him and his unwavering commitment to his team, the local school districts in Saginaw County, and public education across the state is evident and admirable. We are very proud to have Dr. Collier representing Michigan as the 2024 Superintendent of the Year.”

Collier has more than 23 years of educational experience across multiple levels and districts. In July 2020, he was named the Superintendent of Saginaw ISD, which encompasses 12 local public school districts and services approximately 26,000 students from birth to age 26. Prior to leading the ISD, Collier spent eight years as the Superintendent of Au Gres-Sims School District. He was also a building principal at Tawas Area High School and a middle school assistant principal in Bay City Public Schools.

“He has been a supporter, confidant, friend, resource, and mentor,” said Chris Ming, Superintendent at Au Gres-Sims School District and one of Collier’s nominators. “Dr. Collier knows firsthand the demands of not just the superintendency, but also of having limited resources, human and otherwise, at your disposal in a small district, and he leads by example with his service mindset.”

Under Collier’s leadership, Saginaw County successfully passed a Special Education Millage in 2022 – the first time in 48 years that such a measure was approved. The millage was passed at the statutory maximum level for special education and is expected to be an investment of at least $88.5 million over the next decade for special education programs in school districts within the ISD. The millage has had a transformative effect on the ISD’s capacity to fund essential special education programs and provide increased supports for some of its most marginalized students across the county.

“Dr. Collier isn’t just content with the status quo,” said Dr. Stephen Bigelow, Superintendent at Bay City Public Schools and another of Collier’s nominators. “His reputation as a disruptor attests to his forward-thinking approach, prioritizing innovative leadership designs that break barriers. This ensures that institutions aren’t just functioning under his guidance – they are thriving.”

Collier’s work has also focused on addressing the critical educator shortage. He was one of 12 founding members of the Talent Together program – a collaborative consortium that aims to attract and train future educators by pooling resources and expertise – and currently sits on the organization’s Governing Board. Collier and his team also pioneered the creation of the first Teacher Apprenticeship program in Michigan to provide aspiring teachers with hands-on classroom experience while earning a stipend.

“Dr. Collier’s leadership has been transformative in our educational community,” said Mark Whelton, Bridgeport-Spaulding Community Schools Superintendent, and award nominator. “He recognizes the critical role that local school districts play in the overall success of our educational system and goes above and beyond to offer support, guidance, and resources.”

The importance of effective communication is also a large part of Collier’s leadership. This past year, he led his team to launch the “Our Story” program, which aims to capture the “magic moments of awe” happening every day in education but that are not often shared. The campaign has shared over 1,500 positive narratives from more than 100 individuals since January.

“Dr. Collier’s commitment to cooperation among neighboring ISDs and school districts has promoted knowledge sharing and best practices, ultimately benefiting students throughout the region,” said Ruth Coppens, Saginaw ISD Board President, and one of Collier’s nominators. “His leadership has not only elevated Saginaw ISD but has also had a ripple effect on the entire educational landscape.”

Beyond his role at Saginaw ISD, Collier also serves on various boards, including the Saginaw County Board of Public Health, Saginaw Community Foundation, and Saginaw Valley State University’s External Advisory Board.

Collier is a lifelong learner with a rigorous educational background. He most recently earned his Doctorate in Education in Nov. 2021 from Central Michigan University. He also holds both an Education Specialist and Master of Education degree from Saginaw Valley State University. He began his post-secondary education at Delta College, earning an Associate of Arts before transferring to Michigan State University to earn a Bachelor of Arts.

In addition to the surprise presentation at Tuesday’s board meeting, Collier will be formally recognized at MASA’s 2024 Midwinter Conference in January in Detroit. A $1,000 student scholarship will also be presented and donated to Saginaw ISD in his honor by this year’s Michigan award sponsor, Williams & Company.

As Michigan’s 2024 Superintendent of the Year, Collier is now in the running for the national Superintendent of the Year award from the American Association of School Administrators (AASA). AASA will convene a Blue-Ribbon Selection Committee to select four national finalists in December. The four finalists will participate in a national briefing and interviews at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. in January. The National Superintendent of the Year will be announced in February at the AASA National Conference on Education in San Diego, where all State Superintendents of the Year will also be honored.

Past  Michigan Superintendent of the Year Winners

Dr. Monica Merritt
Plymouth-Canton Community Schools

Dr. Dania Bazzi
Ferndale Public Schools

Craig Carmoney
Meridian Public Schools

Dr. Robert Shaner
Rochester Community Schools

Dr. Glenn Maleyko
Dearborn Public Schools

Dr. Jeanice Kerr Swift
Ann Arbor Public Schools

Dr. Rob Glass
Bloomfield Hills Schools

Dr. Michael Rice
Kalamazoo Public Schools

Yvonne Caamal Canul
Lansing School District

Brian J. Whiston
Dearborn Public Schools

Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson
Southfield Public Schools

Dr. Tina Kerr
Coldwater Community Schools

Dr. Brian Davis
Holland Public Schools

Dave Campbell
Olivet Community Schools

Roxanne DeWeerd
Hudsonville Public Schools

Thomas Maridada II
Inkster Public Schools

Robert M. Olsen
Sturgis Public Schools

Paula M. Dawning
Benton Harbor Area Schools

Joan Sergent
Utica Community Schools

C. Robert Maxfield
Farmington Public Schools

Robert M. O’Brien
Huron Valley Public Schools

E. Sharon Banks
Lansing School District

James E. Ray
Flint Community Schools

Seymour Gretchko
West Bloomfield School District