Jonathan Moody of MSAD 54 Named Maine’s 2024 Superintendent of the Year

From the Maine School Superintendents Association

Maine’s 2024 Superintendent of the Year is a quiet, humble yet incredibly effective educational leader.  The bedrock strategy of his leadership has been to foster a deep understanding of the district’s mission, vision, and core beliefs that are the cornerstone of every decision that is made in his district.

Known as a transformational change agent, he facilitates change by bringing together stakeholders around a common shared vision. Whether he is addressing the school mascot or the pandemic, working with staff to develop the district-wide tenants to combat poverty to using his students’ voices to understand the impact of trauma, this superintendent’s decisions are principled and built on a strong district vision.

Successful leaders communicate well, and Maine’s 2024 Superintendent of the Year, Jonathan Moody has a simple yet effective approach to communicating: He listens, he is involved, and he shares. He listens to school board members, community members, parents, students, and staff. He seeks ways to get feedback and requires others in his organization to do the same. He involves others, encourages engagement, and seeks representation from everyone in the room, making sure to bring in those groups not otherwise represented. He shares what is learned, he shares feedback, and he shares decisions.

Through the district’s partnership with KV-CAP, a local community action program, the district developed a vision of how early childhood education could move from the sidelines to become fully integrated into a public school. Jon’s leadership was paramount in bringing this vision to reality, as he led the design, development, and funding of a new 76-million-dollar school that will serve children starting at 6 weeks old. This school, which is being called the “First of its kind in Maine”, will provide early childhood programming for children ages 6 weeks old to three years old and will provide comprehensive programming to students who are 3 years old through grade 12.

Nicole Chapman from KVCAP who oversees the Early Childhood Collaborative in Somerset County defines Jon as a transformative partner and leader and states that he has been pivotal in the evolution of a model of education and wraparound support to children and families to increase student success.

Jon embraces parent and community voice, engagement, and involvement as a vehicle to nourish and create a school community and culture that embodies a multi-generational approach of inclusivity, continuity, education, and support to break the cycle of poverty and set children on the path to lifelong success.

Letters from town select board members, school board members, union presidents, and teachers overwhelmingly supported Jon’s nomination to become Maine’s 2024 Superintendent of the Year.

When asked about their Superintendent, staff members at MSAD 54 say that Jon is always available to talk with his employees even through the busiest of times. He is an active listener and a calm problem solver and treats everyone with dignity, empathy, fairness, and respect and genuinely cares about every employee and every student.

When Jon stepped in as Superintendent, he was faced with the tense debate about the school mascot. Jon listened and saw that the district didn’t just need a new mascot but needed a culture shift. Again, Jon led the way. He steered and empowered the school communities to become more trauma informed, and to explicitly state and reinforce that the District’s vision, “everyone comes to school feeling safe, welcome and respected for who they are,” was not just in ink, but also in action. Jon sought evidence-based solutions, brought speakers, trainers, and programs, and in some cases even infrastructure changes to help all schools become that vision of a safer and more inclusive space. His leadership helped the culture of the district to grow.

One Board member wrote: “I don’t know that Jon is even aware of it, but Jon inspires connection to projects, he instills purpose in actions, and keeps us all tethered to the driving force of every aspect that is vital to education. From the structures we build, to the policies we enact, to the day-to-day connections we make with kids; Jon embodies what it means to be ‘in it for the kids’ every single day”.

But it is what he does during and after listening that matters most – the actions that speak louder than words. Jon is a go-getter, change-agent, and is the solid, unwavering foundation of MSAD #54.

It is for these reasons and many more that the Maine School Superintendents Association is honored to name Jonathan Moody, MSAD 54, as Maine’s 2024 Superintendent of the Year.

Jon, named the 1999 Teacher of the Year for Dirigo High School, currently serves on the Board of Directors of Redington-Fairview Hospital and the United Way of Mid Maine; he is on the Early Childhood Advisory committee with Educate Maine and serves as an Adjunct Instructor at University of Maine at Farmington.  Jon serves on MSSA’s funding committee and is also a member of the MSSA’s Ethic’s Committee.  Jon holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Maine and a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from the University of Maine in Farmington.

Jon is married to his wife Shelly of 23 years, and is the proud father of Jacob, Grace and Olivia.

Dr. Kathy Harris-Smedberg and Jonathan Moody