Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Cedrick Gray Credit: Jackson Public School District

The California-based National Association of School Superintendents has named Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Cedrick Gray as “Superintendent of the Year.”

The organization attributed its selection of Gray to his strategic direction and the 1:1 technology initiative implemented under his leadership. It also cited the district’s state and national accreditation being restored after the state downgraded the district’s status to “probation” following instances of noncompliance in its special education department.

The award comes even as the district faces another downgrade in its accreditation status after an audit found JPS in violation of 22 of the state’s 32 accreditation standards. The district will appear before the Commission on School Accreditation Aug. 16.

According to Naj Alikhan, a spokesperson for NASS, which has about 500 superintendents nationwide in its membership, superintendents apply online and are chosen by the awards committee based on the application, references and interviews with the superintendent.

“Leadership is incredibly important as we see public education evolving nationwide,” said David Brown, National Association of School Superintendents (NASS) Executive Director. “Schools serve as the focal point of thousands of communities nationwide and we need educators that have put programs in place to put students first.”

Gray, who came to Jackson in 2012 from Fayette County schools in Tennessee, discussed the importance he places on collaboration with teachers, administrators, parents and members of the community.

“The superintendent can’t always be the smartest person in the room. Good people that are committed and loyal are essential,” Gray said.


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Kate Royals is a Jackson native and returned to Mississippi Today as the lead education reporter after serving in the same capacity from 2016 to 2018. Prior to that, she was a reporter for the Clarion-Ledger covering education and state government. She won awards for her investigative work, including stories about the state’s campaign finance laws and prison system. She was a news producer at MassLive in Springfield, Mass., after graduating from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communications with a master’s degree in communications.

One reply on “JPS superintendent receives national honor”

  1. Maybe others at JPS should spend the remainder of this month applying online for awards and honors too.

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