Mr. Warren Drake has been named Superintendent of the Year by Magnet Schools of America (MSA), the national association for magnet schools, who recognizes the important work of leadership within the East Baton Rouge Parish School System to keep magnet schools a priority in the portfolio of school choice options.
“Superintendent Drake has done a phenomenal job building magnet school culture in his district,” said Todd Mann, Executive Director of Magnet Schools of America. “Because of him, more East Baton Rouge Parish students have access to a high-quality magnet education. We are grateful for his leadership, and thrilled to celebrate his accomplishments.”
Magnet Schools of America (“MSA”) select a Superintendent of the Year annually based on a leadership skills, particularly in developing and supporting magnet schools/programs; commitment to improving the quality of education in his/her school district through the development and implementation of high-quality magnet programs/schools and that have diverse enrollments; commitment to the support of magnets at the local, state and national levels; involvement in education; and ability to build good employee relations among teachers and staff members.
Based on a report commissioned by Magnet Schools of America and conducted by the University of North Carolina-Charlotte’s Urban Institute in 2016, there are approximately 4,340 public elementary and secondary magnet schools serving nearly 3.5 million students in the United States.
Magnet schools are the largest form of public-school choice. They were originally created in the early 1970’s as a means of voluntarily promoting school integration and improving the quality of America’s educational system through innovative curricula and classroom instruction.
Magnet schools utilize a variety of academic themes to attract students of different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds including: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), language immersion, business and communications, careers and technology, and visual and performing arts. Others use specialized instructional techniques like those found in Montessori schools or Immersion programs.
During his tenure, Superintendent Drake has continuously been praised for his efforts to expand theme-based programs in his school district. During the 2017-2018 academic launched new magnet programs focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The district also secured a $15 million STEM-based grant from the Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) under Mr. Drake’s leadership. Recognizing the importance of school choice and the role magnet programs have had in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, Mr. Drake has continuously supported the expansion of magnet schools and increased the number of seats where possible, to ensure parents are provided additional choice options.
“I am deeply honored to be the recipient of the National Magnet Schools of America Award. As the superintendent of a district with students of diverse needs, I understand the importance of Magnet Programs, a choice option that has provided thousands of families with the opportunity to enroll and embrace innovative and specialized programs, which is the reason I have expanded seats in magnet schools,” said Superintendent Warren Drake.
He added, “During my tenure as the superintendent, I am constantly amazed at what our Magnet Programs have to offer our children. The principals, staff, students, parents and the community are a critical foundation for the success of our specialized programs; however, I recognize that it’s the strong leadership from the Director of Magnet Programs, Theresa Porter, who works tirelessly to make sure the programs in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System are not only known for its excellent programs locally, but also at the national level.”
To be selected as the Superintendent of the Year, candidates may nominate themselves or be nominated by school board members, parents, colleagues and/or community members, the application must include a letter of nomination, and a signed acknowledgement letter from a current Board of Education member.
The nominee is also required to submit a narrative application and two recommendation letters and artifacts such as newspaper articles, pictures and videos. In addition, they must be a member of Magnet Schools of America and have served as superintendent for a minimum of two years. All applications are reviewed and scored by the Executive Committee for Magnet Schools of America.