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Dr. Danielle Jones Selected as 2022 Dr. Samuel Houston Leadership Award Winner for Aspiring Superintendent Program Cohort VI


The North Carolina School Superintendents' Association (NCSSA) and the North Carolina Alliance for School Leadership Development (NCASLD) have announced the selection of Dr. Danielle (pronounced dan-yella) Jones, Assistant Superintendent for Middle Schools, Durham Public Schools, as a recipient of the Dr. Samuel Houston Leadership Award. This annual award is presented to a graduate of the North Carolina School Superintendents' Association Aspiring Superintendent Program, a program which is designed to empower transformational education leaders for North Carolina’s public schools.

The award is named in honor of Dr. Samuel Houston who is President and Chief Executive Officer of the North Carolina Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Center.  Dr. Houston served as superintendent of the Mooresville Graded School District for ten years where he opened the first year-round school in North Carolina.  Dr. Houston has been a champion for strategic planning, student performance and accountability, meeting the needs of the 21st century workforce, skills for the STEM world and building education partnerships. Dr. Houston also served as the first executive director of the University of North Carolina Center for Leadership Development.

Dr. Houston was awarded the Jay Robinson Leadership Award as an Exemplary Educator for his outstanding contributions to statewide public K–12 education.  He also earned the RJR-Nabisco Foundation's China Breaker Award for implementing educational change. He has been inducted into the Appalachian State University Reich College of Education's Rhododendron Society and the East Carolina University's Education Hall of Fame and has received the Distinguished Career Award from the University of North Carolina – Greensboro School of Education.

Jack Hoke, Executive Director of the North Carolina School Superintendents' Association said that Dr. Jones exemplifies the traits that have guided Dr. Samuel Houston's career in educational leadership. She has a commitment to continuous improvement, high standards of ethical conduct, strategic planning, improving student performance and meeting the needs of the 21st century workforce.

“Dr. Jones’ leadership is indeed transformational as well as collaborative. She is immersed in the business of developing other transformational leaders who are committed to positively impacting students and the educators in charge of their learning,” said Dr. Pascal Mubenga.


Dr. Jones is a former teacher, leadership coach and principal supervisor, principal, assistant principal, and United States Air Force servicewoman. She’s committed to transformational leadership by providing school administrators with personalized, hands-on support. She also believes in providing relevant, actionable feedback geared toward meeting their individual professional goals and the school’s performance targets.  She is passionate about creating systems and processes and making data-driven decisions that support the individual needs of staff and students. She also has a reverence for multicultural education and diversity, community involvement, constant parent dialogue and interaction, and leading educational programs.


“I am honored and proud to receive this award. To be recognized for my work as a transformational leader, named in honor of Dr. Sam Houston, Jr., is truly special. I look forward to continuing my work of supporting other leaders in meeting the individual needs of children alongside my colleagues here in Durham Public Schools,” she said.  


Dr. Jones has earned the Central Office Personnel to Watch honor from the NC Association for Middle Level Education and was a Principal of the Year finalist in Franklin County Schools.  She also participated in the NC Principals and Assistant Principal’ Association’s Distinguished Leadership in Practice cohort.