Woodson to Receive National Educator of the Year Award

Dr Nikki Woodson Educator of the Year

For Immediate Release

October 7, 2021

Indiana Superintendent Dr. Nikki Woodson selected for top honor from the Association for Middle Level Education

Columbus, OH – Nikki Woodson, Ph.D., Superintendent of Schools for the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township in Indianapolis, IN, is the recipient of the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) Educator of the Year Award. The award, which will be presented this November during the 48th Annual Conference for Middle Level Education, recognizes outstanding educators who have made a significant impact in middle level education and on the lives of students aged 10-15 through leadership, vision, and advocacy. “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor,” said Stephanie Simpson, CEO of AMLE. “Throughout her career but especially amid the challenges presented by the pandemic, Dr. Woodson has consistently gone above and beyond to meet the needs of her students and school community.”

Since becoming Superintendent in 2011, Dr. Woodson led Indiana’s first district-wide implementation of International Baccalaureate, spearheaded critical fundraising that included building a new middle school that intentionally considers the link between architecture and learning, and added key support staff and services that have helped dramatically reduce suspensions of middle grades students. “When a community has a strong system of public education, residents of all ages can thrive. Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Woodson, Indianapolis has seen the benefits of the thoughtful development of the minds of our young people,” added Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. “Educators like Dr. Woodson can have a transformative impact on countless students’ lives, and I’m grateful that she is a member of our community in particular.”

Dr. Woodson attributes her success to her team and the strong Washington Township community. “It’s an amazing honor and a humbling honor and something that I certainly couldn’t celebrate without celebrating all of the staff that works hard in our school and around me every single day.” Deirdre George Davis, Washington Township Schools Board Member and 6th grade parent, recalled seeing Dr. Woodson’s impact in action when they visited a school together. “It just made me smile when she walked in the cafeteria and all of the kids were really excited to see her. And she could name kids by name and ask about their siblings. In a district of 12,000 kids, I don’t know how she does it.”

Board President Donald Kite, Sr. added, “The Board congratulates Dr. Woodson on this important and well-deserved recognition. She is keenly aware, as are other effective leaders, of the resources, human and otherwise, of the organization which she leads, and of the ongoing need to preserve, supplement or re-allocate the same resources. She takes many different perspectives into account in the decision-making of the District, and concerning new initiatives, Dr. Woodson knows when to step on the gas and when to brake. Supported by an impressive team of talented and hardworking central office and building-level administrators, Dr. Woodson continues to be an enthusiastic and effective leader of our middle schools, and of our District as a whole, during times which are interesting and challenging. We thank her for continued leadership and her hard work on behalf of our students and community.”

During her tenure, the district’s middle schools have added important social and emotional programs, including advisory time and development design strategies across the curriculum. “Dr. Woodson sees us as a unique school, rather than an add on to elementary school or a pre-high school. She understands what happens at the middle school,” said Bill Pitcock, Principal of Westlane Middle School, “This district is really trying to give a voice to students in their education.” Washington Township parent and community leader Stacy Lozer echoed that, “Dr. Woodson’s leadership shadow reaches well beyond our schools and classrooms and into our communities. Her work with the PTO parent leadership provides transparent leadership and direction assisting in supporting and expanding the initiatives throughout the district.  I have been fortunate to work with her on multiple successful community-based initiatives and referendums that through her leadership have continued to move our District’s mission forward.”

While COVID-19 continues to impact schools across the country, Dr. Woodson is optimistic for the future of education. “We are reinventing schools right now. It’s really an exciting place to be if we step back and look at how we are reimagining schools for the future. We’re going to get through this and we’re going to get through this together.”


Media Contact

Stephanie Simpson | AMLE | ssimpson@amle.org