Posted: Friday, February 21, 2020

Greenville County Schools Director of Food and Nutrition Services Joe Urban has been recognized as a Leader To Learn From by Education Week. He joins 11 other innovative district leaders, from superintendents to food-service officers and mental-health service coordinators, to receive the national recognition. The 12 honorees were chosen from among more than 300 nominees submitted by readers, journalists, school administrator groups, and experts in the K-12 field. 

“I am humbled an honored to be included on a list with so many outstanding national leaders,” said Urban. “I am very thankful to have such amazing support from my district administration, the School Board, and the Greenville County community. This support, along with the incredible efforts of our 750 school foodservice staff, has resulted in Greenville County Schools being deemed the national leader in K-12 school foodservice. It never ceases to amaze me what can be accomplished when the right people get together to accomplish goals. Life is good, and #SchoolFoodRocks.”

Among more than 14,000 school districts across the nation, education leaders from all different departments work to prepare well-rounded students for success in K-12 schooling and beyond, deploying powerful new strategies even when faced with scarce resources, shifting demographics, and changing policy trends. Education Week posted the story in its annual Leaders To Learn From report.

“We’re so proud of this year’s crop of creative and inspiring leaders. They prove that every day, committed educators make good on the promise of public schooling,” said Denisa Superville, an editor on the Leaders To Learn From project. “These leaders offer great lessons for their peers to emulate, and we’re pleased to give them the recognition they deserve, but often don’t get to hear.”

Education Week’s 2020 Leaders To Learn From are:

  • Nellie Aspel, Director of Exceptional Children, Cleveland County Schools, Shelby, N.C.
  • Mark Breen, Director of Technology, Vail School District, Vail, Ariz.
  • Shari L. Camhi, Superintendent, Baldwin Union Free School District, Baldwin, N.Y.
  • Nolberto Delgadillo, Chief Financial Officer, Tulsa Public Schools, Tulsa, Okla.
  • Jana Beth Francis, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Daviess County Public Schools, Owensboro Ky.
  • Marsha Francis, Program Manager, First STEP, Fulton County Schools, Atlanta, Ga.
  • Bryan Johnson, Superintendent, Hamilton County Schools, Chattanooga, Tenn.
  • Gonzalo La Cava, Chief of Human Resources, The School District of Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach, Fla.
  • Joe Urban, Director of Food and Nutrition Services, Greenville County Schools, Greenville, S.C.
  • Johnnye Waller, Assistant Superintendent of Auxiliary Services/Student Services Director, Lee County Schools, Sanford, N.C.
  • Jeff Wellington, Supervisor of Special Projects, Hamilton Township School District, Hamilton Township, N.J.
  • Betti Wiggins, Officer of Nutrition Services, Houston Independent School District

Superville’s colleague Stephen Sawchuk, also an LTLF editor, added: “It’s important to highlight how great leaders support all facets of student success. That’s why we’ve chosen leaders who focus on academics—like improving curriculum and supporting teachers—as well as those who improve student well-being more broadly, by making sure that schools are safe, welcoming places that supply tasty, nutritious meals.”

This is the eighth annual Education Week Leaders To Learn From report highlighting outstanding district leadership.

The 2020 leaders will be invited to share the strategies they’ve used in their school districts during a free, live web Summit hosted at on April 23.

Joe Urban

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