Although this Award was announced in June, I am happy to once again share this wonderful news with our Tri region. The Paul G. Orr Award is presented to a very few select individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to education in the region. Dr. Paul G. Orr, Dean Emeritus of the College of Education at the University of Alabama, shaped many debates about the role of education in society.
Dr. Orr left an extraordinary legacy to the Association of American Schools of Central America, Colombia, the Caribbean and Mexico, and to all who care about education: students, teachers, parents, school board members, administrators and staff, policy makers, the public in general and, above all, overseas schools.
It is my pleasure to recognize Mr. Mark Ulfers and the Association of the Advancement of International Education (AAIE) as the 2022 recipient of the Paul G. Orr award. Following a long career as an educator, leader and Head of School, Mark led the AAIE as its Executive Director from 2018 to 2021 before assuming his current job as the Director of the Office of Overseas Schools, U.S. Department of State. What many of us remember most recently about Mark, is the key role he and AAIE played in the support of schools, Heads of Schools and top leaders around the world during the complex Covid-19 pandemic. In particular, Mark and his AAIE team hosted weekly support groups for Heads of School and top leadership on Thursday mornings at 8am (worldwide leaders) and 10am (for LATAM leaders in conjunction with the Tri-Association and AMISA) that were crucial in the survival of our schools, our leaders, and our communities. These support groups led to an ongoing “community effort” of worldwide support and friendship. On a personal note, in my final year as the Superintendent of ASFM, those weekly support groups were key to my wellbeing, my social and emotional health, and the leadership of our community. Like many, I am grateful to Mark, Gerri-Ann, AAIE and all of my colleagues from around the world for this support.
Please join me in congratulating Mark and AAIE for this important award. We will be presenting this award and a plaque to Mark in September in Panama at our annual educators conference.