Heath Morrison is an award-winning superintendent and education leader with over 30 years of experience working in both the private and public sectors as a teacher, principal, superintendent, and president of a large education company.
As a child, Heath Morrison had a complicated relationship with school. Originally from Alexandria, Virginia, he was a bright young student who excelled in his classes and enjoyed learning. However, when his military family moved to England, Heath was enrolled in an English school and began struggling academically.
Years later, when his family moved back to the U.S., Heath found himself significantly behind in learning due to vast differences between the two country’s curriculums. He was placed in corrective courses and became frustrated, which only accelerated his poor academic standing.
Fortunately, dedicated teachers intervened and supported Heath in getting his grades back on track. Their encouragement and the level of empowerment they instilled in him led Heath to graduate high school with honors, and he became the first member of his family to attend college.
Heath Morrison’s original plans did not include a career in education. In college, he prepared to attend law school, but after enrolling in a few education-related courses, he changed his course of study. He began his career in education as a middle school social studies teacher in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and then soon moved to Waldorf, Maryland, and one of its underperforming schools. Noticing his talent and passion for educating, his colleagues pushed him toward administration.
In 1994, Heath entered into his first position within administration as the Vice Principal at Westlake High School, and three years later, he transitioned into the role of principal at John Hanson Middle School. In 2000, he accepted the position of principal at Thomas Stone High School. The high school, which served 2,300 students, a large number of whom were economically disadvantaged, had a minority student AP participation of 13% upon Heath’s arrival.
His leadership increased the participation to a stunning 53%. What’s more, his efforts to work with staff and school community on utilizing data-driven decisions for instructional improvement led to a 107-point increase in SAT scores over a five-year period.
In 2006, his efforts at Thomas Stone High School earned him the title of Maryland Principal of the Year. Heath Morrison’s acuity and commitment to students helped him progress quickly through the educational administration ranks, and contributed to his selection as a Community Superintendent in Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland and, later, as the Superintendent of Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada.
During his time as Superintendent of the Washoe County School District, Heath Morrison provided leadership to 94 public schools and 8 charter schools serving 65,000 students. He implemented a revised curriculum to embed rigor for all students and align with assessments, standards, and student supports.
The changes proved fruitful—87% of the schools improved in math and reading, graduation rates spiked 14 points in two years, and the number of students taking AP courses doubled. His work in the district led to his appointment as the 2011 Nevada Superintendent of the Year and AASA’s 2012 National Superintendent of the Year.
Now, Heath Morrison has left the public sector of education. Most recently, he served as the President of the McGraw-Hill School group, which helps provide educators and students in PreK-12 tools, programs, and services created through differentiated pedagogical instruction and purposeful technology. Prior to his current position, Heath worked as the School group’s Senior Vice President (SVP) of Sales and SVP of Government Affairs and Education Policy.
Heath entered into the education system thanks to a love of learning and a debt to the educators who helped him find his way when he was lost. Throughout his entire career, Heath has remained faithful to the idea that without supportive teachers, students will lack the necessary environment needed to thrive. He believes that supported and informed educators yield empowered and enthusiastic students. Looking at Heath’s track record of educational transformation, this philosophy has proven successful.
For more information on Heath Morrison and his insights as an educator and superintendent, be sure to check out his blog.