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Jerome Colonna Honored with the COSA Lifetime Achievement Award

The Coalition of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) has named Jerome “Jerry” Colonna, retired school superintendent and lifelong educator, the recipient of the COSA Lifetime Achievement Award for 2024. Colonna was presented with the award by COSA Deputy Executive Director, Dr. Krista Parent on April 10th at his home in Bend, Oregon. Colonna is the first recipient of this award, and moving forward, it will be named the COSA Jerome Colonna Lifetime Achievement Award.

Colonna retired from a lengthy career in public education after serving as Superintendent of the Beaverton and Redmond School Districts and as Director of Secondary Education for the Eugene School District.  Prior to his working in administration he was a high and middle school science teacher in Alaska, California and Oregon.

Throughout his career, Colonna has been known for his leadership and his dedication to serving all students. Whether serving as a school administrator or as a Superintendent, Colonna connected with others to help them reach their professional leadership goals. “[Jerry] is the best example of leading for kids,” Umatilla Superintendent Heidi Sipe shared. “[His] heart, dedication and willingness to help others is second to none.”

Mentoring leaders is a hallmark of Colonna’s work. Even in retirement, Colonna served as both a formal and informal mentor to K-12 educational leaders and has established the Jerome Colonna mentorship foundation to further support the growth of school superintendents.

“Getting to learn from Jerry during my first year at COSA while he was supporting first year superintendents was such a gift and continues to inform the support we provide new superintendents,” said Dr. Parent. “ What he has taught all of us will be passed on in perpetuity. What he has allowed COSA to provide in terms of superintendent mentoring will ensure the success of early career superintendents that will allow these leaders to defy the typical tenure of a superintendent in one district.”

“Jerry’s gracious, kind, ethical, patient, nonjudgmental and inspiring leadership has been an amazing example for so many of us. Thank you, Jerry,  for sharing your wisdom, and thank you for your mentorship and support,” shared COSA Executive Director Craig Hawkins in acknowledgement of this award.

Colonna was on the Executive Committee of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), was President of Education Northwest (Ed.NW) and the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) and Chair of the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission.  He was the recipient of Oregon’s Superintendent of the Year in 2001.

Colonna lives in Bend with his wife, Bo, who is a retired science teacher.  His daughter, Ann, works for Oregon State University’s Food Innovation Center.  Currently Colonna is an education consultant for COSA, Ed.NW and school districts in Oregon.  He served on the Oregon State Board of Education until 2022. Moving forward, the award will be named the COSA Jerome Colonna Lifetime Achievement Award.