Kerry Sachetta, assistant superintendent of operations for Joplin Schools, has won the 2019 Excellence in Education Award from Cognia, formerly AdvancED.

Sachetta was recognized with the award last month during the 2019 Midwest Region Cognia Connect Conference in Chicago. He also was honored during the Joplin Board of Education meeting this week, as well as at the Southwest Center last month with the District Outstanding Achievement Award for his work with Cognia.

In announcing the Excellence in Education Award, Cognia officials highlighted Sachetta's 25 years in education, including his tenure as principal of Joplin High School at the time of the May 2011 tornado and his Missouri State High School Principal of the Year Award in 2009. They also cited his work as a member of Cognia's state advisory committee, helping to inform the organization's strategy for engagement across Missouri.

Lori Franke-Hopkins, regional director for Cognia, also praised "one of his most impressive accomplishments" — his decadeslong search for his biological family in Ireland, France and Italy, a journey that was featured in The Joplin Globe in November 2018.

"Many words could be used to describe Dr. Sachetta's leadership style, but it's that core attitude of doing the right thing for the right reasons that truly reflects his character," Franke-Hopkins said in a statement. "There is never a doubt about his care and concern for others, which makes him an invaluable, excellent leader for Joplin Schools."

Cognia is a Georgia-based nonprofit that conducts rigorous, onsite reviews of a variety of educational institutions. It also provides resources, tools and support to education leaders across the globe.

Nominations for the award were received from sources including volunteers, field consultants, Cognia advisory committee members, Cognia staff and lead evaluators. It is given to educators who make meaningful contributions to their professions, said Becky Densmore, central region vice president for Cognia.

"Our award recipients demonstrate how they are living our mission to empower educators to ensure optimal outcomes on behalf of the children we ultimately serve," she said in a statement.

Emily Younker is the assistant metro editor at the Joplin Globe. Contact: eyounker AT joplinglobe DOT com.

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