Champions for Equity to Receive AASA Humanitarian Award


James Minichello

Honorees Sharon Adams-Taylor and Luvelle Brown will be recognized at AASA’s 2022 National Conference on Education

Alexandria, Va. – December 16, 2021 –AASA, The School Superintendents Association, is pleased to announce the recipients of the organization’s 2022 Dr. Effie H. Jones Humanitarian Award, an annual recognition of education leaders committed to the advancement and mentorship of women and minorities, and/or addressing social justice issues among children and adults in schools.

Recipients of this prestigious award exemplify a professional and personal commitment to diversifying the field of education and ensuring the best education for all students.

Sharon Adams-Taylor, associate executive director of children initiatives and program development for AASA, and Luvelle Brown, superintendent of the Ithaca City (N.Y.) School District, were selected for this award because they exemplify the qualities modeled by the late Dr. Effie Hall Jones, a school administrator, teacher, counselor and former AASA associate executive director. Adams-Taylor and Brown will be recognized at AASA’s 2022 National Conference on Education, Feb. 17-19, in Nashville, Tenn.

“Given their immeasurable contributions to advancing equity, social justice and civil rights in our country, I can’t think of anyone who deserves this award more than Sharon Adams-Taylor and Luvelle Brown,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. “Dr. Jones, a transformer and change agent in her efforts to foster equity, opportunity and inclusion for all students, regardless of race, creed or color, would have been proud of these outstanding individuals. For their work in promoting cultural responsiveness, inclusion and equity for all learners, Sharon and Luvelle are truly champions for children.”

For more than three decades, Adams-Taylor has served AASA and its members developing, implementing and evaluating several national in-district efforts across four major areas: health and mental health; equity and social justice; youth development; and college and career readiness. In 2018, she was the key driver of the incorporation of equity in AASA’s reconstituted mission statement. (See “Sharon Adams-Taylor, A Persuasive Advocate for Children and Equity,” in the December 2021 issue of School Administrator magazine). She honed her social justice skills while working in Baltimore City (Md.) Public Schools, where she learned firsthand the relationship between health and education outcomes, witnessed the obscene inequities and the unforgiveable gap in both areas for children living in disadvantaged communities, and reveled in the resilience and strengths of black and brown children and youth.

Her illustrious career also includes senior-level positions with the Children’s Defense Fund, time spent as director of Head Start’s Resource Access Project spanning six states in federal region III, and a stint as senior researcher with the University of North Carolina Child Health Outcomes Project. Adams-Taylor led AASA’s women’s conference for seven years and is also co-founder of Women Leading Education Across Continents, a 15-year-old global network examining the status of women in education leadership across the globe. She plans to retire from her current position with AASA at the end of the year.

Author of Culture of Love: Cultivating a Transformative and Positive Organizational Culture,
Brown has spent more than 25 years cultivating a culture of love, liberation and belonging in schools and communities across the nation. Serving as head of Ithaca Schools since 2011, Brown’s leadership has inspired and supported dozens of school leaders from his cabinet/leadership/mentorship programs, most of whom are women and racial minority candidates, as they have assumed superintendent and other executive leadership positions.

Additionally, he has modeled and fostered skillsets and mindsets for numerous educators through his adjunct faculty work, facilitation of various professional development cohorts, leadership of the AASA Equity In Action Cohort, mentorship in AASA aspiring superintendent programs and facilitation of the popular Equity Talks, a live webinar series that has attracted thousands of global educators seeking to cultivate equity and excellence.

Through his community and public service, Brown’s efforts have had long lasting impact such as the creation of the Aspiring Educators program for future educators of color and co-founding the nationally recognized 100 Black Men of Central Virginia. This impressive group advocates and serves for the elimination of the achievement gap of African American males in grades K -12. 

For questions about the award, contact Stephanie St. John at, or visit the AASA website.


About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education. For more information, visit