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Superintendent Dr. Sharonica Hardin-Bartley Honored By Missouri Association of School Administrators

Sharonica Hardin-BartleyDr. Sharonica Hardin Bartley, superintendent of The School District of University City, is the recipient of the 2023 Robert L. Pearce Award from the Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA).  

Hardin-Bartley was surprised with the award during MASA’s annual conference at the Lake of the Ozarks on March 22. This is the 36th year MASA has honored a Missouri superintendent with the prestigious award which recognizes individuals demonstrating powerful educational leadership for the betterment of students, staff and families. 

A committee of her peers from MASA Region 7 (St. Louis) selected Hardin-Bartley to be nominated for the award. She was chosen by MASA for the honor from among a group of eight superintendents nominated by their respective MASA regions.

“I was honored to be nominated by my Region 7, St. Louis peers in this meaningful way. I try to make sure my own career never eclipses ‘my why’ - and that is the children that I serve,” Hardin-Bartley said. “It is my hope that this statewide recognition elevates the intentional work we are doing within The School District of University City to humanize our students by respecting their voices and their identities through a modern, rigorous and relevant learning process. Now, more than ever, we must ensure that meaningful relationships, equity, quality access to rich curricular resources and experiences, and social-emotional wellness are always entwined with learning so that all of our children are well and can succeed.”

In her application for the award, Hardin-Bartley noted her personal philosophy is rooted in her “why.” Her “why” encompasses her passion for an equitable and just educational system where all children can thrive; it aligns with her passion for supporting the adults who work with our children in the classroom, on the school bus, on the field, and at home; and it is what motivates her to be focused on supporting children.
Hardin-Bartley also wrote candidly about the tremendous challenge of educating young people during the COVID pandemic. She stated, “As a public educator, this was completely alien to me. My day-to-day work involves curricular and student experience aspects. I’m a teacher and learner at heart; I have prided myself on being the lead learner in my district. Now, I also had to be the lead expert in the district on everything related to COVID-19. Overnight, I had to pivot from how I operated as a leader and how I typically lead. In my district and nationally, I became a trusted leader -- one who valued safety, well-being, and academic support for students. I’m incredibly proud of our community and understand that our success was attributed to the collective team.”

Dr. Hardin-Bartley is active in a number of roles in her community, including serving on the board for Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri, Alive and Well Communities, the Magic House, the American Heart Association-St. Louis, and United Way-St. Louis.
The Pearce Award includes a monetary award to the recipient and a scholarship for a student in the district of the award winner.

Other 2023 Pearce Award Nominees, including their school districts and MASA Region were:

  • Tracy Bottoms , Montgomery Co. R-II (Northeast)
  • Jamie Burkhart, Green Ridge R-VIII (West Central)
  • Dan Clemens, North Kansas City (Greater Kansas City)
  • Aaron Gerla, Ash Grove R-IV (Southwest)
  • Josh Hoener, New Haven (South Central)
  • Ashley McMillian, Central R-III (Southeast)
  • John Rinehart, West Platte County R-II (Northwest)

Click here to read Dr. Hardin-Bartley’s full biography.