Elementary/secondary administration: J. Michael McClaren, superintendent, Claremore Public Schools

The winner of the Medal for Excellence in Elementary/Secondary Administration, McClaren is superintendent for Claremore Public Schools. McClaren joins his wife, high school history teacher Jan McClaren, to become the first ever husband-wife team of Medal for Excellence winners. Jan received the honor in 2006 in secondary teaching.

Under McClaren's leadership, the district has reconfigured grade levels and attendance areas to provide the optimal classroom size and quality instruction. Claremore has added a new elementary school and new classrooms at the junior high and the high school, as well as remodeling and expanding Roosa Elementary School and adding a new greenhouse. Other major projects included the construction of a new multi-sports arena, a football stadium and the world-class Robson Performing Arts Center. McClaren launched a new technology education course at the junior high, which later became home to the nation's first middle school FAB Lab, a computer-assisted drafting lab where students create manufacturing and engineering projects. "Mr. McClaren's belief that students can do more and become more has led to achievement," said Claremore High School Principal Todd Steidley. Since 2000, Claremore has had 18 Academic All-Staters, a Gates Millennium Scholar, a U.S. Presidential Scholar, multiple Academic Bowl titles and two model Great Expectations Schools.

Despite being a busy administrator, McClaren still makes time to participate in the classroom. He partners with U.S. history students to recreate a model Battle of Gettysburg and tours elementary schools each holiday season to read books.