Dr. Phillip Downs has been named Superintendent of the Year for 2020 by the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents.

Downs has led the MSD of Southwest Allen County in Fort Wayne since 2014. Prior to that, Downs served as assistant superintendent in the suburban school district.

The corporation has nine schools, including Homestead High School, with an enrollment of approximately 7,500 students. 

“Dr. Downs also devotes time, energy and research skills to be an enthusiastic advocate to ensure all children throughout Indiana get a quality education,” said Dr. J.T. Coopman, executive director of IAPSS.

Southwest Allen Schools are routinely rated as one of the best school systems in the state, says IAPSS, but it achieves that success despite having one of the lowest per-pupil funding ratios in Indiana.

To offset the funding losses, the district passed a general fund referendum and restructured its professional development into a “grow-your-own-talent” model, according to the association.

With this honor, Down now becomes Indiana’s representative in the American Association of School Administrators National Superintendent of the Year program. “He is a role model and inspiration for other superintendents, and he will be a strong contender in the 2020 national superintendent of the year competition,” Coopman said.

Downs earned four degrees from Purdue University-Fort Wayne and his Ph.D. from Purdue University.