Dartmouth’s Dr. Bonny Gifford wins prestigious superintendent’s award

Jul 14, 2022

Dartmouth Schools Superintendent Dr. Bonny Gifford was honored this week by the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (M.A.S.S.), which awarded her the Christos Daoulas Award at the organization's annual summer conference.

The prestigious award recognizes one superintendent each year for making a difference in the lives of students, particularly by using effective communication within their role as superintendent.

“I was pretty shocked,” Gifford said about hearing her name read out as the recipient of the award. “I was just so touched. [I was] crying, my heart was pounding and my stomach was jumping.”

As a member of the M.A.S.S. Professional Development Committee, which plans the summer conference, Gifford actually voted on who should receive the award, but said the rest of the committee did a great job keeping the results a secret.

“The committee bamboozled me — they got me,” she said, adding that she was “humbled” by the decision.

Gifford said that the Daoulas award is the “big one” for the organization as it is only given out once a year and is named for the man once referred to as the “dean” of Massachusetts superintendents.

“It was a real bright spot in my career,” she said, adding that it gave her a boost during a conference that otherwise focused on addressing the many challenges facing the education system. “It broke up all that thinking about the toil and the challenges.”

Gifford has been the superintendent of Dartmouth Schools for eight years and previously served in the same role for Falmouth Schools for two years prior.

The M.A.S.S. summer conference — known as the Paul J. Andrews Executive Institute — is a three-day, annual event attended by superintendents from around the state.

“It’s quite a big event for us,” said Gifford.