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Gruhn-Long-Melton Award

Gruhn-Long-Melton Award

Sally N. Clark

Presenting the 2011 Gruhn-Long-Melton Award Winner: Sally N. Clark


The William Gruhn–Forrest Long Award was established in 1983 by the National Council on Junior High/Middle School Administration, Inc. (NCJH/MSA) to recognize “distinguished service and leadership in improving middle level education.” The award is named for Dr. William T. Gruhn, Professor Emeritus, University of Connecticut, and Dr. Forrest E. Long, Professor Emeritus, New York University. When NCJH/MSA merged with NASSP in 1985, the sponsorship of the award transferred to NASSP. In 2001, the name was changed to the Gruhn-Long-Melton Award. George E. Melton was the Deputy Executive Director of NASSP. Funding for the award and for expenses directly connected with its presentation is covered by the Forrest E. Long Memorial Distinguished Lecture Fund, in the custody of NASSP.

Selection Criteria

The major areas of emphasis in selecting recipients are service to and leadership in the field of middle level education. Award recipients must demonstrate a dedication to young adolescents and an active involvement in middle level education as his or her major area of interest for a decade or more. He or she must have demonstrated a commitment to practice and direct contact with the field. That commitment should be to middle level youth and their education, welfare, and health, rather than simply to the institution of middle level schools. There should be tangible evidence that the recipient has made a positive impact on the life and learning of young adolescents and is committed to the belief that each young adolescent can learn and has something in him or her worth supporting. The award will never be presented as a political award and will never be given in the expectation of something in return. It is not an annual award but will be given only when there is a worthy candidate.

Award recipients will have made significant contributions to middle level education in one or more of the following ways:

  • by exemplary service as a middle level school leader, especially service that impacts the profession beyond the confines of the recipient’s local setting.
  • by exemplary service to middle level professional organizations in a manner that brings recognition of and support to middle level education and leadership.
  • by exemplary scholarship that contributes to the knowledge about middle level education and leadership.
  • by significant contributions to middle level education and leadership through writing, speaking, teaching, or demonstrated leadership skills.

Award recipients must also be persons of unimpeachable personal and professional integrity, whose names and service will reflect well on the names of William Gruhn, Forrest Long, and George Melton. Among the characteristics that should be reflected are intellectual openness and honesty, a willingness to challenge conventional thinking, an impatience with all that stands in the way of doing for young adolescents that which must be done for them, and a willingness to take a stand in the best interests of any aspect of middle level education, service, and leadership.

The selection committee may elect to request additional information about a nominee. The coordinator of the selection process shall facilitate the collection of such information.

Selection of Recipients

Nominations are sought from current members of NASSP and the selection is conducted by a committee with a previous recipient acting as chair. The committee will consist of the principal of the National Center for Middle Level Leadership (or an NASSP staff member), one NASSP board member who works at the middle level, and the three most recent past recipients of the award. In the event a past recipient(s) is unable to participate, previous recipients will be contacted until three past recipients are represented.

The following documentation must accompany the nomination form:

  • A professional vitae/resume
  • No more than 3 letters of reference/support that speak to the nominee’s contributions to the field of middle level education
  • No more than 5 pages of additional documentation that demonstrate the nominee’s leadership, commitment, and dedication to young adolescents

Applications are due to NASSP by November 15.


An announcement  of the award winner will be made at the NASSP National Convention, and if the recipient is in attendance, he or she will have an opportunity to address the audience at the middle level general assembly. The recipient will receive a plaque recognizing this honor and will be invited to submit an article to be published in an NASSP publication.

Previous Winners of the Award

2004   Ronald Williamson, Michigan
2003   Judith Brough, Pennsylvania
2001   Sherrel Bergmann, Illinois
2000   Donald C. Clark, Arizona
1999   Donald Eichhorn, Pennsylvania
1997   Alfred A. Arth, Nebraska
1996   J. Howard Johnston, Florida
1995   Jerry W. Valentine, Missouri
1994   Robert L. St. Clair, Minnesota
1992   John H. Lounsbury, Georgia
1989   Helen H. Long, Missouri
1988   John J. Winton, Vermont
1986   Conrad F. Toepfer, New York
1983   George E. Melton (deceased)


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