At last week’s fall conference in Athens, the Atlanta-based organization presented Shaw with the Bill Barr award, named after the longtime Georgia educator who was the organization’s first executive director.
The group presents the award annually to veteran school superintendents who have "distinguished themselves in the role as mentor," said executive director Herb Garrett.
The association accepts nominations, and then former award winners who are current superintendents pick the winner.
Former Hall County schools superintendent Dennis Fordham was the first award winner in 2000, the year after Barr retired.
Shaw, 59, said he was thrilled to be named this year’s winner.
"I’m surprised and humbled to be recognized by my peers," he said. "... There are a lot of deserving people out there."
Shaw, a native of Florence, S.C., is in his eighth year of leading the White County system.
He earned his psychology degree from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, his master’s degree from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C., and his doctorate from USC.
The master’s degree and doctorate are in educational administration.
Shaw worked in education in South Carolina for 30 years, serving as a teacher, coach and administrator. He was a superintendent for 15 years in three different systems.
His seven-plus years in Georgia have all been spent in White County.
"Everybody is very nice (here)," Shaw said. "It’s a great community."
Shaw and his wife, Cindy, a retired nurse, have a daughter, Ashley Thomas, of South Carolina, and a son, Brian, of Flowery Branch. The Shaws have three grandchildren: Rogers, Madison and Keegan.