A national organization of magnet schools has named Warren Drake as its superintendent of the year for the expansion of magnet schools in Baton Rouge under his watch.

Magnet Schools of America announced the honor Monday morning for Drake, who took over as superintendent East Baton Rouge Parish public schools in 2015.

“Superintendent Drake has done a phenomenal job building magnet school culture in his district,” said Todd Mann, Magnet Schools of America’s executive director, in a news release. “Because of him, more East Baton Rouge Parish students have access to a high-quality magnet education. We are grateful for his leadership, and thrilled to celebrate his accomplishments.”

Over the past two years, Belaire High and feeder schools Park Forest and Villa Del Rey elementary schools and Park Forest Middle in September added magnet programs with a STEM focus, thanks to a five-year federal grant worth nearly $15 million. STEM is short for science, technology, engineering and math. The school district, which converted Baton Rouge High School in 1976 to create its first magnet school, now offers 28 magnet programs.

Drake said he’s “deeply honored” to be recognized, saying that he has added seats in magnet schools to give families more options for “innovative and specialized programs.”

“During my tenure as the superintendent, I am constantly amazed at what our magnet programs have to offer our children,” Drake said.

Drake was nominated for the honor by Theresa Porter, director of magnet programs in the school system. Drake had to then complete an application and submit two recommendation letters, as well as newspaper articles, pictures and videos. All applications were reviewed and scored by the organization’s executive committee.

The organization also has awarded declared four "schools of distinction" -Westdale Heights Academic Magnet as well as McKinley, Scotlandville and Sherwood middle schools - as well as four "schools of excellence" - Baton Rouge Magnet High, BR FLAIM, BRCVPA and Belfair elementary schools. And Sherwood Middle Principal Jamie Noel was named as a regional principal of the year.

Hundreds of individual schools as well as at least 42 public school districts, including East Baton Rouge Parish, are members of Magnet Schools of America. About 4,340 public elementary and secondary magnet schools serve nearly 3.5 million students in the United States.

Follow Charles Lussier on Twitter, @Charles_Lussier.