Syracuse City School District, N.Y.
The educational arena has and continues to be the medium by which an organized society advances itself for the good of humanity. Accordingly, I believe that a quality education for all is essential for human achievement and necessary to maintain a democratic society. I am convinced that a quality education nurtures the human spirit and is profoundly empowering. Therefore, opportunities to learn, including appropriate support for healthy social, emotional and physical development, must be extended to all children for whom we have the awesome responsibility to educate.
In March 2011, Sharon Contreras became the superintendent of the Syracuse City School District in New York. Previously, Contreras was the chief academic officer for the Providence Public Schools in Rhode Island, where she successfully implemented a number of reform initiatives, including an aligned instruction system that encompasses a standards-based curriculum, an aligned assessment system, a focused and cohesive professional development program for teachers and administrators and a performance-based graduation policy.
Prior to that role, Contreras served as a teacher, principal, area superintendent and assistant superintendent in Rockford, Illinois. She also served as chief academic officer in Clayton County Public Schools, where she expanded Advanced Placement and gifted programming, introduced research-based interventions for struggling students, created an evening credit recovery program, developed a research and evaluation department and parent information/registration center and expanded support services for students.