NYC ed leader wants every student to be seen, feel valued

Dive Brief:

  • In the NYC Leadership Academy’s inaugural “Leadership Insights” blog post, CEO Irma Zardoya reflects on her experience as a Puerto Rican student in the Bronx and later a bilingual education teacher, principal and superintendent.
  • Zardoya faced discrimination as a child and worked hard to create better experiences for students in her schools as an educator, inspiring teachers to feel invested in every student’s success, and creating learning communities for educators at all levels to push continual improvement.
  • As a superintendent, Zardoya made decisions based on data but encouraged administrators to see the faces of students in those numbers, addressing inequities with an eye toward making students feel proud and become confident learners.

Dive Insight:

It is easy to become obsessed with data. It seems objective and clean. But it is important to keep in mind that there are real students behind outcomes data who bring unique experiences and backgrounds to their educational journeys. The best leaders are the ones who can pair data-driven decision-making with deep knowledge of a school community and the local context.

With high turnover in many school district leadership positions, it is important to prioritize the work of getting to know communities. Developing internal leadership pipelines can also ensure that if one leader leaves, the institutional knowledge remains to continue moving school improvement in the right direction.

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Filed Under: K12
Top image credit: U.S. Census Bureau