Women Who Lead in Education Featuring School Superintendents will share the journey of amazing of school superintendents from across the United States.
Dr. Lillian M. Lowery is a former Maryland State Superintendent of Schools and Delaware Secretary of Education. Dr. Lowery currently serves as vice president of Student and Teacher Assessments at Educational Testing Service (ETS). She leads a division comprising Student Assessment and ETS Professional Educator programs. These include business development in state K–12 student assessment programs, among them the Winsight® Assessment System; the Praxis® tests; the ETS® NOTE™ (National Observational Teaching Exam) program; the ProEthica® program; the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP); the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California; the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) program; and ETS’s work on contracts for or with Questar® Assessments.
In her work leading the departments of education for Maryland and Delaware, Lowery was a member of the PARCC and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium while the testing programs were being developed. She was also responsible for implementing policies for educator licensure and certification.
Dr. Lowery earned a doctorate of education in educational leadership and policy studies from Virginia Polytechnic and State University, a master’s degree in education in curriculum and instruction from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a bachelor’s degree in English education from North Carolina Central University.
Her classroom experience includes teaching English in the Fairfax County, Va., school district, where she was also the department chair; in the Alexandria, Va., school district; and in the Gaston County, N.C., school district.
Dr. Lowery has held appointments to the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans and the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and she was honored as the Education Policy Leader of the Year by the National Association of State Boards of Education..
Dr. Sheila L. Sherman is the Regional Vice President and Superintendent of several charter school districts in Cleveland, Ohio. She holds executive and administrative authority and responsibility for ensuring all school operations areas run effectively and oversee the implementation of each school’s model to reinforce excellence in teaching and learning. Part of her duty is to comply with state and federal laws as well as each school board. Also, Dr. Sherman works closely with each sponsor and other external stakeholders in a collaborative manner to create district improvement plans that will allow schools to meet the state’s expectations. Last, she is responsible for monitoring fiscal transactions, grants, operations, and human capital functions for each school.
Before taking on the role of Regional Vice President, Dr. Sherman took a non-traditional pathway into education. After graduating from Purdue University, she gained business acumen as an auto-industry professional, which influenced her leadership style in education. Skills merged with instructional leadership from K-12 experiences, and adjunct teaching for higher-education institutions have molded her into an exceptional educational professional. Dr. Sherman has worked in several states and has professional-level licenses in IL, IN, GA, MD, MI, and OH. What is unique about Dr. Sherman’s instructional experiences is the opportunity to have taught in elementary, middle, K-8, high school, and a career technical center. Also, she wrote grants to pay for teachers' endorsements in ESL; subsequently, she taught those courses. Dr. Sherman is passionate about ensuring students get both opportunities to learn STEM disciplines and gain practical externships. To that note, she was involved in Indiana’s statewide STEM Coalition, where she made contributions to designing effective programs for teacher development staff and increased programming in school districts.
Dr. Sherman earned a Doctor of Philosophy in PK-12 Education Administration from Michigan State University, an Educational Specialist in Supervision in addition to teaching certifications in Secondary Education from Wayne State University, a Master of Arts in Accelerated Learning and Curriculum & Instruction from Cambridge College, and a Bachelor of Science from Purdue University in Supervision. Dr. Sheila is a proud mother of two adult daughters, Alexis Nicole White and Sydney Simone Tucker, and she is grandmother to one boy, Christian.
Dr. Nyah Hamlett began as Superintendent for Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools on January 1, 2021. She has enjoyed a long and successful career in public education spanning more than sixteen years in Virginia. She previously served as chief of staff for Loudoun County Public Schools, serving as a key strategic advisor to the superintendent and other cabinet members. In her work with the Superintendent and School Board, Dr. Hamlett supported and coordinated the governance team approach to serving over 84k students, 12k staff, and the broader LCPS community. While there, Dr. Hamlett also played an important role in supervising the director of equity and leading the district’s equity efforts.
Prior to that, Dr. Hamlett spent twelve years with the Henrico County Public Schools at both the school and central office levels, ultimately working for five years as assistant superintendent for instructional support. In this position, she supervised a number of instructional and support programs, including exceptional education (special education and gifted education), family and community engagement, professional learning, mental health support, and social-emotional learning. Under Dr. Hamlett’s leadership, HCPS won first place in the National School Boards Association’s 2017 Magna Awards for the district’s overhaul of the code of student conduct and its development of preventative behavioral support programs. Dr. Hamlett began her career as a special education teacher in the Virginia Beach City Public Schools.
Dr. Hamlett received her bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology and audiology with a minor in special education from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. She went on to earn two master’s degrees in K-12 reading and educational leadership from Regent University in Virginia Beach, and a doctorate in educational policy, planning, and leadership from The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Dr. Hamlett also earned an urban superintendent certification from the AASA Howard University Urban Superintendents’ Academy.
Dr. Hamlett is a champion of Equitable & Inclusive Education, Relational Leadership, Culturally Relevant & Responsive Pedagogy, School Based Mental Health, Disrupting the School to Prison Pipeline, Gifted Identification of Underrepresented Student Populations, and more.
Dr. Hamlett and her husband live in Chapel Hill, NC with their three school-aged children.
Alena Zachery-Ross, Superintendent of Ypsilanti Community Schools (YCS), a visionary leader that leads by example. Mrs. Zachery-Ross champions the education of all students with conviction, compassion, and determination. Student achievement is at the core of her work and leads by being visible and is unapologetic about the importance of doing the right work. Mrs. Zachery-Ross is an instructional leader with a comprehensive background in elementary and secondary instruction, curriculum development, culturally responsive education, group facilitation, Adaptive Schools/ Cognitive Coaching, community relations, and data analysis.
As the former Superintendent of Schools for Okemos Public Schools and the Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System, Mrs. Zachery-Ross led many successful initiatives that resulted in positive outcomes. Mrs. Zachery-Ross has served as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Elementary and Middle School Principal, School Psychologist, Teacher Consultant, Elementary Teacher, and School Psychologist.
Mrs. Zachery-Ross received a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education/Psychology in 1995 and a Masters of Arts in Education Psychology in 1999. She earned a certificate from the AASA National Superintendent’s Certification Program in 2018 and is currently completing an Educational Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Michigan State University, May 2021. Mrs. Zachery-Ross is a prominent speaker, educational consultant, and transformational coach who facilitates professional learning throughout the United States.
Mrs. Zachery-Ross is the Pastor of Lane Memorial CME Church and a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Dr. Daisy Marie Hicks received a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University, a Certificate of Graduate Studies in Administration and Supervision from Cambridge College, a Master of Arts Degree in K-12 Instruction from Central Michigan University, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Organizational Management from Saint Paul’s College. Dr. Daisy Hicks has over 25 years of experience in K-12 Public Education in rural Southside Virginia. She is the Division Superintendent for Buckingham County Public Schools in Virginia. Prior to working in K-12 Public Education, Dr. Hicks worked for the Department of Corrections. This was where she found the interest and passion to start a career in education.
Dr. Hicks is passionate about putting students first and leading with integrity and transparency. She believes in following policy and making policy that focuses on equity. Her leadership style is that of a Transformational Leader. Dr. Hicks shares a vision and then encourages, inspires, and motivates employees to be innovative and take necessary risks to make changes to accomplish the goals set.
Dr. Hicks has an adult son, a loving mother, and a supportive family. She enjoys spending time with family, cooking, and traveling.
Dr. Tahira DuPree Chase holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications Arts from Norfolk State University, Norfolk, Virginia, Master of Arts in English Education and Master of Education with a specialization in School Administration and Supervision from City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center and Mercy College, New York, respectively. Dr. Chase earned a doctorate degree in Executive Leadership at St. John Fisher College, Rochester, New York in July of 2011. Her award-winning dissertation focused on instructional leadership styles that prove successful for struggling adolescent readers. Dr. Chase was selected to participate in the Women in Education Leadership Institute at Harvard University and is currently enrolled in the Diversity and Inclusion Certification Program at Cornell University.
Dr. Chase has over 25 years of experience as an educator. As a teacher, she expertly taught and inspired young minds at both the elementary and secondary levels. Shortly after teaching at the secondary level, Dr. Chase became a teaching coach and then chaired the English Language Arts Department for several years. Dr. Chase led the Curriculum and Instruction Department for the Mount Vernon City School District, Mount Vernon, New York for six years. While there, she led numerous districtwide initiatives, including a full reading adoption, math adoption, curriculum mapping and assessment adoption.
Currently, Dr. Chase leads the Greenburgh Central School District in Hartsdale, New York as the Superintendent of Schools. Since arriving at Greenburgh Central School District in 2012 as an Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Chase has launched several initiatives in an effort to enhance curriculum delivery, supervision of such delivery and provide learning opportunities for all students in preparation for 21st Century employment and/or college pursuits. Her most noted initiatives, as Superintendent of Schools, include the implementation of the Professional Learning Communities as a districtwide model, installation of full-time Early Childhood Program for four-year olds, implementation of Mandarin Chinese as a World Language offering for students from Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12 and the designation of an International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. In addition to transforming Greenburgh Central School District into a World Class School District, Dr. Chase is an author, public speaker and consultant to Curriculum Associates, Pearson Education (Textbook Division) and McGraw-Hill Textbooks. She contributed her expertise as a consulting author to Pearson’s Common Core Edition reading program, Reading Street© 2013 for Kindergarten through Grade six. Currently, she is working with McGraw-Hill Textbooks Division to publish a national social studies textbook, IMPACT, which incorporates social-emotional learning. Dr. Chase delivers educational-focused presentations nationally. She has presented at the Yale House, multiple International Reading Conferences, Harvard House, Duval County Reading Association, Georgia Reading Conference, and Ohio Literacy Symposium—to name a few. She continuously serves on national panels with notable names in education. Dr. Chase is an active member of the National Reading Advisory Board while providing professional development, consultation and workshops to various school districts regarding instructional leadership, literacy development and best instructional practices.
During her tenure as an educator, Dr. Chase received numerous proclamations, citations and distinguished honors, including Top 25 Superintendents to Watch National Award, NAACP White Plains Chapter Image Award (Education Game Changer), Norfolk State University Distinguished Alumni Award, Educational Champion Award (WestCop, Inc.), Alpha Kappa Alpha, Incorporated HBCU Outstanding Educator Award, Delta Sigma Theta, Incorporated Stand on Her Shoulders Award, St. John Fisher College Scholarship Award, Distinguished Educator of Year, New York City District Nine Teacher of the Year, to name a few. Dr. Chase mentors several young women in obtaining their doctorate degree. She also mentors high school students in pursuing their academic and personal goals. Dr. Chase volunteers her time to lecture to college students as well as tutor struggling readers. She works very closely with the Fred Baxter Foundation and National Football League (NFL) to bring the awareness of healthy living to youth through NFL Play 60. Dr. Tahira DuPree Chase is an active member of the Links, Incorporated and Alpha Kappa Alpha, Incorporated.
Dr. Mary L. Young began her tenure as Superintendent of Warren County Schools, NC on July 2019.
Dr. Young has enjoyed a successful career in public education for more than 20 years. She is a proven leader. She served with Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland as an Executive Director in the Office of Employee Performance and Evaluation and as Instructional Supervisor. In addition, Dr. Young worked with the South Carolina Department of Education as Education Associate/Program Director. She also has served as a principal in several schools in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Young’s steadfast goal has always been to provide all students, regardless of their learning needs, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, with options and choices upon graduation.
Through her experience and education, Dr. Young has developed a keen sense of effective leadership practices. She has had the opportunity to participate in the Harvard University’s School Turnaround Leaders Institute, Harvard University’s Urban School Leadership, Center for Creative Leadership Institute, and the New Leaders: D.C. School Leaders Network. In addition, she is a Principal Assessor for the National Association of Secondary Principals and certified Gallup Strengths Finders coach. Most recently, she graduated from the esteemed AASA Urban Superintendent Academy.
She has served as an adjunct professor at Trinity University & the University of Phoenix, and consultant for the D.C. Public Charter School Board & the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. In addition, she has held positions on the Board of Directors for Strategies to Empower People (STEP) and D.C. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).
Dr. Young holds a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of South Carolina, Masters of Education in Reading from Howard University and a Doctorate in Educational Administration and Policy from Howard University.
Dr. Kim Morrison has served as Superintendent of Mount Airy Schools since 2016. Prior to being selected as superintendent she served as the Chief Academic and Innovation Officer and Executive Director for Curriculum and Instruction for Mount Airy Schools. Dr. Morrison also served as the Director for Magnet Schools, Federal Programs, and Strategic Planning for Winston-Salem /Forsyth County Schools
Dr. Morrison earned a Bachelor of Music degree and Master of Music degree in Music Education from Appalachian State University, she earned a doctorate degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and attained Administrative Licensure at Appalachian State University.
Dr. Morrison is currently serving a two-year term as President of Magnet Schools of America and was elected Vice-Chairman of Piedmont Triad Education Consortium Superintendents group and attends North Carolina School Superintendents Association executive committee as a representative for this region. She was also elected Vice-Chairman of The Innovation Project (TIP) serving a state-wide group of innovative superintendents in state-wide initiatives.
Dr. Maria Pitre-Martin currently serves as the Superintendent of the Petersburg City Public Schools in Virginia and before that she served as the Deputy State Superintendent and the Chief Academic and Digital Learning Officer for the North Carolina Department of Education, serving approximately 1.5 million students. Prior to serving in those positions, she was the Superintendent of Schools for the Thomasville City School District in North Carolina.
During her tenure in Thomasville, the graduation rate increased 12 percent to an all-time high and the district saw double-digit gains in test scores. Before working in Thomasville, she served as the North Carolina State Director of K-12 Curriculum and Instruction; the Chief Academic Officer for the School District of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, and an Assistant Superintendent for the East Baton Rouge Parish School System in Louisiana. Dr. Pitre-Martin, a Broad Superintendents Academy Fellow, has a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University.
As a principal in College Station, Texas, Dr. Pitre-Martin was named the Texas Middle School Principal of the Year and was one of the youngest presidents of the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals. She lives in Virginia with her loving husband Ken and her two dogs, Baby and Duchess.
Dr. Sharon Contreras