To celebrate International Women’s Day, don’t miss our impressive collection of interviews from the female school leaders of high performing schools across the country. These ladies should definitely be celebrated:

Susan J. Thompson
Executive Director, Academy of the Pacific Rim

Susan J. Thompson has served as Executive Director of the Academy of the Pacific Rim since April 2009. Bringing more than 25 years experience in educational leadership and management to this position, Ms. Thompson has previously taught and served in administrative capacities in Utah, California, Illinois, and Georgia. A native of western Pennsylvania, Ms. Thompson earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in U.S. History. She earned her master’s degree in Human Development, with a concentration in Administration and Women’s Studies, from Pacific Oaks College, Pasadena, CA. In addition to her C.A.S. at Harvard, she did graduate work in European and U.S. History at Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY.

Quote: “Student achievement is directly correlated with holding high expectations for all students and helping them meet those expectations.”

Susan Work
President Holy Family Ministries (Holy Family Lutheran School)

Susan Work likes to think of her school as “the school for go-getters.” At Holy Family, the daily message is that life is all about personal responsibility and never giving up. Susan is passionate about educating inner-city children. She knows that kids coming from impoverished areas need to learn more than academics, so the school offers programs that teach spiritual and emotional development, social skills and character education. The result? She believes her school is turning out the future leaders of the community.

Quote: “The important thing is to turn out confident, assertive graduates who will continue to “go-get” the skills and experiences they need to succeed.”

Eylastine Green-Davis
Superintendent, Detroit Service Learning Academy

Eylastine Green-Davis has been involved in public education for 31 years. Her experience includes serving as a special education teacher, school social worker and administrator. She has worked in magnet, alternative, partnership and charter schools K-12. She retired in June 2010 after leading Detroit Service Learning Academy for six years. She was named 2010 Administrator of the Year by the Michigan Association of Public School Academies. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan. She is an avid reader and loves theater and world travel.

Quote: “In this challenging world of education, as school leaders, we have an absolute obligation to embed hope for tomorrow into our students. After we embed hope we then must prepare them to be competitors in a global society.”

Maria Paradiso
Head of School, Link Community School

Ms. Paradiso joined Link in 2002 and was named Head of School in February 2010. She began her work with urban youth at the New Jersey State Museum’s Education Department while developing and implementing a comprehensive afterschool and weekend program using the Museum’s collections as a springboard for artistic expression, literacy, and cultural exploration. She developed her fundraising experience while serving as Coordinator of Corporate and Foundation Relations for the New Jersey State Museum and as events manager for former United States Senator Bill Bradley’s 1990 re-election campaign. Additionally, Ms. Paradiso practiced family law with the Middlesex County Legal Services Corporation and consumer law with the Passaic County Legal Aid Office after clerking for United States Magistrate Judge John J. Hughes. She holds a J.D. from Rutgers Law School – Newark , where she was very active and highly engaged in public interest law, and a B.A from Montclair State University, where her studies focused on political science and secondary education.

Quote:”Every day you are struggling through hard family situations and achievement gaps in the classroom, but there are wonderful opportunities there as well. You can impact students in dramatic ways.”

Kathy Egmont
Former Head of School, The Children’s Storefront

Ms Egmont has a M.Ed. in School Administration from BU and has been a school administrator for nearly 30 years. With some experience directing preschools in affluent suburban locations, the bulk of her experience has been in low income, inner city, urban settings. As co-founder of Community Day Charter School in Lawrence, MA and most recently, for 9 years, as the Head of School at the Children’s Storefront, a tuition free, independent school in Harlem, she is committed to the work of closing the achievement gap and giving every child the opportunity to succeed, set high goals and achieve them. While focused on academic success in every part of the school, Ms Egmont works to build a culture of learning that motivates, sustains and encourages every child to believe that they can do it, to see themselves making progress and never to give up. Building strong relationships with parents and teachers alike is part of creating that collegial, positive environment. Currently Ms. Egmont is Head of School at Lowell Community Charter Public School in Lowell MA. Ms. Wendy Reynoso is the current Head of School at The Children’s Storefront.

Quote: “I’m a strong believer that a high test score and a low work ethic doesn’t get you very far in life.”

Christine Beck
President & CEO, Gesu School

Christine Beck has worked with inner city kids for over 35 years. At the Gesu School, her accomplishments include adding 20,000 square feet of learning space and expanding the school’s scholarship program. But she’s most proud of the school’s focus on enrichment classes which give students entrée into disciplines they may not be exposed to in their own homes. The school has full-time art, music, physical education and computer teachers. This gives students the opportunity to develop confidence in art or music class, not just math and English, giving them a better chance to learn, develop and succeed.
Quote: “Believing in something enables you to make things happen.”

Jurate Krokys
CEO, Independence Charter School

Jurate Krokys is the Founding Principal and the current CEO of Independence Charter School. Independence Charter is a K-8 school in Philadelphia’s center city bringing students from 46 zip codes through a lottery to a school where global education and second and third language acquisition is the norm. Starting in Kindergarten through 8th grade, the students study about the world, its people, cultures and histories, challenges, conflicts and successes. Through this process, the children also learn how to be better people, better citizens locally and globally. Jurate has been an urban educator for over 30 years first in the Private then Public Schools. She was a Fulbright Scholar to the Republic of Lithuania in 1992-1993 and worked with educators and leaders in a post-Soviet nation while her children attended local schools.

Quote: “It is a blessing to be able to work with a team of amazing educators on a daily basis committed to the excellence and the potential of all of our students, no matter what their challenge, no matter what their gift.”