Maria Paradiso, Head of Link Community School in Newark, discusses some of the challenges she faces, such as the fact that the school’s children come from many different schools and backgrounds, and many struggle through hard family situations. The most important thing is to provide students with quality teachers, and success is measured from student achievement. Finally, Paradiso talks about staff that has left Link to open new schools, taking the Link model throughout the country to touch more lives.

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.”