‘Ensuring Successful Students and Schools’ is focus of next IRP

The Oct. 18 session of the Institute for Retired People (IRP) will feature Sharon Contreras, superintendent of the Syracuse City School District. She will discuss the district’s five-year plan for ensuring the success of the city’s students.

The IRP program runs from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., and is free and open to the public. IRP sessions are held at the First Baptist Church of Syracuse, 5833 East Seneca Turnpike, Jamesville. For more information, visit http://uc.syr.edu/irp, call 315-443-4846, or e-mail cmkarlho@syr.edu.

Contreras began her career as a high school English teacher and then a curriculum specialist at the high school level in Rockford, Ill. Soon thereafter, Contreras was appointed principal of the award-winning Lewis Lemon Global Studies Academy magnet school. She implemented one of the nation’s first multi-tier literacy initiatives. Contreras was promoted to area superintendent over elementary, middle and high schools. Later, she became assistant superintendent for pupil personnel services, with responsibilities for special education, gifted, pre-kindergarten and ESOL programming.

In 2004, she accepted the position of chief academic officer for the 52,000-student Clayton County Public Schools in Jonesboro, Ga.

In 2007, Contreras became the chief academic officer for Providence Public Schools in Rhode Island. She implemented an Aligned Instructional System, improved the graduation rate and rolled out a Pathways to Prosperity initiative to provide high school students with greater access to college and careers.

Contreras attended Binghamton University, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in English literature. She also earned a master of arts in teaching; a master of arts in English literature and a master of science in educational administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is currently completing her Ph.D in educational leadership and policy studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is a dissertator.

IRP is a community program established by University College of Syracuse University, dedicated to the principle of lifelong learning.