Dr. Sharon L. Contreras, Superintendent of Schools for the Syracuse City School District, has accepted the position of Superintendent of Schools for the Guilford County School system in Greensboro, NC. Dr. Contreras served in her capacity as Superintendent of Schools in Syracuse since 2011.
“I am truly saddened to be leaving the Syracuse City School District. These past five years have been a wonderful experience and I am deeply proud of all that we’ve accomplished together,” said Superintendent Contreras. “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside so many talented educators and community members to serve the students and families here in Syracuse. As in all school districts, there is still a great deal of work to be done but I have complete faith that the Board of Education, teachers, administrators, staff and the entire Syracuse community will continue #makinggreathappen.”
During the tenure of Dr. Contreras, the school district saw its graduation rates rise to the highest heights in over a decade and the drop-out rate fall to all-time lows. She expanded Career and Technical Education (CTE) programming significantly with the district expanding from five to twenty-three full career pathways for students including cybersecurity, computer forensics, geospatial technology and drone technology.
Dr. Contreras successfully advocated with parents and community members for more funding to provide a robust education for all children and was able to increase the overall budget from $420m to $507m in four short years. Dr. Contreras also brought in more than $100 million in grant funds during her five years in the district, including being awarded the largest single grant in the District’s history. Simultaneously, she signed a historical teacher contract making the Syracuse teachers some of the highest paid in the region honoring the work of urban educators.
In working with the Syracuse legislative delegation and Mayor Stephanie Miner, Phase I of the Joint Schools Construction Board was successfully completed and Phase II has begun which will result in the renovation of 14 schools. Dr. Contreras also implemented school choice in SCSD, keeping the Board of Education’s commitment to families to create a portfolio of high-quality school options for families.
“I am grateful for all of the service Superintendent Contreras has given to Syracuse,” Mayor Stephanie Miner said. “Her focus and dedication to Syracuse’s children has resulted in record-setting number of students graduating, innovative learning environments, and increased student achievement. All of this occurred in a tumultuous and challenging environment for urban public education. Syracuse’s loss will be Guilford’s gain. I wish her and her family well and am thankful for her time here.”
Students in Syracuse, many who live in the most extreme poverty in the United States, now enjoy universal free breakfast and lunch, and Dr. Contreras began implementing a free dinner program this past spring as well. Universal pre-kindergarten, one of the hallmarks of Dr. Contreras’ tenure, has dramatically expanded under her leadership with the vast majority of four-year olds in Syracuse participating in District programs.
“Superintendent Contreras’ leadership and dedication to Syracuse’s children is unparalleled,” Syracuse City School District Board of Education President Derrick Dorsey said. “Dr. Contreras’ commitment to the Syracuse community made it possible for the District to experience unprecedented lows in drop outs and increases in graduates. I’m not certain this community is aware of the loss that it has just suffered. She is truly going to be missed.”
The Guilford County School system is the third-largest school district in North Carolina. The county wide school system has over 72,000 students and 127 schools. It covers the Triad region of North Carolina which includes Greensboro and High Point.