Saint Paul, Minn - At a special board meeting this evening, the Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) Board of Education named Ms. Valeria Silva as the preferred candidate for superintendent, with contract negotiations to begin immediately. A start date will be determined as part of the contract development.
"It has been an intensive few months of recruitment, input and review," said Board Chair Kazoua Kong-Thao. "Today I am pleased that we have reached agreement on our preferred candidate. While all three finalists brought a number of strengths to the table, we believe Ms. Silva is the right choice to lead Saint Paul Public Schools now and into the future - that she is the candidate who most closely matched the leadership characteristics desired of our next superintendent."
Among Ms. Silva's strengths noted by Board Directors that closely aligned with the desired superintendent characteristics:
An education leader who is passionately committed to the service of students - Ms. Silva's dedicated focus and commitment to students led to the creation of a new model of teaching English Language Learners that is recognized nationally for its success.
A deep commitment to Saint Paul - Ms. Silva has cultivated supportive relationships that have helped SPPS earn respect both locally and nationally. She has not only been an employee in Saint Paul Public Schools, she has been a parent in the district as well as a strong advocate for Saint Paul students and families and has set the bar high for student achievement.
A visionary leader who has demonstrated the ability to reduce the achievement gap - Ms. Silva's record of helping English Language Learners increase their performance is well documented and a point of pride for this system.
Ms. Silva is currently Chief Academic Officer in the Saint Paul Public Schools. Prior to her current assignment, she served as the Director of English Language Learner (ELL) Programs, Principal at Adams Spanish Immersion School, Assistant Principal at Dayton's Bluff Elementary, and Coordinator of Spanish Immersion Program/Curriculum, all in the Saint Paul Public Schools. She also has served as a Specialist for Standards and Accommodations in the Minnesota Department of Education. Ms. Silva began her education career as a teacher in the Saint Paul Public Schools. She holds B.A. degrees from St. Cloud State University and Pontifica University of Chile and M.A. and Ed.S. degrees from the University of Minnesota.
Today's announcement marks the end of an active five-month process that included intensive recruitment, two phases of stakeholder input, and more than 41 applicants for the position. Ms. Silva's start date will be determined as part of the contract agreement to be developed beginning immediately.
"I am truly humbled and honored with this responsibility I've been entrusted with," said Ms. Silva.
"I want to thank the board for maintaining a transparent process and selecting so many qualified candidates. I'm ready to get to work with our students, teachers, staff, families and community members to accelerate our important work. Together, we can continue making Saint Paul Public schools a truly excellent place for our students to learn and succeed."
The Board of Education and District administration will be working with Ms. Silva in the coming weeks to schedule a variety of opportunities for her to meet and engage with staff, community and families.
Watch the Saint Paul Public Schools website at www.spps.org for updates and events.
Note to Editors and Producers: There will be an opportunity for reporters to interview Valeria Silva at 1 p.m. at the Saint Paul Public Schools administration building, 360 Colborne Street.