Teaching qualifications

Meet 3 Candidates Running for Staten Island School Superintendent

STATEN ISLAND, NY – New York City recently hosted a Community Town Hall to allow the public to share their voice on choosing a new or incumbent superintendent to serve Staten Island’s District 31.

During the event, the Staten Islanders were able to virtually hear from three candidates who are vying for the job – current superintendent Dr. Marion Wilson, Dr. Lucia Perez-Medina and Vanda Belusic.

City Hall was part of Schools Chancellor David Banks’ new vision for public schools, in which every district superintendent is asked to reapply for employment so the city can assess whether he or she is the best person to support schools and innovative schools. leaders.

New York State Education Law authorizes the chancellor to appoint community superintendents, who must have professional educational, managerial, administrative and personal qualifications. They must have served seven years as an educator and at least three years as a principal.

New York City has 46 superintendents, some of whom are tied to the city’s geographic school districts, some to the grade level, and others to the particular needs of their students.

As part of their job, they communicate Department of Education (DOE) policy, support communities, supervise and evaluate principals, appoint principals, approve decisions of principal, vice-principal and teachers, approve school budgets and more.

Wilson was named Staten Island Schools Superintendent in District 31 in August 2021, having served as acting superintendent since March 2021, when former superintendent Vincenza Gallassio retired after a 34-year career in the Staten Island school system. New York.

In an effort to help the Staten Islanders know about the candidates for superintendent, we’ve put together some quotes from their opening presentations during the town hall.


Wilson has worked for the DOE in various capacities since 2006. Prior to her appointment as superintendent, she worked as a teacher, instructional coach, principal, senior leadership facilitator, and assistant superintendent for District 31.

From the town hall:

“We really think about how we teach students – thinking about access and opportunities for everyone working around CRC [culturally responsive curriculum] or some of the footprints I leave on Staten Island. As we continue this work with the directors, I am giving up my power, because as a leader, I am not always the smartest person. I’m looking for comments. I’m a master at giving feedback, but I’m also a great listener and can take feedback too. Why are we going in this direction? Things change. We also need to change to keep up with the times. Our children need it and they deserve it.

“I have the beauty of working in the best neighborhood in all of New York City. I want to leave you with a few things about the universal filters we’ve had. We’ve seen exponential returns and the growth and performance of students Our SEL [social-emotional learning] the work has been phenomenal. And when you think about accelerating learning, it’s really about giving feedback to help teachers refine their practice so they can adapt to the needs of our students.

“So what are my fingerprints?” My legacy is the voice of students, the work I do with the pedagogical core, and ensuring that schools have the leaders who should lead them, and give students the school they deserve.


Belusic worked at the city’s DOE as a teacher, assistant principal, teaching specialist, and director. And she has worked within DOE offices — most recently in the Office of Post-Secondary Readiness and the Office of the Vice Chancellor.

From the town hall:

“Understanding each student’s starting point and ensuring they get what they need to go beyond their reach. This is how we think of this neighborhood. Ensuring that every young person in the district enjoys school, feels safe, is challenged and engaged – it takes objectivity, balance and open-mindedness. This requires creating opportunities to ensure that each student has their strengths. Their unique strengths are honored and their situations and circumstances are understood by the people they work with day in and day out at school. Developing innovative solutions and supporting their progress, or supporting the child as a whole, is what I am offering you this evening.

“As a teacher, teacher, trainer, principal and central administrator, I have dedicated my career to such opportunities that place the emotional academic and social needs of children at the center of what I do. In these opportunities. I have always advocated for Staten Island students to benefit from these efforts, as in the case of a program called Mastery Collaborative. Now we call it the collaborative skill. It is an approach to teaching and learning that provides young people with accurate and timely feedback on their learning and personal development. Here, ratings are more than just numbers. These are specific comments about the skills students acquire as they become good at something. Teachers create rich and varied assessments, and learners can demonstrate their success in many ways. Schools we have worked with include Marsh Avenue Expeditionary Learning School, Port Richmond School of Visual Learning, as well as Staten Island Tech.


Perez-Medina is currently Director of Multilingual and English Learners at DOE. Previously, she worked as a teacher and school principal and held other administrative positions.

From the town hall:

“My years in my many roles as a teacher, educational leader, literacy specialist and – most rewardingly – school principal, have led me to where I am today. plan, there’s always the kids – who are they, what do they bring to the table? What shaped and influenced that the most was when I started my career over 20 years ago, at an underprivileged school in Bushwick, Brooklyn. I started out as a bilingual teacher in second and third grade, and many of my students were students who had interrupted their formal education. Now I walked into a classroom without resources, without support, but what I had with me was a passion and a love for all children. And I refused to believe that these students were going to be left behind. And that was in my commitment to ensure that these students would excel and move forward who also born who I am today as a leader.

“I can also say that through this I learned that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter your race, color, identity, gender, expression, orientation, ethnicity, immigration status, disability, zip code. Nothing should matter when we think of good, solid teaching – that is, for all learners. So when we walk into a classroom, so when we think even now of our gifted and talented programs, which are evident throughout the district, and now with the initiative of the new Chancellor expanding that, those opportunities – so many opportunities to engage in critical thinking and inquiry-based learning and real-life project-based learning opportunities focused on deep processes, enrichment opportunities should be accessible to all learners. And we should reply that it should not only exist in certain schools. But we must ensure that our most marginalized communities have access to quality and equitable education. And as Superintendent, I am committed to working with multiple stakeholders.


You can learn more about each candidate by watching the virtual town hall on https://vimeo.com/714558800.