Current & Former Honorees

Congratulations to the 2023 Women in School Leadership Award Winners

Winner in the Superintendent Category:

Deborah Wortham
Deborah L. Wortham, superintendent, Roosevelt Union Free School District (N.Y.)

Dr. Deborah L. Wortham is an educator, Best-selling co-author, elder, professor, and nationally recognized lecture circuit presenter.

She was the first locally elected Roosevelt Union Free School District Superintendent in eleven years. During her tenure, the District moved from "State Takeover" to "Good Standing."


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Dr. Deborah L. Wortham is an educator, Best-selling co-author, elder, professor, and nationally recognized lecture circuit presenter. A native of Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Wortham is prepared spiritually and educationally. She is the former Superintendent of the School District of the City of York in York, Pennsylvania, and the Steelton-Highspire School District in Steelton, Pennsylvania. She was the first locally elected Roosevelt Union Free School District Superintendent in eleven years. During her tenure, the District moved from "State Takeover" to "Good Standing." Dr. Wortham served as the First African-American Female Superintendent of the East Ramapo Central School District in Spring Valley, New York, where all 12 K-8 schools reached "Good Standing." Still fond of the Roosevelt Union Free School District; currently, Dr. Wortham serves as the Superintendent in charge of "Resetting Roosevelt!" With the Board's leadership, staff support, and the commitment of students and the community, the Roosevelt Union Free School District is once again rated (1/11/23) by the New York State Education Department as "Good Standing!"

Her credentials include a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from NOVA SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY, Fort Lauderdale, Florida; a Master's Degree in Reading from MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY, Baltimore, Maryland; and a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from the UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, Madison, Wisconsin.

Dr. Wortham is a Best-Selling Co-Author of STEM Century: It Takes a Village to Raise a 21st-Century Graduate. Her book, "Setting the Atmosphere for Leaders and Learners," will be released in November 2023. She received Elementary Teacher of the Year and Dissertation of the Year. Dr. Wortham is featured in several educational videos, has written numerous chapters for various books, and has traveled extensively, lecturing on various topics. Her most recent community highlights include the Top 100 Most Influential Educators in New York State; Education Expert by Market Scale; East Ramapo "Sheroe" Award; the Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Award; Rockland County School Board Association Award of Excellence; Mid-Hudson School Study Council, Educational Leadership Award; First Timothy Christian Church for Outstanding Contributions; and Leadership Award, Nassau County, New York NAACP. Additionally, the following awards: Washington Rose "Inspiring Woman" Award; Service Above Self Award, Central Nassau County of Rotary International; Salute to Unsung Sheroes' of Sisters in the Struggle Award, Nassau County; Educator of the Year, Long Island Black Educator's Association, and the Sojourner Truth Award, Central Nassau Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Inc.

Her national and international affiliations include being a Life Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Theta Iota Omega Chapter; Chaplain of The Links, Incorporated, Long Island Chapter; Chaplain, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Long Island Chapter; member of Rotary International, and a Life Member of Girl Scouts, PTA, and the NAACP.

Dr. Wortham has been married for 51 years to Rev. Chester H. Wortham, Jr. She and her husband have led marriage and leadership development seminars at various conferences, working together in ministry locally and abroad.

She became licensed as a Minister and, following the Licensing and Certification by the Board of Examiners, Ordained an Elder at Higher Dimensions Christian Center in Baltimore, MD, in 2001. They have two children, Dr. Shelley and Min. Chester, III; one son-in-law, Sheldon; one daughter-in-law, Marquita; one granddaughter, Jordynn Lynn; and four grandsons, Chester, IV, Sheldon, Jr., Zachary, and Ethan.

Since 2014, Dr. Wortham has served in ministry at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral in Queens, NY, under Pastor Rev. Dr. Elaine Flake and Pastor Emeritus Rev. Dr. Floyd Flake. "To God Be the Glory, for the Great things He has Done!"


Winner in the Central Office/Principal Category:

Romy DeCristofaro
Romy DeCristofaro, superintendent of student services, Evanston/Skokie School District 65 (Ill.)

A professional educator for more than 20 years and a strong advocate for inclusive education, Romy currently oversees special education, multilingual programs, health services, early childhood programs and services for students experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness.


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Romy DeCristofaro serves as the assistant superintendent of student services at Evanston/Skokie District 65 in Evanston, Ill. In this role, she oversees the district’s special education, multilingual and health services departments. Additionally, she supervises three schools including the district’s early childhood center and two public therapeutic day schools.

DeCristofaro has been a professional educator for more than 20 years. She started as a special education teacher, a position she held for 10 years before moving into education administration. She received her bachelor’s degree in special education and two master’s degrees in special education advanced practices and educational leadership from Northern Illinois University before pursuing a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Former Women in School Leadership: Superintendent Category Award Winners

2023: Tiffany Anderson, Topeka Public Schools (Kan.)

2022: Sharon Contreras, Guilford County Schools (N.C.)

2021: Noreen Bush, Cedar Rapids Community School District (Iowa)

2020: Susan Enfield, Highline Public Schools (Wash.)

2019: Wanda Cook-Robinson, Oakland Schools (Mich.) 

2018: Blondean Davis, Matteson School District 162/Southland College Prep Charter High School (Ill.)

2017: Carla Santorno, Tacoma Public Schools (Wash.)

2016: MaryEllen Elia, Hillsborough County Public Schools (Fla.)

2015: Karen Woodward, Lexington County (S.C)

2014: Ann Blakeney Clark, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (N.C.)

2013: Marilyn Shepherd, Monterey Peninsula Unified School District (Calif.)

2012: Valerie Truesdale, Beaufort County Public Schools (S.C.)

Former Women in School Leadership: Central Office/Principal Category Award Winners

2023: Cheyanne Fant, district director of nutrition services and afterschool programs, Barren County Schools (Ky.)

2022: Susan Field, assistant superintendent for learning services, Academy District 20 (Colo.)

2021: Tanzy Kilcrease, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, Bibb County School District (Ga.)

2020: Shelley Reggiani, executive director of equity and instructional services, North Clackamas School District (Ore.) and Lesley Bruinton (School-Based Award), public relations coordinator, Tuscaloosa City Schools (Ala.)

2019: Marie Izquierdo, chief academic officer, Miami-Dade County Public Schools (Fla.)

2018: Sharon Suritsky, assistant/deputy superintendent, Upper St. Clair School District (Pa.) and Fran Glick (School-Based Award), coordinator of digital learning, Baltimore County Public Schools (Md.)

2017: Aimee Rainey, principal, Florence City Schools (Ala.)

2016: Michelle Sundel, principal, Ashland High School (Ore.)

2015: Linda Carrillo, principal, PSJA North High School (Texas)

2014: Harriet R. MacLean, prinipcal, James B. Davidson Middle School (Calif.)

2013: Lisa Gonzales, coordinator of curriculum and instruction, Santa Clara County Office of Education (Calif.)

Thank You to our Women in School Leadership Award Partner

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