Current & Former Honorees

Congratulations to the 2022 Women in School Leadership Award Winners

Winner in the Superintendent Category:

Sharon Contreras
Sharon Contreras, superintendent, Guilford County Schools (N.C.)

Sharon L. Contreras is a teacher at heart, a transformational leader and a passionate advocate for children and education.

Growing up in Uniondale, N.Y., with nine brothers and sisters, she learned early to advocate for her right to an excellent education. At the age of 10, she was told by her teacher she didn’t belong in the new advanced gifted program that she knew included classmates she had tutored. After pleading her case independently, then alongside her parents, she gained a seat in the accelerated program, which changed the trajectory of her life, while lighting a fire for achievement and advocacy of others.

Years later, not even the gradual loss of 90% of her hearing stopped her from breaking through barriers for herself and removing them for her students. Over the course of her 30-year education career, she has held two superintendencies – one urban and one in a county-wide district serving urban, suburban and rural students.

As superintendent of Syracuse City School District, she became the first woman of color to lead one of New York’s “Big 5” urban school systems and is the first woman of color, first Latina and first person with a disability to lead Guilford County Schools in North Carolina, one of the nation’s largest school districts, with 126 schools, 10,000 employees and 72,000 students.

Winner in the Central Office/Principal Category:

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

Susan Field has more than 30 years of experience in public education. She currently serves as the assistant superintendent for learning services in Academy District 20 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Field began her teaching career in Fairfax County Public Schools (Va.) in 1989 teaching fifth and sixth grade. During her early years as a teacher, Field developed a love of curriculum writing, instructional best practices and literacy instruction to support struggling readers. In the summer of 1996, she relocated to Colorado Springs where she continued to teach sixth grade and went on to serve as a middle school reading coach and assistant principal.

In her current role, Field supervises and supports elementary and middle school principals, provides leadership for curriculum and instruction, assessment, professional learning, special education, and oversees programming in all D20 schools. She has led the district-wide implementation of social-emotional programming, to include RULER from Yale University for 35 schools and more than 26,000 students since 2015.

Most recently, she has led a team to open a new PreK-5 elementary school that provides therapy for students with dyslexia, and she has orchestrated the development and opening of a family resource center that provides mental health counseling and support to students free of charge.

Field holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Virginia Tech, as well. She also holds a doctorate in educational leadership and innovation from the University of Colorado.

Former Women in School Leadership: Superintendent Category Award Winners

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

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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