Lesli C. Myers-Small
Superintendent of Schools, Rochester City School District
Years in current role: 1
What’s been your biggest success?
In March 2007, I testified to the United States Congress on behalf of funding Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Programs. It was my testimony, in part, that resulted in a spending bill for Fiscal Year 2008 that included the largest increase ever to the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program. This increase of 77.5% from 2007 was, in fact, the largest percentage increase to any education program found in the House LHHS-Ed FY 2008 Appropriations bill.
Who have been the biggest mentors in your career?
There are three distinct people who have served as mentors: my maternal grandmother, Dr. Arthur “Sam” Walton (former dean of my doctoral program) and Patricia Martin (former school counselor extraordinaire and VP for the College Board). Each contributed significantly to my personal and professional growth and helped to smooth out my “rough edges.”
What are your hopes for the Rochester community this year?
RCSD is one of the highest-needs school districts in New York State. Specifically, more than 22% of our student population includes students with disabilities and more than 50% of children in the city of Rochester live in poverty. Further, the district’s Extraordinary Needs Percentage is 92%, which is the highest rate of the Big 5. Educational inequities in RCSD have existed far too long. It is my hope that each RCSD scholar receives a high-quality public education.
What do you do to unplug in your free time?
I am a huge fan of the Food Network! I enjoy watching varied episodes to hone my skills. I love to get into my “cooking laboratory” at home to create both sweet and savory dishes. I secretly pretend I am hosting very own my reality cooking show entitled “Taste and See.”