St. Paul Public Schools
360 Colbourne Street
St. Paul, MN 55102
Bus. Phone: (651) 767-8152
Valeria S. Silva serves a highly diverse enrollment of 38,000 students in Saint Paul Public Schools, the state's capital school district, in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Prior to her appointment as Superintendent in December 2009, Ms. Silva held several senior leadership posts with SPPS, including Chief Academic Office and Director of English Language Learner Programs for a district where 45 percent of its students learning English are also fluent in languages as diverse as Amharic, Spanish, Somali, Hmong and Karen.
Her commitment to instructional leadership is built upon extensive school-level experiences as Principal at Adams Spanish Immersion School, Assistant Principal at Dayton's Bluff Elementary and Coordinator of Spanish Immersion Program/Curriculum. Ms. Silva holds B.A. degrees from St. Cloud State University and Pontificia University of Chile and M.A. and ED.S. degrees from the University of Minnesota.
Ms. Silva is also 2009 graduate of the prestigious Broad Superintendent's Academy. The mission of the academy is to transform urban school districts into effective public enterprises. The Broad Academy identifies and prepares prominent leaders to dramatically improve the quality of education for America's students.
Local and international media outlets tell her successful education strategy and leadership story. In November 2010, Ms. Silva was chosen as one of the top 100 Female Leaders for 2010 by the Chilean newspaper of record, El Mercurio. Chosen from a field of more than 600, this award recognizes women who make a difference in politics, economy, education and business. In October of 2010, Minneapolis Saint Paul Magazine recognized Ms. Silva as "Educator-in-Chief” for "…living the American Dream, one school day at a time.” For this publication, she was one of 11 influential leaders in Minnesota.
As an internationally recognized champion for children, she has been called upon to inform educational best practices in Chile, Cuba, Panama and other schools worldwide. In 2004, she accompanied a delegation to Wat Tham Krabok refugee camp in Thailand to lay the groundwork for welcoming 1,700 new Hmong students into SPPS.
Ms. Silva's recognition and success began with her continued dedication to helping ELL and students of poverty in 1998. The Minnesota State Senate recognized Ms. Silva as the first Latina superintendent in Minnesota. This was not her only first in education; in 1986 she opened the first immersion school in the Midwest
Beyond serving Saint Paul, Ms. Silva worked for two years with the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) to develop the first state standards for students in Minnesota. For the MDE, she served as a standards and accommodation specialist for ELL & Special Education. Today, she continues that dedication as a presenter and facilitator for professional development of ELL Programs, Culture and Bilingual Education for SPPS and charter schools.
Many national education organizations have recently recognized Ms. Silva for her leadership skills. Ms. Silva has been appointed as a board member of the Associational for Latino Administrators and Superintendents serving as treasurer in 2010. She served on the Council of Great City Schools (CGCS) Research Advisory Committee in 2009 for the publication, "Succeeding With English Language Learners: Lessons Learned from the Great City Schools.” The Council of Great City Schools also gave her the Curriculum and Leadership award and the 2007 University Council of Education Administration presented her the Excellence in Education Leadership award. Ms. Silva is also a member of the National Education Standards Review Committee and the Executive Committee for the Council of Great City Schools.
Ms. Silva has also served as a board member for the multiple local organizations including: STARBASE Minnesota, State ESL Programs and the International Institute of Minnesota. She currently serves as a board member for the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Children's Museum and the Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation.