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Carol Gresser to Direct Institute for School Board Leadership

Carol Gresser, former president of the New York City Board of Education, has been appointed director of a new venue to prepare leaders in education, the Institute for School Board Leadership.

She will be working with an advisory board made up of school board members and district superintendents who have been successful in garnering the support of business and the extended school community.

Gresser is meeting with board members, superintendents, university faculty and school reform experts to develop a model program that will emphasize improved student achievement through community involvement. Her goal is to develop a program that will ensure a continuity of vision as school leadership changes.

"We have neglected the critical role school boards play in the education of children," Gresser said. "School board members, whether elected or appointed, are the representatives of the community. They articulate the community's concerns, advocate for children, and educate the community about the importance of public education."

"The new standards are based on the skills adults need in the modern workplace," said Peter Comeau, Associate Director of the Center for Educational Outreach and Innovation at Teachers College. "Urban schools will find it difficult to help students achieve new or higher standards unless they are able to draw on business and community resources. School boards are critical in making that connection."

One of the challenges school boards face is the fact that only 25 percent of the population has school-age children. Board members need to draw in the other 75 percent of the community to support the schools-parents whose children are no longer in the schools, seniors, business people. "They have to educate those people to the benefits of a viable school system," Gresser said. "People have to understand that everybody wins when the school system works." With a good school system, she added, an area can attract new people to move into the community.

Gresser brings 30 years of experience in the field of education to her position. She has been a public school teacher, a school volunteer, and a PTA president. Gresser was appointed to the New York City Board of Education in 1990 and re-appointed in 1994 for a second four-year term. She was elected four times to serve as its President. In February 1998, she was the only school board member in the nation who was invited to participate in a conference held at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. that looked at the relationship of the physical school environment to educational outcomes.

In addition to being a guest lecturer and speaker, Gresser is an educational consultant and writes a column for a Queens, New York, newspaper. She also serves as Commissioner of the New York State Northeast Queens Environmental and Historic Preserve Commission. She is a member of several boards and advisory councils throughout New York.

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