Daniella Phillips '89

There is privilege and responsibility in working with children and that motivates me to do "right" by all children as best I can. I have learned over the years that my personal motivation is strongest when I remain close to the role of teacher, even though my day-to-day work has been as school leader for much of my career.
Title: 
Community Superintendent

For 29 years, I have worked full-time in public education as a teacher, teacher-director of a magnet program, assistant principal, principal and superintendent in New York City.  Over the years, my interest in travel and international education has taken me to Poland, Ethiopia, India, Mongolia, and Japan to lead delegations of American educators in visiting schools in other countries.

From 2007-2018, I have served 8,000 students in twenty-one schools as the Superintendent in District 1, New York City.  It has been the greatest job in the world!  I'm proud that, together, our parents, teachers, students, elected officials, and community leaders, developed the first district-wide socio-economic integration plan in NYC.  We removed all zones which means that all families choose which school to enroll their child/children based not on zip code, but by matching interest and pedagogic approaches.  We prioritize students who are English Language Learners, students in temporary housing, and students who qualify for free & reduced lunch in school matches to ensure that all of the schools reflect the full diversity of our district.

At Princeton, I majored in the Woodrow Wilson School for Public & International Affairs with a particular interest in public policy.  Dr. Ernest Boyer of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching was my professor on a literacy task force and I learned from him the important role of educational research think-tanks on educational policy.  At the same time, I learned and student-taught as part of the TPP program, which gave me the important lens that public policy has to make sense for practitioners on the ground in schools.  Ruth Wilson and Dr. Drewry were my life-lines in figuring out what "Princeton in the nation's service" meant to me.  They encouraged me as I asked for my student-teaching placement at Princeton HS to be switched to Trenton Central HS, instead.  It was always about deepening our learning as a Teacher Prep cohort and that became a sustaining model throughout my professional life.

Learning never ends!  Said differently, learning is life-long.  Every school day has different challenges and every school day matters.  There is privilege and responsibility in working with children and that motivates me to do "right" by all children as best I can. I have learned over the years that my personal motivation is strongest when I remain close to the role of teacher, even though my day-to-day work has been as school leader for much of my career.  Therefore, I prioritize teaching--currently as adjunct professor at Baruch College and earlier as principal coach, for example.