Passionate in her belief that all children deserve the opportunity to succeed and that public education is intrinsic to a better society, Kari McVeigh has served as Superintendent of the New Haven Unified School District since Dec. 1, 2008,
Since coming to New Haven, Ms. McVeigh has introduced successful initiatives to transform teaching and learning through a District-wide instructional focus and a commitment to involving teachers in the leadership process. At the same time, she has advanced efforts to improve equity both on campus and in the community. Her efforts earned national recognition in December 2012, when the District was awarded a $29.4 million “Race to the Top” grant by the U.S. Department of Education.
Under Ms. McVeigh’s leadership, the District adopted Seven Essentials for Continuous Growth and Improvement, with the goal that all students perform at or above grade level in all core subjects. She introduced Instructional Leadership Teams (ILTs) at each school, bringing teachers together with their administrators to make critical decisions affecting student learning, and convened Targeted Leadership meetings of the ILTs, to provide District-wide focus and to share best practices between sites.
Ms. McVeigh also assembled an Equity Task Force to address often-difficult issues such as race, culture and gender, and she brought together several community organizations to launch the Union City Kids’ Zone, with the goal of providing cradle-to-career services for some of the District’s most vulnerable students and their families. And at Ms. McVeigh’s direction, the District opened access to honors classes and advanced placement courses to students who might not have been accepted into such classes in the past, with remarkable success.
Relentless in her pursuit of improved student performance, Ms. McVeigh believes in providing teachers with both high-quality professional development and ample opportunities for true collaboration. Data must drive decision-making, and communication must be two-way.
"All parents want what is best for their children; that's true no matter where you go," she said. "It's our job, as public educators, to provide what's best for all students, and I take that job very seriously."
Ms. McVeigh came to New Haven after two years as Superintendent of the Beverly Hills Unified School District. Before that, she served for five years as Assistant Superintendent in San Diego Unified, where her primary role included coaching elementary and middle school principals.
A Bay Area native, Ms. McVeigh is a graduate of San Francisco State University. She started her career in Las Vegas, where she spent 23 years as a teacher and principal in the Clark County School District. Ms. McVeigh also spent two years with the Project for Whole School Change in Boston, where she served as Director of School Reform, working at the high school level, with both large and small schools.