Eileen F. Shafer, M.Ed.

Topic to Cover

Plenary Session

Biography

Eileen F. Shafer was appointed Superintendent of Schools in 2018 after a slow and steady ascent through the district’s ranks in 1992. She is the first woman to serve as Paterson’s Superintendent of Schools. Throughout her tenure in Paterson, Ms. Shafer has proved to be a visionary who prides herself on being responsive to the needs of students, their families, and the Paterson community while providing every possible opportunity for student success. Born to Robert J. and Elizabeth Shafer, Ms. Shafer grew up in Belleville, New Jersey. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree at Montclair State University in 1980 and her Master of Education degree at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania in 1981. Ms. Shafer’s passion for education drove her to earn certifications as physical education and health teacher, a substance awareness coordinator, a principal, and a chief school administrator. Superintendent Shafer oversees the district’s 47 schools and continues to collaborate with all staff.  Since taking the helm of the district, she has led efforts to reduce chronic absenteeism in elementary schools by more than 50 percent, increase the number of K-5 students reading at or above reading level, and create more opportunities for high school students to earn college credits before graduating. While the district’s school buildings were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Shafer maintained a sharp focus on meeting students’ needs. Nearly four million meals were provided to students, and every student was provided with a Chromebook and internet access closing a digital divide that had persisted for years. Since school buildings reopened, Ms. Shafer has led efforts to make COVID-19 testing and vaccinations available to all staff and eligible students. Resources and training have been dedicated to addressing the pandemic’s impact on students’ learning and social and emotional well-being. Ms. Shafer is proud to be leading Paterson Public Schools in its steadfast mission to prepare all children to be successful in the college and career of their choosing. But she never forgets, and she never lets anyone else forget that leading Paterson students to achieve their best is a team effort. That is why Ms. Shafer leads Paterson Public Schools under her slogan, “Together We Can.”

More About the Speaker

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