2020-2021 Superintendents to Watch: Dr. David Mauricio

Dr. David Mauricio

Dr. David Mauricio

Superintendent of Schools
Peekskill City (N.Y.) School District
Twitter: @DrMauricio  @PeekskillCSD

What does leadership mean to you?

When I think of my role as a superintendent, I subscribe to the philosophy of servant leadership and feel blessed to be able to serve our students and their families. Leadership, in essence, is the grand opportunity to drive the teamwork that leads to great achievements for our children. I believe that this awesome responsibility is one of stewardship to the community our district serves. As district leaders, superintendents have been chosen to be visionaries and are charged with materializing bold ideas that will provide opportunities for children to soar. Throughout my career, much of my leadership work has focused on equalizing the disparities that exist in urban settings. I am reminded by countless individuals, including my own life story, that an excellent education can allow students to break barriers and defy statistical trends. When educational leaders share this vision, we help our students to reach levels of success that they are innately destined to achieve.

How have you integrated communication into your district’s strategic plan?
Our district's Strategic Plan is driven by the five tenets of our "Peekskill Promise," and communication is the bridge to share the implementation of these action items with our school community. In order to widely share the Promise with our families, we created a bilingual graphic to clearly explain the following areas of focus: 

  • Rigorous Pre-K - Grade 12 Aligned and Culturally Responsive Academics  
  • Robust Literacy and STEAM Opportunities 
  • Whole Child Commitment  
  • Enrichment Experiences for All 
  • Powerful Parent, Family and Community Partnerships 

The idea of the Peekskill Promise was inspired by the pacts parents make with their own children, as the word "promise" signifies a binding commitment built on love and trust. Throughout the year, we highlight the many ways our district is “keeping our promise” to our families by sharing photos and stories via our #KeepingthePromise social media campaign.

What communication initiative are you most proud of that have you implemented in your district?
Of our many communication initiatives, I think the one I am most proud of is our social media presence. We all know that in this day and age, if you do not create your own narrative, others will create one for you. By embracing social media, Peekskill City School District has provided a platform for positive parent engagement and two-way conversations.

What communication tool do you enjoy using the most in your profession? Why?
When it comes to communication, I'm a people-person and always prefer face-to-face engagement when possible. Technology is a wonderful tool, but nothing can replace the energy of an in-person meeting. Of course, meeting in-person has become a challenge due to the current health crisis, and I am grateful that we do have numerous means for communicating with our families during this time. For example, we have taken one of our district's most popular events, our Saturday Academy, and converted it to a virtual platform via video. While this was a successful program conversion given our current circumstances, I cannot help but look forward to the day where I can once again walk among hundreds of our families at a Saturday Academy event, or greet our entire staff on opening day. The opportunity these types of meetings present for genuine human connections is truly irreplaceable, and it is upon these connections that meaningful relationships are built.

How have you used social media in your strategic communication efforts?
Social media has been instrumental in enhancing our traditional communication methods. Almost everything we produce, we cross publish to social media - letters, flyers, campaign materials, photos, videos - you name it. Overall, social media has helped strengthen our school community relationships and enhanced our brand reputation.