After more than a year as a behind-the-scenes adviser, former St. Paul Public Schools Superintendent Valeria Silva is returning to the education arena.
She was named this week as one of two superintendents-in-residence at the New York City Leadership Academy.
The appointment coincides with the end of Silva's term as a consultant to St. Paul schools — an assignment negotiated when she was ousted by the school board in June 2016.
In a statement, Irma Zardoya, president and CEO of the Leadership Academy, said Silva and Ann Clark, a former North Carolina superintendent, were chosen to serve as part of a school leader training program during the 2017-18 school year.
"Ann and Valeria have been longtime leaders in the critical and difficult work of ensuring schools are offering an equitable and excellent education to students, regardless of race or culture, economic background or learning needs," Zardoya said.
The two will focus on educational equity and leadership development.
As part of Tuesday's announcement, Silva was quoted as saying: "I have devoted my career to making sure every child gets the educational opportunities he or she needs to fulfill their potential." She added that she looked forward to sharing what she's learned about navigating "the challenges involved in dismantling inequities in schools."
Silva told the Star Tribune last fall that she was proud of her efforts to ensure that people who spoke foreign languages could work with English language learners as classroom aides. The district's racial equity policy also made it possible, she said, to remove barriers keeping people of color from advancing to supervisory positions.
"In today's life, you need to push on those things," Silva said then. "Maybe 20 years ago, you didn't, but nowadays you have to."
She said via e-mail Friday that she will be working with education leaders from across the country. The nonprofit academy helps clients strengthen their leadership development programs, she said, in the belief that local leaders, even those under "seriously challenging conditions," can transform schools if provided the right training and support.
Silva was bounced by a school board that was elected on a mandate for change and after repeat instances of student-on-staff violence and a failure to meet once-rosy enrollment targets.
Her $787,000 buyout included a consulting role that is set to expire Saturday.
She met and talked by phone with interim Superintendent John Thein in 2016-17, providing what he described as "advice and counsel," with no written reports expected or delivered, district spokeswoman Toya Stewart Downey said Friday.
Silva now is being given an extended leave of absence until October 2019, when she will qualify for full pension benefits.
Asked Friday if she had any interest in being a school district superintendent again, she replied: "I believe that once you have been an educator and a superintendent you always have the desire to serve and to continue to help children."
Anthony Lonetree • 612-673-4109