Dr. Yolanda Méndez graduated from Rutgers College, Rutgers University Graduate School, Capella University Graduate School and Seton Hall University Graduate School. Dr. Méndez possesses a BA, two EdMs an EdS and an EdD in Educational Leadership and Management. Her dissertation theme was on how new approaches to leadership can effectively build teacher capacity and address the needs of an urban elementary school. She has been an Assistant Superintendent in the Newark Public Schools since 2016 where she supervises 14 Principals impacting over 8,000 students in all facets of leadership and management. Prior to that role, she was the Principal at Roberto Clemente Elementary School in Newark, New Jersey for close to ten years.
Dr. Méndez began her administrative career in education as a Director of Instructional Technology and Curriculum in 1997 in the city of Dover, NJ. In 2004, she served as a Special Assistant to the Regional Superintendent of all of the high schools in the city of Newark, where her emphasis was Curriculum and Instruction. Currently, as an Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Méndez has demonstrated a commitment to promote a strong sense of urgency in school leaders in assuring that students meet their highest levels of potential growth. Dr. Méndez has continually focused on growing leaders in order to sustain growth throughout the entire constituency she serves. Her philosophy and vision is to provide teachers and students with the necessary tools in order to promote learning and excellence for ALL children. The core value that Dr. Méndez promotes as an educational leader is that it is important to foster the total learning environment; which includes climate and culture and the belief that all children have the raw material to engage in rigorous academic material, which will eventually have a powerful impact on students’ learning and future.
Dr. Méndez has received a great deal of recognition throughout her career. Yolanda was a Seton Hall University National Fellow in the Doctoral Program and has received recognition from the Cahn Fellowship Program at Columbia University as one of the Distinguished Principals of the 2011-2012 school year and was honored in March 2012 by the National Organization of African American Administrators (NOAAA), for their Educational Leadership Award. Dr. Méndez was honored by El Diario La Prensa as one of 2012’s Mujeres Destacadas / Distinguished Hispanic Women in the Metropolitan area and was featured in the Children’s Literacy Initiative’s (CLI), 2011-2012 Annual Report on how her Educational Leadership has positively transformed literacy initiatives at Roberto Clemente School. Dr. Méndez has presented at various conferences, workshops and community forums in order to share her perspectives on various educational issues and has been recognized by numerous organizations for her educational and community leadership.
Dr. Méndez is fervent about the importance of building and supporting our future and young school administrators. As a result, Dr. Méndez has also served as a co-teacher at Seton Hall University where she worked with pre-service, school administration candidates that were seeking a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, with the hopes of becoming school administrators. She is also a Mentor with the New Jersey Leaders to Leaders (NJ-L2L) State-approved mentoring and induction program for new school leaders as they complete their required residency for Standard Principal Certification.
Dr. Méndez is a beacon of the community she serves. She serves on several boards of grassroots organizations such as the Friends of the Hispanic Resource & Information Center (Friends of the HRIC), having had served as the Chairperson for two years. Through this organization, Dr. Méndez worked closely with the community in assuring that the Latino History is preserved for generations to come. She is also a Board Member of the LUPE Fund, Inc. 501c3 organization whose mission is to educate, empower and engage Latinas in civic leadership and succeed in public service.
Dr. Méndez’ passion is engrained in the belief that an individual’s demographics, home environment and socio-economic situation does not and should not predict their destiny. “Our vocation as educators is to be beacons of hope to our students and the community we serve and to cultivate the genius each child possesses.”