Alumnae Recognized for Excellence in Leadership

Rutgers Graduate School of Education (GSE) alumnae, Dr. Rachel Pereira (Ed.M. ’00, Ed.D. ‘03), and Dr. Margaret Hayes (Ed.D. ‘01) were recently honored with the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) Excellence in Leadership Award. Dr. Pereira and Dr. Hayes were nominated by GSE faculty in recognition of their dedication to improve educational administration and inspiration to those who are interested in administration.

Dr. Pereira currently serves as Assistant District Attorney and the Director of Truancy Prevention in the city of Philadelphia. In her role as Assistant District Attorney Dr. Pereira works with Philadelphia schools, the Philadelphia Department of Health and Human Services, and the family courts to increase educational opportunities for children. Dr. Pereira also serves as an adjunct professor at the GSE and is a Chairperson on the Federal Department of Education’s Mid-Atlantic Advisory Committee. At the GSE Dr. Pereira teaches Elementary and Secondary School Administration courses where she prepares students for a career in school administration by focusing on professional development, increasing student academic outcomes, and balancing student safety with traditional disciplinary measures. Dr. Pereira also serves as a board member to a number of non-profit organizations including Manna, an organization committed to feeding chronically ill people, the Second Chance Foundation, an organization committed to ensuring that released convicts are given another chance at life upon release, and her community Youth Aid Council, where she serves juveniles involved in misdemeanor crimes.

“The faculty at the GSE are of the highest caliber,” says Dr. Pereira, “to be recognized by them for my work is humbling and an honor.”

Dr. Hayes has held the position of Superintendent of Schools for the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Public Schools for the past 8 years.  She is responsible for overseeing the day to day activities taking place in the school district, as well as improving educational administration. Dr. Hayes collaborates closely with administrators and supervisors both to provide support and model best practices.  She strives to identify leadership potential and develop the skills and habits of mind that will help others succeed as school leaders.

Dr. Hayes was a founding member of the Principals’ Center for the Garden State, and served on their Advisory Board and Board of Trustees from 1995 to 2000.  The Principals’ Center focuses on enhancing the skills of principals in New Jersey.  Dr. Hayes is also a founding member of Panasonic Foundation’s New Jersey Network of Superintendents, which brings together superintendents from more than a dozen public school districts and focuses on achieving excellence and equity for all New Jersey students.  Dr. Hayes has also recently returned to the GSE to teach Personnel Policy.

“To be acknowledged for my commitment to education is an honor,” says Dr. Hayes, “I am humbled to be included with the previous recipients of this prestigious award.”

For both women, much of their success was greatly impacted by the GSE. Dr. Pereira says that she still seeks advice from former professors of the GSE in all facets of her work. Dr. Hayes found her educational experience to be rigorous; an attribute she considers necessary to be successful in school administration.

“We are very proud of our outstanding alumnae,” said Dr. Catherine Lugg, a professor at the GSE. “Dr. Pereira and Dr. Hayes are excellent examples of the educational leaders we strive to develop at the GSE.” 

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