Change Starts Here: Every Student has Potential

Cathy Quiroz Moore is the Superintendent of the Wake County Public School System, NC, the 15th largest school system in the United States. Moore came to the U.S. from Ecuador when she was two years old. That dual culture influenced who Moore is as a person and her actions as a leader. Her roots in the Wake County Public School Stem stretch back to 1988 when she entered as a French teacher. Being engaged and seeking out leadership opportunities are traits that Moore always fostered.

“Even as a beginning teacher, I looked for and had opportunities to take on small leadership roles within our regular school community setting, and those were exciting to me when I came to Wake County in ’88,” Moore said. “After a couple of years in the classroom, I had the opportunity to take on a student teacher from a local university.” This situation helped Moore realize there were more ways to influence education than teaching students; passing along knowledge and craft to others was equally essential. And soon, the organizational side of education opened to Moore, a role she could play an integral part in its success.

Moore’s transition to superintendent didn’t happen overnight. It took several decades, a lot of work, and until a few years ago, Moore wasn’t thinking about such a role. But her continued leadership persistence, hard work, and dedication to making a difference in education continued to narrow the path towards her destiny. “For me, it is about being invested where you are, learning as much as you can, growing your profession, and growing with colleagues,” Moore said.

Some of Moore’s experiences growing up led her to discover that teachers who recognize a student’s potential can positively impact those students’ lives. “Those experiences, at an early age, and those who, during the course of my elementary, middle school, and high school teacher administrators who believed in me, helped me understand that I had worth, value, and something to contribute.”

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