In June 2022, the Boston School Committee selected Mary Skipper to serve as the Superintendent of Boston Public Schools (BPS). Mary previously served as the Superintendent of Somerville Public Schools (SPS).
Before going to Somerville, Superintendent Skipper was a Network Superintendent of High Schools for BPS, where she oversaw 34 high schools serving approximately 19,500 students. During her time as Network Superintendent, Boston’s high schools’ annual dropout rate consistently decreased from 7.9% (prior to her tenure) in SY11-12 to 4.5% by SY14-15. At the same time, the graduation rate consistently increased from a rate of 65.9% in 2012 to 70.7% by the end of 2015. Among her most notable accomplishments while at BPS, Superintendent Skipper helped launch TechBoston Academy (TBA) as the founding school leader in 2002. Under her leadership, TBA grew from a 9-12 high school serving 75 students, to a 6-12 school with a staff of more than 100 serving a diverse student population of more than 1,000, 30% of which were English Language Learners and 25% of which were Special Education students.
Following her outstanding career at Boston Public Schools, Superintendent Skipper joined SPS in July of 2015. Skipper quickly made her mark in Somerville as an innovative and visionary thinker, a passionate advocate for all youth, and a strategic systems builder whose approach focused on leveraging community resources to support students.
Under her tenure, SPS emerged as a leader in the use of data to inform continuous progress, and to ensure a student-centered approach to teaching and learning driven by an unfailing commitment to equity of opportunity and access for all students. That commitment is evident through the continuous work at all levels of the district to examine current practices, dismantle barriers, and create a teaching and learning community where every student can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. Over the last five years, SPS has adopted equity policies to support this commitment, hired a Director for Equity and Excellence and expanded the district’s equity team to include Equity Specialists and equity teams in each school. Under her guidance, Somerville has become known as a forward-thinking district that consistently ranks among the top urban districts in overall student growth, and a district that has seen a declining drop-out rate to an all-time low of 0.5% (2019) at Somerville High School, along with an increasing four-year graduation rate to an all-time high of 92.5% (2020). Additionally, SPS has expanded its Multilingual Learner Education (MLE) program with newcomer academies and specialized programs for Students with Limited and Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE), reduced sub-separate Special Education programs, and decreased out-of-district placements by developing specialized programs and services to meet student needs.
Superintendent Skipper’s approach to ensuring the support of the whole child has led to the development of game-changing resources, programs and partnerships, such as the SPS’ home-grown Student Insights integrated data system, the development of an Educator Leadership Model designed around a distributed leadership approach to expand leadership opportunities and help build capacity in SPS schools and its district, and expansion of its district’s student support model to include embedded counselors at every school along with adjustment counselors and social workers. Her dedication to providing students with rich beyond-the-classroom learning experiences has led to new and stronger partnerships that enhance the student learning experience both during the school day as well as outside the school day and the school walls. Breakthrough Greater Boston, Enroot, and Becoming a Man are among the many new partnerships that have been developed during Superintendent Skipper’s time in SPS.
Stemming from the experiences that she’s gained across BPS and SPS, Superintendent Skipper’s agenda at Boston Public Schools will focus on prioritizing and accelerating academic performance; strengthening access to social-emotional learning; streamlining operations and ensuring student safety; developing authentic family and community engagement practices; improving internal and external communication with families and staff; and, increasing accountability for both the central office and our schools.
Superintendent Skipper holds a Bachelor's degree in English and Latin, along with a Master’s degree in Classics from Tufts University. She earned a Master's in Education Policy from Harvard and a Master's in Education Leadership from Columbia Teachers College.
Superintendent Skipper and her husband Peter, a retired BC High School religion teacher, have three children of whom they are very proud, and two amazing son-in-laws: Kassie, a teacher in the Denver Public Schools and her husband Joseph Montoya who is Senior Director of Residential at Namasté Solar; Lihlani, who is the Associate Director at Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School and her husband Garrett Dash Nelson, who is President & Head Curator at the Leventhal Map and Education Center at the BPL; and Peter, who is a Manager at Deloitte Consulting Government & Public Services in Washington, D.C. She is also the very proud grandmother of four beautiful grandchildren, Adela, Zana, Gabe and Cyrus.
Superintendent Skipper and her husband, Peter, have resided in their family home in Dorchester for 25 years.