The Board of Visitors is a nominated group of alumni and friends of the School who serve as leading ambassadors, charged with:
Members meet once during each academic semester and convene in committees during the year to consult with the dean and other University leaders to develop long-lasting relationships among the school’s donors and alumni.
The newest member of the School of Education’s Board of Visitors is an educator who served eight years as mayor of West Palm Beach, FL. Jeri Muoio followed a 30-year education career—from school psychologist in Oswego County, to director of special education in the Liverpool School District, to assistant superintendent in the Chappaqua School District, to assistant director of the Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative—with four years on the West Palm Beach City Commission before being elected mayor in 2011. Term limits ended her mayoral tenure this year.
West Palm Beach, a city of 110,000, experienced an economic renaissance during her two terms as mayor as the unemployment rate fell from 9.1 percent to 3.0 percent. This year began with more than $2 billion worth of projects planned within the city. A $148 million baseball complex opened in 2017 that the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals have made their spring training headquarters. West Palm Beach schools are part of the School District of Palm Beach County, the 10th largest in the nation with more than 193,000 students.
“The biggest challenge facing public education today is closing the achievement gap. I believe all students can achieve and that achievement should not be dictated by zip code,” says Muoio, who earned a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Syracuse University.
“The success of public education is the responsibility of us all and because of my background as an educator, the city became involved in directly supporting public education,” she says. “Some of the lowest performing schools are within the City of West Palm Beach. The city entered into a memorandum of agreement with the school district to work in partnership with the district to improve the schools in our city. The city brought much needed resources to the lowest performing school and was rewarded with a significant improvement in student achievement.”
As dean of students and vice president for student affairs at Skidmore College, Cerri Banks is responsible for the academic and social progress of students. She is the chair of the School of Education Board of Visitors and a member of the Syracuse University Alumni Association Board of Directors. Committed to educational reform and issues of inclusion, Banks draws from educational, feminist and critical race theory in her work as the dean and in her teaching, research and writing.
Before joining Skidmore in August 2016, Banks served as vice president for student affairs and dean of the college at Mount Holyoke College and the dean of William Smith College at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. She received a bachelor’s degree in inclusive elementary and special education, and master’s in cultural foundations of education, and a Ph.D. in cultural foundations of education all from the School of Education, as well as a C.A.S. in women’s and gender studies from the College of Arts and Sciences. She specializes in sociology of education, cultural studies, multicultural education and qualitative research.
“I’m so proud to call Cerri a School of Education alum,” says Joanna Masingila, dean of the School of Education. “She is an outstanding leader in higher education and has contributed greatly to the School of Education through her leadership as the chair of our Board of Visitors.”
Banks’ published work includes Cultural Capital and College Success (2009), Teaching, Learning and Intersecting Identities in Higher Education (2012) and No Justice! No Peace! College Student Activism, Race Relations and Media Cultures (2020), as well as numerous articles, book chapters and presentations on culturally relevancy, identity and learning, and other subjects.
Banks gave the School of Education’s 2019 convocation address, where she brought up her previous appearances on the convocation stage, as the undergraduate student speaker for the class of 2000, and when she was hooded for a doctorate by her aunt, Dr. Rae Banks. As a non-traditional student and woman of color, Banks credits the School of Education with changing the course of her life, and leading her to her career as a scholar and administrator. She said, “The work you do holds a critical place in the realization of equitable access to educational excellence. Our priority should be that every person, who so desires, is able to learn and achieve at the highest levels.”
The SOE Board of Visitors consists of up to 40 members, including one member of the Syracuse University Board of Trustees, brought forward by a standing committee of the Board and selected by the Dean. You can nominate someone for the Board by completing the Board of Visitors Nomination Form.
Eligibility for membership includes affiliation with the School of Education, annual contribution to the School of $3,000 or more, and the ability to attend 2 meetings per year. Young Alumni membership requirements are different and can be discussed with Heather Waters. Each Board of Visitor member is appointed for a three-year term with a maximum of two consecutive terms.
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