Q&A with new Westfield Washington Schools Superintendent Dr. Sherry Grate

By Anna Skinner

Grate

Grate

As of July 1, Dr. Sherry Grate is officially the new superintendent of Westfield Washington Schools. Current in Westfield caught up with her to explore her past and her plans for her time at WWS.

Where did you go to school?
“I did my undergrad work at IU in Bloomington. Then I did my administrative work and Masters at IUPUI in Indianapolis, and then I did my educational specialist degree and doctorate work at Ball State.”

What is your most recent experience?
“Most recently, I was in DeKalb Central Schools for 16 years. I was an elementary principal one year, eight years as assistant superintendent and the last seven as superintendent.”

What’s something someone might not know about you in the community but you think they should?
“I think my educational experiences have been very diverse. I’ve had the opportunity to teach overseas in Sydney, Australia, in an urban setting and rural and suburban setting. I think those experiences in working in many diverse schools and districts allow me to have a unique perspective on school districts and where we may be going as we grow and change.”

What are some local organizations you are involved in?
“I’ve joined the Kiwanis. I also am a part of Women of Vision for Riverview Health. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with representatives from different clubs and organizations in the community to see how (they) can work with the schools. I also participated in Westfield Rocks the 4th.”

What is your biggest goal this year?
“I have three primary areas I want to focus on as a school district. One is to address the rapid pace of growth in the student population. The second is renewing our operational referendum in the fall of 2016, and the third would be updating our strategic plan and preparing for the future of the district.”

What is the biggest difference between Westfield Washington Schools and DeKalb Central?
“I think the biggest difference, for me, is WWS has a strong tradition of excellence and yet ranks in the bottom 10 percent of funding for schools in the state of Indiana, and so one might not realize that financial struggles for funding in Westfield really exist. I think it’s important to educate the community on exactly the way in which our schools are funded.”

What are you excited for?
“I’m so excited to be in the community, and I’m looking forward to continuing to get to meet families and other members of the community. I’ve appreciated how welcoming everyone has been, and I am looking forward to growing together. I would welcome anyone that would like to reach out to set up a time to meet with me and reach me at my email address.”

To contact Grate, email her at grates@wws.k12.in.us.