Dr. A. Katrise Perera joined Isle of Wight County Schools as Division Superintendent in July 2011. A self-proclaimed life long learner, she immediately engaged in the community to develop a shared vision of preparing all students for academic excellence in the 21st century.
Dr. Perera is widely recognized for her innovative leadership style and vision for a progressively global learning environment for all grade levels. Under her leadership, there has been an expansion of new opportunities for online courses and dual enrollment opportunities with Virginia State University and Paul D. Camp Community College. A 1:1 iPad initiative was also implemented for all 9th – 12th grade students as part of the division’s i-SLE 21 (Initiative for Student Learning and Engagement in the 21st century) program. IWCS is currently the only school division with a 1:1 iPad initiative in Region II and has been recognized as a model for technology initiatives by the Virginia Department of Education.
As superintendent of IWCS, Dr. Perera has led the school division to accreditation each year –including 2011 District Accreditation from AdvancedED & the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). IWCS, ranked fourth academically out of fifteen school divisions in Region II and sixteenth out of 134 Virginia school divisions, has decreased the dropout rate to less than 4% and increased in the on-time (4-year cohorts) graduation rate to 93% -- surpassing the state average of 89%. The number of IWCS students attending a two or four-year college has increased to an all-time high of 73%, SAT scores have improved by 27 points when compared with the state average, and graduates continue to receive scholarship awards in excess of $7-plus million. During her tenure, the Virginia Department of Education and the governor’s office has recognized the school division’s Title I elementary schools, and in 2014 one IWCS elementary school was awarded a National Blue Ribbon of Excellence. In addition, the school division was recognized by the Virginia School Board Association for its environmentally friendly efforts and awarded the 2012 GO GREEN GOLD School Division of The Year; the GO GREEN PLATINUM AWARD in 2013 & 2014 in the 10,000 students or less category; and recognized by the First Lady of Virginia & VSBA as the statewide FOOD FOR THOUGHT 2014 winner for its efforts to eliminate student hunger. The VSBA also recognized the IWCS School Board as the 2014 Board of Distinction for Virginia.
Before coming to Isle of Wight County, Dr. Perera served as an area superintendent or school improvement officer (SIO) in the nation’s seventh largest school district - Houston Independent School District (HISD) in Houston, Texas. In HISD, she served several schools, contributed to improving and stabilizing the middle school enrollment, increasing the at or above grade level reading and math scores by 8%, and decreasing the dropout rate by 3%. She led the planning, start-up, and opening of a 6th -12th grade all-female college preparatory academy designed to deliver a curriculum that emphasized Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) education. The most rewarding of her experiences in HISD was her ability to contribute to the development of a comprehensive secondary reform plan to turnaround some of the lowest performing schools (Apollo 20 Schools) in partnership with Harvard University. In order to achieve this – she worked collaboratively with the curriculum, instruction, and assessment departments to develop a rigorous K-12 curriculum aligned to state and national standards.
Prior to her service in Houston ISD, she was employed in Henrico County Public Schools (HCPS) in Richmond, Virginia where she served very effectively as a teacher, coach and administrative aide at Harry F. Byrd Middle School; assistant principal at Short Pump Middle School; and principal of John Rolfe Middle School. Before accepting the position in HISD, Dr. Perera led the opening of Elko Middle School in Henrico County Public Schools, which she led to full accreditation and NCLB excellence for the three years she served as principal. She began her education career as a teacher in Charlottesville City Schools in 1994.
Dr. Perera has presented and continues to present at national and state conferences over the years. She has received numerous awards in recognition of her educational accomplishments, including the 2009 Henrico County Public Schools Instructional Leader of the Year and Level II Principal of Distinction endorsement recognition from Virginia Department of Education. Most recently recognized by the US Department of Education as a Connected Educator finalist, she was also noted by the District Administration Leadership Institute as a quintessential multi-tasker and named to their executive board. As a testament to her ability to multitask, she successfully defended dissertation for her Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Study from Virginia Tech (May ’14) while maintaining her duties as superintendent. Recently, AASA has selected her to study alongside some of the leading superintendents of large, urban school districts as part of their National Superintendents Cohort 2014. She also holds a Post-Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University, a Master of Arts Degree in Teaching from Mary Baldwin College, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Merchandising/Marketing from the University of Louisiana where she was a premiere Division-I college athlete.
She and her husband are proud parents of twin daughters, who attend IWCS schools.