NYSAWA celebrates Phenomenal Women

On Thursday Feb. 3, the New York State Association of Women in Administration hosted its inaugural “NYSAWA Celebrates Phenomenal Women” event via Zoom. The evening showcased educational leaders from across disciplines, ranging from school administration to education consulting. These women represented a handful of NYSAWA’s regional affiliate networks, which all members gain access to upon joining the organization. 

The speakers, listed below, focused on a myriad of issues that women face in education administration, from work-life balance, to rising through the ranks and maintaining a good school culture. Attendees were able to interact with one another and the presenters via the chat feature in addition to the breakout sessions.  

Keynote Speaker: Sharon Cates-Williams

About Sharon

Sharon Cates-Williams is an experienced professional in the government administration field,  and currently serves as the Executive Deputy Commissioner for the New York State Education Department. Cates-Williams has served in other capacities in NYSED for over 10 years, including Senior Deputy Commissioner. She serves on the board of various community organizations in the Capital Region, including the Capital District YMCA and the Albany Leadership Charter High School for Girls.


Jody Monroe, Capital Region Affiliate

About Jody

Prior to becoming superintendent of schools, Jody served the Bethlehem Central School District Superintendent for a decade—three years as its middle school principal and seven years as its assistant superintendent for educational programs. She began her administrative career as a Middle/High School Assistant Principal/Principal for the Stillwater Central School District. Prior to that, she was a high school special education teacher, and Chairperson for the Committee on Special Education for the South Colonie Central School District.

Dr. Darcy Woodcock, Central New York Affiliate

About Darcy

Darcy has 11 years of classroom teaching experience in elementary and middle-level education. Prior to becoming assistant superintendent for Westhill Central School District, she served as Elementary School Principal for the Liverpool Central School District and Director of Professional Development in the Syracuse City School District. Darcy is a proud mother of three daughters and recently completed her Doctorate in Educational Administration.

Dr. Donna Jones, Long Island Affiliate

About Donna

Donna is a leader who has devoted her life to her family, profession, philanthropic endeavors and her spiritual growth. She has worked in education for more than twenty-eight years in positions ranging from accountant to superintendent of schools. She has been a proud member of the Greater New York Chapter of the Links, Incorporated for thirteen years and is currently serving in her fourth year as the President of the Chapter. She is also a member of the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral. She has served as a Trustee for more than fifteen years and has spearheaded many projects during that time. Donna is the proud mother of four daughters and four grandchildren.

Carol Conklin Spillane, Lower Hudson Valley Affiliate

About Carol

Carol is nationally recognized as a progressive school leader for her achievements in  developing school programs and practices that transform teaching and learning and lead to high graduation rates. She is the recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Service to Education Award by the National Association of Secondary School Principals in recognition of her efforts to significantly improve and strengthen education nationwide, and the Pace University’s partnership Award for her work on behalf of the teaching profession. Her work has been featured in numerous publications. A former superintendent of schools, high school principal and special education teacher, she is now a consultant to school districts specializing in executive coaching and school leadership development.

Heather Lyon, Western New York Affiliate

About Heather

Heather Lyon has a Ph.D. in Educational Administration and an Ed.M. in Reading from the University at Buffalo. Heather has been a staff developer and held various administrative titles, but the professional title she likes best is learner. Her books, Engagement is Not a Unicorn (It’s a Narwhal) and The BIG Book of Engagement Strategies are available on Amazon.