School Leadership

Ericka L. Washington

Ericka L. Washington is a visionary leader with strong operational insight and an unwavering committment to providing high-quality education and supports to ALL children. With 21 years of experience in K-12 education, she began her educational career as a high school science teacher in the Chester-Upland School District. She later became employed by Physicians for Social Responsibility where she was contracted by the School District of Philadelphia to provide prevention and intervention programs, training, and support to school leadership teams. Additionally, she served as an Olweus Technical Assistance Consultant for the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Office of Safe Schools and Clemson University, where she trained and supported bullying prevention trainers in the U.S. Her expertise was not limited to student bullying but also encompassed adult/workplace bullying, cyber-bullying, classroom management, positive behavior supports, and team building. Recognizing the positive outcomes of her work, the School District hired Ms. Washington as their first Bullying Prevention Coordinator. Working in the Office of School Climate and Safety, her role expanded to include the coordination of prevention programs, readiness and emergency management activities, and crisis response.

Ms. Washington presented at many national and international venues including the annual conferences of the American Public Health Association, the International Bullying Prevention Association, Pennsylvania Safe Schools, Pennsylvania Association of Student Assistance Professionals, and the World Congress of Criminology. She is the co-author of Using Bullying Incident Density to Evaluate the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (School Psychology International, 2007), Evaluation of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program in Nine Urban Schools: Effective Practices and Next Steps (Educational Research Service, 2008), Translating the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program into Real-World Practice (Health Promotion Practice, 2009), and Victim Strategies to Stop Bullying (Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 2010).

Ms. Washington was later identified to serve as the Special Assistant to the Chief of School Operations and then for the Associate Superintendent of Academic Support, where she worked to ensure that operations and academic supports were aligned to the Superintendent’s strategic goals for student success. It was in this position that Ms. Washington honed her skills of being able to balance multiple demands with the strategic alignment of people, time and resources. She later became a Deputy Chief of Student Services where she supervised the functions of attendance and truancy, behavioral health, school climate, crisis response, school counseling, and transition services for students returning from out-of-district placement. She worked closely with district partners and community stakeholders to coordinate services and provide supports for students and families, as evidenced by the inclusion of a juvenile probation officer, behavioral health worker, and DHS social worker on her staff.

During her tenure at the School District, Ms. Washington became a trainer for Youth Mental Health First Aid, Student Assistance Program, Multi-tiered Systems of Supports/Response to Intervention, Multi-tiered System of Supports/ Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, Peer Mediation/Conflict Resolution, Coping and Support Training (CAST) Suicide Prevention Program, National Incident Management System and Incident Command System, Single School Culture, Second Step Violence Prevention Program, and the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.

Ms. Washington’s committment to education continued to evolve as she became the Chief of Staff for Universal Education Companies (Universal Charter Schools). At Universal, she had the responsibility of strategically developing and managing systems and processes to advance student achievement in seven charter schools, six of which were turn-around schools. Her responsibilities included developing and implementing policies and administrative procedures, developing and implementing strategies to meet the schools’ performance targets and continuous improvement plans, and training and supporting school leaders and staff to ensure positive ratings for academics and organizational compliance on Annual Charter Evaluations and Charter Renewals. As Chief of Staff, she had the responsibility of developing and implementing system-wide initiatives to create and maintain safe and positive learning environments where teaching and learning could occur. Further, she supported administrators with their compliance with federal, state, and local mandates by establishing compliant systems and routines, and leveraging partnerships to ensure the appropriate services and supports were provided and aligned to the needs of the students they served.

Ms. Washington’s educational philosophy is based on her belief that all schools exist for student learning to occur. She believes a leader’s actions should always reflect the priority of student learning and should meet the specific needs of the members of the school community. As an educational leader, her focus lies on (1) authentic communication and collaboration with all stakeholders to advance student learning and to ensure that the academic, social and emotional needs of all students are met: (2) strong relationships between and among all stakeholders of the school community; and (3) a laser focus on the alignment of curriculum, instruction, and assessment while building and reinforcing strategic relationships with the partners needed to achieve the school’s mission and shared vision. Ms. Washington believes that high-quality education is a human right and should not be influenced by a child’s zip code. As such, she is fearlessly dedicated to pursuing and developing equitable, educational programs of quality and excellence.

Ericka L. Washington

Assistant Principal for Operations