Superintendent of Schools
Danielle Shanley, Superintendent, began her tenure at New MIlford Public Schools as Director of Curriculum and Instruction in 2010 and was promoted to Assistant Superintendent in 2016. Ms. Shanley is thrilled to return to New Milford as your Superintendent, honored to serve the students and families of the New Milford school community, and dedicated to being part of its continued success. Ms. Shanley - “Please, call me Danielle,” she says repeatedly- has been warmly embraced by the families of New Milford, evidenced in the public comments at her BOE appointment in June 2021, after three years as Superintendent in another district. She describes this role as, “...a dream, where I can return to continue advancing opportunities for students through creative programming and progressive initiatives, and supporting some of the best teachers I have ever known.”
Ms. Shanley has a MA in Educational Leadership from the College of Saint Elizabeth, a BA in English and Education from Kean University, and is pursuing her Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership. Much of her work has focused on innovative programs, constructivist approach to learning and leading, creativity and passion-led learning. She believes in our young people and their ability to drive their own learning. “I believe children are born innately creative, inquisitive, playful beings. They know themselves. If we allow them to tap into who they are and what they know when they arrive at our classroom doors, the work and the learning will have meaning for them. There is no learning in isolation, in silos and without connections.” She values inquiry based work for the same reason. “Failure is an inherent part of the learning process. Students grow when they do and re-do. They build tenacity when they are encouraged to try again and again, when they are comfortable with making mistakes.”
As standardized testing takes a front seat in education, children, even at very young ages, become preoccupied with having the correct answers. As students grow and test more, failure becomes something to fear, instead of an opportunity from which to learn. Shanley is committed to disrupting old school practices that perpetuate this. “Students need to be active participants in an ever-changing, interconnected, global world. I have committed myself and my efforts to creating more opportunities for all students to play, create, imagine, desire, explore and collaborate. The collective arts are as celebrated in New Milford as much as the core subjects are. We emphasize the balance between the tested areas, the arts, extra and co curriculars and passion-led endeavours. The research on brain development and our own advances in achievement support this balance; learning happens here.”
Across the district, we have celebrated increases in student achievement in all areas for the past 11 years. Yes, creative schools CAN and DO foster a love of learning, increase student achievement AND still prepare our graduates for the real challenges they will face in the future.” Mrs. Shanley recognized that each student has a unique journey, and will support initiatives, programming and partnerships that address all types of learning and learners.
The case is the same for adult learners. “An environment that encourages and supports life-long learning and calculated risk-taking by its adult learners in the schools is a healthy learning environment in which students can grow.”
She loves great books, live theater, music, travelling, baking and kids! When she has free time, you can find her on the sidelines of an athletic event or at a musical performance. She and her husband are raising two smart, talented daughters in Morris County.