Cathy Quiroz Moore, superintendent of schools for Wake County Public School System (WCPSS), has been in both classrooms and administration for the past 30 years, and a board member with John Rex Endowment for almost six years. She currently oversees the 16th largest public school system in the United States, giving her unparalleled insight into both children’s needs and the way organizations can prioritize those needs effectively.

“I believe it has been Important for me to have represented WCPSS on the John Rex Endowment board because I have a very direct connection through students and families to the people the Endowment wants to serve,” Moore explains. “I’ve also been able to help because I come from a very large organization where assessment and monitoring results are vitally important --- in other words, I know how to get that done, we do it constantly with the school system.“

Assessment is particularly necessary because children’s needs have changed in the years that Moore has been in education, she points out. “We can agree that our goal is to eliminate barriers to education for children, but those barriers have changed significantly from what they were 30, 20, even 10 years ago. We now have gaps in not just achievement but also diversity and other complicated issues.”

Moore, herself an immigrant, says she continues to believe in the “American dream” for every child. “I lived it, and I succeeded thanks to mentors along the way. It will take mentors – real ‘courageous champions of children’ as we call them – to help our children break through barriers, instill faith in them and help them reach their potential.”

As Moore prepares to end her term, she speaks about the power of the new Strategic Roadmap of the Endowment to shape operations going forward. “Our new Roadmap is aligned with the social determinants of health and viewed through an equity lens, therefore I think it’s brought even more clarity and focus to our work,” she says.

She believes that the primary challenge for the Endowment over the next few years is to maintain that clarity while serving a county that is made up of 12 different municipalities with very different interests, needs and populations. She illustrates on a white board in her office a motto that applies not only to WCPSS, but also the Endowment: Shared Understanding + Shared Commitment = Coherence.

“It’s particularly important to have coherence when it comes to funding. There is a false narrative that if you give one person or organization more, another person or organization automatically gets less. We should all be committed to ‘we’ and ‘us,’ not ‘me’ and ‘them,’” Moore concludes. [09/2019]