Interview with Wilfredo Laboy
I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Wilfredo T. Laboy at his office. He was extremely cooperative given his morning and afternoon schedule. Mr. Laboy responded to my questions proudly. He spoke of his recent election as the president of the Latinos Superintendents as an accomplishment.
As the Assistant Superintendent, Mary Lou Bergeron, knows Mr. Laboy and what his new duties will be. I spoke with her about this important appointment.
Wilfredo T. Laboy received his invitation to the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) in 2005, when the past president of ALAS term expired. Mr. Laboy resides in Massachusetts with his family. He came from the state of New York. As a Puerto Rican descendent, he is an honorable Superintendent at the Lawrence Public School and serves proudly. While he commands the administrators and staff, he attends many meetings and conferences to make Lawrence a healthier school system.
Meeting with the key educators he has made a difference which many Latinos and non-Latinos have admired. One of his accomplishments is the new Lawrence High School at the South Lawrence area. Two of his most important accomplishments are that students are improving their MCAS scores and the absentee list has gone down. He is admirable because he doesnt take credit for most of his accomplishments. Mr. Wilfredo T. Laboy is a giver not a taker. He has demonstrated this during his years in the Lawrence School system.
Carlos R: The Latino Superintendents have many qualified administrators working in their school districts and systems. How did the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) come to appoint you as their president?
Wilfredo T. Laboy: The past presidents term expired and he took a job in the educational publishing industry. The Board of ALAS nominated and appointed me as their national president. Dr. Stan Paz, past president of ALAS, was the Superintendent of Schools in the City of Tucson Arizona. ALAS is a national organization representing all of the Latino administrators and superintendents in the United States. It also works with non-Latino educational leaders that serve Latino students. These districts are called Hispanic serving School Districts (HSSDs). These are districts that have a population of 25% Latinos. There are currently about 2500 districts; the largest urban school systems are HSSDs.
In response to the same question:
Mary Lou Bergeron: Mr. Laboy had to run for president, write a biography, and put together his goals and directions. The members of ALAS elect the president.
Carlos R: A Superintendents work in any educational profession needs to be updated. Do you think, in this new position, that you will help the community? How?
Wilfredo T. Laboy: As the new President of ALAS I will have the opportunity to meet, network, and work with many national groups and organizations. Working with many leaders, agencies, and organizations, both in the private and public domain, will allow me to develop professional and working relationships with a vast of network of people. These relationships and opportunities will afford me the opportunity to bring new ideas, strategies, and resources to Lawrence Public Schools and our City.
Mary Lou Bergeron: It is good to have national exposure. People outside Lawrence Public Schools ask themselves, Why did the city appoint this Superintendent?
Carlos R: In this country many of us are immigrants. Do you think that being Latino in this diverse country makes it harder for you?
Wilfredo T. Laboy: Latinos in this country are a nation within a nation. We are the largest ethnic minority in this country with a population of over 44 million people. There are more Latinos in the United States than in the entire country of Spain. America is browning. Our community is out growing and out numbering all other ethnic groups in the United States.
Today there is a Latino wave. Now we are being accepted for our contributions and potential. Latinos have become a political, social, and economic force to contend with. To be Latino is to be in style. Public and private industries are taking notice.
Mary Lou Bergeron: Given Mr. Laboys Ethnic background, the work will be easy for him. An Anglo leading this organization would be in trouble because of the language.
Carlos R: Superintendents have enough work that must be taken care of daily as I have read in the newspapers. It does not seem to end. What will your duties be?
Wilfredo T. Laboy: I will be representing the association in many national gatherings and events. I will be the official spokesperson for ALAS. I will speak and present at national conferences, work with public and private agencies, professional organizations and associations, and be involved in the industry of education, meeting with elected officials, and CEOs of major corporations. I will serve on national a taskforces in the K through 16 educational industry. These duties are not all inclusive, but only some of the things that I will be expected to perform for ALAS.
Mary Lou Bergeron: The new Superintendents duties will be difficult. First, he will expand membership and reach out to Latinos, Anglos, and youth. He will prepare next years national conference. He is required to locate good quality speakers to come to the conference.
Carlos R: How long is your term?
Wilfredo T. Laboy: As the elected President I will serve on the Board of Governors and my term will expire in two years.
Mary Lou Bergeron: He should serve one to two years. Mr. Laboy, as the (ALAS) president, will help the community to work together. It will be the key for him to get to other districts to bring ideas that will help communities.
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