Leaders Learning from Leaders Series

November 29th, 2023

Episode 5: A Conversation with Dr. Gladys Cruz, District Superintendent/CEO, Quester III Board of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES)

Episode Transcript

Episode Summary

About Dr. Gladys Cruz

Dr. Gladys I. Cruz is the 2023 President of The School Superintendents Association (AASA) while maintaining a dual leadership role as the District Superintendent (DS) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Questar III Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES).  As the District Superintendent, Dr. Cruz represents the NYS Commissioner of Education and is responsible for providing strong leadership within the supervisory district and bringing local school district concerns to the attention of state leaders. As the CEO, Dr. Cruz leads the organization in developing, implementing, and providing programs and services at the request of the component districts and serving districts across New York State. Questar III BOCES is located about eight miles outside of Albany, NY.


In this episode of Leaders Learning from Leaders, host Steve Barkley interviews Dr. Gladys Cruz, the District Superintendent and CEO of Questar III BOCES in New York State and the current president of AASA (The School Superintendents Association). Dr. Cruz discusses her dual role as the district superintendent of BOCES and the commissioner’s representative in the field, highlighting superintendents’ collaborative efforts to address education challenges. She emphasizes the importance of collective wisdom and collaboration in finding solutions.

Podcast Summary:

Dr. Cruz identifies key challenges facing school leaders, including funding issues post-pandemic, the transition to electric buses, and a shortage of educators. She stresses the need for a comprehensive redesign and rethinking of educational systems to meet the evolving needs of students and the world.

The discussion touches on Dr. Cruz’s interest in technology and education, encouraging leaders to embrace AI and incorporate it into educational systems. She emphasizes the role of educators in teaching students to discern reliable sources and become critical thinkers.

Addressing the shortage of superintendents, Dr. Cruz calls for current leaders to mentor and support the next generation, particularly encouraging diversity in leadership roles. In closing, she expresses gratitude to those in superintendent roles, acknowledging the challenges they face and encouraging them to connect with others in the field.

Key Themes:

  1. Collaboration and Collective Wisdom: Dr. Cruz highlights the importance of leaders coming together to address challenges while emphasizing the power of collective wisdom collaboratively.
  2. Challenges in Education: Funding issues, the transition to electric buses, educator shortages, and the need for system redesign are key challenges facing school leaders.
  3. Embracing Technology: Dr. Cruz advocates for integrating AI in education, urging leaders to embrace technology and teach students to use it effectively and ethically.
  4. Mentorship and Diversity: The importance of mentorship in leadership roles and the need to encourage diversity, particularly in superintendent positions, are emphasized.
  5. Appreciation for Superintendents: Dr. Cruz expresses gratitude to those in superintendent roles, acknowledging the significance of their contributions and encouraging continued collaboration.

Dr. Cruz’s passion for collaboration, transformative thinking, and technology integration in education shines through in the podcast. Her emphasis on mentorship and building a diverse leadership pipeline reflects a commitment to the future of education.

You can follow Dr. Cruz on X @GladysICruz or contact her directly via email gcruz@questar.org

Episode Highlights


Embracing Technology and AI

Podcast Highlight – 2:41 mins


The Next Generation of Superintendents

Podcast Highlight – 2:46 mins

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