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Meet School District of Lancaster Superintendent Dr. Damaris Rau

With more than 35 years of experience in public education, Dr. Damaris Rau is a seasoned veteran when it comes to setting the standard for student achievement. Known for her passion in urban education and commitment to equity for all students, Dr. Rau has a proven track record of reducing the achievement gap, increasing graduation rates, expanding early childhood programs, implementing programs to reduce bullying behaviors, and successfully turning around low performing schools.

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During her tenure in Lancaster, she has overseen a boom in students taking dual enrollment classes for which they receive high school and college credit, provided additional social and emotional support to enhance the overall well-being of students, cut the number of out-of-school suspensions by more than 30 percent and created a new Principal Residency Program to build the bench of the leadership team. She has been a statewide advocate for education funding reform that ensures the neediest schools receive a fair portion of state resources. Her ongoing focus areas in SDoL include Equity, Inclusion & Excellence, improving our curricula in ELA and Math, and developing school leaders to support effective teaching practices.

Dr. Rau began her career as a classroom teacher in Bronx, N.Y., where she later served as Central Office Coordinator and Assistant Principal. She then moved to Greenwich, Conn., where she served as an Instructional Leader and Principal. After a short time in suburban education, Dr. Rau returned to her urban roots in New Haven, Conn., where she was the Executive Director of Schools PreK-12 before being named Superintendent of the School District of Lancaster in July 2015.

Having been a foster child, Dr. Rau understands the positive impact education has on student success. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from St. John’s University, Master’s Degree in Elementary/Early Childhood Education from Hunter College, an Administrative Certificate from the College of New Rochelle, Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University, and her Superintendent’s Certification from the University of Connecticut.

Performance Targets for 2020-2021:

    1. Create a school reopening plan that encompasses our principles
    2. Expand our Cyber Academy for Kindergarten through Grade 5
    3. Culture of Literacy – Across Cohorts (Measures to be determined)
    4. Graduation Rate: Increase graduation rates (need state data for 2019-2020 – due in the fall)
      YearDistrict Graduation Rate 
    5. Climate and Culture:
      Staff Satisfaction:

      • Increase staff job satisfaction results as measured by the F&M staff survey
      2019-2020NA - Survey is Biennial

      Range from 9-45; the lower number indicates higher satisfaction

      Suspension Rates:

        • Reduce the number of out-of-school suspensions across the district by 10% (compared to 2018-2019)
        • Reduce the percentage of Middle School African American students receiving at least one out-of-school suspension by 10%


      Increase the percent of McCaskey students who indicate, “They feel safe” on the annual Student Survey (Results of “Students feel safe in schools” question from F & M survey)

      2019-2020Not applicable due to COVID-19


Annual Performance Evaluations for 2020:

The results of the 2020 annual performance evaluations of the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent reflect an overall proficient/distinguished rating based on the mutually agreed upon objective performance standards.