ESM Superintendent Donna DeSiato has been named New York State Superintendent of the Year. 

A product of the Syracuse City School District, DeSiato went on as a first generation college student for her family, only to return to her home district to serve as a teacher and administrator for 31 years, prior to joining the team at ESM.

"When I was growing up, my dream was really more about just being really a successful person in whatever pathway I would choose," said DeSiato. "I was raised in a family that believed in 'The Little Engine That Could,' so we had a lot of encouragement to do our best and to keep trying."

Can-do thinking is part of DeSiato’s success. As she guides her team and continues her work in education for 50 years. Part of her successes includes creatively addressing the needs of students with autism.

“We've had multiple students who literally speak through the use of their iPad, that not only have graduated from ESM, but within regents diplomas, and now is successfully attending or have graduated with a two-year degree from Onondaga Community College,” said DeSiato.

Her colleague, Christy Fahey, works as a math and science increased support teacher and works daily with many of the district's students with needs.

“The role I serve here is because of Dr. DeSiato. She really thought it was important.” Fahey says.

Science, technology, engineering and math is another area where DeSiato led East Syracuse Minoa and their students to be one of the first nationally recognized STEAM programs.

"Dr. DeSiato knows based on the 21st century that many of the professions available to these kids will be in the engineering, science and math field,” said Fahey.

“We have students who will graduate with a regents diploma, as well as a two-year degree in either science, math, science, computer science or engineering science," said DeSiato.

DeSiato said she is also extremely proud of the program she, her team and LeMoyne College launched called "New Heights." It provides continued high school learning for those 18-21 years of age with disabilities on college campuses. These students can experience college life at the same time as their peer group that graduates heads off to college.

DeSiato will represent New York in the National Competition for Superintendent on the national level.

"Young people really needed to also have that same type of commitment that we were really nurtured with, with regard to 'The Little Engine That Could': you can do this; I thought I could!”