Paterson Superintendent Eileen Shafer is a New Kind of Leader


It’s a Tuesday morning in Paterson, and Eileen Shafer, the district superintendent, is meeting with high school student leaders. 

“I need to hear from you what’s working in your school, what’s not working, where we can do better,” she tells them.

A few mention strong relationships with faculty: “Our teachers care about us,” says one girl.  But they have complaints, too: Internet connections are balky, some teachers are too strict, and in some schools, students have to wait for security guards to open up bathrooms that have been locked to prevent vandalism.

Shafer promises she’ll look into the concerns: “The reason