Catching Up With Sylvania Schools Superintendent Dr. Veronica Motley

Headshot photo of Dr. Veronica Motley
Headshot photo of Dr. Veronica Motley.

—“A healthy community is tied to a thriving school district” —

The Superintendent of Sylvania Schools, Dr. Veronica Motley, was appointed in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and she has been using her past educational experiences and leadership position to make a direct impact on the lives of the children in Sylvania Schools.

Goals for Sylvania Schools in 2023

Each year, Dr. Motley works closely with a team of administrators, teachers, and families to get a better understanding of the educational values of the community and their expectations of the school district. This ongoing conversation ensures that both the graduating class of 2023 and the newly admitted kindergarten class of 2036 are equally and constantly prepared for the world of work ahead of them.

Dr. Veronica Motley’s puppy Cricket
Dr. Veronica Motley’s puppy Cricket

“I would say that my professional fabric has been developed over the years because of my experiences working in very diverse school districts with great people, great families, and learning from those experiences,” said Motley.

As superintendent, a long and short-term goal that Dr. Motley has set for the school district is to establish more career and education programs that encourage students to explore a variety of different career options through initiatives such as Career Days, Career Talks, on-site intern/externships, and other academic experiences that will provide students with more professional opportunities after graduation and the skills necessary to meet the demands of the working world.

A few more goals for Sylvania Schools in 2023 and beyond are remaining fiscally responsible with allocated funds, offering academic, artistic, and athletic programs to provide a well rounded education for students, monitoring educational and financial trends, and continuing to invest in the children of Sylvania so that in the future, they are encouraged to invest in the strengthening Sylvania community.

Professional background

Dr. Motley has had quite the academic and professional journey before becoming the Superintendent of Sylvania Schools.

Headshot Photo of Dr. Veronica Motley Medium
Headshot Photo of Dr. Veronica Motley Medium

She was born in Akron and attended Copley High School, located just west of there. After graduation, Motley attended and later became a three time graduate of the University of Akron, where she earned her bachelor’s, masters, and doctorate degrees. Upon her college graduation, Motley attended Ashland University to continue with post graduate work that would allow her to meet all requirements for a superintendent position.

A variety of professional opportunities and positions have helped shape the leadership role that Dr. Motley has taken on for Sylvania Schools, including a position as a middle school math teacher; an elementary assistant principal; principal; director of special education; director of curriculum, teaching, and learning; assistant superintendent; and most recently the Superintendent of Sylvania Schools.

Dr. Motley says within these positions she has been able to oversee several programs and to integrate every aspect of education from the classrooms to the facilities. Her experience has helped her to meet the demands of innovation while learning the ways in which a school district functions. 

“I feel like all of my previous experiences contributed to me being well prepared to lead Sylvania Schools and serve the community,” added Motley. 

Since Dr. Motley was appointed superintendent in 2020, she has made tremendous contributions to the Sylvania School system, including contributing to a five-year strategic plan that will map the school districts steps for the future, launching two student led ESports teams, expanding STEMM opportunities in elementary buildings for grades K-5, expanding Career Ed programs to make sure students are industry ready, and further developing preschool initiatives.  

“I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to lead Sylvania schools and work with such great people–our board of education, our educators, our administrators, and the partnerships that we have within the community,” said Motley. 

Family life 

Photo of Veronica's mother
Dr. Veronica Motley’s mother

Dr. Motley has always had a close relationship with her two parents, who have been married for 47 years. From childhood and throughout her adult life, Motley’s mother and father have both embodied the importance of hard work and continue to be her role models. Considering that her parents did not have the opportunity to receive a formal quality education as children and young adults, they ensured that Veronica could attend college and take her education further than they were able to, which she says was her motivation to obtain her doctorate degree.

Dr. Motley explained that as a child, she often experienced feelings of being overlooked within her school system, and she wanted to avoid placing those same feelings on anyone else. Within her leadership role, Dr. Motley has now been able to use her early negative experiences as a student to ensure that all students are actively engaged and have access to educational opportunities without being underestimated or overlooked. She believes that as a community, we can invest in each other’s futures while still valuing the experiences of our past. 

“Students are looking for someone to give them a spark, and I want to lead systems that ensure we find sparks for our kids,” stated Motley.

In her free time, Motley can usually be found canoeing in the lake with her longtime boyfriend of 10 years, or playing with her 10-month-old Cavapoo puppy, named Cricket. 

Fun Facts: 

Here are a few of Dr. Motley’s favorite things that will help us get to know her better as a person and as leader of Sylvania Schools:

Favorite food: All forms of sweet potatoes. 

Favorite music genre: Adult alternative. 

Favorite hobbies: Gardening (especially tomatoes and peppers), canoeing, traveling, and visiting her dad on the weekends. 

Personal goal for 2023: To maintain a healthier lifestyle, physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

Siblings: One older brother. 

Furbabies: Beloved Cricket!