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Meet Rush-Henrietta’s New Superintendent, Dr. Barbara Mullen

Dr. Barbara Mullen

The Rush-Henrietta School District has a new Superintendent. Her name is Dr. Barbara Mullen.

A Chicago native, Mullen, officially assumed her role earlier this month and succeeds Dr. Pam Kissel, who has been interim superintendent since August.

“Many strong candidates applied for Rush-Henrietta’s top leadership position, but Mullen stood out among the rest,” Rush-Henrietta School District said in a statement. “She is skilled in developing, implementing, and evaluating school programs and services.”

Mullen’s work in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Houston, Texas has earned her a reputation as a deliberate, confident, student-centered leader who is always seeking ways to improve things. Colleagues say she is often overheard asking, “What is the problem we are trying to solve?”

“My colleagues and I believe Dr. Mullen is the best choice to lead us into the future,” said Diane McBride, president of the Board of Education. “She is focused, driven, and compassionate. Her professional philosophies align closely with our district priorities, as well. The experience and passions she has for special education and diversity and inclusion are a strong match for our community.”

Prior to coming to Rush-Henrietta, Mullen served as Assistant Superintendent of the Office of Student Services in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she managed efforts to accelerate student learning, promote equity in achievement, and prepare students for meaningful careers.

In Rhode Island she served at the Providence Public Schools and was the Chief of Equity, Culture, and Student Support. There, she helped increase the number of English Language Learners and students with disabilities enrolled in advanced courses by 80 percent. She also served as lead systems coach for the Principal Residency Network, preparing and coaching aspiring principals and building leaders.

Her role in Houston, Texas was as a Special Education Lead for Houston Independent School District—the largest district in Texas—where she oversaw implementation of the district’s strategic vision for inclusion support across 275 schools. This work resulted in academic gains and improved IEP fulfillment across the district.

Mullen says the importance of education has been ingrained in her since childhood. She is the child of two educators and followed in their footsteps. She has a bachelors degree in Journalism from Northern Illinois University and master’s degree in special education from Quincy University. She holds a Ph.D. in Special Education Administration and Leadership from Capella University.

“I am committed to hitting the ground running. Listening, learning and leading with heart,” she said in a video message to the district.

Mullen and her husband have two children. They are attending Rush-Henrietta schools.

With over 800 public school districts in New York State, the Rush-Henrietta School District ranks in the top 10% for diversity.

“I am so incredibly grateful for this opportunity and so very excited to join Rush-Henrietta,” she said.


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