Ruth Turner ’15

Ruth Turner ’15

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Developing leadership skills to make an impact in the community

CAS in Educational Administration

“My experience at Brockport really strengthened me, and helped me grow professionally and personally.”

For Ruth Turner, the opportunity to break the long-held cycle of poverty in her family inspired her to pursue an education. The East Africa native lived in Eritrea, her birthplace, before moving with her family to New York City at seven. It wasn’t until her teenage years that Ruth relocated to Rochester, NY, and became acquainted with the surrounding suburban area and the opportunity to pursue higher education. A few years later, she became the first in her family to graduate with a college degree.

After earning her undergraduate degree in social work and landing a position as a social worker in the Rochester City School District, Ruth brought an innate passion for serving others to her work. This skill did not go unnoticed by school administrators, who recognized her outstanding performance by encouraging her to pursue a leadership role as the director of counseling and social work. To prepare for this role, she enrolled in Brockport’s educational administration program, given that it was a “local, affordable, and quality” option.

To no surprise, Ruth was selected for the director position a few months before completing her degree. She attributes her strength and effectiveness as an educational ambassador to her classroom experiences at the College. Each day, this wife and mother of three is responsible for directing roughly 160 school counselors and social workers, ensuring that students receive the emotional, academic, and professional support needed to make them college- and career-ready. Ruth insists that she adores every aspect of her position, and she finds the hard work that it takes to have an immense impact on urban public education to be rewarding and fulfilling. “It’s what I was born to do,” she said.

Along with fulfilling her demanding administrative role, Ruth is an adjunct professor for the Greater Rochester Collaborative Master of Social Work Program (a joint program between SUNY Brockport and Nazareth College). She feels particularly connected to her work and her students, which remind her of the many stages of her journey. The stories of numerous students in the Rochester City School District resonate with Ruth, as she recalls what it was like to grow up underprivileged. This empathy inspires her to encourage her students to pursue their greatest dreams. Correspondingly, she feels honored to teach the motivated students in the social work program, who are taking the same path that she chose.

As for long-term goals, it’s no surprise that Ruth, a dedicated and successful change agent in the Rochester City School District, aspires to become a superintendent. Most importantly, she plans to “continue to make a positive impact in urban education.”

Last Updated 7/12/21