Bernard Pierorazio believes in the power of outreach, reform, and community. As the former Superintendent of Yonkers public schools with a long history in education, Bernard takes on difficult or underperforming school systems and works tirelessly to elevate them. His motivation has always been to help the children who deserve better– that’s why after beginning his career in social studies, he quickly switched to alternative education. He saw the potential in students who had lost interest or all but given up on the school system, and he vowed to make the changes that they needed.
Over the course of his career, Bernard Pierorazio has implemented long-term changes in the school district of Yonkers and beyond. In various roles as assistant principal, principal, deputy superintendent, and finally superintendent for numerous schools, Bernard worked to put lesser-known places on the map and gain attention from their state governments and even the U.S. Department of Education. He took on challenging roles in which he negotiated with major unions, and one of his proudest accomplishments was finally settling a decades-long federal desegregation case for Yonkers schools.
Bernard Pierorazio has also challenged the educational infrastructure of schools by creating more intimate learning communities and eliminating middle schools. He also cares about improving literal infrastructure. He conceptualized a major initiative, Performance-Based Rapid Infrastructure Development Enterprise (PRIDE), which was meant to repair and rebuild Yonkers’ school buildings. Although the project was not put into action, it was recognized as one of the 100 Most Innovative Urban Infrastructure Projects at the 2012 World Cities Summit.
Community organizations are immensely important to Bernard Pierorazio and he emphasizes that students need good extracurricular and workforce opportunities. He believes that in order to keep young people interested in higher education and success, we need to start by providing them with a sense of community and purpose. He restructured and implemented the Yonkers Workforce Investment Program so that it offered a summer youth employment program for residents from ages 14 to 25. It resulted in hundreds of summer jobs. He is also a member of numerous local community councils, including the Jewish Council of Yonkers, Family Service Society, and the Community Planning Council.
Bernard Pierorazio has spent much of his career helping minority students reach the levels of success that they deserve. In 2005 he received an honor from the Spanish Community Progress Foundation for “Outstanding Community Service on Behalf of the Hispanic Community of Yonkers.” Because he focused on improving college attendance in particular, he also actively worked to increase minority participation in the PSATs and the SATs, and in 2012 he received the national William U. Harris Award of Excellence for his efforts.
Bernard currently is a Regional Field Associate at CTE Technical Assistance Center of New York. He works with the New York Department of Education to improve technical opportunities for students.