J. Adams is Superintendent of the City School District of Albany. She
leads a leads a diverse urban school district
of nearly 9,700 students in New York state’s capital city.
Adams joined the district on Aug. 14, 2017. A
third-generation educator, she served in increasing levels of
responsibility for 28 years the in the Clark County School District in
Nevada before accepting her position in Albany. Her former district includes Las Vegas and educates more
than 320,000 students, about 75 percent of all students in Nevada.
The Albany Board of Education unanimously approved Adams' appointment at its July 13
In her last post in Nevada, Adams was school
associate superintendent for Clark County’s Performance Zone 1, one of
16 performance zones in the district. In that role, she was the
instructional leader of 24 schools and more than 28,000 students.
Click here to
view Adams' resume.
Adams began her career in education as a
secondary-level English teacher, working at the middle and high school
levels for 6½ years before moving into administration. She served as
dean of students at the middle level, assistant principal and principal
at the middle level, university instructor at Regis University, human
resources director, and director of the instruction unit and facility
She also served as an academic manger/assistant chief
student achievement officer in Clark County’s Area 4/Performance Zone 3,
where she supervised 21-26 schools and served nearly 22,000 students.
Adams fundamentally believes that education levels
the playing field and opens the door for endless possibilities and
opportunities for all children.
She is committed to providing diverse educational
opportunities to meet the needs of all students, mentoring and coaching
instructional leaders and teachers, and building quality instructional
delivery systems combined with systemic progress monitoring,
job-embedded professional development and effective, value-added
In addition to the instructional focus, Adams also is
committed to ensuring that central services are focused on supporting
all schools and putting students first.
In Albany, she leads a school district in which
students speak 57 different languages and approximately 75 percent
qualify for free or reduced-price meals. The district has struggled to
close the achievement gap between white students and students of color,
and has been cited in recent years for disparities in suspension rates
among students of color and students with disabilities.
The district also offers a wide range of
opportunities for all students. Albany High School is one of just five
high schools in the Capital Region to offer the prestigious
International Baccalaureate program. Albany High’s 21 Advanced Placement
offerings also are unsurpassed in the region.
Albany High’s four-year graduation rate has increased
by nearly 25 percent in recent years, to 62 percent for the Class of
2016. The 506 students who earned diplomas June 25 as part of the Class
of 2017 represented Albany High’s largest graduating class since 516
students earned diplomas in 2008.
The district educates students from full-day
prekindergarten for 3- and 4-year-olds through grade 12. It is in the
midst of a period of significant enrollment growth, with about 1,500
more students today (about 18 percent more) than in 2008.
Adams took over leadership of the district in
time for the opening of the district's newest school, Edmund J. O'Neal
Middle School, to
help accommodate that growing student population. The district also will
begin the first phase of the major rebuilding project at Albany High
School in 2018, enlarging and modernizing the campus to serve 3,000
students, up from the approximately 2,600 students at Albany High
“At the end of the day, it is about equity in
education so that students of color, students of poverty, students of
privilege and students with special needs can and will learn despite the
challenges they face,” Adams said. “In order to ensure our students are
prepared for college and careers, our entire community must grow and
The board selected Adams following a confidential
national search. The search began in January 2017 and included input from
more than 330 community members regarding the qualities and
characteristics they considered most important in the leader of Albany’s
Adams succeeded Kimberly Young Wilkins, Ed.D., who served
as interim role from January 2016-August 2017. Dr. Wilkins left the
to accept a leadership position with the State Education Department.
A native of Shreveport, La., (Caddo Parish Public
Schools), Adams earned her bachelor’s in English Education from the
University of New Orleans. She earned her master’s in Education
Administration and Higher Education from the University of Nevada, Las
She currently is pursuing a doctorate in
Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in Organizational Management
from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.
She has been recognized as a master teacher for
student teachers, recipient of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.,
Theta Theta Omega Thelma Tyree Award, and recognized by the principals
of Clark County’s Performance Zone 3 as an Outstanding School Associate
Adams was an active member of her church in
more than 20 years, as well as in the Alpha Kappa Alpha Theta Theta
Omega Chapter in Las Vegas. She also was involved in numerous other
volunteer and community-oriented projects in the Las Vegas community
throughout her tenure as an educator.