Danielle M. Shanley


Superintendent of Schools

  • I am honored to serve the students and families of the New Milford school community and dedicated to being part of its continued success. For those of you who do not know, I began my tenure at New MIlford Public Schools as Director of Curriculum and Instruction in 2010 and was promoted to Assistant Superintendent in 2016. In 2018, I left New Milford for a Superintendent’s position in another district. This role is a dream for me, where I have returned to continue advancing opportunities for students through creative programming and progressive initiatives, and supporting some of the best teachers I have ever known.

    I hold an MA in Educational Leadership from the College of Saint Elizabeth, a BA in English and Education from Kean University, and have pursued my Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership. Much of my studies and my work have focused on innovative programs, constructivist approach to learning and leading, the role of creativity in the content area classroom and passion-led learning. I believe in our young people and their ability to drive their own learning. I believe children are born innately creative, inquisitive, playful beings. They know themselves.  If we allow them to tap into who they are and what they know when they arrive at our classroom doors, the work and the learning will have meaning for them. There is no learning in isolation, in silos and without connections. I value inquiry based work for the same reason.  Failure is an inherent part of the learning process. Students grow when they do and re-do. They build tenacity when they are encouraged to try again and again, when they are comfortable with making mistakes.

    As standardized testing takes a front seat in education, children, even at very young ages, become preoccupied with having the correct answers.  As students grow and test more, failure becomes something to fear, instead of an opportunity from which to learn. I am committed to challenging old school practices that perpetuate this.  Students need to be active participants in an ever-changing, interconnected, global world. I have dedicated myself and my efforts to creating more opportunities for all students to play, create, imagine, desire, explore and collaborate. I have advocated for and instituted a variety of grading and homework reform initiatives, emphasizing quality of assignments and evidence of learning. Fine, performing and practical arts are as celebrated in New Milford as much as the core subjects are.  We emphasize the balance between the tested areas, the arts, extra and co-curriculars and passion-led endeavors.  The research on brain development and our own advances in achievement support this balance; learning happens here!

    Across the district, we have celebrated increases in student achievement in all areas for years.  Each year, we are thrilled to celebrate our students' accomplishments and watch our graduates move beyond our programs to pursue both career paths and acceptances to some of the top educational institutions in the nation.  Yes, creative schools CAN and DO foster a love of learning, increase student achievement AND still prepare our graduates for the real challenges they will face in the future. I recognize that each student has a unique journey, and will support initiatives, programming and partnerships that address all types of learning and learners.  

    The case is the same for adult learners. An environment that encourages and supports life-long learning and calculated risk-taking by its adult learners in the schools is a healthy learning environment in which students can grow. Our Teacher Leader Cadre is a cohort-based leadership institute for our faculty and staff members.  Rooted in best practices in adult development theory out of Columbia University, our work has been recognized at the county, regional and state level as a model of high quality professional development for school districts. 

    On a personal level, I love great books, theater, music, traveling, baking and kids!  In my free time, you can find me on the sidelines of an athletic event or at a musical performance.  My husband and I are raising two smart, talented daughters in Morris County. We have a sweet Cockapoo named Bailey.