Valerie Smith Wanza, PH.D. ’09

College of Education

The three years I spent in the doctoral program at FAU expanded my varied perspectives as a practicing school leader and opened additional professional pathways for me. The collegial and personal relationships that were forged through my experiences in the program have contributed to the development and sustainability of major projects that will benefit the field of PK-12 education.

Valerie Smith Wanza is chief school performance & accountability officer for Broward County Public Schools. Since 2010, she has served as an adjunct professor at FAU in the Department of Educational Leadership and Research Methodology. While most of her teaching assignments are in the master’s level program, she serves on doctoral dissertation committees as well.

Additionally, she owns and operates Principal Voices, LLC, which provides a host of educational consulting services to community and faith-based organizations. Wanza began her career with the Broward County Public Schools in 1992 as an English teacher at Dillard High School. As a 24-year employee in the District, she has been a classroom teacher, district resource teacher, an assistant principal, a central office administrator, and a principal. Since 2007, she has served in the role of cadre director. In this capacity she provides direct supervision and support to the principals, while mentoring and contributing to the professional growth and development of aspiring teacher leaders, assistant principals, and principals.

In 2006, Wanza was named the State of Florida Middle School Principal of the Year. Recognizing her service to the education profession, the Broward Education Foundation selected Wanza as a 2015 inductee into the Alumni Hall of Fame.

Wanza is a proud native and lifelong resident of Broward County. She attended Florida State University on a full academic scholarship and graduated with a bachelo’s degree in English education. She received a master’s degree in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University and a doctorate in educational leadership from FAU.