Head shot of a woman in her thirties, smiling, with long curly dark brown hair, wearing a purple blouse, in front of a white wall.

Sophia Pappas

Job Title
CEO, Division of ECE
New York City Department of Education
Corps Year: 
Corps Region: 
New Jersey
Alumni Region: 
New York
Peter Jennings Award

Sophia Pappas began her career as a corps member in a Newark public school full-day Abbott Pre-K program. She later wrote about her experience in the book Good Morning, Children (Gryphon House, 2009). While in the classroom, Sophia served as a model teacher for other Newark educators as well as early childhood corps members. Her classroom experiences provided the basis for the training of Teach For America early childhood corps members across the country.

After leaving Newark Public Schools, she directed national growth and development for our Early Childhood Education Initiative. In 2010, she became the Chief of Staff for the Deputy Chancellor for Talent, Labor, and Innovation at the NYC Department of Education (DOE).

In 2011, Pappas began leading the NYC DOE’s Early Childhood Education Division. She manages teams responsible for ensuring Pre-K for All programs across the city offer high quality programming, which lay a solid foundation for all children and establish strong partnerships with families from the beginning. Over the past two years, through the expansion of pre-K, the full-day Pre-K for All program grew from serv­ing 20,000 students in 560 programs to over 68,500 students in 1,850 programs. Additionally, the infrastructure to support sites with instructional coaches and social workers more than doubled, and the division Sophia oversees trained 6,000 leaders, teachers, assistants, and paraprofessionals.

A Long Island native, Pappas earned a B.A. from Georgetown University and an M.P.P. from Harvard.