Mr. Bruce Karam, Superintendent of the Utica City School District has been a lifelong resident of the City of Utica, New York. He was educated in the Utica School system before graduating from Notre Dame High School. Astute in business, he attended Utica College of Syracuse University where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting. He then received his Master’s Degree in Business Administration. While at Utica College, Mr. Karam was named to the Dean’s List and was a member of the International Economics Honor Society, Omicron Delta Epsilon.
Following several successful years in the accounting field, he had a desire to serve the youth of our community and obtained a Master’s Degree in Education from the College of St. Rose. His love of teaching and the enjoyment that he received from working with students led him to pursue a Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in Educational Administration from the State University of New York at Cortland.
Mr. Karam was hired by the Utica City School District where he spent several rewarding years as a teacher. Several years later, he began his administrative tenure in the Utica City School District as an Assistant Principal; and served in this capacity at the Junior High level and also at Thomas R. Proctor High School. While at Proctor High School in the mid-1990’s, he was one of the first district administrators to oversee the Night School Program; an innovative approach designed to keep at-risk students in school. During this time, Mr. Karam also served as Summer School Principal for several years.
In 1996 Mr. Karam was appointed principal of John F. Kennedy Middle School in North Utica where he served as principal for ten years. It was during this assignment that he encountered some of the most rewarding experiences of his professional career. Under Mr. Karam’s leadership, John F. Kennedy Middle School quickly earned its place on the New York State Education Department’s list of most improved and high performing schools. The school also earned recognition from the New York State School Board’s Association as one of the top Middle Schools in New York State.
In 2003, John F. Kennedy Middle School was selected by the United States Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon School; an honor bestowed on only the highest performing schools throughout the nation. The Blue Ribbon Award earned by the school while under Mr. Karam’s leadership, designated John F. Kennedy Middle School as a national model for academic excellence and set it apart from other schools.
During this time, the United States Department of Education sponsored a case study conducted by the University of Texas to research and publish best practices being used in high performing schools. Their study cited John F. Kennedy Middle School as a model for best practices and the study was published to assist other middle schools nationwide. John F. Kennedy Middle School’s achievements while under Mr. Karam’s guidance were featured in a television documentary which aired across the nation in November of 2004.
These tremendous achievements were largely due to the high standards and expectations that Mr. Karam set for himself, his students, and his staff. He believed then, and continues to believe now, that the youth of this community are our greatest asset and that they deserve our best efforts.
Mr. Karam’s hard work, dedication, and proven results at John F. Kennedy Middle School earned him the 2006 New York State Middle School Principal of the Year Award from the School Administrators Association of New York State and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
In 2007, Mr. Karam was promoted to the Director of Secondary Education for the Utica City School District where he used his expertise to affect many positive changes in the operation of Proctor High School and also at the two middle schools. Mr. Karam then became Superintendent of Schools for the Utica City School District in 2011.
Since becoming Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Karam has worked tirelessly with the Board of Education to successfully steer the district through some of the most challenging times in its history due to very difficult financial conditions and the historical educational reforms that are happening at the state and national level.
As Superintendent, he has worked vigorously with our local government and education officials to fight for the additional state aid that our students deserve and that they are entitled to receive. He has also worked diligently to oversee the implementation of major educational reform initiatives district-wide including the new Common Core Learning Standards and a new Annual Professional Performance Review system for teachers and principals; initiatives that are designed to further enhance teaching and learning in all of our schools across the district.
Mr. Karam has proudly served the Utica City School District and our children for over 25 years including 21 years as an administrator. In addition to his many degrees, Mr. Karam has received numerous awards and honors. In 2003, he earned the United States Department of Education No Child Left Behind National Blue Ribbon Award; the United States Congressional Certificate of Special Recognition and Achievement; the New York State Assembly Certificate of Special Recognition for High Achievement; and the State University of New York Institute of Technology Alumni Humanitarian of the Year Award. In 2006, Mr. Karam earned the New York State Middle School Principal of the Year Award.
Mr. Karam was also honored five consecutive years; from 1999-2003 by the New York State School Boards Association and the Business Council of New York State for fostering high achievement and outstanding educational improvement at John F. Kennedy Middle School.
In addition to these significant accomplishments, Mr. Karam has earned two honors from the Utica City School District Board of Education including Educator of the Month and the Distinguished Service Award. Also, Mr. Karam currently serves on the Mohawk Valley Community College Board of Trustees.