Ever since she was young, Sonja Santelises has been a straight shooter who is all about the work. Raised by a family that put education first, Sonja became the CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools on July 1 -- the fifth superintendent to lead the system in a decade. Educated at Brown, Columbia and Harvard universities, Sonja previously worked as the school system’s chief academic officer, and also had stints at The Education Trust, Teach for America, The Algebra Project and the Boston public school system. As Sun education reporter Erica Green writes, Sonja takes over the school system in a tumultuous time, with losses in standardized test scores and enrollment and a strapped budget. In addition, tension surrounded Sonja’s hiring, as the school board conducted the search to replace former CEO Gregory Thornton in secret. Sonja discussed the trust-building that comes amid that fallout, and building respect with parents and students who often come from different backgrounds than her. She also talked about getting her start in education, the negative stereotypes that persist about teaching, and what she means when she says she’s an elitist.