I am excited to be a candidate for the Board of Education of the City School District of New Rochelle. I look forward to building on the excellence all over our district, promoting equity and working with the entire community to increase our district’s effectiveness.
As a mother of two girls in New Rochelle public schools, I understand the importance of a school system that works for all types of learners. As a 15-year higher education administrator, I have gained deep knowledge about how large institutions work, and how valuable it is to build consensus around sustainable and clearly-articulated policies. Finally, as my neighborhood association president, I have seen the value of bringing neighbors together, especially in these challenging and sad times. This unique combination of experiences will only serve to strengthen our school board and our district. I believe that with the voices and contributions of families, students, teachers, and the larger community our district can truly shine.
I look forward to hearing from you on the campaign trail, and I hope I can earn your support.
In 2014 my husband Ross and I moved, with our two young daughters, to New Rochelle from Harlem in pursuit of a diverse and welcoming community and excellent schools. We found all of that in our neighborhood school, Daniel Webster Magnet Elementary School, and in our active and engaged neighborhood association, the Glenwood Lake Association. In late 2018, I was honored to be elected president of the GLA. This role has provided a deeper understanding of the intricacies of local government and the Queen City of the Sound.
I was born and raised in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The child and grandchild of immigrants from West Africa and Puerto Rican migrants, I experienced first-hand the richness of a diverse community. I attended an urban public high school and remain eternally grateful for so many of my teachers who pushed me academically, as well as those who nurtured my love of musicals, tolerated my decidedly mediocre French horn playing and most of all created a community of learners. With the support of my teachers and advisors at my public school, I was able to continue my studies as an undergraduate at Columbia. Eventually, I graduated with a degree in Urban Studies, where I fell in love with New York and began my lifelong involvement with public policy and social justice.
I believe New Rochelle schools can and must be excellent, equitable, and effective.
Excellence. The City School District of New Rochelle has many strengths to build on and promote - whether it’s our renowned PAVE program, our beloved CILA program, or our state champion athletic programs, we have a lot to be proud of. My own daughters have experienced the joy of learning a new language, the thrill of performing in a school play, and the satisfaction of successfully completing an involved project. For those experiences and the educators who facilitated them, I am forever grateful.
Equity. We must design a school system that provides an opportunity for every student. As I’ve become more engaged as a parent and a citizen, I’ve heard time and time again “New Rochelle is a great district, if you advocate for your kids.” Recent data shared by the district shows significant disparities in access to accelerated coursework and in discipline practices. I envision a district where every student has access to so many of the tremendous opportunities we provide. This will require a laser-focused commitment to equity in all things, including school-based resources, in the curriculum, and in hiring. In addition to being morally right, research shows that equity benefits all students.
Effectiveness. Over the past nine months, I have attended nearly every Board of Education meeting, some four-hour marathon affairs. I have a number of ideas about how to make BOE meetings more streamlined and with more opportunity for public input and involvement. This includes robust committees and systematic ways of collecting feedback from teachers, students, and families and, crucially, providing real opportunities for dialogue.
Given the rapid development of downtown and the possible long-term impact of the coronavirus, our district will face unique challenges and opportunities in the coming years. My experiences as a parent, homeowner, professional and neighbor, as well as my vision for a more equitable, excellent school district, make me an ideal Board of Education candidate. I hope I can count on your support.