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PR- 062-07
February 28, 2007


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel I. Klein today appointed Martine Guerrier as the City’s first ever Chief Family Engagement Officer and launched new strategies to strengthen the Administration’s efforts to engage public school parents and families throughout New York City.

A number of elected officials, community advocates, and religious leaders also joined the Mayor and Chancellor—all having agreed to gather feedback from families about the kind of information and engagement that would help and encourage parents to become full partners in their children’s education. The officials included Borough Presidents Markowitz, Carrion, Stringer, Marshall and Molinaro.

“We’ve made real progress in fixing our public schools—but much work remains,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “We know that enlisting parents as partners is essential to our efforts, which is why one of the first reforms we undertook was creating parent coordinators for each school.  By appointing Martine Guerrier as the first Chief Family Engagement Officer, we are taking the next step in enhancing opportunities for parents to become real allies in improving our schools and giving our students better chances for success.”

“I am honored to have been asked to serve as the Chief Family Engagement Officer,” Ms. Guerrier said. “I look forward to working with parents, elected officials, community advocates, and religious leaders to create new and enhanced opportunities for parent participation during this period of reform.  The challenge ahead will be creating a ‘big tent’ that recognizes the rights of all parents—supporters and dissenters alike.”

Ms. Guerrier, the mother of a New York City public school student and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s appointee to the Panel for Educational Policy, will be responsible for restructuring and consolidating a number of parent support functions at the Department of Education. These functions include school-based parent coordinators, regional parent support officers, and the Office of Parent Engagement at Tweed—a total of more than 1,500 DOE employees. As a member of the Senior Leadership Team, her duties will include:

• identifying and assessing existing points of contact between families and DOE and developing strategies for improvement;
• representing parents’ views in decision-making at the highest levels of the DOE; and
• creating enhanced avenues for parents and families to receive accurate and timely information, as well as offering meaningful input as new policies are implemented.

“I am thrilled we have someone with a strong, independent voice who will speak up, share her opinions, and ensure that we are doing all can that is necessary to involve parents as active partners in their children’s education,” said Chancellor Klein.

The Mayor also announced that a diverse group of elected officials and community leaders would work with Ms. Guerrier as she conducts a series of open conversations to gather feedback from families. These supporters include Reverend Lawrence Aker, Cornerstone Baptist Church; Matthew Lenahan, Deputy Director, Advocates for Children; Moises Perez, Executive Director, Alianza Dominicana; Geoffrey Canada, President and CEO, Harlem Children’s Zone; Hector Gesualdo, Executive Director, ASPIRA New York, Inc.; Richard Green, Executive Director, Crown Heights Youth Collective; Michael Haberman, Executive Director/President, PENCIL; Lillian Rodriguez-Lopez, Executive Director, The Hispanic Federation; and Mindy Duitz, President, Learning Leaders. In the coming months, Ms. Guerrier will meet with parents and representative groups, including the Citywide and Community Education Councils (CEC), and the Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Council, among others.

The Mayor and Chancellor have asked Ms. Guerrier to present a report of her findings to them at the conclusion of this outreach process. This report will include her recommendations for a more effective and meaningfully engagement process for parents and families. While many details of this Family Engagement Action Plan will be guided by community feedback, the Chancellor has committed to ensuring that the plan guarantees Parent Support Officers have a strong presence in the 32 community school districts, enabling families to have their questions answered in their own neighborhoods.

This enhanced outreach builds on the DOE’s effort since 2002 to create opportunities for parents to get involved in education—and to provide families with critical information. Mayor Bloomberg established parent coordinators in each of the City’s schools who are focused solely on responding to parents’ questions, training parents on their roles and responsibilities, as well as on information sharing.

The City spends $68 million a year on parent coordinators, each of whom has a cell phone for easier communication with parents. Last year they responded to 1.4 million phone calls, held 23,000 workshops for parents, and had 754,000 individual, in-person meetings with parents. The Department also regularly invites parent leaders to meet with officials at Tweed Courthouse, and attends parent meetings and CEC meetings throughout the City.

Ms. Guerrier has a history of engagement in New York City public schools, having served a full term as an elected member of Community School Board District 13 from 1999 to 2002. She was previously the communications director and Albany legislative representative to the Educational Priorities Panel and was most recently a research analyst at “Best of Brooklyn.”  Ms. Guerrier, a native of Queens who graduated from Townsend Harris High School, now lives in Brooklyn.


Stu Loeser/Dawn Walker   (212) 788-2958


Dina Paul Parks   (Department of Education)
(212) 374-4213

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