Executive Committee

image1.jpegMichelle Adams While I could go on and on about how novel BSPC is, it will require work to make our dream come to fruition. As a product of DS 16 schools, 20 years later, I am faced with the same dilemma my mother was faced with….trying to find a good school not too far from home that will allow my child to grow and flourish as I imagined. I am dedicated to BSPC and am willing to do the leg work required to help change and challenge the current view of a “failing” district. We can do this! We can make a change for our children and the children to come!

Rachel BeebeRachel Beebe Since the first meeting of the BSPC last June I’ve been an active member, setting up the meeting with former Superintendent Santiago, heading up the schools outreach team, organizing childcare for our latest meeting, and editing the survey. I have attended most of the CEC meetings since the summer and am able to continue to attend them regularly. I have already established a relationship with AI Superintendent Rahesha Amon, as well as CEC president Nequan McLean, and I look forward to working with them more to achieve BSPC’s district-level goals. I have toured all the District 16 schools BSPC has considered, and I am committed to sending my son to school here next year for Pre-K. I also have an older son in kindergarten at a school with a robust PTA, so I am already a public school parent and I have contacts that can give us the know-how to build up the PTA fundraising efforts at our local school(s). As a parent of a special needs kid, I am familiar with the IEP process and I’m tuned in to the conversation around special ed in the district, which is relevant to many BSPC families. Finally, I am a stay-at-home mom, so I have the time to commit to BSPC. Beyond wanting to work to give my kids the best opportunities I can, I am committed to education equity. It’s time for everyone in Bed-Stuy to have a high-quality neighborhood school.

Shana Cooper-Silas a wife & mother living out our crazy dreams in Bed Stuy Brooklyn. Our daughters are Taylor & Kory, ages 3 & 2 respectively. When I am not nurturing my loved ones at home I am busy creating digital products & food experiences like Octavia’s (formerly Khemistry Bar).
My experience with NYC public schools dates back to 5 years while raising my nephew in NYC. I was a part of the 3rd quarter team at PS11 to what is now a much sought-after District 13 neighborhood school. I also was a part of the sophomore year team of MS8 (PS8’s middle school).

I bring many skills and passion to the Bed Stuy Parent Committee (BSPC). I have a vast knowledge of how NYC public schools work and navigating the nuances. To date, I have helped BSPC by being a supportive team resource and advocate at school tours not to mention lots of sharing back with the group. I am currently revamping BSPC web presence and I would be honored to help lead the mission of BSPC on the Executive Committee.

Shaila DewanShaila Dewan I am a pragmatic but persistent idealist. I like to work within the realm of the possible without taking no for an answer. As the convener of the Bed-Stuy Parents Committee, I have tried to empower you to shape its mission and goals, and I have tried to apply what wisdom and strategy I can muster to help accomplish those goals. I believe in being deliberative, but also in taking action. It has become clear that together we can have a significant positive impact on our community. I have come to deeply appreciate this group of people and I would be honored to continue to serve as a leader.

In my working life, I am a journalist who has long covered issues of race, class, and inequity. I spend a lot of time talking deeply and intimately with people who are very different from me, and presenting their voices with dignity. I believe those are important skills in this endeavor. I am the proud wife of Alex Kvares and the very proud mom of a 3-year-old rock star, Elon.

Robin Lester KentonRobin Lester Kenton My husband, Will, and I moved to Bedford-Stuyvesant in 2010 in search of a community where we could start a family. We have two young sons, Simon (b 2012) and Teddy (b 2014).

I am a dedicated public servant who has worked professionally on public safety campaigns, community outreach, contract management, budgeting, grant writing, strategic planning, photography, website management, and art direction. (Currently, I’m Vice President of Marketing & Communications for Brooklyn Public Library). I have a quirky appreciation of (and interest in) government agencies and a drive to figure out how the City runs. If elected, I plan to use these skills to help the group navigate bureaucracy and communicate effectively (and creatively) with local parents and school administrators.

I would like to see BSPC grow into an organization that not only encourages D16 parents to consider our local public schools, but also provides resources and guidance to help all local parents better advocate for what their children need. In the longer-term, I would love to see the group grow into an organization that also helps local administrators and PTAs – perhaps providing volunteer help with marketing (websites, school brochures), grant writing and strategic planning.

Sara OrtizSara Ortiz I am currently a school administrator in lower Manhattan with 10 years of experience in the field. I spent the first 3.5 years of my career teaching students with disabilities (at a District 75 site ) in Bed-Stuy. I believe that my professional experience will support the group to navigate the system and in particular the system as it relates to our young ones with different types of needs.

On a personal level, I am a native Brooklynite married to another native Brooklynite (our families both still reside in the borough and we all plan to be here for a very long time!) with an 11 month old baby boy. I believe that being the caregiver of a very wee one helps me to bring the perspective of long term goals to our group– it is important that our group considers how our work is going to support the district now, next year and 4 years from now (and, of course, hopefully for years and years to come).
Virginia PoundstoneVirginia Poundstone As a visual artist, adjunct professor and bookkeeper, I bring set of useful skills to the table: financial record keeping, budgeting, and project/production management. I envision BSPC as an organization that helps strengthen the district’s public schools through strategic planning, fundraising and advocacy.
Beginning by working and learning with one or two schools, then broadening to the entire district; a model that could possibly, if successful, serve as an example for others to build stronger schools in their communities.

As a group, we have discovered that our district is full of great infrastructure, educators, administrators and parents. We, as an organization, have the potential to work with the CEC, district superintendent, and our elected officials to think beyond the immediate struggles of low budgets based on enrollment. We can plan strategically and creatively to bring diverse curricular options and financial means to our elementary, middle and high schools. I would be honored to put my skills to good use on this important work.

Anthony Shaw As a member of the BSPCExecutive Board, I would contribute my experience in education as an elementary school teacher, administrator, and education non-profit leader to ensure that we have a consistent and current understanding of both the traditional school models as well as the non-traditional options available to our community. Moreover, I will use my experience as an education policy analyst with the New York State Senate to inform and help coordinate our efforts to influence change through engaging our local electeds (Community Education Council, City Council, Assembly, etc.). Finally, I will contribute my ability to build community and strategic partnerships to ensure we are working together to achieve our collective mission.

My vision for BSPC is to provide District 16 parents with:
1) Knowledge to make informed decisions about their child’s education and overall development options
2) Education-focused parenting resources and information through the delivery of workshops, presentations and town halls
3) Outlet, support system, and advocates for D16 parents navigating the NYC education system

Carter Spurrier My name is Carter and my kids are 1.5, 2.5, and 4.

When we first moved to our neighborhood my husband and I had a baby who was only 6 months old. At that time I had no idea about the state of our district or the options here but I always saw our neighborhood school; good, bad, whatever as our first option. I knew it might not be the most desired school in Brooklyn but I truly value community and maintaining a strong sense of place within my child’s life, especially at this young age.

I also know that schools can improve quickly–growing up in the Lower East Side I had the opportunity to attend excellent public grassroots lead schools and I’ve seen how hardworking parents and teachers can come together to create phenomenal schools.

I recognize that school is a second home for our children. Programs that embrace social awareness, the importance of nurturing the mind body connection, inclusive special education services and the opportunity for our children to take an active roll in their environment are all things I advocate for in a school.

This city is rich with unparalleled opportunities for learning and enrichment, many of which are in our own backyard here in BedStuy. It takes hard work, persistence and maybe a bit of radical thinking to tap into these resources. This is work I am not only willing but happily determined to put in.