On November 5, New York City RTD Fellows dove into a discussion of charter schools. Our distinguished panelists included Michael Regnier from the NYC Charter Center, Fatimah Barker from Achievement First East New York Middle School and Jacob Mnookin from Coney Island Prep. Learn more about our panelists below.
Fatimah Barker is the principal of Achievement First East New York Middle School. Ms. Barker is the first person in her family to graduate from college and has seen first-hand the power of education to transform the lives of individuals, families and communities. A proud Brooklyn native, Ms. Barker began her career in education as a seventh-grade mathematics and science teacher in Philadelphia, Pa. She joined Achievement First Endeavor Middle School as a teacher, gradually adding the responsibilities of grade-level team leader and mathematics coach. Ms. Barker then became AF Endeavor Middle School’s academic dean and served as a principal-in-residence. She holds a dual B.A. in political science and in communications and rhetorical studies from Syracuse University.
Jacob Mnookin is the founder of Coney Island Prep which serves elementary, middle and high school students in Brooklyn. Coney Island Prep opened in August 2009 to its inaugural class of 90 fifth-graders; it was the first public charter school to locate in a New York City Housing Authority housing development. Coney Island Prep was ranked the #5 middle school in the city (based on 2010-2011 data), and the New York City Department of Education placed the school’s performance in the top one percent of middle schools. Jake was a Teach For America corps member in Newark, NJ and participated in the Building Excellent Schools (BES) fellowship to pursue his ambition to open up Coney Island Prep. He has a B.A. from Middlebury College and earned his master’s in Public Affairs and Urban & Regional Planning from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
Michael Regnier is the Director of Policy & Research and the NYC Charter School Center. In this role, Michael is responsible for developing the Charter Center’s policy arguments, sharing accurate data about the charter sector, and helping school leaders understand and influence the policies that affect them. Before joining the Charter Center, Michael was a Research Manager at Edison Learning where he developed pilot partnerships to improve mathematics instruction and principal evaluation. He also worked as a public policy consultant at Berk and Associates in Seattle, as well as for the American Institutes of Research as a research assistant in education statistics. Michael is a graduate of Princeton University and holds a Master’s Degree in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago.