Stephanie Mendez Oversaw Charter Schools For The City, Now She Leads One

Published on August 03, 2020, 1:11 pm
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Stephanie Mendez, who for the last three years has overseen charter public schools for the New York City Department of Education, has joined Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls, The Shirley Rodriguez-Remeneski School (BGLIG) as its new Executive Director.

“I am thrilled to return to the Bronx, a place that holds a very special place in my heart. A proud Nuyorican, the Bronx was home for all four of my grandparents when they migrated from Puerto Rico, and it is where I was born and spent the earliest years of my life,” Ms. Mendez said.

“My cultural and professional background have given me an acute understanding of the importance of the work that lies ahead, especially given the current state of our city and country,” Ms. Mendez said, referring to the disproportionate effect of inequities in our communities. “As a nation, we have tremendous work to do. As a school, we play an essential role in the healing and work that is to be done.”

“With crossroads comes tremendous opportunity to lead and shape the future. BGLIG girls are the future leaders of this nation, and we each play an integral role to bring about that promise of equality for all. I was privileged to receive a high level education and feel honored to join a school that believes in a well-rounded, rigorous education steeped in community, leadership and self-confidence. It is my promise to our community to over-deliver on this mission,” Ms. Mendez said.

Ms. Mendez comes to BGLIG after spending the last three-plus years as Director of Charter Authorizing for the New York City Department of Education, where she was responsible for initiatives centered around the accountability, oversight, and renewal of New York City Chancellor-authorized charter schools.

Before joining the New York City DOE, Ms. Mendez served in numerous leadership roles within public education, including as Managing Director of Finance and Operations for a small charter network, leading school-based operations and finance teams for Achievement First, and co-founding an elementary school with KIPP Charter Schools.

Ms. Mendez began her career in education at The New York City Leadership Academy, where she served as a Senior Curriculum Specialist and designed and implemented professional development for all staff. She holds a bachelor’s degree in human rights from Columbia University, and an honorary degree from the University of Guantanamo, Cuba.

“I believe in the power of the collective, many minds being better than one, which, more practically speaking, means creating meaningful opportunities for staff, students and families to engage as partners to shape our school community. Our success as an institution depends on all of us working together towards the same goal,” Ms. Mendez said.

BGLIG Board of Trustees Chair Alana Barran said “Stephanie Mendez is an accomplished Latina educator with a deep personal understanding of what our students and families need in order to learn, grow and succeed. Simply, she is a role model for our students.”

“In her time as our authorizer, we witnessed that Ms. Mendez is a professional of great commitment, educational talent, and integrity. She is incredibly dedicated to the success of each student and we are incredibly excited that she has joined our team,” Ms. Barran said.

BGLIG serves 450 students in grades K-8 and is located in the nation’s lowest-income Congressional district in the South Bronx. BGLIG is known for its single sex, strong dual-language program, in a rich environment, with social-emotional learning for the girls and young women in the communityy. BGLIG is also known for its Zuzuki violin music program, particularly its renowned String Orchestra, which has performed at Carnegie Hall and Yankee Stadium, and this past year was part of a Grammy nomination for the school’s former music Director.

BGLIG is also home to “Joe’s Violin,” which was the subject of a 2017 Academy Award-nominated documentary about Joseph Feingold, a Holocaust survivor who in 2014 donated his violin to the school as part of an instrument-donation drive started by classical radio station WQXR. Mr. Feingold acquired the violin in 1947, in return for a carton of American cigarettes, while living in a displaced persons camp in Germany.

BGLIG successfully transitioned to distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, with every student in grades 2-8 being equipped with chrome books or laptops. Younger students used instructional packets sent home on a regular basis. Distance learning attendance exceeded 90 percent.

Eighteen of 44 graduating 8th graders were accepted into their first-choice high school, eight students were accepted into specialized music and arts programs, and one student will be attending the selective program at Thatcher School.

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About BGLIG

The Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls, The Shirley Rodriguez-Remeneski School (BGLIG) is a free, dual-language public school educating young women in grades K-8. We are committed to providing our girls with a rigorous instructional program while building on their leadership characteristics and instilling strong values. BGLIG (pronounced BIG league) promotes self-confidence and creates global leaders in all areas: cognitive, social, emotional and moral. Our programs allow each student to disengage from traditional social pressures and focus on personal development and academic achievement. BGLIG’s goal of developing college ready girls includes enrichment programs in the performing arts.

To learn more about enrolling at the Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls, please visit here and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Address:

Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls
The Shirley Rodriguez-Remeneski School

750 Concourse Village West
Lower Level
Bronx, NY 10451

Tel.: 718-993-1740
Fax.: 929-285-3995

Robert Bellafiore is a former reporter for The Associated Press and served as Gov. George E. Pataki’s first press secretary. He now works as a communications consultant.