Working Towards a Brighter Future

Urgent request from CEC13 to the Chancellor's office. 

June 20, 2022

Disappointed. Disenfranchised. Worried.


District 13 parents, families, teachers, leaders, and community members woke up Tuesday to find the Superintendent selection process for our community is at odds with the stated goals of fairness, transparency, and local review. We were told that there were only two viable candidates for the position of Superintendent of School District 13. The average number of candidates in all other districts was closer to four. We were told we would have our C-37 meeting to interview the candidates on June 13th, but it was canceled. While we understand and are extremely sympathetic to the unfortunate circumstances that led to the postponement of the C-37 interview we still had a fair expectation of communication and transparency as we were told our feedback regarding the candidates was valued and would be reviewed by the Chancellor’s designee prior to the final selection. Unfortunately, none of that happened. Our experience and feedback were not considered, and this decision was made without any input or consideration for our community and our student’s best interest. 


In District 13, our parents, families, teachers, and leaders have done extraordinary grassroots work to create a community that works together to end inequities across our district. This all stems from the vision set forth by our Community Educational Council 13 working closely with Superintendent Samuels. In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, we implemented Monthly Town Hall style meetings to engage in community discussions around what it means to be an Anti-Racist District. Inspired by a call to action by District 13 parent and Pulitzer Prize Winner Nikole Hannah-Jones, we started Parent Working Groups to discuss equitable PTA funding across all our schools. We have led a series of Book Clubs this year as we grappled with the question of how to support all students to be their best, based on the book Pedagogy of Confidence. Parents and staff in District 13 are proud of this work and we are leading the way in the largest school system in the country to find solutions to systemic problems on the local level. Imagine our disappointment to learn we have been assigned an Acting Superintendent who doesn’t know and has no experience with our district, families, or community. We fear the work we have done, which can serve as a model for other districts in our city, is at risk because of the lack of communication, transparency, fairness, and opportunity for local review from your team. 


Most notably - this process has now fundamentally disenfranchised our community. A community that we have built relationships with, supported through the pandemic, and celebrated with at school events, and the community we have been representing as a CEC. 


Members worked hard to inform our community about the process, publicize the Town Hall (despite it being scheduled at a terrible time and date - the Friday before Memorial Day weekend), and created a survey for families to fill out to let us know their feedback on our two candidates. Despite the obstacles in the process, the CEC was prepared to attend the June 13th C-37 until the unexpected cancelation with no further communication regarding the plans for our district’s leadership. We then heard nothing from the DOE until the press conference and subsequent press release informed us that neither of the candidates, we interviewed at the Town Hall were appointed and instead, we were assigned an Interim Superintendent from another district. This was shocking and extremely disappointing since we believed your office was about parent engagement,  communication, transparency, and grassroots community feedback when deciding on the leadership for our district. After all the work we’ve done, to discover that a decision was made without the C-37 process being followed was shocking. Community Education Councils are part of the governing structure of NYC schools, established under NYS law, and therefore the Chancellor has an obligation to follow the C-37 process appropriately.


We understand that Superintendent Samuels, despite having overwhelming support among all stakeholders in District 13 and launching initiatives not seen anywhere else in the city, has been assigned to District 3 by the Chancellor. We are thrilled that other communities can experience Superintendent Samuels’ vision for educational equity, integration, and parent engagement. 


We understand that there is a limit to the power a Community Education Council holds in this process, which is why it is so detrimental to our community to be disenfranchised from the one component of the process we have input on- the C-37 process. Our CEC and community should be able to transition in a fashion that promotes continuity of all of the vital initiatives we started with Superintendent Samuels for the black and brown children in District 13. 


We are demanding an Acting Superintendent who has been a part of it all and is familiar with the district (Deputy Superintendent Meghan Dunn). We are also demanding an immediate C-37 process for District 13 so that we can have a permanent superintendent to work with prior to the start of the upcoming school year. 




Community Education Council 13 

Cynthia McKnight, President (718) 757-6245

Ben Greene, 1st Vice-President

Faraji Hannah- Jones, 2nd Vice-President

Jessica Simmons, Recording Secretary

Elizabeth Agee Macon, Treasurer

Dr. Meryem Bencheikh-Ellis

Enrique Figueroa

Shawneke Pass

district 2.jpg


Community Education Councils (CECs) are public bodies that advise on education policy. They are created by state legislature and are responsible for reviewing and evaluating the district's educational programs, approving zoning lines, holding public hearings on certain matters, and more. 


CECs represent and work for the community of the community school district they serve. There are eleven voting members and one non-voting high school student member. Voting CEC members are parents themselves, with the probable exception of two community members appointed by the borough president. CEC members are volunteers and do not receive remuneration for their work. 


CECs work with representatives across various divisions of the NYC Department of Education, community organizations, elected officials, and other stakeholders, in order to promote achievement of educational standards and objectives for all students in their districts' schools. 


CECs have an open communication with all members of the school community and hold public meetings every month with the community schools superintendent so that parents and the community have a public forum where to air their concerns. 


There are 32 CECs in New York City. Each CEC represents current Pre-K through 8th grade students in public, non-charter schools within its Community School District.

Mission Statement

We are District 13’s voice to the DOE - advocating for our schools, striving for equity for all our children and celebrating the diversity and success of our community.


How we do this:

· Represent the needs of D13, its schools and the children (Support all of our schools)


· Communicate with Department of Education


· Support Integration


· Capacity building – PTA advocacy


· Community building


· Celebrate our district

Upcoming Events

  • Meet Your District 13 Superintendent Candidates
    Fri, May 27
    Virtual Townhall Event
    May 27, 5:00 PM – May 28, 8:00 PM
    Virtual Townhall Event
    Do not miss this excellent opportunity to provide feedback, which can be used by parent leaders to support the superintendent hiring process!
  • Community Education Council (CEC) 13 Mayoral Accountbility/Control Public Hearing
    Mar 29, 6:30 PM
    Zoom Registration
  • Virtual Book Club "The Pedagogy of Confidence"
    Feb 10, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
    Zoom Conference
  • February Anti-Racist Town Hall,  Speaker: Crystal Hudson,  City Council Member District 35
    Feb 08, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
    Zoom Conference
  • Apr 27, 2021, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
  • CEC and D13 Joint Race and Equity Town Hall
    Apr 13, 2021, 7:00 PM
    Zoom Webinar
    To assist in meeting preparation please rsvp.
  • CEC March Business and Calendar Meeting
    Mar 09, 2021, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
    Zoom Conference
  • CEC 13 Calendar Meeting and D13 Race and Equity Town Hall
    Feb 02, 2021, 7:00 PM
  • CEC Business and Calendar Meeting
    Jan 12, 2021, 7:00 PM
    January Business and Calendar Meeting for Community Education Council for District 13.


Thanks for submitting!