Steering Committee

The Steering Committee of the Research Alliance for New York City Schools is charged with developing and guiding the mission, goals, and progress of the Research Alliance.

The Committee may include up to 12 members who serve for staggered three year terms. 

Augusta Souza Kappner, ChairPresident Emeritus, Bank Street College of Education 

Luis Garden AcostaFounder/President & Chief Executive Officer, El Puente

Jennifer Jones AustinChief Executive Officer & Executive Director, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies

Rudolph F. CrewPresident, Medgar Evers College

Mark DunetzPresident, New Visions for Public Schools

Carmen Fariña, ex-officio memberChancellor, New York City Department of Education 

Katherine FlemingProvost, New York University

Mickey D. LevyChief Economist, Americas and Asia, Berenberg Bank

Ernest LoganPresident, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators

Sister Paulette LoMonacoExecutive Director, Good Shepherd Services

Félix Matos RodriguezPresident, Queens College

Michael MulgrewPresident, United Federation of Teachers

Augusta Souza Kappner, Chair
President Emeritus, Bank Street College of Education

Dr. Augusta Souza Kappner served as President of the Bank Street College of Education from 1995 to 2008.

Prior to Bank Street, she had a distinguished career with the City University of New York, including positions as President of the Borough of Manhattan Community College and Acting President of the City College of New York. From 1993 to 1995, she served as Assistant Secretary of Vocational and Adult Education in the U.S. Department of Education.

Dr. Kappner has spoken widely on education issues and has served on numerous boards and task forces, including the New York City Mayor’s Panel for Education Policy, the New York State Governor’s Education Transition Committee, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and the National Writing Project. She has chaired the boards of the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education and the Adult Literacy Media Alliance, and is currently on the board of the Wallace Foundation.

Dr. Kappner is a former Carnegie Fellow and is the recipient of a Distinguished Alumna Award from Barnard College as well as a Medal of Excellence from Columbia University.

Luis Garden Acosta
Founder/President & Chief Executive Officer, El Puente

Luis Garden Acosta is the Founder, President, and CEO of El Puente, a nationally celebrated community/youth development institution. Since 1982, El Puente has inspired and nurtured leaders to promote peace and justice while organizing for democratic action, healing, and all human rights.

Spirited by a unique background as a graduate of St. Mary’s Seminary, a Harvard Medical School student, an anti-poverty developer for NYC’s Office of the Mayor, and a founder of the Young Lords party in Massachusetts, Mr. Acosta’s vocation has been to make whole that which has been torn apart. He has embraced that mission by taking on diverse roles as a community organizer, public health principal investigator, educator, radio anchor, hospital director, a passionate writer, and an arts advocate. 

He is vice chair of the Citizens Union, founding chair of Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, executive member of New Yorkers for Parks, and leading member of Just Food and the Latino Commission on AIDS. Previously, he was a Gubernatorial appointee to New York State’s Environmental Board.

Jennifer Jones Austin
Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies

Jennifer Jones Austin is the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA), a prominent NYC anti-poverty policy and advocacy organization comprising 200 member human services agencies. Prior to joining FPWA, Ms. Jones Austin served as Senior Vice President of United Way of New York City.

Ms. Jones Austin was appointed as the City’s first Family Services Coordinator by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. She has also served as Deputy Commissioner for the Administration for Children’s Services, Civil Rights Deputy Bureau Chief for Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, and Vice President for LearnNow/Edison Schools Inc.

Ms. Jones Austin has chaired several influential boards and commissions, including serving as Co-Chair of Mayor Bill de Blasio's transition team, leader of his Universal Pre-K Design Workgroup and the Jobs for New Yorkers Task Force, Chair of the City of New York Procurement Policy Board, and Co-Chair of the New York State Supermarket Commission.

Ms. Jones Austin is a board member and spokesperson for The National Marrow Donor Program and a board member of the NYC Board of Correction, Citizens’ Committee for Children, the Adelaide Sanford Institute, and the New York Blood Center.

Rudolph F. Crew
President, Medgar Evers College

Dr. Rudolph “Rudy” F. Crew has been President of Medgar Evers College since August 2013.

His 30-year career has spanned from working in the classroom to serving as chancellor of the nation's largest school district, New York City. He has also served in leadership roles for other districts, including Miami-Dade, Boston, Sacramento, and Tacoma, Washington. Most recently, he served as Oregon’s first Chief Education Officer. He has led school reform initiatives for a private foundation, directed the Institute for K-12 Leadership at the University of Washington, and served as a professor in the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. Early in his career, he was a teacher and principal in middle and high schools in Massachusetts and California.

As Chancellor of New York City Public Schools from 1995 to 1999, Dr. Crew led reforms including the adoption of curriculum standards for all schools, the creation of new mechanisms for school governance, and the introduction of school-based budgeting. Dr. Crew is a graduate of Babson College and earned his master’s degree and doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His book, Only Connect: The Way to Save Our Schools, was published in 2007.

Mark Dunetz
President, New Visions for Public Schools

Mark Dunetz is the President of New Visions. He first joined the organization in 2013 as leader of the school support and operations team.

Dr. Dunetz began his career in the New York City public schools in 1998. He has taught high school social studies and English as a Second Language, and worked as a program evaluator for the National Science Foundation, an educational consultant, and a professor (of research methods at the City College of New York and of educational administration at Baruch College's School of Public Affairs). Immediately prior to joining New Visions, he was the founding principal of the Academy for Careers in Television & Film, a small career and technical education-focused high school in Long Island City, Queens.

Dr. Dunetz earned a B.A. in history from the University of California, Santa Cruz; an M.A. in Teaching Speakers of Other Languages from New York University; and a Ph.D. in urban education with a concentration in education policy from the City University of New York Graduate Center.

Carmen Fariña, ex-officio member
Chancellor, New York City Department of Education 

Carmen Fariña has been chancellor of the New York City Department of Education since January 2014. During her five-decade career, she has worked in roles ranging from teacher and principal to district superintendent and deputy chancellor, distinguishing herself as an innovative educator committed to helping students, teachers, and principals excel.

Ms. Fariña aims to work collaboratively with parents, educators, and other stakeholders to ensure that all students graduate from high school prepared for college, careers, and futures as productive, critically-thinking adults. Her vision for the City’s public schools is embedded in four pillars: to improve student achievement by providing high-quality instruction aligned to the Common Core State Standards; to bring dignity and respect to the craft of teaching and school leadership; to engage parents and families in every aspect of school life; and to create new collaborative and innovative models.

Ms. Fariña holds a bachelor of science degree from New York University and master’s degrees from Brooklyn College (in bilingual education), Fordham University (in gifted/arts education), and Pace University (in administration and supervision). She is the co-author of A School Leader’s Guide to Excellence: Collaborating Our Way to Better Schools.

Katherine Fleming
Provost, New York University

Katherine E. Fleming, Provost of New York University, joined NYU’s faculty in 1998. A chaired professor in the Faculty of Arts and Science, Fleming served as Deputy Provost and Vice Chancellor (Europe) before becoming Provost.

She is the Alexander S. Onassis Professor of Hellenic Culture and Civilization, Director of the Remarque Institute at NYU in New York City, and associated faculty at École Normale Supérieure in Paris (ENS Paris). From 2012 – 2016 she served as President of the Board of Directors at the University of Piraeus (Athens, Greece).

Provost Fleming has been deeply involved with academia and public affairs both within the U.S. and internationally. Educated at Columbia University/Barnard College (B.A., 1988); the University of Chicago (M.A., 1989); and the University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D., 1995), she is an historian by training and specializes in the modern history of Greece and the broader Mediterranean context. 

Provost Fleming oversees the Global Research Initiatives Program, which she created in 2011, and which supports faculty and graduate research at NYU’s global sites. 

Mickey D. Levy
Chief Economist, Americas and Asia, at Berenberg Bank

Mickey Levy is Chief Economist, Americas and Asia, at Berenberg Bank, where he conducts global macroeconomic research.

Previously, he was the Chief Economist at Blenheim Capital Management, where he analyzed and forecasts U.S. and international economic trends and macroeconomic policies and their impacts on financial market behavior. Prior to joining Blenheim Capital in 2013, Dr. Levy was Chief Economist for Bank of America, where he sat on the bank’s Asset Liability and Capital Market Risk Committee. Before then Dr. Levy conducted economic research at the Congressional Budget Office and the American Enterprise Institute. He is a member of the Shadow Open Market Committee, a group of economists that analyzes and critiques policies of the U.S. Federal Reserve and other global central banks. Dr. Levy also advises several Federal Reserve Banks and international policymakers including the European Commission.

Dr. Levy publishes research and speaks on an array of global macroeconomic and policy issues.

Dr. Levy received a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, an M.P.P from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.

Ernest Logan
President, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators

Ernest Logan is the President of the Council of School Administrators (CSA).

He worked for nearly 25 years in the NYC public schools. Soon after graduating from SUNY Cortland, he began teaching English at PS 224 (D-19 Brooklyn), and within five years became a curriculum writer for the Office of Curriculum and Development. In 1983, he became the Assistant Principal at JHS 263 (D-23 Brooklyn), and in 1991, was appointed Principal of I.S. 55 (D-23). 

In 1997, Mr. Logan took a leave of absence to join CSA’s staff as a field service representative. He became president in February 2007.

Mr. Logan is a board member of New Visions for Public Schools, the NYC Independent Budget Office, and the Council for Unity. He is the treasurer of CSA’s national union, The American Federation of School Administrators AFL-CIO and, as a member of the union’s General Executive Board, chairs its Legislative Committee.

Mr. Logan and his wife, Beatrice, a retired high school guidance counselor, have established the Ernest A. Logan Scholarship at SUNY Cortland, which provides tuition assistance for NYC public school graduates.

Mr. Logan is a Deacon at the Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Harlem, where he also serves as the chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Sister Paulette LoMonaco
Executive Director, Good Shepherd Services

Sister Paulette LoMonaco is the Executive Director of Good Shepherd Services, a leading youth and family development, education, and family service agency that works with more than 29,000 New Yorkers each year in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan.

Since being named Executive Director in 1980, Sr. Paulette has overseen the evolution of Good Shepherd Services from a small provider of out-of-home care to one of NYC’s largest and most respected multi-service agencies. Throughout her tenure, the agency has addressed emerging needs by piloting innovative service models that can be used more broadly to inform policy debates and enhance outcomes for youth within and beyond NYC. The agency has played a leadership role in the development of groundbreaking models of service for disconnected youth, especially those who have dropped out or fallen off track in traditional high school settings

Sr. Paulette has an M.A. in Family and Community Relations from Teachers College of Columbia University and a B.A. in History/Education from American International College. She completed Columbia University's Institute for Not-For-Profit Management, and has honorary doctorates from St. Francis College and Fordham University. Sr. Paulette has received the Robin Hood Hero's Award as well as a Lewis Hine Award.

Félix Matos Rodriguez
President, Queens College

Félix V. Matos Rodriguez became the tenth president of Queens College of the City University of New York in August 2014 after five years as president of Hostos Community College, CUNY. His career spans both academia and the public sector.

From 2006 to 2008, Matos Rodriguez served as Puerto Rico’s cabinet secretary to the Department of Family Services. Matos Rodriguez has published extensively and taught in the fields of Women’s, Puerto Rican, Caribbean, Latino, and Migration Studies. He is a former director of Hunter College’s nationally renowned Center for Puerto Rican Studies. Matos Rodriguez has received numerous awards and honors, including the Citizens Union Community Leadership Award and ASPIRA of New York Circle of Achievers Award. In 2012, he was the Grand Marshal of NYC’s Puerto Rican Day Parade.

He is married to Dr. Liliana M. Arabia, a dentist, and they have two sons: Lucas and Juan Carlos.

A native of Puerto Rico, he is a cum laude graduate in Latin American Studies from Yale University and received a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University.

Michael Mulgrew
President, United Federation of Teachers

Michael Mulgrew is the president of the United Federation of Teachers, a union whose 200,000 members include New York City public school educators, family child-care providers, nurses, and others.

He is recognized as a national leader in promoting labor-community collaboration and for leading the union’s efforts to transform education in the City. For example, Mr. Mulgrew mobilized a diverse coalition of public- and private-sector organizations to create the Community Learning Schools Initiative, which aims to enhance children’s achievement and opportunities by connecting schools with partner agencies that can respond to the social, health, and educational needs of students’ families and communities. Mr. Mulgrew also worked with the NYC Department of Education to launch the landmark Progressive Redesign Opportunity Schools for Excellence (PROSE) Initiative, which empowers teachers and schools to redesign their school program to better meet students’ needs.

Mr. Mulgrew spent 12 years as a classroom teacher at William E. Grady High School in Brooklyn, where he served as UFT chapter leader. Before becoming president of the UFT, he served as the union’s Vice President for Career and Technical Education High Schools