Chancellor Carmen Fariña has promoted the head of the office of English language learners to a deputy chancellor role, she announced Wednesday, a move that underscores her focus on improving education for those students.
Milady Baez, who has been serving as the chief of the division of English language learners since the newly independent office was created in August, has joined Fariña’s small cabinet as deputy chancellor for English language learners, who account for one out of seven students in the school system. Until last year, English language learners and students with disabilities were overseen by one office and its deputy chancellor.
As deputy chancellor, Baez “will elevate the Department of English Language Learners and Student Support in its support of principals, teachers and ultimately students to provide a high-quality education and targeted support to prepare our diverse students for college and career readiness,” Fariña said in a statement.
The shift is the latest example of Fariña using her leadership structure to indicate her priorities. After starting as chancellor, she revived and appointed a deputy chancellor for the teaching and learning division, and has created smaller offices overseeing guidance counselors and professional development. She also restructured the office overseeing new schools and charter schools, which were once overseen directly by their own deputy chancellor but no longer are.
Fariña and Baez, a former principal and superintendent who has overseen dual-language programs, outlined the city’s priorities for English-language learners in September, including better training for teachers and more dual-language programs. Last month, the city announced that 25 schools will add dual-language programs this fall and 15 more will expand current programs.
Like Fariña, Baez is a veteran of the city school system. She was a bilingual elementary-school teacher for more than 10 years, and served as principal of Queens’ P.S. 149 and Brooklyn’s P.S. 314, where she established dual-language programs. She was instructional superintendent for a group of Queens schools before retired in 2006, after which she continued to consult for the Office of English Language Learners.