NEW YORK – Chancellor Fariña today announced the opening of the DOE’s new Borough Field Support Centers (BFSCs). The new, geographically-based BFSCs replace the 55 Children’s First Networks and are providing integrated supports to schools across areas of instruction, operations, including finance and human resource support, and student services including health resources and counseling, support to English Language Learners, and support to students with disabilities. All totaled, BFSCs house over 700 staff members to ensure schools get the tailored supports they need. The Chancellor made the announcement while visiting staff at the Brooklyn North BFSC.
The “Strong Schools, Strong Communities” support structure aligns support and supervision, brings experienced staff closer to schools, and helps to build a school’s capacity to improve student achievement. The new support structure, announced in January, is driven by the DOE’s vision for instruction and builds on the Vision for School Improvement
and the Framework for Great Schools
. Schools will work directly with their superintendents and BFSCs to identify needed supports to help raise student achievement. In addition to supporting schools with a wide range of services, BFSCs also provide teacher training and will support partnerships and collaboration between schools. While previously networks could be located far from the schools they served, the geographic nature of BFSCs will allow more schools to directly access hands-on support easily.
Each BFSC is led by a director who oversees six deputy directors – each of whom is tasked with managing specific portfolios within their content area of expertise. BFSC Directors report to Mariano Guzman, Senior Executive Director of the Office of Field Support. The six deputy directors support schools with: teaching and learning, finance and human resources, operations, student services, special education, and English Language Learners. Human resource and budget staff started in May and have been working with schools to help finalize budgets for the 2015-16 school year. Throughout the spring and summer, the BFSC directors, superintendents, and principals are taking part in in intensive training to ensure the centers are fully operational this summer.
“We have taken an important step to provide schools the support they need. Borough Field Support Center Directors – and their staffs – will serve as critical partners for our superintendents,” said Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “The caliber of leadership within each BFSC will help lift up the quality of each school, and help cultivate new partnerships between schools.”
“The new Borough Field Support Centers have the strong leadership and dedicated teams already in place to provide our schools with the supports they need. They will play an integral role for our superintendents and principals as they work to raise student achievement,” said Mariano Guzman, Senior Executive Director of Field Support. “This is an exciting time for our schools and our educators, and I am looking forward to leading a group of talented professionals in our BFSCs who share the Chancellor’s commitment to our students.”
“I am thrilled to be part of such an exciting transition, and to have the opportunity to collaborate with remarkable staff who share my commitment to raising student achievement,” said Bernadette Fitzgerald, Brooklyn North BFSC Director. “Being an elementary school principal for 7 years, I know how vital it is for school staff to have access to the supports and resources their students need to thrive. From connecting teachers with professional development opportunities to helping principals address the unique needs of their students with disabilities, we are committed to making sure all our schools have the tools they need to succeed.”
There is one BFSC in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, and two each in Brooklyn and Queens:
• Bronx (Districts 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12) - 1 Fordham Plaza, Bronx, 10458 and 1230 Zerega Ave., Bronx, 10462
Director: Jose Ruiz
Jose Ruiz served as Cluster Leader since January 2010. Ruiz began his teaching career at Taft High School in October 1991. He has been a Deputy Regional Superintendent, principal, and assistant principal in the Bronx, and also the CEO and Deputy CEO of the DOE’s Leadership Learning Support Organization.
• Brooklyn (Districts 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 23, 32) - 131 Livingston St., Brooklyn, 11201
Director: Bernadette Fitzgerald
Bernadette Fitzgerald was the principal at PS 503 in Sunset Park since September 2008. Fitzgerald was previously the assistant principal at PS 503, and taught elementary grades at PS 372 in Brooklyn for ten years.
• Brooklyn (Districts 17, 18, 20, 21, 22) - 415 89th St., Brooklyn, 11209 and 5613 Flatlands Ave., Brooklyn, 11234
Director: Cheryl Watson-Harris
Cheryl Watson-Harris rejoins the DOE from her position as a Network Superintendent for Boston Public Schools. She has served in that role since February 2013, helping to develop a new district structure and supervising and evaluating 16 principals. Watson-Harris previously served as a principal in Boston for 15 years. She started her teaching career in 1993 at Brooklyn’s PS 81.
• Manhattan (Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) - 333 7th Avenue, Manhattan, 10001 Director: Yuet Chu
Yuet Chu led Children’s First Network 103 since September 2007. Chu started her DOE career at Manhattan’s School of the Future in 1996, and spent ten years there as a teacher and Middle School Director.
• Queens (Districts 24, 25, 26, 30) - 28-11 Queens Plaza North, Queens, 11101
Director: Lawrence Pendergast Lawrence
Pendergast was the Network Leader for Children’s First Network 603 since 2011, most recently supporting 33 schools. He previously served as Executive Principal at Leadership and Public Service High School, as well as founding principal at Urban Assembly School of Design and Construction. A former Social Studies teacher and instructional specialist, Pendergast also promoted professional development and collaboration as a peer coach early in his career.
• Queens (Districts 27, 28, 29) - 8201 Rockaway Blvd., Queens, 11416
Director: Marlene Wilks
Marlene Wilks served schools in Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx as the leader of Children’s First Network 209 since 2007. In her 38 years in education, including 26 in service to the New York City public school community, Wilks has served as Local Instructional Superintendent in Districts 28 and 29 in Queens, principal in the South Bronx, assistant principal in District 2 in Manhattan, and as a middle school math teacher in District 32 in Brooklyn.
• Staten Island (District 31) - Petrides Complex, 715 Ocean Terrace, Staten Island, 10301
Director: Kevin Moran
A longtime Staten Island resident, Kevin Moran brings nearly two decades of experience in DOE instructional and operational support to his new position. Since March 2014, he has served as the Executive Director of Field Support for the DOE’s Division of Operations. He has also served the City’s students and families as an Executive Director in the Office of School Support, a Deputy Cluster Leader, a Regional Safety Administrator, and in the District 31 Superintendent’s Office. Moran started his educational career as a teacher at Staten Island’s IS 2.