New York School Talk is a place for parents, teachers, students, and anyone who has a stake in the improvement of our public school system, to offer ideas, share experiences and advice, and weigh in on policies and educational politics.
We are civil in our discourse and strong in our belief that all our children, especially those historically underserved by the traditional system, have the right to attend excellent schools.
Who We Are
Vivett Dukes (nèe Hemans) is in her eighth year as a middle and high school English Language Arts teacher. For her first four years in the DOE, she taught in an all-male, all minority, urban public school in Southside Jamaica, Queens, erected for the express purpose of counteracting the pervasive school-to-prison pipeline that disproportionately impacts Black and Brown boys. Currently, she is teaching in a College Board middle and high school also in Jamaica, Queens, where the population of students she serves is diversified on cultural, religious and socio-economic planes. During her time as a teacher within the New York City Department of Education she has served as a member of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Teacher Advisory Council 2014-2016 cohort, a classroom lab facilitator with Chancellor Carmen Fariña's Learning Partners Program, grade team leader, inquiry team leader, English Department Chairperson and Bethune Teaching Fellow for the New York Urban League.
Currently, in additional to teaching seventh-grade English Language Arts, she serves as a Lead Middle School Quality Initiative (MSQI) Reading Across All Disciplines (RAAD) Literacy Teacher, Advisor for the New York Times' Upfront magazine and Scholastic Inc., educational blogger for New York School Talk, and Co-CEO/Co-Founder of SpeakYaTruth.org and One Voice Online Blog Magazine. She also hosts a bi-weekly #SafeSpaceConvos Twitter chat about issues as the forefront of education.
At her core, Vivett is a passionate wife, mom, teacher-leader, keynote speaker, public intellectual, social activist, social advocate, and humanitarian who is dedicated to taking her voice outside of the classroom and into the public arena in an effort to elevate authentic conversations and grassroots changes in educational equity and human rights advocacy.
Recent Blog Posts
Kalyca Adesina Thomas
Kalyca, who has taught middle school English in the Bronx for thirteen years, is the eldest child of a Registered Nurse and social worker originally from Altamonte Springs, FL. She steadily looks for ways to invest in educational dialogue for the creation of transformative change. She currently serves on the United Federation of Teachers’ Education Task Force to formulate suggestions around the Common Core Standards revisions. Kalyca has served as a Lead Teacher, Peer Instructional Coach, and a Cooperating Teacher for a Hunter College English Education Student Teacher.. Kalyca is also a Bronx trained mediator through the Institute of Mediation and Conflict Resolution (IMCR) and believes in restorative justice practices when holding adolescent children accountable. Her latest endeavor involves drafting a charter to open a social justice charter school in NYC. Kalyca holds a B.A. in Literature from The Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL ( Go Noles!) and a M.S. in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from Columbia University, New York, NY. Most importantly, she finds solace in volunteering with her church’s worship arts’ team. In her spare time, Kalyca enjoys Facetime conversations with her nephews, especially when Elmo is involved, returning home to shop with her pioneering mom and sassy grandmother and taking long walks in Pelham Bay Park.
Marianthy Karantzes is a Special Education Teacher for the NYC Department of Education, a NYC Teaching Fellow, and an advocate for students with disabilities and LGBTQ students. She has been married for 22 years and has a 13 year old daughter currently enrolled in the NYC Public School System. She lives in NYC with her husband, daughter and their 5 cats and 2 dogs.
Tina Posterli is an advocacy and communications professional with a special interest in education. She is a past PTA co-president and has worked to advance the needs of school children living with Tourette Syndrome and on grassroots efforts that led to the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. She is the mother of a 16-year-old daughter and is currently working in her hometown of Long Beach, New York to engage high school students in the political process.
Kathryn Marrow has been a member of Students First NY for almost three years and is the President of the Central Harlem Chapter. Kathryn is a single mother who is raising an amazing 9 year old son Christopher Lane. Christopher attends Kipp Infinity Charter School where he is excelling academically.
Kathryn is an advocate for Ed Reform and goes above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to getting the word out to parents about SFNY and the amazing work that the parent members are doing to bring about change. Both Kathryn and her son Christopher have participated in commercials that have been shot by SFNY.
Kathryn supports the Common Core because it levels the playing field and it ensures a quality education for all children regardless of their Zip code or economic background.
Laura Waters grew up in New York and attended New York public schools. Her mother was a social worker and her father was a social studies teacher in the New York City public school system; both were UFT members. She has lived in New Jersey for twenty-five years but her four kids and husband still make fun of her N.Y. accent. She writes about N.Y. and N.J. education policy and politics for a variety of publications, including her blog NJ Left Behind.
Tenicka Boyd is the director of organizing for StudentsFirstNY. She joined StudentsFirstNY from the Obama administration, where she served at the U.S. Department of Education in the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Tenicka is an outreach expert who has spent years as an organizer in community organizations, faith organizations and on several state, local and national campaigns.