About Us

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


Alina Adams

Alina Adams is a New York City mom of 3 school-age children and a New York Times best-selling author of soap-opera tie-ins, figure-skating mysteries and romance novels. She is a contributing writer to TODAY Show Parenting, Mommy Poppins, BlogHer, Red Tricycle, Café Mom, and Kveller. After going through the NYC school application process with her own children and realizing just how convoluted, Draconian and needlessly complex it was, Alina resolved to help make all parents aware of all their school choices—and how to get them—via her books, “Getting Into NYC Kindergarten” and “Getting Into NYC High-School,” as well as her podcast, “NYC School Secrets: Parents Helping Parents.” Read more and listen at: www.NYCSchoolSecrets.com


Vivett Dukes

Vivett Dukes (nèe Hemans) is entering her seventh year as a middle and high school English Language Arts teacher. For the past four years, she taught in an all-male, all minority, urban public school in Southside Jamaica, Queens. 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, and most recently, English Department Chairperson. Currently, she serves as a Teacher Advisor for both the New York Times' Upfront magazine and Scholastic's Scope magazine, as well as a Bethune Teaching Fellow for the New York Urban League.

At her core, Vivett is a passionate teacher-leader and humanitarian who is dedicated to taking her voice outside of the classroom in an effort to elevate authentic conversations and grassroots changes in educational equity.


Kathryn Marrow

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

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

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.