Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott today announced plans to strengthen the Department of Education’s efforts to engage and support the families of New York City’s 1.1 million public school students, naming Bronx-native Jesse Mojica the new Executive Director for Family and Community Engagement. In this new cabinet level position, Mr. Mojica will oversee the Office of Family Information and Action and serve as a liaison to the Panel for Educational Policy. Ojeda Hall, Executive Director of OFIA since August 2010, is departing the DOE at the beginning of September.
“When I took the job as Chancellor, I made it clear that one of my priorities was to change the tone of the conversation and do a better job bringing families into the educational process,” said Chancellor Walcott. “Over the past few months, I have spoken with so many parents and community organizations and congregations, and I’m excited by their enthusiasm and the work that we can do together.”
“As a parent of two young children, Jesse understands the hopes, the anxieties, and the determination of our families, and I know he will be a tireless advocate for our children and bring important new perspective to the DOE.” The Chancellor also noted the importance of including Mr. Mojica in his Cabinet, ensuring that families have a strong advocate during DOE policy debates and decisions.
“I think it’s important that we have a voice at the decision-making table whose primary focus is supporting our families,” said Chancellor Walcott.
Mr. Mojica, who will begin his new position at the DOE in late August, served for the past five years as Director of Education Policy and Youth Services in the Office of the Bronx Borough President. From August 2004 to March 2006, he served as the Bronx representative to the Panel for Educational Policy, appointed by then-Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr.
“I want to thank Chancellor Walcott for this wonderful opportunity,” Mr. Mojica said. “I have been honored to work for the past five years in the Bronx Borough President’s Office to expand educational opportunities for our children, and I view this as a chance to take that work to the next level. There are so many families who want to partner with us in our efforts, but oftentimes they don’t know where to start. My goal will be to strengthen those relationships on behalf of our students.”
Mr. Mojica resides in the Bronx with his wife and two sons, one of whom has autism. He is active in support groups for families of children with autism and organized the first New York City Walk for Autism in Battery Park. Mr. Mojica is a graduate of Xavier High School and New York University.
Chancellor Walcott said, “I have tremendous respect for Ojeda and the successful work she has done to help the Department build stronger relationships with our faith leaders and community organizations. I know that she will continue to bring that same enthusiasm and commitment in her work moving forward.”
Ojeda Hall said, “I thank the Chancellor, the Department of Education, the team at the Office of Family Information and Action, and all of the parents and community based organizations for the opportunity to serve and better engage schools, families and communities around our work.”