Dr. Morales-Alexander wins the 2016 Outstanding Dissertation Award

Yasmin3_smallDr. Yasmin Morales-Alexander, an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education, has won the 2016 Outstanding Dissertation Award of the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NAECTE) in recognition of her excellence and the potential to have a positive impact on the field of early childhood education.

Dr. Morales-Alexander received her Ed.D in Curriculum and Teaching with a focus on multicultural and urban education from Teachers College, Columbia University, in 2016. Drawing upon sociocultural theory and a “funds of knowledge” framework, her dissertation research explored the family engagement practices of Mexican immigrant families living in a New York City neighborhood. Her research interests include young children’s development and family engagement within sociocultural contexts, and pre-service teacher development.

Beginning with her own education, as both an undergraduate and graduate student at Lehman College, Dr. Morales-Alexander has over 25 years of experience in the early childhood field. Her expertise was born from her work as a group teacher in various daycare settings; as an Early Head Start/Head Start administrator in a large social service agency in New York City; as a program evaluator, program specialist, and technical assistance provider for the Office of Head Start; and as an adjunct instructor at both Brooklyn and Lehman Colleges.

For Dr. Morales-Alexander, who ardently believes in “paying it forward”, coming back to Lehman College on a full-time basis brings her professional journey full circle. “I am excited and look forward to working with a new generation of early childhood practitioners. To provide them with the support and nurturing that was given to me in this very institution is meaningful and empowering.”

Congratulations and Farewell to Pedro Baez, New Deputy Director for CUNY K-16 Initiatives!

Pedro_smallPedro Baez (Center for School/College Collaboratives) has accepted a position as Deputy Director for CUNY K-16 Initiatives. He will provide leadership and support to a range of programs that aim to improve the college readiness, high school-to-college transition, and academic success of young people in New York City. Reporting to the Dean for K-16 Initiatives, Pedro will oversee College Now, College Focus, and the New York City Science & Engineering Fair.

Pedro Baez began his work at the Lehman College Center for School/College Collaboratives in 1989 as the Project Director of the Liberty Partnerships Program funded by the New York State Education Department. His leadership of the program, Phoenix 1000, in partnership with South Bronx High School, was one of the most successful LPP programs in New York State. His strength of purpose, persistence, commitment to student success and collaboration with principals, staff and teachers changed the school and student outcomes to an extraordinary degree. With the experience gained in LPP, Pedro continued to serve the College and the community through federally, state and city funded college access/success programs.

Pedro’s belief in students and his approach to helping them succeed with, as he often stated, “an iron fist in a velvet glove” has been the secret to his successful leadership and the extraordinary success of students fortunate enough to be in his programs. Also central to his success is his ability to collaborate with others by engaging them in identifying potential problems and finding solutions to avoid them.

Pedro was tapped to be the College Now Director at Lehman. The additions, improvements and enhancements to the College Now program in the years of his directorship resulted in a cohesive set of experiences designed to take high school students from College Now into college and beyond. This past summer, Pedro took on the responsibility of getting the Lehman Teaching Fellows program up and running. It was an intense summer for all, but with his collaborative approach to leadership, he assembled a team and launched a successful learning experience for all involved.

Pedro Baez will be sorely missed at Lehman. Our loss is CUNY Central’s gain. We wish him well.