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April 27, 2018
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JP O'Hare

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State Education Department Announces Inaugural Class of My Brother’s Keeper Fellows

Fellows & Mentors Recognized Today at the Second Annual NYS MBK Symposium

The State Education Department today named the inaugural class of My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Fellows Program who will be provided with authentic leadership opportunities in government, education and business, Commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced. The 36 Fellows represent 18 New York State school districts who attended the Second Annual NYS MBK Statewide Symposium held in Albany today with their mentors.

“By embracing My Brother’s Keeper, communities across the state are coming together to create opportunities for boys and young men of color,” Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “We must work collectively to break through barriers that limit the success of our youth, so we can truly achieve equity in education. With the MBK movement’s continued growth, we are showing more and more boys and young men of color the path to success in life.”

“The Fellow program complements all of our work over the past two years to establish the My Brother’s Keeper program as a valuable resource for boys and young men of color,” Commissioner Elia said. “Today, more than 20 communities are part of the MBK network, improving the future for thousands of children. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie made the Fellows program possible by championing MBK and working with the Legislature and the Executive to secure funding to support boys and young men of color. We thank Speaker Heastie and his colleagues for their continued support of MBK.” 

"The MBK Fellows initiative is designed to ensure that the next generation of New York State leaders are well prepared, civic minded, and committed to social justice values," Regent Lester Young said. “The MBK challenge must be embraced by an entire community, so we can build equitable ladders of access and opportunity to enable all of New York’s students to reach their full potential.”  

“The Assembly Majority is proud to have led the way on this unprecedented effort to eliminate academic and societal barriers for boys and young men of color,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said. “This inaugural class of My Brother’s Keeper fellows is a testament to the life-changing opportunities that are possible when all hands come together to change the narrative and improve outcomes for some of our most vulnerable students. Through their collective achievement, we will strengthen families, build thriving communities and secure the future success of our state. I am thankful to have the partnership of Commissioner Elia and Chancellor Rosa in bringing this long-held vision to life here in New York.”

Approved MBK Community Networks were eligible to apply to the program and consist of a partnership between the Office of the Mayor and the School District Superintendent (or the Chancellor in New York City). Additionally, for this grant opportunity, each Community Network must secure a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with a local postsecondary education institution, local business or community-based organization.

The Fellows will also be a part of a statewide MBK Fellows Workgroup, which will give them the chance to offer input on the creation and implementation of a statewide MBK Mentoring Network.

The 2018 MBK Fellows are:

Fellow District School
Jalen Rainey Albany Albany High School
Nasir Curry Albany Albany High School
Kailen Mayfield Bronx Eagle Academy for Young Men
Steven Resto Bronx Bronx High School for law and Community Service
Jorman Esparza  Brooklyn El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice
Nathaniel Swanson Brooklyn Academy for Young Writers
Carmelo Torres Buffalo Emerson Annex
Jeffrey McMillan Buffalo Buffalo Visual & Performing Arts
Angel Reyes Dunkirk Dunkirk High School
Koty Leeper Dunkirk Dunkirk High School
Anthony Harrison East Ramapo Ramapo High School
Hanson Drysdale East Ramapo Spring Valley High School
Michael Zhang Hudson Hudson High School
Quintayvious Strickland Hudson Hudson High School
Isaac Butler Ithaca Ithaca High School
Marmadou Bah Ithaca Ithaca High School
David Weaver Lyons Lyons High School
Kerel Kelly Lyons Lyons High School
Ovidio Serrano Manhattan Pace High School
Samuel Conyers Jr.  Manhattan High School for Law and Public Service
D’Mario-Lee Budhi Mt. Vernon Thornton High School
Juan Franco Mt. Vernon Thornton High School
Jeremy Palemon Newburgh Newburgh Free Academy
Kameren King   Newburgh Newburgh Free Academy
Jorge Zhiminaicela Yumbla Ossining Ossining High School
Patrick Saint Ange Ossining Ossining High School
Dah’Shon C. Lee Poughkeepsie Poughkeepsie High School
Jaaquan Forrest  Poughkeepsie Poughkeepsie High School
Noel Diaz Queens Civic leadership Academy
Tadius Frank  Queens High School for Public Safety and Law Enforcement
Ja’Quez Cochran Rochester Leadership Academy for Young Men
Timothy Frazier Rochester Leadership Academy for Young Men
Daniel Annam Staten Island Susan Wagner High School
Grant Watkins Staten Island Port Richmond High School
Christopher Lopez Yonkers Lincoln High School
De’Andre Brown Yonkers Yonkers Middle High School


In 2014, former President Barack Obama established the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force at the federal level. The Task Force was an interagency effort focused on closing and eliminating the opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color so that all young people have the chance to reach their full potential. With the adoption of the 2016–17 New York State budget, New York became the first state to accept the President’s challenge and enacted the My Brother’s Keeper initiative into law. The budget included a $20 million investment in support of the initiative to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color. 

Visit the Department’s My Brother’s Keeper website for details on the initiative.