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July 22, 2020
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JP O'Hare

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

The State Education Department today named the third class of My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Fellows who have been identified as leaders in their MBK Communities and who will be provided with mentor relationship opportunities in government, education and business. The 71 Fellows, all high school juniors, represent 24 New York State school districts.

“This year’s class of My Brother’s Keeper Fellows are joining the program during a significant time in our country’s history,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa.  “The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the inequities that run throughout our education system. The Board of Regents and I are committed to ensuring that all children have access to high-quality learning opportunities and each of these young men will come away from the program with a unique perspective and the leadership skills to help address these issues head on.”

“I am proud to welcome the 2020 MBK Fellows, they join a remarkable group of young men that are learning to inspire change in their communities,” said Interim Commissioner Shannon Tahoe.  “I thank Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and his colleagues for their continued support of New York’s MBK Program and their commitment to advancing measures that create opportunities for success for all New Yorkers.”

“At no time in recent history has the mission of the My Brother’s Keeper Program been more significant, as people nationwide are demanding a response to anti Black racism,” Through MBK, we are removing barriers to opportunities and empowering young people to affect change in their communities,” Regent Lester W. Young said. “Education can play a substantial role in combatting the systemic racism throughout our society, which is why we will continue to grow this program and create a generation of leaders prepared for civic duty and a strong commitment to social justice.”

“New York’s MBK program continues to inspire young men of color to reach their greatest potential,” said NYS Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie. “This program strives to change the plight of young black men, giving them an opportunity to progress through mentorship as well as focused programming. During a time in our country where we are witnessing firsthand the impact of racial injustices and systemic racism, The My Brother’s Keeper initiative is needed now more than ever. Congratulations to the newest cohort of MBK fellows.”  

Each Fellow will be partnered with a mentor from a NYSMBK Community Network partner and be given the opportunity of a fellowship with one of our partners. They will also be required to develop and execute a service project related to a NYSMBK initiative such as:

  • Ensuring equitable access to high-quality schools and programs;
  • Expanding prevention, early warning and intervention services;
  • Responding to structural and institutional racism; or
  • Engaging families and communities in a trusted and respectful way.

In addition, Fellows will serve on a statewide MBK Fellows Workgroup to provide valuable input on the development and implementation of a statewide MBK Mentoring Network.

The approved MBK Community Networks were eligible to apply to the Fellows 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 program, each Community Network must secure a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with a local postsecondary education institution, local business or community-based organization.

2020 Fellows have had the opportunity to participate in the Stand and Deliver Retreat, The Village Meeting: “Needs, Deeds, and Impact during COVID-19” and a virtual Induction: “MBK Fellows Advice to Action.”  Additionally, each 2020 Fellow and mentor participated via conference call in a virtual mastermind study on the book  Madd Truth by Dr. Alphonso Wyatt with Dr. Don Applyrs, Director of Family and Community Engagement.

The 2020 MBK Fellows are:

2020 MBK Fellows
MBK Community Fellow School


Robert Glover

Albany High School

Jareem Morris

Albany High School


Ezequiel Diaz

Brentwood High School

Ronnel Doyle

Brentwood High School

Justin Espinal

Brentwood High School

Emerson Panameno

Brentwood High School


Gian Baez

Eagle Academy for Young Men

Elliot Ortiz

Bronx Studio for Writers and Artists    

Perbi Ebenezer

Academy for Scholarship and Entrepreneurship

Zadane Russell

Academy for Scholarship and Entrepreneurship


John Junior Beato

Bushwick Leaders High School for Academic Excellence

Jeremie Espinal

The School for Human Rights

Michael Muir

The School for Classics

Kenneth Usoh

Science Skills Center High School


Jariel Correa

McKinley High School

Richard Heard

Bennett High School

Ayan Malek

Riverside High School

Omar Pizzaro

McKinley High School

East Ramapo

Erick Carpio-Rosa

East Ramapo High School

Tchasky Mentor

Spring Valley High School


Johann Santiago

Woodlands Middle/High School

Eren Zulfikar

Woodlands Middle/High School


Michael Green

Hudson High School

Mark Williams

Hudson High School


Ja'Lyn Griffin

Ithaca High School

Mkhuzo Sokoni

Ithaca High School


Nathaniel Henry

Lyons Middle/High School

Ahmir James

Lyons Middle/High School


Justice Combest

Eagle Academy for Young Men of Harlem

Issouf Diarrassouba

Esperanza Preparatory Academy

Aldo Leon

Frank McCourt High School

Christopher Polanco

Frank McCourt High School


Carl Allen

Monticello High School

Mark Bellamy

Monticello High School

Mt. Vernon

Martinez Jean-Claude

STEAM Academy

Amir Quiles

STEAM Academy


Steven Acosta

Newburgh Free Academy Main

Kweku Antwi-Obeng

Newburgh Free Academy North

James Brantly


Julien Johnson

Newburgh Free Academy West

New Rochelle

Justin Clarke

New Rochelle High School

Sevien Caballero-Konah

New Rochelle High School

Dumyr Decime-Barlatier

New Rochelle High School

Samuel Elias Diaz

New Rochelle High School


Justin Linares

Ossining High School

Jaden Pass

Ossining High School


William Pani

Peekskill High School

Steven Ayala

Peekskill High School


Tehneil Cawley

Poughkeepsie High School


Jaylen Cameron-Rainey

Martin Van Buren High School

Mohamed Khan

Richmond Hill High School

Donovan Salomon

Martin Van Buren High School

Troy C. Williams II

Eagle Academy III


Rey Enrique Casiano

Leadership Academy for Young Men

Michael Ford

Leadership Academy for Young Men

Devonte Jackson

Leadership Academy for Young Men

Justice Presley

Leadership Academy for Young Men

Staten Island

Mark Ian Calica

Ralph R. McKee Career and Technical High School

Charles Okema

Port Richmond High School

Kareem Alkassar

Eagle Academy for Young Men Staten Island

Quincy Baker

Eagle Academy for Young Men Staten Island


Omar Hussein

Nottingham High School

Jonnouy Hay Powers

Institute of Technology at Central

Abdullahi Shirwa

Nottingham High School

Todrick Wilson

Institute of Technology at Central

White Plains

Andy Flores-Aguirre

White Plains High School

Joshua Tejada

White Plains High School


Giovanni C. Almonte

Saunders High School

Demetrie Gonzalez

Roosevelt High School

Michael Haws

Riverside High School

Tarquan D. Arthur Johnson

Yonkers Montessori Academy

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. 

NYSED has awarded $3.6 million in grants for the MBK Exemplary School Models and Practices Program. Grant recipients partner with demographically similar Struggling or Persistently Struggling schools in another district within their region to replicate exemplary practices that demonstrate cultural and linguistic responsiveness to emphasize the needs of boys and young men of color.

Also in 2018, NYSED awarded nearly $750,000 in grants to 11 school districts for the MBK Native American Program, to increase the academic achievement and college/career readiness of Native American students, with an emphasis on boys and young men.

Since 2016, NYSED has awarded more than $24 million in grants to 45 school districts for the My Brother’s Keeper Family and Community Engagement Program. These grants support programs to increase the academic achievement and college and career readiness of boys and young men of color while fostering the development of effective relationships with families to promote the success of all students.

NYSED has awarded $28 million in MBK Challenge Grants since 2016 to 40 school districts. The MBK Challenge Grant Program is designed to encourage regions and school districts to develop and execute coherent cradle-to-career college strategies. These programs are aimed to develop and sustain effective relationships with families of boys and young men of color toward the goal of success for all students.

Also since 2016, NYSED awarded $12 million in Teacher Opportunity Corps II (TOC II) Grants to increase the participation rate of historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged individuals in teaching careers. NYSED awarded grants to 16 colleges and universities to help them bolster the retention of highly qualified individuals who value equity and reflect the diversity inside and outside of our classrooms, particularly in high-need schools with recurrent teacher shortages. 

Visit the Department’s My Brother’s Keeper website for details on this movement and for information on how to subscribe to the MBK Newsletter, "Changing the Narrative."