Crystal McQueen-Taylor has served as StudentsFirstNY’s Executive Director since August 2022. She brings experience with every level of education in New York. A daughter of Grenadian immigrants, she attended elementary school at P.S. 279 in Brooklyn. Her mother fought for the opportunity for Crystal to take the Gifted and Talented exam, which she took in the local school district janitorial closet. Crystal went on to earn a scholarship to boarding school, and graduated from Brown University with honors, becoming the first college graduate in her family.
She started her professional career as a New York City public school teacher in the Bronx, while completing her Masters Degree coursework at Bank Street College of Education. She later joined TNTP, where she led the NYC Teaching Fellows, the largest alternative teacher certification program in the country. Before joining StudentsFirstNY, McQueen-Taylor served as the Regional Senior Director for Uncommon Schools, a public charter school network, where she managed district charter partnerships, advocacy, parent organizing, and governance.
As StudentsFirstNY’s Chief Advocacy Officer, Crystal led a coalition of advocates and schools to protect charter per-pupil funding during the COVID-19 pandemic. She coordinated the group’s campaign activity and built relationships with elected officials across the State Senate and Assembly to build support for pro-student policies.
In December 2021, she was appointed to Mayor Adams’ education transition committee.
Crystal lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son. She is a proud public charter school parent.
Senior Advisor of StudentsFirstNY
Jenny Sedlis transitioned to Senior Advisor in 2021 after having led the organization as Executive Director from 2013 to 2021.
Angelia DickensGeneral Counsel
Angelia Dickens is the General Counsel of StudentsFirstNY and its related entities. Previously, Ms. Dickens established and operated the legal department of StudentsFirst, a national advocacy organization founded by Michelle Rhee, from 2011 until its merger in 2016.