Crystal McQueen-Taylor, a veteran educator, advocate, and charter school parent with deep ties to every facet of New York’s school system, will be the next Executive Director of StudentsFirstNY, the group announced today. McQueen-Taylor, who has served as the organization’s Chief Advocacy Officer since 2020, succeeds former Executive Director Jenny Sedlis, who served in the role from 2013-2021.
Politico Pro’s New York Education [August 10, 2022]: NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR CHARTER GROUP — Pro-charter group StudentsFirstNY has named Crystal McQueen-Taylor its next executive director. She has served as the organization’s chief advocacy officer since 2020.
“After two years of unprecedented upheaval, parents and students need fighters on their side more than ever,” McQueen-Taylor said in a statement. “StudentsFirstNY listens to what parents and students are demanding of our public education system, and it’s the honor of a lifetime to lead the organization through such a critical moment."=
A daughter of Grenadian immigrants, her mother fought for her to get the opportunity to take the Gifted and Talented exam, which she took in the local school district janitorial closet. She also received a scholarship to attend boarding school and graduated from Brown University. She worked as a public school teacher in the Bronx while completing her master’s degree coursework at Bank Street College of Education. She also served as the regional senior director for Uncommon Schools, a public charter school network.
As chief advocacy officer for StudentsFirstNY, she led a coalition to safeguard charter per-pupil spending during the Covid-19 pandemic. She also worked on the group’s campaign activity and built support for pro-student policies among elected officials. In December, she was appointed to Mayor Eric Adams’ education transition committee.
She succeeds Jenny Sedlis, who served in the position from 2013 to 2021. Sedlis, who ran the independent expenditure (IE) group supporting Adams’ mayoral candidacy and founded Moonshot Strategies last fall, transitioned to a senior adviser role and will continue to be active in the organization.
— The organization’s IE, New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany, will invest seven figures across four Senate races this year to support state Sen. Kevin Parker, state Senate candidate Angel Vasquez, state Senate candidate Miguelina Camilo and Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernández, who is running for state Senate. — Madina Touré