Dennis Walcott

Dennis M. Walcott (born September 7, 1951) was the Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education. He succeeded Cathie Black, who resigned in April 2011 after only three months on the job.[1] He was succeeded as chancellor by Carmen Fariña.[2]

Dennis M. Walcott
Dennis Walcott
New York City Schools Chancellor
In office
April 17, 2011 – December 31, 2013
Appointed byMichael Bloomberg
Preceded byCathie Black
Succeeded byCarmen Fariña
Deputy Mayor of New York City for Education
In office
January 2002 – April 17, 2011
MayorMichael Bloomberg
Personal details
Born (1951-09-07) September 7, 1951 (age 70)
Queens, New York
NationalityUnited States
Spouse(s)Denise St. Hill
Alma materUniversity of Bridgeport (B.Ed., M.Ed.)
Fordham University (MSW)

Although Walcott lacks training as a schools administrator,[3] he served nine years as New York City Deputy Mayor for Education and was a member of the NYC Board of Education. He required a waiver from the New York State Education Department under Education Commissioner David M. Steiner. Walcott is a former employee at Amistad Day Care Center[4][5] and holds a master's degrees in the education field.

Prior to joining Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2002 as Deputy Mayor for Education, he headed the New York chapter of the Urban League.[3][6] In March 2016, Walcott was selected as President and CEO of the Queens Library.[7][8] and was criticized [9] for overseeing the Library's first branch closure despite increased funding.[10]

Early life and educationEdit

Walcott is the son of immigrants from Barbados and St. Croix.[3][11] He is a native of Queens, New York. He attended Francis Lewis High School,[12] and he earned a bachelor's degree in 1973 and a master's degree in 1974 from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. He earned a Master's in Social Work from Fordham University in 1980.[13]

Walcott's early employment was in counseling.[6] In 1974, he began a one and a half year tenure at the privately run pre-kindergarten Amistad Child Care and Family Center in South Jamaica, Queens.[14]

Public service workEdit

In 1975, Walcott founded the Frederick Douglass Brother-to-Brother mentoring program. He went on to become president and chief executive of the New York Urban League for 12 years, where he expanded educational and youth service programs. He also served as executive director of the Harlem Dowling Westside Center, expanding services to children and families in need. In 1993 Mayor David Dinkins appointed him to the predecessor agency to the Department of Education, the New York City Board of Education. His term extended into the mayoral term of previous mayor Rudy Giuliani.[3] He also taught as an adjunct professor of Social Work at York College, and was a talk show radio host on community issues.[15]

Under Walcott's direct leadership, after 30 years, the Queens Public Library closed their first Library branch [16] ever in Court Square in Long Island City despite increased funding for Libraries by the City,[10] the area's population growth and multiple efforts by community members to ensure continuous library service. Local Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer condemned [9] Dennis Walcott for his inability to prevent the closure despite years of notice in advance [17] of the situation.

East Ramapo oversightEdit

Walcott was assigned to review the budgetary and academic failures in the East Ramapo Central School District, which is mostly made up of Orthodox Jews. He angered some in the community in December 2015 when he recommended that the state assign a committee with veto power to oversee the school board, and that boys and girls use the same bus services, something not permitted by the community's rabbis.[18][19]

Personal lifeEdit

Walcott and his wife Denise have four children and eight grandchildren, who have attended New York City Public Schools.


  1. ^ "Walcott on New York Times". Last updated: April 7, 2011. New York Times. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d Daniel Massey, "Meet the new guy: Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott", "Crain's New York Business," April 7, 2011
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-22. Retrieved 2011-04-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Amistad Day Care Center - Jamaica, New York - NY - School overview. Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  6. ^ a b New York City Department of Education website, February 2009, "Q+A with Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott"
  7. ^ Rojas, Rick (2016-03-01). "Dennis Walcott, Former Schools Chancellor, Is Named C.E.O. of Queens Library". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-02-05.
  8. ^ "DENNIS M. WALCOTT SELECTED AS PRESIDENT & CEO | Queens Library". Queens Library. Retrieved 2017-02-05.
  9. ^ a b "Long Island City councilman condemns Queens Public Library president for closure of Court Square branch". Queens. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  10. ^ a b "Public libraries bolstered by historic budget increase". Queens Eagle. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  11. ^ Springer, Bevan (5 August 2010). "Mayor Bloomberg to host West Indians at Gracie Mansion". Caribbean360. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  12. ^ Enis, Matt; Peet, Lisa (March 15, 2016). "Dennis Walcott Named CEO of Queens Library". Library Journal (New York). Vol. 141, Iss. 5.
  13. ^ Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  14. ^ Dennis Walcott Waiver Letter. (2013-07-22). Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  15. ^ "Dennis M. Walcott". Office of the Mayor. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  16. ^ "Queens Library Media Release". QueensLibrary. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  17. ^ "Court Square Library's Lease is About to End; May Soon be Looking for New Home". Queens. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  18. ^ "Rockland County Orthodox Jewish Legislator Aron Wieder Resigns As Democratic Head Of Legislature". News 12. December 17, 2015. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  19. ^ Donn, Yochonon (December 14, 2015). "Ramapo Yeshivos in Shock at Monitor's Call for Veto Power". Hamodia. Retrieved December 26, 2015.
Educational offices
Preceded by
Cathie Black
New York City
Schools Chancellor

April 17, 2011-December 31, 2013
Succeeded by
Carmen Fariña