Who We Are

The Education Trust–New York is a statewide education policy and advocacy organization focused first and foremost on doing right by New York’s children. Although many organizations speak up for the adults employed by schools and colleges, we advocate for students, especially those whose needs and potential are often overlooked.

All students need access to a high-quality, rigorous education to prepare for the opportunities and demands of the world beyond school. But too many young people — disproportionately Black, Latinx, and American Indian students and students from low-income backgrounds — are getting an education that falls far short.

Disrupting these inequitable patterns and raising achievement for all students will require major interventions in early childhood education, K-12 public schools, and higher education.

Through strong partnerships with equity-driven advocates, educators, and state leaders and our deep commitment to transparent data, we build a broad awareness of gaps in education equity and opportunity. We foster ideas that create lasting change, and inspire public and political will to advocate for policies and initiatives that will enable every young person in the state to achieve his or her full potential from early childhood through college completion and career attainment.

Ed Trust–NY and our partners will seek to answer the following challenging questions in four priority policy areas:

PRIORITY: High-quality early care and education for all children
  • How can New York accelerate the pace of significantly expanded access to pre-kindergarten while ensuring quality, high standards, and transparency?
  • How can policy decisions and resource allocations support a strategy for early childhood care and learning that begin with birth — not pre‑K?
PRIORITY: Opportunities for all students to learn and succeed
  • Given the paramount importance of teacher effectiveness to student learning, what strategies will enable the state to maximize access to excellent teachers and school and district leaders, especially by low-income students and students of color?
  • How can the state arrive at a funding system that achieves the goal of providing adequate and equitable resources for all schools — particularly those that serve low-income students and students of color — and ensures that funds are wisely invested to produce high student achievement?
  • What strategies can New York adopt to foster empathy in our education system and recognize that social and emotional learning advances students’ lifelong success?
  • How can New York reform disciplinary policies and practices and enact redemption strategies that enable young people who have dropped out and/or entered the criminal justice system to re-engage with education, thereby ending the school-to-prison pipeline?
PRIORITY: Equitable implementation of high standards for college and career readiness
  • How can New York State achieve the equitable and sustainable implementation of rigorous academic standards that provide the framework to prepare all students for college and careers?
  • With the enactment of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), how can the state establish a strong accountability system that creates a pathway for long-term achievement gains?
  • Based on early reports suggesting that certain personalized learning models can accelerate student achievement and engagement, how can New York create, support, and promote an environment for personalized learning to succeed?
  • Recognizing that one-size-fits-all approaches do not enable all students to find their learning passions and connect to higher education and the workforce, how can the state develop rigorous pathways for students to meet high standards?
PRIORITY: College completion and success in the workforce
  • In what ways can the state promote college access and ensure affordability — helping students avoid crushing levels of student loan debt — especially for low-income students, students of color, and first-generation and non-traditional college students?
  • How can state leaders prioritize student completion as an essential third pillar alongside access and affordability?
  • How can New York learn from and institutionalize promising practices, encourage innovation, and promote the necessary resources and incentives to make key reforms a reality at scale?

Our Core Beliefs


A student’s zip code and starting circumstances do not have to determine her future.

Education has the transformative power to close the opportunity gaps that separate far too many students of color and students from low-income households in New York from their white and more affluent peers.


Education neither begins with pre-kindergarten nor ends when a student earns a high school diploma.

Closing the opportunity gap requires highly organized and aligned policies and initiatives across multiple sectors (public, private, and nonprofit), built on a coordinated commitment to high levels of achievement for all children and extending from early childhood through college completion and participation in the workforce.


All students can and will learn at high levels when they are taught at high levels.


New York’s education system must foster empathy and provide opportunities for students who have left the system to reconnect with school and participate fully in their own education.

School districts must meet students where they are to ensure they not only earn a diploma but have ample opportunities for success after graduation, whatever their goals may be.

Meet Our Staff

Office of the Director

Arlen Benjamin-Gomez

Arlen Benjamin-Gomez

Executive Director

Jeff Smink

Jeff Smink

Deputy Director

Sally Mayes

Sally Mayes

Chief of Staff


Elizabeth Chmurak

Elizabeth Chmurak

Communications Director

Liz Warden

Liz Warden

Senior Digital Communications Manager


Policy, Advocacy, Research

Lara Kyriakou

Lara Kyriakou

Associate Director of Early Childhood Education Policy and Advocacy

Satoria Ray

Satoria Ray

Policy Analyst

Jenn O' Connor

Jenn O' Connor

Director of Partnerships and Early Childhood Policy

Briana Brady

Briana Brady

Policy Fellow

Melanie Quiroz

Melanie Quiroz

Senior Data and Research Analyst

Our Advisory Board

Stan Litow

Professor, Columbia University and Duke University Innovator in Residence, Duke University

Danielle Guindo

Executive Director, Read Alliance

Tiffany Lankes

Communications Director for the College of Arts, Science, & Engineering, University of Rochester

Amber Rangel Mooney

Director of Workforce Development, The Business Council of New York State

Shaun Nelms

William and Sheila Konar Director for the Center for Urban Education Success, University of Rochester

Lisette Nieves

President of the Fund for the City of New York

Samuel L. Radford III

Past President, Buffalo District-Parent Coordinating Council of Buffalo, Co-Chairperson, We the Parents

Arva R. Rice

President and CEO, New York URBAN League

Evan Stone

Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Educators for Excellence

A heartful thanks to

Our Supporters:

Check out how we have grown our reach and impact on the movement focused on education equity for all of New York’s students.

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report

Annual Report