Tiffany Lankes is the communications director for The Education Trust–New York. She works to elevate an ambitious policy agenda focused on eliminating the gaps in equity and opportunity that hold back too many students from reaching their full potential and aiming to enable all students in New York State to achieve at high levels — from early childhood through college.
Tiffany joined Ed Trust–NY after working for 14 year as an education reporter writing about schools in Florida, Rochester and Buffalo. Her work as a journalist helped her develop a deep understanding of – and desire to close – the gaps in access and opportunity that become barriers for many groups of students. She has written in-depth articles and narratives exploring the challenges facing students with disabilities, immigrants, and young men of color.
Having lived in Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, Tiffany is deeply familiar with Upstate New York’s largest cities. She attended Syracuse University and holds degrees in newspaper journalism and policy studies.
When she is not advocating for educational equity, she enjoys cooking, fitness, and unwinding with her cat, Chance the Napper.
What drew you to education?
I kind of stumbled onto the education beat when I started working as a reporter, but immediately loved visiting classrooms and sharing stories of the important work that happens there. I quickly came to see the beat from a social justice perspective, and focused my reporting on the challenges children face and how we as a society can set all students up for a bright future.
I was always proud – and grateful – when a story I wrote inspired readers to take action improving the lives of kids. One of my favorite examples of that came out of a series I wrote about an elementary school program aimed at helping young men of color be successful. Following the series, a donor set up a scholarship fund guaranteeing to pay tuition for young men enrolled in the program who went on to graduate from high school.
Why are you passionate about working at Ed Trust?
I truly believe we can address many broader societal problems and inequities by focusing on children. Much of that work can happen in school systems. By honestly identifying the barriers – and actively looking for solutions – we can create more opportunities for all people.