Angélica Infante-Green, a member of the Chiefs for Change Future Chiefs program, was confirmed today as Rhode Island commissioner of elementary and secondary education. She will be the first person of color to lead the state’s Department of Education.
Infante-Green has served as deputy commissioner of the Office of Instructional Support P-12 in New York State. She was a member of the inaugural cohort of the Chiefs for Change Future Chiefs program, which was created to address the lack of practical preparation for the complex job of leading state and large urban school systems. The program identifies some of the most talented, diverse emerging leaders, integrates them into a community of practice with current chiefs, and gives them a set of experiences and preparation that will enable education systems to choose skilled, ready leaders.
“We applaud Gov. Gina Raimondo for selecting a commissioner with a deep commitment to creating and expanding opportunities for all students,” said Pedro Martinez, a member of the Board of Directors of Chiefs for Change and the superintendent of the San Antonio Independent School District. “Through her leadership in the New York State and New York City education departments, Angélica Infante-Green has proven that she truly is a champion for every child. Her relentless drive for educational equity is rooted in her personal experience as a Latina attending and teaching in public schools. Students and families in Rhode Island will benefit from Angélica’s extensive leadership experience and her dedication to strengthening all public schools.”
In New York, Infante-Green oversaw the Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages; the Data Systems and Educational Technology Office; the Office of Assessment, Standards, and Curriculum; the Office of Special Education; and the Office of District and School Review. During her tenure leading P-12 Instructional Support efforts, New York students made gains on both math and English assessments, and the state narrowed opportunity gaps for black and Latinx students. In her previous role as the associate commissioner for bilingual education and world languages, she spearheaded the release of the nationally-recognized Blueprint for English Language Learners’ Success, a statewide framework that establishes clear expectations for administrators, policymakers, and practitioners to prepare English Language Learners for academic success. Prior to her work at the New York State Education Department, she was executive director of the Office of English Language Learners and assistant superintendent of the New York City Department of Education under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein.
“Only a handful of state education leaders are Latinx or black despite the fact that nearly half of all children currently under the age of five are people of color, according to Census data,” said Layla Avila, CEO and executive director of Education Leaders of Color. “There is a wealth of experience, knowledge, and creative capital embodied in leaders of color that is vastly under-leveraged in the field of education. That is why we are excited about Angélica Infante-Green. Education Leaders of Color believes that shaping and scaling sustainable solutions designed to close the educational opportunity gap among black, Latino, and low-income students will require leaders like Angélica. She will leverage her experience as a first generation American, as a practitioner, and as a parent to ensure students have the educational experiences they need and deserve to give our students real options and move them out of poverty.”
Infante-Green is the daughter of immigrants from the Dominican Republic and began her career as a public school teacher in New York City. She is married and has two children. To hear Infante-Green explain what will be important to her as commissioner, please watch this video, and to learn more about the Future Chiefs program, please see this piece.