Dennis Walcott has proven to be a dedicated public servant, motivated by the idea that every child, regardless of where they are from, is entitled to an education. From his time teaching kindergarten in South Jamaica at the Amistad Child Care and Family Center, Dennis Walcott saw a need for children in low-income and minority neighborhoods to be given the same opportunities and support other children receive. His potential was tapped by the Harlem Dowling-Westside Center for Child and Family Services, the first black-run adoption agency in New York. His work in education and government made him the natural choice for schools chancellor of the New York City Department of Education.
The position was not easy, but Dennis remained the consummate professional. I think his patience and ability to understand parents, teachers and administrators stem from his long history with the public school system. As a result of his service, I got to know Dennis Walcott’s work, history and his steadfast dedication to bettering our city’s education system.
A year ago, he completed a report on the East Ramapo School District in his capacity as monitor of the troubled district. His findings were fair in that it treated all children fairly and included recommendations to improve the district. This demonstrated Dennis’ innate sense of decency and understanding of the issues.
Dennis could have easily moved to the suburbs, Manhattan or brownstone in Brooklyn, but he has chosen to remain in his home community in Southeast Queens. He knows where the borough has been and where it’s headed and was the perfect choice to head the Queens borough Public Library. He is practical, but also a fighter who will make decisions that benefit the community. He took over during a period of turmoil and uncertainty but he has provided the stability and leadership qualities needed. I am proud to have known Dennis for as long as I have and I thoroughly enjoy working with him again. I wish to congratulate him on being named Person of the Year and cannot wait to see what new heights the Queens Library will reach under his leadership.