Lester W. Young, Jr.
Lester W. Young, Jr. has made creating opportunities “where every student can be successful” the guiding principle of his more than 50 years of public service. He began his career with the New York City Department of Education, holding positions as: Teacher, Guidance Counselor, Supervisor of Special Education and Principal. During his tenure as Principal, PS 183 Brooklyn (Ocean-Hill Brownsville), was recognized as a School of Excellence by the United States Department of Education (USDOE) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED) in 1987.
Dr. Young also served as Assistant and Associate Commissioner with the NYSED (1988- 1993) and led the department’s efforts in NYC. Dr. Young’s portfolio included state-wide leadership responsibility for the Offices of School Improvement, Community Schools, Bilingual Education, and Migrant Services and Education.
In 1993, returning to his Brooklyn roots, Dr. Young was appointed to the position of Community Superintendent, CSD 13. As Superintendent, Dr. Young is credited for establishing two successful and highly sought-after schools (Benjamin Banneker Academy HS and Bedford Academy HS) as well as replicating the nationally recognized Algebra Project and Comer School Development Program. In 2000, Chancellor Harold Levy appointed Dr. Young to serve as Senior Superintendent (coordinating services in four Central Brooklyn Community School Districts). He also established and led the first N.Y.C. Office of Youth Development and School Community Services. In 2004, after 35 years of NYC public school service, Lester W. Young, Jr. retired from the NYCDOE. During the period 2004 – 2008 Dr. Young held the position of Visiting Professor at Long Island University, Graduate School of Education, Brooklyn Campus.
In March 2008 Lester W. Young, Jr. was appointed by the New York State Legislature as Regent At Large, The University of the State of New York and in April 2020 was appointed by the NYS Legislature to a fourth term as Regent At Large. At the January 2021 Board of Regents meeting, Dr. Young was unanimously elected by his peers to be Chancellor effective January 12, 2021. Dr. Young co-chairs the P-12 Education Committee and the Regents Workgroup on Early Learning and Early Childhood Education; he chairs the Regents Workgroup to Improve Outcomes for Boys and Young Men of Color. His leadership in this area led to the establishment of the NYS My Brother’s Keeper initiative and under the leadership of the NYS Legislature, New York State remains the only state in the nation to have the My Brother’s Keeper initiative enacted into NYS law.
Continuing his commitment to public service, in 2014 Dr. Young was appointed to the New York State Juvenile Justice Advisory Group. Additionally, he is a Trustee for the Adelaide L. Sanford Institute (ASI); and the Brooklyn Navy Yard Board. During his career Dr. Young has also been a Trustee on many not-for-profit boards serving the Brooklyn community (the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corp., and the Brooklyn Community Foundation).
Dr. Young volunteers as a mentor to superintendents, principals and aspiring leaders throughout New York City. He has been recognized by many local, national education, and civic education organizations for his professional contributions.
Dr. Young is profiled in Men of Courage II, documenting the lives and achievements of 27 African American Men. He is also a contributing writer to Child by Child: The Comer Process for Change in Education, 1999. Dr. Young is married to Dr. Renee Young and they are the proud parents of one son. Dr. Young received his Doctoral Degree in Education (Ed.D.) from Fordham University, specializing in Urban Education and Human Development; and the Master of Science Degree (M.S.) from Brooklyn College.