Lester W. Young, Jr.
Lester W. Young, Jr. has made creating opportunities “where every student can be successful” the guiding principle of his public service career of more than 40 years. He has held several positions in the New York City Department of Education that include: Teacher, Guidance Counselor, and Supervisor of Special Education. Dr. Young was appointed Principal of The General Daniel “Chappie” James Jr. School, (PS 183 CSD 23 Brooklyn) in 1983. During his tenure as Principal, PS 183 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 was recruited by Commissioner Thomas Sobel to serve in the positions of Assistant and Associate Commissioner of Education with the NYSED in 1988 and led the department’s efforts in NYC (including establishing the Brooklyn Office of NYSED located at 55 Hanson Place, Brooklyn). As Associate Commissioner, 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 he established some of the more successful high schools (Benjamin Banneker Academy HS and Bedford Academy HS) and middle schools (Park Place Community Middle School and Satellite Three) in New York City as well as replicating the nationally recognized Algebra Project and Comer School Development Program. As a result of his demonstrated leadership skills, Chancellor Harold Levy appointed Dr. Young to serve as Senior Superintendent in 2000 (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 to serve out the unexpired term of Vice Chancellor Emerita, Dr. Adelaide L. Sanford and he is currently serving his third term as Regent At Large. 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 Speaker Carl Heastie and 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 (NYS MBK, in just four years, has grown from five communities in 2016 to 25 communities and seven of the nine Tribal Nations in 2020). Significant Board of Regents Publications sponsored under his leadership include:
The New York State Education Department My Brother’s Keeper Guidance Document: Emerging Practices for Schools and Communities, December 2016 - https://www.regents.nysed.gov/common/regents/files/MLK%20Brief-FINAL%2012-5-16.pdf
NYS Board of Regents Early Childhood Workgroup’s Blue Ribbon Committee Report and Recommendations, September 2018 - http://www.p12.nysed.gov/earlylearning/documents/ECBRCFinalReport2018.pdf
Continuing his commitment to public service, in 2014 Dr. Young was appointed to the New York State Juvenile Justice Advisory Group. Additionally, he serves on the Design Team for the Brooklyn STEAM Center. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/10/nyregion/brooklyn-navy-yard-vocationa...
Dr. Young is currently the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Adelaide L. Sanford Institute (ASI), a not-for-profit organization serving Central Brooklyn that:
- Empowers parents by enhancing their understanding of the current New York State education reforms;
- Engages community leaders to develop neighborhood-based strategies and policies designed to marshal the human and cultural capital necessary to guarantee that our youth are college and career ready; and
- Provides youth leadership opportunities that increase their self-esteem, communication skills, world view exposure, and problem-solving ability.
He also serves on the Brooklyn Navy Yard Board of Trustees and the Mayor’s Community School’s Advisory Board. During his career Dr. Young has also served on many advisory 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. Additionally, he is a life member of the National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE) and the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
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 are the proud parents of one son.