News and Speeches

Chancellor Walcott Announces Retirement of Deputy Chancellor Laura Rodriguez

04/16/2012

Corinne Rello-Anselmi Appointed Deputy Chancellor for Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners

Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott today announced the retirement of Deputy Chancellor Laura Rodriguez after 34 years of service to New York City public schools. As Deputy Chancellor for Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners, Ms. Rodriguez oversaw programs for hundreds of thousands of New York City’s most vulnerable children. Under her leadership, the Department launched a citywide reform to educate more students with disabilities alongside their peers, challenging a culture of separation that had existed in schools for decades. As a result of her work, thousands of students with disabilities across the City will be able to attend their neighborhood schools next fall and have access to a greater number of options in the future. Chancellor Walcott also announced today that effective July 1, Ms. Rodriguez will be replaced by Corinne Rello-Anselmi, who has served in New York City schools for 33 years and currently oversees 324 schools as leader of 12 school support networks. Prior to that, Ms. Rello-Anselmi was a deputy superintendent for special education, after serving 10 years as Principal of PS 108 in the Bronx, a school where she was a recipient of the Teacher’s College Cahn Fellowship for Distinguished Principals. Ms. Rello-Anselmi earned her Masters in special education from New York University and began her career at PS 108 as a teacher of students with disabilities.

“The Department of Education, advocates, and school communities will sorely miss Laura’s dedication and commitment to serving students with disabilities and English Language Learners,” said Chancellor Walcott. “Laura and I have worked closely together for years, and I have seen first-hand her professionalism, compassion for students, and genuine interest in building relationships with community groups and families. We look forward to building on Laura’s tremendous work as we expand our citywide reform of special education in the coming years.”

"As a graduate of New York City public schools, it has been a privilege and honor to serve our students and school communities throughout my career,” said Deputy Chancellor Rodriguez. “I know that the Department will continue the important and urgent work of improving education for English Language Learners and students with disabilities. I sincerely thank our leadership, my wonderful team, and all my colleagues and partners for their commitment to this work.”

Ms. Rodriguez began her work in New York City public schools in 1978. Prior to serving as a Deputy Chancellor, Ms. Rodriguez led the Department’s Leadership Learning Support Organization (LLSO), overseeing 136 schools and 76,000 students. Ms. Rodriguez began her career as a teacher of English Language Learners and held numerous positions in the Department of Education over the years, including: Regional Superintendent in the Bronx, Deputy Superintendent for Instruction in the Bronx, and Director of High School Bilingual Education and English as a Second Language. As Regional Superintendent in the Bronx, Ms. Rodriguez was one of the early leaders of the Mayor’s small school initiative and was responsible for the opening of 53 new small schools in the East Bronx.

As part of the transition announced today, the Executive Director of the Office of English Language Learners, Angelica Infante, will be promoted to serve as a member of the Chancellor’s cabinet and report to Ms. Rello-Anselmi. In that role, Ms. Infante will oversee a comprehensive action plan developed last year to add 125 new bilingual and dual-language programs in New York City, improve the process for immigrant families to choose appropriate programs for their children, and strengthen services for students who are long-term English Language Learners. The Department will also institute regular oversight to ensure that schools are offering the required range of options – bilingual, English as a Second Language (ESL) and dual-language programs – to eligible families.

Programs for students with disabilities and English Language Learners serve hundreds of thousands of students in New York City: 14.3 percent of New York City’s student population is still learning English, while 16.2 percent have a disability that requires special attention in school. There are more than 176 languages spoken in the City’s public schools.