Bank Street Head Start Enjoys a Visit from New Chief Equity Officer

By Kiana Claudio

Raygine DiAquoiOn Wednesday, March 23, Bank Street’s new Chief Equity Officer, Dr. Raygine DiAquoi, visited Bank Street Head Start in the East Village of New York City. The Head Start team was excited to welcome Ray, who joins Bank Street from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, where she served as the inaugural director of the Office of Diversity. Ray also has hands-on experience in classroom settings as a second grade and middle school humanities teacher and as a professor at Brooklyn College’s School of Education and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

When Ray arrived at Bank Street Head Start, she was able to tour the facility and observe several classrooms in action, including activities like transitions, playtime, and circle time. Throughout her visit, she engaged with staff, discussing what she will look forward to most in her new role at Bank Street while also getting to know her new colleagues on a personal level. For example, she shared the joys and challenges of being a fairly new mother, discovered a shared video game interest with Lizette Otero, Head Start’s family advocate, and heard from Sylvie Hsiao-Yi Fan about her transition from a Head Start parent to her current role as assistant director.

Ray was excited to experience Bank Street’s approach to teaching and learning first-hand, noting, “Indeed, the children who ran up to me to hug me have many adults who are passionate about their growth and education at Head Start. Speaking with parents of former students, as well as staff members, it is apparent that the ‘Bank Street way’ is to take seriously our responsibility to provide children with the tools that will be needed to sustain the future that we envision for them, one that is characterized by empathetic listening, reflection, sensitivity, and joy.”

Ray’s work at Bank Street will focus on strengthening the College’s current equity work and creating an inclusive culture for all. The Head Start team was thrilled to meet Ray in person and looks forward to their continued work together.