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The Next Generation of Political Leaders in New York
September 28th, 2009
Chief Family Engagement Officer, Department of Education
Few people make a career jump like Martine Guerrier did in 2007. After almost 10 years as a mom—an outspoken, critical public school mom—Guerrier was offered a $150,000 salary by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to keep doing what she was doing, as the Department of Education’s chief family engagement officer.
As the official in-house independent voice for families, Guerrier has criticized the city’s education policy over the last two years.
Some parents have accused her of selling out, but she said her involvement was never about confrontation and protest.
“Sometimes you have to say no, but it has to be meaningful. You have to have a solution,” she said. “We all do better when we have a really good mix of voices.”
The child of a Haitian family in Brooklyn, Guerrier ran in 1998 for a spot on the local community school board before her son entered kindergarten. From there, she took a series of jobs at non-profits and was appointed as the Brooklyn representative on a citywide panel. When her current job ends, she plans to continue in politics on her own steam, maybe at the state level.
How did your past jobs get you to where you are now? They gave me the technical skills I need to understand the practical applications of running a major organization efficiently, and maintaining a strong vision that has the potential to impact millions of people—if you don’t have a strong vision, it’s really hard to keep things moving.
In five years, what will it say on your business card? Chief Mom of New York State. In 10 years? Governor.
If you were not working in politics, what would you be doing? I would probably be a lobbyist or working at a corporate foundation.
Who would play you in the movie? Gabrielle Union