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NY Post
New York Post
6 Jan 2024

NextImg:NYC Schools Chancellor David Banks loses 3rd chief of staff in 2 years, key staffer on migrant influx

Schools Chancellor David Banks has lost his third chief of staff in two years, leaving a major void in city Department of Education leadership, The Post has learned.

Melissa Aviles-Ramos — Banks’ point person on the migrant student influx — is leaving the city Department of Education, where she makes $210,000 a year, to join private Monroe College on Feb. 5 as Vice President of College Readiness and Success, a newly created position.

Ramos, 41, took the lead in welcoming and serving some 30,000 children of asylum seekers in city schools since last year, acting as the administration’s voice on questions such as enrollment, vaccination, and transportation to classes.

At Monroe, which has campuses in The Bronx, New Rochelle and St. Lucia, Ramos will focus on programs to help high-school students, including many who backslid academically during the pandemic — prepare for college, and stick with it after getting in, said spokeswoman Jacqueline Ruegger.

NYC Schools Chancellor David Banks at a press conference discussing migrant children education issues. William Farrington

“Melissa’s strong background as an educator, tireless energy, and student-centric values make her a great fit for the role,” Ruegger said.

Ramos rose through the NYC school system in nearly 17 years with the DOE. Her tenure included serving as principal of Schuylerville Preparatory High School in The Bronx from 2016 to 2020, then as a deputy and acting superintendent.

After a year as chancellor, Banks’ named her chief of staff in January 2023. She replaced Juan J. Rosales, who served for a year in that post. He is now an administrator at SUNY.

Melissa Aviles-Ramos is leaving the city Department of Education to join private Monroe College. William Farrington

Rosales replaced Banks’ first chief of staff, Savita Bharadwa, who was soon removed from the position and made Chief Strategy Officer, but quit in June with City Hall saying  “it was best to part ways with this employee.”

The instability of Banks’ leadership team does not bode well, said David Bloomfield, a Brooklyn College and CUNY Grad Center education professor.

“Churn in the top ranks of a weakened chancellor apparently unable to stave off massive budget cuts is never good for the schools,” Bloomfield said.

New York Schools Chancellor David Banks annd Mayor Eric Adams made an environmental and schools-related announcement at City Hall, Tuesday morning. William Farrington

Banks, while padding the bureaucracy, has struggled with safety concerns, dissatisfaction with the curriculum and training for his new reading initiative, and lately charges of antisemitism in city schools.

The chancellor had no comment on Ramos’ departure or her replacement. She did not return a message.