Ninfa Segarra (born June 4, 1950) is the last President of the New York City Board of Education. She served as President of the Board from 2000 to 2002 when the Board was abolished by the State of New York and power of the city schools was transferred to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Early life and educationEdit
Ninfa Segarra was born on June 4, 1950 to working-class Puerto Rican parents and grew up in the LaGuardia Houses on the Lower East Side. She attended Our Lady of Sorrows parochial school and Cathedral High School. In the ninth grade, she began joining protests championing Latino rights. While attending New York University (NYU) for undergrad, she worked for the ASPIRA Association, a left leaning group that works to empower Latino youth. She received her bachelor's in 1973 and attended New York Law School, graduating in 1982.
In 1990, then Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer appointed Segarra to the Board of Education having promised to appoint a Latino with children in the school system during his election campaign. On the Board, Segarra became a voice for conservative social values, most notably her role against Schools Chancellor Joseph A. Fernandez in a debate over condoms and social issues feeling they should be taught at schools citing the AIDS epidemic. As a Democrat, she later joined three conservative voices on the Board against an opt out plan for parents who didn't want their children to be taught these issues. This tipped the balance of power, cancelled the whole program, and prompted Fernandez to call her a "political prostitute." She again joined forces with the conservatives to cancel Fernandez's contract in 1993. She later ran afoul of Ferrer, who asked her to resign. She dismissed the calls for her resignation and endorsed Rudy Giuliani for mayor in 1993.
After being elected mayor in 1993, Giuliani's first appointment was of Segarra as a Deputy Mayor for Education and Human Services of New York City. As deputy mayor, Segarra oversaw education, health, and youth issues for the mayor, along with community outreach. Critics took issue with her appointment citing her lack of experience in the diverse fields and experience running only a small city agency. Giuliani also appointed Segarra as one of his two appointees to the Board of Education in 1993. Serving in two roles government roles placed Segarra in a political spotlight. Critics cited a conflict of interest, saying the Deputy Mayor is beholden to the mayoral administration and by holding that role, Segarra wouldn't effectively advocate for children of the city. In 2000, she became President of the Board and supported its abolition by Giuliani in 2001. In total, Ms. Segarra served on the Board of Education from July 1990 to June 2002.
Segarra stepped down as deputy mayor in 2000 to first assume a position at the City University of New York (CUNY) as vice president for intercampus collaboration. She became the Executive Director of the New York City Police Museum in 2002 after being unable to provide her work schedules at CUNY in response to a request filed by the faculty union.
Segarra met her first husband, Jose Segarra while attending NYU. The couple later had two children, Pablo (born 1983) and Alynda (born 1987). In 1989, Segarra split from Segarra, and Pablo lived with him while Alynda lived with her aunt and uncle in the Bronx. Alynda later went on to become frontwoman of Hurray for the Riff Raff. She later remarried Larry Allison.
- Wyatt, Edward (2001-04-05). "Woman in the News; Ideological Wanderer -- Ninfa Segarra". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-10-04.
- LLC, New York Media (1994-01-17). New York Magazine. New York Media, LLC.
- "Segarra: A Democratic Enigma in a Republican City Hall". NY Times. May 31, 1994. Retrieved 2019-10-04.
- "Ninfa Segarra". The New York Times. 2001-04-04. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-10-04.
- "Press Release Archives - MAYOR GIULIANI ANNOUNCES DEPUTY MAYOR FOR EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES NINFA SEGARRA HAS ACCEPTED A POSITION AT CUNY". www.nyc.gov. Retrieved 2019-10-04.
- Seifman, David (2001-12-27). "EMBATTLED RUDY CRONY LANDS COP-MUSEUM GIG". New York Post. Retrieved 2019-10-04.
William C. Thompson Jr.
| President of the New York City Board of Education
2000 – 2002