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New York, NY July 8th 2019 – The Committee for Hispanic Children & Families (CHCF) welcomes Dr. Cristina Meléndez to the CHCF team as its new Director of Programs. “More than 40% of NYC public school students identify as Latino,” stated Dr. Meléndez. “I am honored to join an organization that is committed to supporting the educational advancement of all students with a keen understanding of the experiences of the Latino population.”

Most recently, Dr. Meléndez served as the Director of School Renewal for the New York City Department of Education, a role tasked with increasing the accountability and levels of improvement for 94 schools across the city. Within this role, she implemented sustainable evaluation processes at five low-achieving schools. Her success in facilitating long-term strategic planning was also seen during her tenure as Chief Strategy Officer at the NYC Department of Design and Construction. There, she created a STEAM careers pipeline from middle school to employment and established a mentorship program. Previously, Dr. Meléndez has served as an Assistant Principal, Achievement Coach, and Bilingual Educator, all within the New York Department of Education.

Dr. Meléndez recently completed her Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focused on examining Latino parenting practices, specifically those of Dominicans. She holds a B.S. from Cornell University; a M.A. in International/Trans-Cultural Studies and a M.Ed. in Organization and Leadership, both from Columbia University. Dr. Meléndez is the first in her family to attend college. She is the daughter of a Dominican immigrant and single mom who worked in the garment industry.

“Both Dr. Meléndez’s academic and professional background, coupled with her devotion to creating education equity, demonstrate why she is the perfect fit for our Director of Programs,” said Ramon Peguero, Esq., President and CEO of CHCF. “We are thrilled to have her join our organization and look forward to the great work she will do for our community.”

CHCF serves over 5,100 individuals annually across all five boroughs in New York City, and the mission of the organization is to combine education, capacity-building, and advocacy to strengthen the support system and continuum of learning for children and youth.