Speaker Bios

The Honorable Barbara M. Clark

33rd Assembly District, NYS Assembly

Barbara M. Clark was elected to the New York State Assembly in November 1986. She represents the communities of Bellerose, Cambria Heights, Hollis, Queens Village, St. Albans, and part of Floral Park in the 33rd Assembly District.

She has been unrelenting in her battle to change New York State's inadequate and inequitable school finance system. She continues to be an active supporter of the lawsuit brought by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) against the State of New York. In January 2001, New York State Supreme Court Justice Leland DeGrasse ruled, and the Court of Appeals affirmed, that New York State school finance system was discriminatory and unconstitutional, and directed the state to remedy this injustice. Notably, Assemblywoman Clark was the only state legislator to testify at the trial.

She is currently the chair of the Education Committee of the Black, Puerto Rican, and Hispanic Caucus, a member of the Majority Steering Committee, and the assistant majority whip. She has also sponsored significant pieces of legislation in the areas of education, health and consumer fraud. On the national level Assemblywoman Clark served as vice-chair of the National Conference of State Legislators' (NCSL) Education, Labor, and Job Training Committee, and is a member of the Human Services Committee. She is a member of the Education Partners, a public policy group of the National Conference of State Legislators, aimed at assisting state legislators and other policymakers throughout the country in making decisions about education policy, particularly in the area of finance. The group has produced several publications: Educational Adequacy: Building an Adequate School Finance System, Principles of a Sound State School Finance System, Taxation and Revenues for Education, The Relationship Between Education Expenditure and Student Achievement: When Does Money Matter? and The Search for Equity in School Funding; all of which are available through the NCSL.

She has been a commissioner of the Education Commission of the States (ECS) since 1989. She served a four-year term on the ECS Steering Committee. ECS is a national education policy organization representing all 50 states and U.S. territories.

She is also the sponsor of ongoing legislation for an independent Office of the Child Advocate for New York, whose idea originated from a policy symposium held by the Children's Studies Center in 2004.

Howard Davidson, J.D., Director

American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law

In 2009, Howard Davidson marks his 35th year of full-time involvement in child advocacy law. During most of this period, he has directed the Center on Children and the Law for the American Bar Association in Washington, D.C. The center, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, works on improving laws and court systems serving children and on enhancing legal system responses to child abuse and neglect, child sexual exploitation, foster care, adoption, legal representation of children, and other child welfare-related concerns. It engages in extensive program consultation, legal education, and research activity. It publishes the ABA Child Law Practice periodical. It operates the federally supported National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues and educates the bench and bar on adolescent health and infant/toddler development, and education access issues, as they relate to children involved with the law and the courts.

Howard has served as chair of the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect. He is a founding board member of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He served as a U.S. Delegate to the First World Congress Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and during the 1980s wrote some of the first published material on child sexual abuse/exploitation and the law. His books and published writings cover a wide range of legal issues affecting children in the court system, including: Legal Rights of Children; Children's Rights in America; and Establishing Ombudsman Programs for Children and Youth. His latest article, "Federal Law and State Intervention When Parents Fail: Has National Guidance of Our Child Welfare System Been Successful?" was published in the Fall 2008 Family Law Quarterly.

Howard Dodson, Jr., Director

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library

Howard Dodson, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library since 1984, is a specialist in African American history and a noted lecturer, educator and consultant.

Under Dodson's leadership, the Schomburg Center has developed into the world's most comprehensive public research library devoted exclusively to documenting, interpreting and publishing the literature, history and culture of the African diaspora. During his tenure, the center's collections have more than doubled and now total more than 10 million items; annual users have increased from 40,000 to more than 125,000. Two successful capital campaigns have raised more than $41 million. In addition, the center produces and presents four to six exhibitions and 50 to 75 programs annually.

Dodson has published five books, including Jubilee: The Emergence of African-American Culture and Becoming American: The African American Journey.

Owen M. Fiss

Sterling Professor of Law, Yale University

Owen M. Fiss is Sterling Professor of Law at Yale University. He was educated at Dartmouth, Oxford and Harvard. He clerked for Thurgood Marshall (when Marshall was a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit) and later for Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. He also served in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. Before coming to Yale, Professor Fiss taught at the University of Chicago. At Yale he teaches procedure, legal theory and constitutional law, and is the author of many articles and books on these subjects, including more recently, Troubled Beginnings of the Modern State, Liberalism Divided, The Irony of Free Speech, A Community of Equals, A Way Out/America’s Ghettos and the Legacy of Racism, Adjudication and its Alternatives (with Judith Resnik), and The Law as it Could Be. Professor Fiss also directs extensive Law School programs in Latin America and the Middle East at Yale Law School.

Gertrud Lenzer

Professor, Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate Center

Director, Children's Studies Program and Center, Brooklyn College

Gertrud Lenzer is the founder and director of Children’s Studies, as well as a professor of sociology at both Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center. In 1991, she led Brooklyn College's efforts to become the first academic institution to develop an interdisciplinary liberal arts Children's Studies Program. Under her leadership, a minor in children’s studies was established in 1994 for all liberal arts majors. In 2001 a 30-credit interdisciplinary children's studies concentration for majors in early childhood education teacher and childhood education teacher programs was introduced in cooperation with the Brooklyn College School of Education. An interdisciplinary bachelor of arts degree in children's studies was launched in fall 2009.

Professor Lenzer also founded the Sociology of Children as a new field and section of the American Sociological Association in 1991 and was designated its founding chair. She received the national 1997 Lewis Hine Award in Honor of Outstanding Service on Behalf of Children and Youth of the National Child Labor Committee, founded by an Act of Congress in 1904. Professor Lenzer has received a number of distinguished fellowships during her career, among them the American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in the Humanities with residency at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, a fellowship at the National Humanities Center, and a research fellowship at the Rockefeller Bellagio Center, Italy. In addition she was selected as the first American scholar and the first woman to deliver the 12th Auguste Comte Memorial Lecture at the London School of Economics. Most recently, she has worked closely with legislators to spearhead legislation for an independent Office of the Child Advocate for New York.

Joan M. Lucariello

University Dean for Academic Affairs, CUNY

Joan M. Lucariello received her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the CUNY Graduate Center, where she was a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) predoctoral fellow. Thereafter, Lucariello was awarded a two-year postdoctoral fellowship from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). She then became a member of the graduate faculty of the New School for Social Research for several years.

Lucariello then assumed high level science-policy posts in Washington, D.C. She joined the staff of the American Psychological Association (APA) as senior scientist, where she worked with federal funding agencies and professional societies on issues related to behavioral science. Thereafter, Lucariello became director of research programs in cognitive, social and affective development at the NICHD at NIH, where she oversaw a $22 million grant portfolio.

Before coming to CUNY, Lucariello returned to academe. She was professor of applied developmental and educational psychology at Boston College, where she was director of the doctoral program in that area for five years. Lucariello's expertise is on the relation between cognition, learning and education. She is the author of 35 articles and chapters and editor of the volume The Development of the Mediated Mind: Sociocultural Context and Cognitive Development. She was co-principal investigator on a major grant from the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences to develop a teacher-use assessment to diagnose student algebraic reasoning. She is also developing a curriculum to teach, improve and assess reading comprehension in low-SES children. She is a member of the American Psychological Association's (APA) Task Force on the Applications of Psychological Science to Teaching and Learning, whose goal is to identify scientifically based and effective instructional strategies and disseminate information on these nationally to teachers through an APA website. She is a member of APA's Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education, where she represents APA's Board of Scientific Affairs. She has just been nominated to serve on APA's Board of Educational Affairs. Lucariello is on the editorial board of the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology and formerly on the consulting editorial board of Child Development.

Lucariello has been a visiting faculty member at Columbia University and UCLA and a fellow at Princeton University. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and inaugural fellow of the American Education Research Association.

The Honorable Velmanette Montgomery

Chair of the Committee on Children and Families, New York State Senate

Velmanette Montgomery is recognized for her effective leadership and steadfast commitment to her constituents of north and central Brooklyn, as well as to New Yorkers statewide. In her role as chairperson of the Senate Committee on Children and Families, Senator Montgomery is committed to helping young people achieve positive outcomes through reform of the state's juvenile justice, foster care and adoptive care systems. In 2008, the senator authored a law that allows adopted children to claim two parents of record, even if one parent dies before the adoption is final.

Senator Montgomery continues to be one of New York's leading proponents of school-based health care as a model system for delivering comprehensive primary and mental health services to children of all ages, in the school setting where youth spend most of their day. The senator's Teen Health Agenda includes legislation that requires, among other things, the teaching of age-appropriate, medically accurate sexuality education in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Most recently, Senator Montgomery's Anti-Shackling Bill was signed into law. It prohibits the inhumane practice of shackling pregnant inmates in labor during transport and delivery.

The Honorable William A. Scarborough

Chair of the Standing Committee on Children and Families, New York State Assembly

William Scarborough represents the 29th District in Queens County. He is a graduate of Queens College of the City University of New York, earning a bachelor of arts in psychology and political science. Elected to office in 1994, during his tenure, Scarborough has focused his efforts in the areas of health care, education and youth services. He has funded and sponsored many education and youth programs. Among them is the Julius Erving Center for Physical Culture in St. Albans, an extended-day youth program modeled after the nationally recognized Jackie Robinson Center in Brooklyn.

Assemblyman Scarborough chairs the Assembly Committee on Children and Families, which has jurisdiction over all legislation affecting: 1) child welfare, including foster care and preventive services, child abuse and neglect, runaways, day care and adoption; 2) juvenile justice, including youth development and delinquency prevention programs; and 3) other services and programs for children and their families, including Family Court processes.

He is the sponsor of the Safe Harbor Act (Bill A5258) legislation to make New York the first state in the nation to provide specialized services and safe housing for children who have been sexually exploited. Along with his co-sponsor in the Senate, Dale Volker (S3175), this legislation was signed into law by Governor Paterson in 2008.

The Honorable Dennis M. Walcott

Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development, Office of the Mayor, New York City

Dennis M. Walcott is the deputy mayor for education and community development. In that capacity, he oversees and coordinates the operations of the Department of Education and the Department of Youth and Community Development, as well as maintains liaison with and reviews the activities of the New York City School Construction Authority, the City University of New York, City University Construction Fund and the New York City Housing Authority. Walcott is also responsible for maintaining liaison with community-based organizations citywide and coordinating policies concerning youth programs and adult education. He serves as co-chair of the Mayor's Commission for Construction Opportunity. A product of the New York City public school system, Walcott received a master of social work from Fordham University and a master ef Education from the University of Bridgeport. He and his wife, Denise, have four children and one grandchild.