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Meet District 13 superintendent Meghan Dunn

Public school District 13 encompasses Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, and parts of Downtown Brooklyn, Bed Stuy and Prospect Heights. Meet our superintendent Meghan Dunn who oversees elementary and middle schools within the Department of Education for this school district, find out about her vision for the district and life in Brooklyn.

What exactly is the role of Superintendent?

“Superintendents work to make schools the best place we can for kids.  I’m tasked with understanding what each school needs and connecting them with those resources to make sure that we are bringing each principal’s vision for a successful learning environment to life.  I’m also tasked with listening to the needs and wants of the surrounding community and bringing them to fruition in our schools.  I work to ensure that every child in District 13 has a neighborhood school that they can attend to feel seen and affirmed, and where they are being challenged to reach their fullest potential.”

What professional path did you take to become District 13 Superintendent?

“I started as a teacher right next door to District 13 in District 16 right after college. I taught 1st grade for a couple of years, and then I started looping with my students. I taught the same group of students from 1st to 5th grade! I loved being able to follow my students year after year and witnessing their growth. The experience taught me a lot about the continuum of learning and the real ways in which our lessons in each grade build upon one another. Then, I became the founding principal of The Riverdale Avenue Community School, an elementary school located in Brownsville. I modeled the school on the idea of looping – teachers stayed with their students for multiple years so they could build strong relationships with their students and families that helped foster more supportive environments that elementary aged students truly benefit from. I joined District 13 as the Deputy Superintendent in March 2020, and I became the Superintendent in November 2022.”

What made you choose to pursue a career in education?

“I studied History and Art History at George Washington University. I initially wanted to work in arts education for a museum. I went into teaching because I wanted to better understand how students learn and how to design learning experiences that really support students. After I started teaching, I fell in love with it.  I really loved my kids and I loved what we were doing in the classroom. I ended every June with a list of things I wanted to do differently the following year to be a better teacher and better meet the needs of my kids. I realized that I couldn’t wait for September to try it all again.”

Do you live in District 13? And if so, what do you love about your neighborhood?

“I’ve lived in Brookyn for almost 20 years and my very first apartment was 3 blocks from the district office! I currently live in Greenpoint, which falls in District 14, with my wife and son who is almost 20 months. However, the neighborhoods in District 13 have amazing establishments, and I love stopping in at Bklyn Blend, especially when I’m out visiting schools.”

What is your vision for the district?

“I truly believe that there is a place for every child in District 13. We have diverse schools with many offerings that challenge and support the unique needs of each child. We have schools that are more focused on STEM education, arts focused schools, 4 magnet schools and nine schools working towards International Baccalaureate Candidacy. I work to help each school realize their identity, reach their fullest potential, and then connect families to the multitude of options, so that they can find the best fit for their child. We want every child and every family to feel seen, valued and affirmed in our school community.”

What do you love most about District 13 schools and families ?

“District 13 has a true community feel and our school leaders actively partner with families to create supportive and affirming environments. Parents come together in service of the district’s needs, with a sense of purpose and responsibility to the greater community.  As a district committed to addressing the systematic causes of inequity, we hold a monthly anti-racist community town hall meeting that has been going on for three years. At the end of each meeting, a hundred people take the time to wish each other a good night before signing off of a 90-minute zoom meeting.  It is a wonderful feeling to experience such a supportive community through a Zoom screen. Our community shows time and time again that they are committed to building relationships with one another and to taking an active role in the school system that serves them.”

What are the projects you are currently working on for District 13 families?

“We have so many exciting things happening in District 13! We are launching a new elementary school in the district in September, and I can’t wait to talk more about it very soon.  We also have a new District 13 STEM Center opening this fall, which will be open to the entire District 13 community. Across the district, we have our Championing Public Education event, where highlighted schools open their doors to the community to bring awareness to the plethora of programs and academic offerings that are available. Additionally, this past fall, we were one of 4 districts nationally to receive the Federal Diverse Schools grant. District 13 will be using this $8 million grant award to support more rigorous academic programs in our middle schools, develop a weekend enrichment program for our upper elementary students, and continue to support district wide opportunities for students including Debate, Robotics, and Chess. These are just a few of the exciting things we have in store for District 13!”

Which District 13 school is the biggest hidden gem and why?

“The biggest hidden gem is District 13, itself!  I love and value each school and its leader,  and the best part is the community behind it. We know that parents send their kids to schools that they love and feel a connection to, but we have been actively working to help families build connection across the district. We are a district with values. We value community consciousness; we value actively working together to create a more equitable system. We also value students as individuals, and work to contribute to the learning and growth of every child and every family.”

How can families engage with you and reach out to you?

“Families can visit our website which has a ton of information about our schools. Attend one of our upcoming Town Halls – our next one is scheduled for February 6th. We also have Community Education Council meetings, which community members are welcome to join.  The next meeting is on 2/28 at 7pm at the district office. Families can also find us on Instagram @d13brooklyn or email us at .”

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