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Affiliation: Alumna

Program: MS, Educational Policy

Education: BS, Ithaca College (Political Science and African Diaspora Studies)

Employment: My Idea Project Manager at César Chávez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy

Honors: Finalist for the D.C. Association of Chartered Public Schools (DCACPS) 2010 Most Outstanding College Graduates Award
Nicoisa Young


Nicoisa Young

Nicoisa (Nikki) Young’s fervent desire to impact the lives of children and help them excel in life has guided her back to her hometown of Washington, D.C.

As one of the first students to enroll in the Warner School’s new educational policy master’s program, Young found herself a year later returning to the same high school that she attended years ago—this time as a policy analyst.

At the César Chávez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy, Young devotes most of her time working with minority students from across the D.C. area to understand how policies affect them and their communities.

The four schools, serving predominately African-American and Hispanic students, use public policy themes to guide instruction and provide students direct experience with organizations working in the public interest. Young assists students with analyzing, advising, and developing policy proposals, such as policies that could be put in place to improve graduation rates in the D.C. area. She also communicates with and makes recommendations to César Chávez system leaders around policy issues facing these charter schools and the students who attend them. In addition to these aspects of her job, she coordinates student grant plans and governs a review panel for awarding grants to spearhead these policy efforts.

The first César Chávez Public Charter School (Chávez) was founded in 1998 in response to lagging academic performance and exceedingly low high school graduation and college matriculation rates among public school students, especially among minority and low-income students. Today, the four schools provide inner-city students with a rigorous, high-quality education that helps prepare them for college and inspires them to make the world a better place through civic engagement.

Young, who shares the same mission and vision as the Chávez schools, sees education as a vehicle that minority and low-income students can use to gain socioeconomic mobility.

“Technically, we are supposed to ingrain in our students knowledge and skills that can carry them throughout life,” she says, “but I do not think American public education has accomplished its goal. I pursued the educational policy program so that I could learn more about the system and remedy its errors.”

Her dad, a high school dropout, and network of Warner classmates and friends from her hometown have been instrumental in shaping her career and success today. “I remember my Warner School friends who trotted with me through late nights, completing rigorous assignments in the School’s basement,” she recalls.

Young also reflects back to the Wednesday Lunch Hours, describing them as one of her most memorable moments at Warner. During these sessions, she learned about other disciplines outside of her area of study and the various research projects taking place around Warner and in the field—a valuable experience that she’s brought to her new position in educational policy. 

Most recently, Young’s hard work and achievements have made her a finalist for the D.C. Association of Chartered Public Schools (DCACPS) 2010 Most Outstanding College Graduates Award.

(Published September 2010)

Tags: educational leadership, educational policy