Our Leadership

Recy Benjamin Dunn

Executive Superintendent for Affinity Schools

Recy most recently served as Chief Operations and Growth Officer at YES Prep Public Schools in Houston. In New York City, he served as regional director for the nonprofit New Leaders and led major initiatives within the DOE as Executive Director of the Office of Early Childhood Education and later the Office of Charter Schools. Prior to his work in New York City, Recy also held critical roles in Prince George’s County Public Schools and the District of Columbia Public Schools.

Abby Miller

Director for Special Education

Abby has been with the DOE for 14 years. She began her career as an English teacher and dean at James Madison High School in Brooklyn, where she worked for eight years. Within the network structure, she served first as a Special Education Instructional Coach and then as Administrator of Special Education for Network 107. During her six years with the network Abby helped create innovative ways to work with schools around writing quality IEPs and developing functional behavioral assessments and behavior intervention plans. Abby worked with her schools since the inception of the special education reform as a member of a Phase I network and helped the schools develop systems and structures to embrace the Shared Path to Success.

John Garcia

Director for Finance and Human Resources

John began his career with the Department of Education in 2003 after a successful career as a management consultant. He led teams for a national practice implementing systems and evaluating processes for Fortune 500 companies. He began with the DOE as a Budget Lead during the implementation of the Regional Operations Centers, supporting Brooklyn schools. He has served as a School Business manager supporting a K-12 gifted and talented school, where he ensured the new school administration could support the needs of the students and community. As a result, he became a financial officer and team leader within the initial Integrated Service Center, helping pilot the program for city-wide roll-out. He has been a Network Business Manager and a Director of Operations working with schools to support and implement their instructional vision. Most recently, he was a Deputy for Business Operations managing 13 networks and approximately 400 schools within the PSO structure. He is a graduate of one of our wonderful NYC High Schools and volunteers extensively in his community.

Daniel Walsh

Director for Teaching and Learning

Daniel has worked across the kindergarten through graduate school spectrum in both teaching and administrative capacities for 25 years. He began his career working in higher education administration and became an ESL teacher in 2001 at PS 11 in Manhattan. In 2004, he was part of the founding staff of The International High School @ Prospect Heights where he served as teacher, advisor, literacy coach, and UFT Chapter Leader. During this time, he also taught pre- and in-service master’s students at City College. After a dissertation research sabbatical, he worked at Central to provide professional development for network and cluster staff around the Common Core Learning Standards and the teacher evaluation system. Most recently, he completed an SBL at Baruch College through the Leadership Academy and served as principal at the International High School at Union Square. Danny graduated from SUNY Binghamton and has advanced degrees from SUNY New Paltz and the CUNY Graduate Center.

Jesseca Long

Director for English Language Learners

Jesseca brings to Affinity Schools NYCDOE Citywide Office nineteen years of experience as a public school educator. Her career in education began as a French teacher in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and continued through her three years as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching high school mathematics and developing girls’ education projects with a local non-governmental organization in Guinea, West Africa. As a math and ESL teacher at Bronx International High School for eight years, she further developed her own pedagogy of inquiry and project-based learning. As a Math for America master teacher, in her role as the coordinator of teacher development and learning at Bronx International, and through her work as an adjunct professor of pre- and in-service teachers at Long Island University, she has had the opportunity to train and mentor teachers not only in meaningful professional collaboration, but also in their individual capacities to integrate language development and critical thinking into best practice across content areas.

As the founding principal of Crotona International High School, Jesseca developed and supported teachers and teacher teams in a variety of aspects of effective student learning. Jesseca has a B.A. in French and in Linguistics from the University of Michigan and an M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language from Columbia University, Teachers College. She received her School Building Leader (SBL) credential through the NYC Department of Education and NYC Leadership Academy’s Leaders in Education Apprenticeship Program (LEAP).

Jason DeMauro

Director for Operations

Jason comes to us having spent the last three years with the Staten Island Borough Office working closely with then Executive Director Kevin Moran. During his tenure supporting schools in Staten Island, he was deeply involved in the borough’s efforts to bring equitable outcomes to students from all backgrounds. With a focus on working to find ways to connect schools with their communities, he has led major equity initiatives, such as District 31’s My Brother’s Keeper program, and was an executive committee member for the Equity Alliance of Staten Island—a collective impact, systems thinking, and equity-focused group seeking to build a network of leadership who can sustain ongoing transformational change in part, or in all, of its PK-12 educational system. Prior to working at the field support center, Jason provided operational support to schools across the city while with Children’s First Network 571 and comes with a budget and procurement background, having spent his initial years with NYCDOE at the Office of Safety and Youth Development, as well as the Office of the Auditor General. A New York City transplant, Jason earned a B.A. in Economics and a B.A. in International Studies from the State University of New York College at Oswego. During his time at SUNY Oswego, Jason pursued multiple research projects with farming communities in Benin, West Africa, studying the social returns to formal schooling.