AQE Names Zakiyah Shaakir-Ansari & Marina Marcou-O’Malley Co-Executive Directors 1

AQE Names Zakiyah Shaakir-Ansari & Marina Marcou-O’Malley Co-Executive Directors

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 17, 2024) — Public education advocacy organization the Alliance for Quality Education announced that Zakiyah Shaakir-Ansari and Marina Marcou-O’Malley will be the organization’s next Co-Executive Directors.

Together, Shaakir-Ansari and Marcou-O’Malley have more than 30 years combined experience at AQE, and have been instrumental in the organization’s policy and advocacy work across the state. Both were part of the AQE leadership team that led successful campaigns securing record funding for New York’s public education system, historic child care funding, and navigated the unprecedented challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. In doing so, AQE cemented its position as the preeminent statewide coalition dedicated to equity and racial justice in public education.

Shaakir-Ansari and Marcou-O’Malley have been serving as AQE’s interim co-Executive Directors since November. The public announcement of the permanent leadership transition was made Saturday evening at the Women of Color Movement Builders Reception at the Albany Institute of Art and History.

The AQE Board is confident that Shaakir-Ansari and Marcou-O’Malley together hold the expertise to guide the organization through its next chapter. With Zakiyah and Marina at the helm, AQE will remain committed to the pursuit of educational justice and racial equity. The organization will persist in its mission to ensure that all children and families have access to high-quality public schools in every neighborhood. Through grassroots organizing and leadership development, AQE will continue to stand with Black, Brown, and low income families to reshape education policy, fostering the kind of schools that New York’s children not only need, but deserve.

“It is an honor and a tremendous privilege to take on the charge of continuing the fight of equity and racial justice. I am humbled to be a co-leader with Zakiyah and feel enormous gratitude for the rock star team we have at AQE fighting for justice. I know great battles and victories lay ahead of us,” said Marina Marcou-O’Malley.

“Over the nearly 20 years I have been with AQE, I have seen the transformational power of parents, students and communities raising their voices together. We have worked to fully fund public schools, take on the school to prison pipeline, implement culturally responsive education, and raise taxes on millionaires. I am honored and excited to be stepping into this new role alongside Marina at AQE, and know we are ready to carry this organization into the next era with the same clear vision of justice for New York’s students,” said Zakiyah Shaakir-Ansari.