Keeping Up with Ingram

A profile of Director of Family Engagement Dina Ingram, encompassing her work and roles at Stuyvesant.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you send Director of Family Engagement Dina Ingram an e-mail at 1:00 a.m., you are most likely to hear back from her within the hour. From supporting over 3,400 students, 7,200 guardians, 200 staff members, and 15,000 alumni through phone calls, e-mails, and meetings, to maintaining Stuyvesant’s active social media accounts, Ingram oversees Stuyvesant’s day-to-day operations. Not only is the role she plays at Stuyvesant essential to the functioning of the school, but Ingram took an interesting path to landing this position.

Similar to many students, Ingram is a first-generation American. Ingram’s family emigrated from Italy and settled in Queens, New York. She attended New York City public schools from kindergarten to the 12th grade. As a child, she wanted to become an attorney, but growing up in a traditional household with strict parents, a career in law was not an option for her. “Education wasn’t really their focus because I was a girl," she said. Nonetheless, after graduating from high school, Ingram attended Katharine Gibbs College to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business.

After finishing business school, Ingram took on a variety of jobs, including a legal assistant, administrative assistant, Human Resources assistant, and a one-to-one educator. Her involvement in the Stuyvesant community would not begin until much later. Eventually, she decided to dedicate her time to raising a family, and she took on various volunteering roles.

Though Ingram was not initially interested in getting involved with the Department of Education (DOE), she became involved in the school system as a parent leader in Queens when she had children. During this time, she was also part of the School Leadership Team (SLT) and Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of her children’s elementary and middle schools in District 25. The superintendent also asked her to work on multiple projects in the district. She played an integral role in District 25 affairs, working with its President Council, its Council for Exceptional Children, and its District Leadership Team. Consequently, she assisted the management of the superintendent's 311 line—an informational, non-emergency line—and visited schools in District 25 to manage conflict resolution between Parent Associations or between parents and administration.

Ingram came to Stuyvesant three years ago (around the same time as Principal Eric Contreras), influenced by her daughter’s positive influence at the school. At the time, Stuyvesant did not have an official Parent Coordinator since the previous holder of the title, Harvey Blumm, had become a guidance counselor. During former principal Jie Zhang’s closing month, Ingram approached her about becoming a parent coordinator. After going through the application process and confirming the new role with Principal Contreras, Ingram took on the position as the Parent Coordinator at Stuyvesant. “[My role was] not really a career choice as much as it was that I saw the need and had the background,” she explained.

Ingram’s title changed from Parent Coordinator to Director of Family Engagement in January 2019 to accurately represent her presence as a central member of the principal’s cabinet and membership of the school’s Equity Team. As the Director of Family Engagement, her tasks include organizing and conducting grade-specific workshops for parents, creating parent accounts on Talos, and administrating the official Stuyvesant Facebook and Twitter accounts. She is also responsible for ensuring that parents who speak a language other than English have the necessary translators or translations. In addition to her duties as Director of Family Engagement, she attends all SLT meetings.

Since coming to Stuyvesant, Ingram has continued to work in the larger New York City school system. She taught at the Language Access Conference as a member of their Advisory Board in 2019 and was featured in FACE’s annual parent-coordinator summit on a Q&A panel in 2018. Furthermore, she is a member of the Think Tank for creating Professional Development for the Parent Coordinators at all high-schools located in Manhattan in Districts 10-6.

Ingram’s favorite aspect of her job is getting to work with students. “The kids make Stuyvesant a very special place,” she said. “[My job] just opens a different facet because Stuyvesant really is a place that’s made by the students. [They] are exceptional.” Ingram finds organizing the parent workshops to be rewarding. Furthermore, she enjoys being one of the faculty advisors for Big Sibs, as this role allows her to engage in the Open House and Camp Stuy events. Overall, Ingram appreciates the passion that each student feels for his or her own interests.

When she is not busy at Stuyvesant, Ingram enjoys biking, running, and spending time with her family. She also likes photography, oftentimes decorating her office with photos she took herself.