The History of Harlem Link
Harlem Link Charter School is a true school community that strives to put high-quality education within reach of every child in Harlem.
Families choose Harlem Link for its nurturing environment, highly proficient and diverse teaching staff, and well-rounded curriculum. Our academic program and teaching model prioritize scholarship and civic engagement, believing that “linking” academics, values, and community are central to education.
Harlem Link’s enrollment policy centers on its home district, New York City Community School District 3, while welcoming students from across the five boroughs. As of School Year 2019-20, our greatest concentration of students reside in Upper Manhattan (69.5%) and the Bronx (26.8%). Sixty-three percent of our students are African-American and/or from West African immigrant families, 33% identify as Latine, and, within our overall school population, 20% as Multi-Language Learners. As we can, we enroll new students on a rolling basis throughout the year, ensuring Harlem Link as an option for families facing difficult circumstances, such as housing instability or a need for special education services.
Harlem Link was founded by Steve Evangelista and Margaret Ryan.
About Our Founders
Steve and Margaret evolved their educational philosophy at Bank Street College’s Teacher Recruitment Initiative, a three-year partnership between Bank Street and Teach For America. Spurred by demand from parents for safer, more rigorous public schools and the promise of greater autonomy in the charter law, Steve and Margaret opened Harlem Link after a two-year founding process in the same building where they were teaching together, PS 242. Along with the blessing of PS 242’s principal, they put together a grassroots founding board with a diverse set of backgrounds and expertise, and chose the SUNY Charter Schools Institute as authorizer due to the consistency of message and high expectations exhibited by that office.
Founding Board and Staff Member
John Reddick, the school’s Founding Director of Afterschool, served as a founding board member during the charter application process and transitioned to being a staff member and lead on the afterschool program, maintaining his position on the board in a nonvoting capacity.
Prior to joining the staff, John served as Vice-Chair of the board. A lifelong Harlem resident, John taught for the Chinatown Planning Council for 21 years and currently also serves as a consultant for the Trust for Public Land and the New York City Housing Authority. He is also a black belt who teaches at the Hoteikan Dojo in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
John inspires staff and children through his work at our school and his constant display of core values. Both a teacher and a learner, John’s unflinching dedication to the youth of Harlem and other parts of New York City has long extended well beyond his school. Ever a self-identified learner himself, John insists that not only does he share and teach others, he also approaches each day looking forward to what he will learn from our students.