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Julian’s Story

Julian is a 3-year-old preschooler with delays in his language skills, but the DOE failed to provide recommended services.

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Who We Are

Kim Sweet, Executive Director

Kim Sweet, Executive Director

photo of kim sweet

Kim Sweet is the Executive Director of Advocates for Children of New York (AFC), where she is responsible for AFC’s overall direction, operations, and effectiveness.  Since coming to AFC in 2007,  Kim has made significant changes to the board of directors and  dramatically increased the organization’s revenue from individual donors and events, which has enabled AFC to strengthen programs for students in need. She started the ARISE Coalition (the Action for Reform in Special Education Coalition), comprised of more than 80 member organizations and individuals working together to compel systemic reform to benefit students with disabilities in the New York City public schools.  She also collaborated with the former Chief Judge of New York State, Judith Kaye, and the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children to form the School-Justice Partnership Task Force, which brought together leaders from government agencies, the judiciary, research institutions, and advocacy groups to address the problem of too many children growing up in the courts and eventually dropping out of school. In addition, Kim has been active in matters of school governance, serving as an appointee of former New York City Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum to the Commission on School Governance, which issued an influential report in 2008 on the issue of mayoral control for the city’s schools.  Kim currently serves on a number of governmental committees and task forces focused on the NYC public schools, including the Mayor’s Leadership Team for School Climate & Discipline, the Community Schools Advisory Committee, and the School Diversity Advisory Group.

Prior to joining AFC, Kim worked at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) for ten years, most recently serving as Associate General Counsel. She spearheaded NYLPI’s special education advocacy work, oversaw and ran the special education pro bono project, served as one of NYLPI’s senior managers, conducted litigation on disability rights issues, and led a number of policy initiatives. One such initiative Kim co-founded is Parents for Inclusive Education (PIE) -- a group of parents, educators, and advocates who press for more inclusive educational options in New York City’s schools.  After more than fifteen years, PIE continues to make a unique and valuable contribution to the formation of special education policy in the City.  

In 2010, Kim received the Felix A. Fishman Award for Excellence in Advocacy from New York Lawyers for the Public Interest for her exceptional commitment to equal education opportunities for all children.  She was also awarded a fellowship with the Tenenbaum Leadership Initiative of Milano the New School for Management and Urban Policy in 2008, and in 2003, she received a Legal Services Award from the New York City Bar Association for “extraordinary dedication and outstanding work in providing civil legal assistance to the poor in New York City.”

Kim holds a B.A. from Brown University and a J.D. from Columbia Law School.  She also taught for two years as an adjunct professor in the Urban Law Clinic of New York Law School.

Kim serves on the Board of Directors of the Cahn Fellows Program at Teachers College, Columbia University.