Growing up in Bay Ridge, Justin attended both public and private schools (P.S. 185, McKinley and Xaverian) and believes that a sound education is the great socioeconomic equalizer.
Justin comes from a family of educators. Justin’s mother Mary Brannan is a lifelong early childhood educator who has taught for over 30 years at Holy Angels Academy (formerly Our Lady of Angels School.) Justin and his wife Leigh Holliday Brannan, an accomplished artist and educator, own The Art Room, a fine art school for children in Bay Ridge.
Justin was proud to serve as the Deputy Executive Director for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs at the New York City Department of Education. Most notably, Justin helped oversee the expansion of Pre-K for all from 20,000 to 70,000 students citywide in addition to the rollout of the Mayor de Blasio’s Community Schools Initiative which is a holistic approach to learning that supports the social, emotional, physical as well as academic needs of students.
Having worked inside the Department of Education, Justin knows how to cut through red tape and get things done for parents who are often intimidated or bewildered by the Byzantine bureaucracy of the DOE.
District 20 has continually been voted and ranked among the best school districts in all of New York City. But, because of this, it is also one of the most overcrowded school districts in the city. In fact, every school in District 20 is at least 140% over capacity. Something’s gotta give. That is why Justin has made a promise to have at least one new public school built over the next four years.
Justin is a strong supporter of Career and Technical Education (CTE) and the NYC Community Schools Initiative and will work to expand these programs because he knows the future of our city comes down to student success and a well-prepared workforce.
Justin believes that every New York City child deserves a quality education. It's a right enshrined in our state constitution and confirmed by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit. But more than ten years after CFE was settled, NYC public schools are still not getting their fair share from Albany. You can count on Justin to stand up and fight for public school students and the funding schools deserve.
Now more than ever, in the age of Trump, defending our public schools is vital. As the education candidate, Justin will stand up against any privatization attempts. Moreover, Justin will continue to push Department of Education to focus on teaching over testing, more arts & music in schools and a more comprehensive, holistic approach to students with special needs.