Mala Panday started her public service in education in September 2004 and is now a fifth-year principal. She began her career as a New York City science teacher and then served as an assistant principal before accepting the amazing opportunity to lead at The Young Women’s Leadership School of Queens (TYWLS). Mala’s career interests are centered in engaging youth in political and social issues that impact them directly, as well as women around the world. Of recent, she has initiated school-wide awareness around immigration, female reproductive rights, domestic abuse, and gun safety. She is also passionate about community action projects and works in close collaboration with the New York Police Department’s Community Outreach Unit to support her young women with their understanding of physical and emotional health and wellness.
Under Mala’s Leadership, TYWLS is projected to have a ninety-seven percent graduation rate for 2018, with each student accepted to the college of her choice at an average financial package of twenty thousand dollars! Mala is a firm believer in everyone needing to work strategically to close the gap for women of color.
In a 2017 interview with Queens Community House NYC, Mala shared the following about transforming TYWLS to one of the top performing middle school in New York City. “When I started, the NYC Progress Report for Middle School was a C; I knew I had to do something. My first task was to bring in a community-based organization to assist. I reached out to QCH, and together we worked on a plan to support the growth of this beautiful group of young women of color. Now we are a top performing school in this district, and within NYC, student performance is at an all-time high. I think every girl should have an awareness of how the world works and know that they can be agents of change.”
Below Mala chats with Mr. G of Pix11 News.
Mala was born in Guyana but was raised in Queens, New York after moving with her mother to the United States at age two. She earned a Bachelors of Science and a Masters of Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She also holds a School Leadership License and School District License from College of Saint Rose. Mala began her career in education in 2004 and was inspired by the importance of closing the achievement gap for urban youth. She’s also the recipient of the Ann-Tisch Inspire Award
“Never compromise your self-worth and always avoid casting judgement.” ~ Mala Panday
Mala is driven to actively promote passion for learning and remains dedicated to empowering girls to become strong and powerful leaders. She encourages girls who may want to pursue a career in education to enter the field with an empathetic lens and be passionate about equity for all. She also seeks to be the best that she can be in her journey, and believes that the “essence of being a woman who rocks” is to have ambition, intelligence, and a great sense of humor with a dash of fitness and fashion.