Guillermo Linares, Ed.D has the historic distinction of being the first Dominican born elected to public office in the United States in 1991. He served from 1992 to 2001 in the New York City Council, where he advocated for quality education, vital health services, affordable housing and immigrant rights.
Dr. Linares served as a member of the New York State Assembly, 72nd District, representing Washington Heights, Inwood and Marble Hill in Northern Manhattan from 2011 to 2012.
He served as Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (2004-2009) with the mission of strengthening bridges between New York City Government and immigrant communities resulting in greater access to City services and information and establishing new citywide policies on Language Access and Immigrant Heritage. He shares the experiences and aspirations of immigrant New Yorkers, having left his native Dominican Republic and arrived in the Bronx in 1966. Then, Former Assemblyman Linares drove a taxi for long hours to support his family and at the same time pursued a higher education.
For more than 35 years, Dr. Linares has remained committed to improving public education and championing immigrant issues. His advocacy started in Washington Heights, where he worked as a school teacher. Witnessing the need for active involvement, he ran for membership of the local school board and served there for three terms. In the 1980s, Dr. Linares and others were responsible for the building of desperately-needed public schools for the growing immigrant community in Washington Heights.
With other activists and leaders, Dr. Linares helped to establish the Community Association of Progressive Dominicans, the Puerto Rican/Latino Education Round Table and the Parents Coalition for Education in New York City. Dr. Linares was also instrumental in the founding of the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute at City College, the Audubon Partnership for Economic Development and the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center.
Dr. Linares’ work has garnered him city-wide and national respect. In 1998, the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus of the NYC Council elected then Council Member Linares as its Co-President. Dr. Linares was tapped in 1995 to serve in a national capacity as a member of the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. President William Clinton appointed him in 1999 as Chair of this Initiative. Dr. Linares served for six years as a board member of the National Council of La Raza. He was co-convener of Encuentro 2000 and Beyond, a national Latino leadership group.
Dr. Linares received a Bachelor of Arts and Master’s of Science degree from City College and a professional diploma in administration and supervision from Fordham University. He recently achieved his doctorate in education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Dr. Linares is married to a public school principal, has two children, a granddaughter (Ava) and two grandsons, Dylan and Greyson. His family has been critical to his accomplishments as a community activist, an elected and appointed government official and academic.