South African-born and Brooklyn-raised, Mona Davids is known to most New Yorkers for her education advocacy as the President of the New York Charter Parents Association and the New York City Parents Union. As a proud of mother of a fourteen year-old girl and four year-old naughty boy, Mona became involved in education advocacy while on maternity leave in 2008. She started at her daughter’s elementary public school, becoming a PTA Co-President.
Mona’s advocacy led her to found the New York Charter Parents Association in 2009 after her daughter entered a charter school and Mona learned that charters are not required to have PTA’s and, worse, refuse parents requests to establish one. Her advocacy for the rights of parents and students in charter schools led to her leading the charge to change New York State Education Law and the Charter Schools Act. Mona lobbied lawmakers to convene charter school hearings, for the first time ever, where she presented essential reforms to the Charter Schools Act. Mona also fought to require public schools receive matching funds to renovate their space when co-located with a charter school.
In December, 2010, Mona joined other public school parents in suing the New York State Education Commissioner and the City of New York for granting Cathie Black a waiver that enabled her to become Chancellor of the New York City Public School System. Mona joined public school school parents in founding the Deny Waiver Coalition that launched a campaign against the absurd appointment of Cathie Black.
In May, 2012, Mona founded the New York City Parents Union to fight for the rights of all parents in public school system. The New York City Parents Union announced it’s birth by filing a lawsuit against the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) to halt botched Community Education Council elections. Parents and elected officials pleaded for weeks with the NYCDOE to redo the elections – to no avail. Upon receiving court papers from the New York City Parents Union, the DOE immediately halted the elections and negotiated with Mona to restart the elections and properly notify parents there was an election occurring and how they may vote for their parent leaders.
Prior to the birth of her son, Mona was the Chief Executive Officer of Azania Holdings - a company she founded that promotes bi-lateral trade and investment between the United States of America and African countries. An expert on the Africa Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA), working closely with the U.S. Commercial Service, Mona organized investment conferences on AGOA and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) country benefits in the U.S. and Africa, in partnership with multi-national banks including JP Morgan Chase and CitiCorp. Azania Holdings also sponsored multiple international trade and networking events in New York City including the 70th Anniversary of World Trade Week and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s, Brooklyn Goes Global. Mona and Steve Kaplansky, former Director of Brooklyn Goes Global, also negotiated the Memorandum of Understanding between the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Mona also conducted country briefings and trainings for U.S. executives leading Fortune 500 companies stationed in South Africa.
Prior to starting Azania, Mona worked for Dutch companies, Schiphol USA Inc. and MeesPierson Investment Bank. Mona is multi-lingual and conversant in Afrikaans, Dutch, Flemish, Hebrew, German and Arabic.
As a result of her advocacy work in New York City and Albany, Mona has cultivated an excellent relationship with union leaders, education reporters and political reporters and bloggers. Mona is recognized as a valuable source on education, community and labor related issues. Mona has appeared on CNN, NBC Nightly News, Fox News, NY1, ABC7 News, Fox 5 NY, WCBS Channel 2 News, WABC Channel 4 News. Mona has been quoted by the NY Times, NY Daily News, TIME Magazine, NY Post, Legislative Gazette and other papers throughout the country.