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Reintroducing WMS Duane Street Adminsitrative Coordinator, Jaya Blakeslee

Reintroducing WMS Duane Street Adminsitrative Coordinator, Jaya Blakeslee

Jaya Blakeslee joined The Washington Market School in 2013, and she has been the Duane Street Administrative Coordinator ever since. Having been a parent at the school herself, Jaya is deeply immersed in the WMS community. She is the point-person for all things Duane Street. You can contact her at We invite you to learn a little more about Jaya! Please read her brief interview below:

1. What do you do at WMS?

I am the Administrative Coordinator at the Duane Street site. I facilitate communication between the teachers and parents. I also maintain student files, order supplies, and provide general support to the faculty and staff. 

2. Where did you grow up? What was your childhood like? 

I grew up in a small community in the town of Sebastian, Florida. I spent my childhood at the beach, playing outside with my friends, gardening, practicing Tae Kwon Do and yoga, rollerblading and more. 

3. How did you end up joining the WMS community? 

Since moving to NYC in 2008, I have always worked with children, or in school settings. I worked as a babysitter for two young boys in Tribeca for 4 years. Following that, I worked as a Family Assistant at Bank Street Head Start in the East Village. The transition from babysitting to working in a preschool felt really natural, and like it was meant to be. I worked there for 3 years until my friend mentioned that she saw an ad for a position at The Washington Market School. I applied immediately, and the next day Ronnie called and asked me to come in and see Hudson Street. A few days later, I had an interview and the rest is history.

4. What's your favorite thing about WMS? 

It’s hard to pick just one because there are so many things that I love about WMS! The families, the teachers, the administrators, the curriculum, the ongoing professional development, the classrooms and studio spaces; it’s all so special and I feel lucky to be a part of it. One last thing, I am always so impressed with the level of intentionality and thoughtfulness that goes into supporting each and every one of our students. It’s simply outstanding!

5. What's the best memory you have from when you were in preschool?

I remember my preschool had an amazing collection of dress up clothes and it was so much fun. I don’t think we could use them every day so when it was dress up day it seemed like the best day ever!