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What to do with a Master's in Education?

Posted by Elisabeth Jakab on May 01, 2012

BSCAA Career Night panelists

What do you do with your Master’s in Education? Eager alumni filled Bank Street’s Tabas Auditorium on the evening of April 20, 2012, to find out from six renowned education professionals.

Jesse Pugh ’76, BSCAA president, introduced Virginia Roach, Dean of the Graduate School, who said Career Night was an important part of Bank Street’s priority to create lifelong support for graduates. 

Afterwards, alumni networked with the presenters. They described the event as “hugely motivating,” “invaluable,” and “incredibly life affirming.”

The event was presented by the Bank Street College Alumni Association (BSCAA), and sponsored by Entoview, which teaches educators to use technology, and Bank Street College. Entoview founder Keith Berman ‘03 moderated.

BSCAA Career Night

The speakers outlined career opportunities in the following areas:

Leadership

Alisa Algava ’08, director of the Randolph School in Wappingers Falls, NY, declared that “the leader does matter,” and described her career path and how her Master’s in Leadership for Educational Change enabled her to foster collaborative communities at Randolph. 

Educational Programming

Miranda Barry ’06, Senior Director of Sesame Street Learning, had a long TV career before coming to Bank Street. Afterwards, she developed a Sesame Street in India. She auditioned street kids; one illiterate boy learned to read while acting. Sesame Street is now in 140 countries. “The media has this great power to educate poor and rich alike,” she said, “and many careers are available.”

Math Professional Development

Dr. Hollee Freeman ’94 trains teachers and principals in mathematics education through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and writes widely on education reform, equity, and mathematics. She discussed how to align a progressive educational philosophy with more "traditional" school programs, using as an example her own experiences on relocating to her hometown of Richmond, VA.

Educational Equity

Jeff Li ’06, Executive Director of Teach for America – New York, maximizes TA corps teachers and alumni as a force for educational equity. His career-defining moment came at age 25 on a visit to his parents’ poverty-stricken village in China. He realized the only difference between him and a 25-year-old cousin was situational, and decided to work for educational equity. He urged the attendees to consider doing the same. He also was recruiting teachers for a charter school for marginalized older kids. “We have no illusions this will be easy,” he said.

Early Care and Education Policy

Susan Ochshorn ’99 is the founder and principal of ECE PolicyWorks, which specializes in early care and education (ECE) policy research, program development, and project management. She works to integrate ECE into the larger education reform conversation and to develop policy literacy among legislators, and also writes a blog deconstructing policy for educators. She enrolled in Bank Street on realizing that the early education she could afford for her children was not available to all, and wanted to change that. “This is a pivotal time in the U.S. for social justice,” she said, “and we need more people to help make it happen.”

Technology

Kathy Rehfield-Pelles, a math and computer science expert, is a Network Leader for the New York City Department of Education, supporting 27 Public Middle and High Schools with a staff of 17. She noted many opportunities for work, such as instruction and special ed staff, parent coordinators, coaches for new techs and to help school staff and administrators. Jobs in the data area include quality reviews, inspections, and curriculum development work integrating common core standards. 

tagged: alumni, bscaa, careers