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Meet Our Student Ambassadors!

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Jennifer Borque

Program: Early Childhood and Childhood General Education
Hometown: Greenwich, CT
Undergraduate Institution & Major: Bard College (Psychology, Film and Electronic Arts)
Current Position: Associate Teacher, LREI

I had heard stories about Bank Street from friends and professors long before I began to research and pursue my path to becoming an educator. As I met with Bank Street faculty during the course of the interview process and attending open houses I was overcome with a feeling that Bank Street is a place that truly supports growth for all different types of learners. I chose Bank Street because I wanted to continue my education in an environment that welcomes the exchange between learners and facilitators, adults and children, theory and practice. Bank Street's programs emphasize reflection and have presented me with a space where I can share my growing understanding and my experiences in the classroom with my colleagues while being challenged to think deeply about the current issues in education and the ways that progressive pedagogy and the developmental interaction approach can continue to inform my work as an educator.

Rebecca Chynsky

Program: Leadership in Mathematics Education
Hometown: Yorktown Heights, NY
Undergraduate Institution & Major: Ithaca College (Media Studies)
Current Position: Lower School Room Teacher at The Brearley School (on sabbatical for the 2015-16 school year)

Sarah Ely

Program: Dual Language/Bilingual Childhood General Education
Hometown: New Canaan, CT
Undergraduate Institution & Major: Skidmore College (Spanish and Theater)
Current Position: Lower School Spanish Teacher at Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, NY.

I chose Bank Street for its strong Bilingual Education program, which was something that I was very much interested in pursuing. I met Dr. Luisa Costa who explained that as part of an introductory bilingual course at Bank Street, students would be asked to write an autobiography of sorts, outlining their own personal bilingual journey. I believe that the commitment that professors have to their students, their practice and to New York City schools is outstanding. I am also a career changer (having been an actor), yet Bank Street encourages students like me to bring their knowledge and expertise into their teaching practice.


Shavon Patrice Frazier

Program: Early Childhood Special Education (B-2) (2012) and Early Childhood Leadership (2017)
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Undergraduate Institution: SUNY Oneonta (Early Childhood General Education (B-2)
Current Position: Master Teacher at SCO/FirstStepNYC in Brownsville, Brooklyn

I was first introduced to Bank Street by an alumna of SUNY Oneonta during a phone conversation. I then began to look into Bank Street through their website and I attended an Open House as well as a Career Changers panel discussion. I also completed the Admissions Informational Interview and had a tour of the building. I fell in love! I loved the positive energy of all of the staff, as well as the fact that the building houses two major children's programs as well as the graduate school. I also liked that the classes were nightly as opposed to weekends. The major thing that really caught my attention was the conference groups during fieldwork. It allowed me and my colleagues to meet on a regular basis with people on similar career paths and be observed by and meet with my advisor regularly.

I loved Bank Street so much that I decided to return for a second degree in Early Childhood Leadership. I have always wanted to be a school leader and eventually open up my own early childhood center. This program has afforded me the opportunity to spread my leadership wings and gain a deeper knowledge of the inner workings of the education field and the type of imprint I can make outside of the classroom.

Sarah Freund

Program: Early Childhood Education
Current Location: East Canaan, CT.
Undergraduate Institution: Dickinson College (Policy Management)
Current Position: Taught preschool for 3.5 years in Northampton before transitioning to a full time mom role.

Bank Street met my requirements for a teacher education program and prepared me for full time teaching.  I wanted a working teacher program that embodied a progressive philosophy in the approach to learning for both graduate students and young children.  New York City is a fabulous place to learn and grow as a teacher.  I am so grateful for the time I spent living and learning NYC and Bank Street.  

Gail Goldspiel

Gail GoldspielProgram: Museum Education—Childhood
Undergraduate Institution: Brandeis University
Current Position: Youth and Family Programs Coordinator at the Rubin Museum of Art

I earned my Masters in Museum and Childhood Education from the Bank Street College of Education in May 2012. I currently work as the Coordinator of Youth & Family Programs at the Rubin Museum of Art. Prior to this, I worked as the Teen Programs Assistant at the Museum of Modern Art and as an educator for the New York Public Library. For my Masters Thesis, I created an original picture book for children, "Beatrice the Butterfly Visits the New York Public Library" which is now available in the Bank Street Library. In addition, I student taught in NYC public and private schools where I worked with first and fourth graders. I infuse my teaching, be it in the classroom or museum, with creativity and art and seek to inspire students to express themselves, look closely, imagine, wonder, and become curious life-long learners. I am active with the New York City Museum Educators Roundtable (NYCMER) and am eager to help and advise any and all prospective Bank Street students!

Katie Hayden

Program: Teaching Literacy: Classroom Focus
Hometown: Wellesley, MA
Undergraduate Institution & Major: Bucknell University, BS in Early Childhood Education
Current Position: Associate Teacher, 3rd Grade, The School at Columbia University

I was drawn to Bank Street during my graduate school search process, for numerous reasons. First, I loved the Bank Street philosophy of education. The idea that teachers must learn about their students as whole children (about their cultures, languages, values, interests, etc.) aligned with my beliefs. I believe that children are more than spellers, readers, scientists, and mathematicians. They are people learning how to behave and participate in a community with respect and kindness, and the classroom is truly the place to learn and the teacher's job to scaffold. Additionally, I was drawn to the supportive community within Bank Street. The small class sizes and the personal advising program were appealing. The conference group year was a unique aspect of the Bank Street programs, that allows for teacher growth and support, that I thought would give me the confidence I needed to one day run my own classroom.

Cosima Higham

Program: Childhood General Education
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Undergraduate Institution & Major: Bucknell University (Art History)
Current Position: 4th Grade Head Leave Replacement Teacher at Brooklyn Friends School / 8s-9s Head Teacher at Manhattan Country School (as of Sept. 2017)

Bank Street is a community. It is a place where you know you will be surrounded by like-minded people who are all dedicated to becoming effective and engaging educators. When I was on the search for graduate schools, I was immediately drawn to Bank Street for these reasons and really couldn't see myself going anywhere else. Another aspect of Bank Street that drew me in was how interested people were in getting to know and understand one another as individuals. It is a place where you are encouraged to be reflective in our practice as eductors in order to better inform how we instruct children. The professors are truly dedicated to helping each student become their best self as well as the best teacher they can be. This is an aspect of Bank Street I think is not only unique, but invaluable.


Shoshana Koslowe Ainsberg

Program: Childhood Special & General Education
Hometown: East Brunswick, N.J.
Undergraduate Institution & Major: SUNY Binghamton, Psychology
Current Position: 3rd Grade Assistant Teacher at SAR Academy

I chose Bank Street for multiple reasons and I know that it was a wonderful decision. The faculty at Bank Street are so attentive and supportive of my academic goals as well as my professional development. In particular, my advisor has been a constant confidant and individual to whom I can bring any questions or inquiries. Additionally, the hands-on approach to learning has been such an informative way of educating future teachers. I have been pushed to consider lessons for a diverse population of learners with an array of academic and social-emotional needs. It is just one of the many ways in which the course work and class conversations educated me on how to become a more conscientious and thoughtful teacher.

Abigail Laub

Program: Early Childhood General and Special Education
Hometown: Born in Guyana, South American and lives in Manhattan, New York
Undergraduate Institution & Major: New York University (Healthcare Management)
Current Position: Full Time Student

Bank Street provides an intimate and exciting learning experience. If you are a learner who thrives in a group setting where your ideas and values are respected and encouraged, then Bank Street is the place to you. My advisor and teachers greet me by name and with a smile when we encounter one another within the walls of Bank Street and outside.

I have been a student in the Early Childhood General and Special Education Program at Bank Street since January 2014. The faculty and the staff provide an encouraging, holistic and inclusive environment for my colleagues and I. The teachers are dedicated, involved and deeply passionate about their work as educators. The practice of the Development-Interaction Approach is prevalent in the culture and core of the Bank Street experience.

My fieldwork experience has been challenging, thought provoking, and insightful with an emphasis on social justice and differentiation for all students. Weekly conference group has been instrumental in helping me to delve deeper into the fieldwork experience. The tools and experience I have acquired have helped to shape and sharpen my awareness in the field of education. My toolbox is expanding everyday that I continue this work. Looking back at my own experience as a student, Bank Street stands out clearly as the best one yet.

Julie Lee

Program: Early Childhood Special Education
Undergraduate Institution: Binghamton University
Current Position: 2nd Grade Teacher in an ICT classroom at a New York City Public School.

I chose Bank Street because I loved seeing all of the children's work during the tour.
The classrooms at the Bank Street School for Children was a game changer for me because I knew in my heart that student-driven work that's organic and thoughtfully documented was at the heart of authentic teaching and learning. I graduated in 2012 from the Early Childhood Special Education program and was hired as a K-2 SETTS teacher at a charter school in Brooklyn.

Two years ago, I transitioned to NYC public schools right when they put in rigorous teacher evaluation systems and Common Core aligned Math and ELA curriculum. With these challenges, and less time for play and student-driven work, I value what I learned at Bank Street more than ever. I learned to truly think outside of the box with best practices in mind, and above all to be an advocate for the children and families. 

Among other things, the advisory support you receive at Bank Street is what makes the school truly unique.

Rachel McEvoy

Program: Childhood General and Special Education
Hometown: Corvallis, OR
Undergraduate institution/major: New York University (Classics; Minor in Social and Public Policy)
Current position: Student Teacher, Community Roots Charter School

I found Bank Street by chance through a recommendation from a mentor-colleague during my first year of teaching at a charter school in Brooklyn. I enrolled in a literacy class at Bank Street in the spring of that year as a non-matriculated student and found approaches to engaging with children, myself, and colleagues that resonated deeply with me. Our work in that course was grounded in detailed, objective observation of students followed by application of evidence-based theory and thoughtful individual as well as collaborative reflection. My subsequent coursework at Bank Street has built upon these themes: always weaving together theory (past and current), practice, and reflection to shape our practices. I value Bank Street's approach to teacher preparation because it recognizes that our work as educators is inextricably linked to how well we understand, honor, and engage with the many facets of our own identity, including biases, and the identities of our students and colleagues.

Stephanie McGillen

Program: Infant and Family Development & Early Intervention / Early Childhood General and Special Education
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Undergraduate institution/major: Allegheny College, Art History
Other graduate institution: Carnegie Mellon University, Arts Management
Current position: 2’s Assistant Teacher at Grace Church School in Brooklyn Heights

When I was looking for an education program, I was excited to find that Bank Street’s Infancy program seemed to be uniquely suited to my interests and beliefs as a would-be educator.  The focus on infant mental health and the inclusion of family development were program elements that I didn’t see represented in other institutions.  I was also drawn to Bank Street’s commitment to supporting its students.  The weekly meetings with my conference group during my first year were some of the most valuable learning experiences I’ve experienced, and even though those sessions are no longer an official part of my course load, I still come away from every discussion with my advisor, professors, and peers inspired and full of ideas to incorporate into my classroom and work with children and their families. 

Elizabeth Ortega

Program: Dual Language/Bilingual Early Childhood Special and General Education
Hometown: Spanish Harlem
Undergraduate Institution & Major: Wheelock College/ Early Childhood Education and Communications
Current Position: Assistant Teacher at St. Hilda’s and Hughes

I first heard about Bank Street College from a friend who had just finished her first year. We both attended the same undergraduate school and mentioned how similar both institutions were. Such as it's class size, support, and resources I would get as a graduate student. During that time, I was deciding whether I should go to NYU or Bank Street. I then decided to take a tour and talk to the director of the program I was hoping to be part of. After these two opportunities, I knew Bank Street was the choice for me! This is my second year and feel that I have grown as a student, learner, and teacher for my students. Due to my advisor, professors, and mentors I feel prepared to continue to advocate for myself and use my teaching philosophy in any school I teach in. 

Jessica (Jess) Parise

Jessica (Jess) PariseProgram: Child Life
Hometown: Port Washington, NY
Undergraduate Institution: Syracuse University
Current position: Certified Child Life Specialist

I chose Bank Street because the Child Life program was highly recommended by many Certified Child Life Specialists who have had years of experience in the field. While at Bank Street, what stood out to me was the level of support that all students received from their professors. The amount and quality of the support provided was just outstanding, and something that I will never forget. The professors at Bank Street are wonderful professionals who are dedicated to your learning and growth as you become an expert in the field. At Bank Street, there is also a strong focus on bridging theory to practice, and the coursework and field placement timeline that is established for students truly reflects the importance of this connection.

Katie Potter

Program: Teaching Literacy & Childhood General Education
Hometown: Rumson, NJ (currently live in Hoboken, NJ)
Undergraduate Institution & Major: Skidmore College (Psychology & Spanish Double Major)
Current Position: Student teacher

I chose Bank Street because I wanted to know more about what students are learning and engaging with in the classroom. I previously worked as an educational researcher with children and knew a lot about children's development and assessment. However, I wanted to know more about progressive education and how to teach children in a dynamic and experiential way. Bank Street was the perfect place for me because the Literacy & General Education program was a perfect combination of both my interests and passions for children's learning.

Tova Rich

Tova RichProgram: Teaching Literacy and Childhood General Education Dual Certification
Hometown: Passaic, NJ
Undergraduate Institution: Yeshiva University
Current Position: Assistant Teacher at Yeshiva Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch

When researching graduate schools, Bank Street always stood out for me as a place where the purpose was to better understand how to educate children, not just get a degree and get out. After coming to Bank Street I can say that this is absolutely true! The professors are all very knowledgeable about all current topics in education. My favorite part about my education at Bank Street is the discussions I get to have with my peers during every class. We all share our ideas and information we know and walk out more knowledgeable than when we came in. The professors at Bank Street are very supportive and work with you to help guide your interests to help further your profession. I cannot say enough wonderful things about Bank Street and all that it does!

Katie Shea

Program: Infant and Family Development Early Intervention /Early Childhood Special and General Education Dual Certification
Undergraduate Institution: University of Hartford
Current Position: Classroom Teacher & Music Teacher at Brotherhood Synagogue Nursery School

I am currently a second year student in the infant and family development early intervention special and general education program. (The title is crazy long) I completed my first year and student teaching in a toddler room and now teach both in the classroom and music at Brotherhood Synagogue Nursery School. Bank Street is a wonderful place to learn in grow. They truly exemplify the way that we should treat children and teach children in the way that they teach and treat us.

Jared Slater

Photo taken by Kevin Ramsey

Program: Childhood General & Special Education
Hometown: Irvine, CA.
Undergraduate Institution: Drama, UC Irvine
Current Position: Associate Teacher, 3rd Grade, Trinity School

To be perfectly honest, I did not know much about progressive education when I began thinking about making a career change. I spoke to several friends who are in the education world and they all suggested I look at Bank Street. Between their recommendations, attending the career-changer forum and looking through the school website, Bank Street was of high-interest to me. What made me realize that Bank Street would be the best fit for me, was going through the application process, which requires much more meaningful writing and self-reflection than any other program to which I applied. This seemed indicative of the approach taken in the graduate school. My hunch was right! The program encourages reflection and deep learning; it was a perfect fit and I am so thankful for my time at Bank Street.

Debbie Tasioudis

Debbie TasioudisProgram: Leadership for Educational Change: Special Education
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
Undergraduate Institution: Georgia State University (History/African American Studies)
Other Graduate Institution: Pace University (Middle Childhood Special Education)
Current Position: Special Education Achievement Coach, Network 533, NYCDOE

I am originally from Atlanta, Georgia, and I moved to NYC to build my craft as a classroom teacher. Before coming to Bank Street, I was fortunate to be a NYC Teaching Fellow, teaching middle school in Ft. Greene and elementary school in Coney Island. I spent a lot of time looking for a leadership program that set meeting the needs of students with disabilities as a priority and found just that here at Bank Street. I also found an opportunity to be a part of an amazing, diverse cohort of learners who share a similar commitment to best practices and inclusiveness. I completed my program at Bank Street in December of 2012, and my School District Leader coursework in 2013.

Bank Street’s focus on adult development in leadership has helped me to redefine my commitment to teaching and learning and helped me to form new ideas about differentiated professional learning. The advisory component of the program also provides a unique opportunity to get very personalized attention and allows you to have a hand in shaping the curriculum- that is something I've never experienced before in larger universities. The transition to leadership is exciting and challenging; advisory helps you find your way.

Elif Topbas

Program: Early Childhood General Education
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Undergraduate Institution & Major: Binghamton University - BA in Environmental Studies
Current Position: Full-time student - Student teacher at P.S. 290 The Manhattan New School

I decided to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education after many years of working as a paralegal. As I began looking into different graduate degree programs, my sister had recommended that I look into Bank Street because of the school's exceptional programs. I attended multiple Open Houses and felt most supported at Bank Street. The professors and staff members available at the Open House truly believed in and were passionate about the work that was being accomplished at Bank Street - the goal was to educate the whole child. As I walked out of the Open House, I knew that I wanted to attend Bank Street. 

As for myself, returning to school after many years of working came with feelings of nervousness and uncertainty. However, the Bank Street community has always been supportive and provided me with guidance as I progressed from a part-time student to a full-time student. I think that Bank Street stands apart from other graduate degree programs because of the intimate setting that is created by small class sizes and the individualized support that is provided by academic advisors.   

Kailey Winans

Program: Infant and Family Development/Early Intervention/ Early Childhood Special Education
Hometown: Medina, New York
Undergraduate Institution & Major: Wagner College (Childhood General & Special Education & Theater, with a minor in Music)
Current Position: Teacher in a 1’s classroom at Roosevelt Island Day Nursery

Immediately after I graduated college I did not know if I planned to teach or not.  I worked as a nanny for three years and learned more about children.  I was spending my day with three little girls aged 1 to 5 years.  I enjoyed learning about them and watching them grow, they were little sponges that wanted to learn and explore everything.  I realized that I did want to continue my education and pursue my masters.  I started to research programs and I came across Bank Street.  As I was reading about the program I became very excited.  I felt like Bank Street’s philosophy paralleled mine.  I realized I was very interested in their unique approach to education and also the broad spectrum of master’s programs.  I thought the focus of hands-on experience and class offerings fit the type of program I wanted.  Bank Street’s approach to education focuses not only on the child but also on the family.  I really liked the family development aspect of the degree.  From the first phone call I made to set up a meeting with admissions to my interview to be accepted into the program, I felt comfortable. I felt like the staff really listened to me and helped me to choose the program that would help me reach my goals.  I wasn’t just another grad student- I felt like the staff and professors really cared about me as not only a student but as a person as well.  I have not been disappointed.  I am proud to say I am pursuing my degree at Bank Street.