The Board of Trustees at Bank Street College of Education has unanimously approved a five-year contract extension for President Shael Polakow-Suransky, GSE, ’00. The new contract will begin in July 2022, at the start of his ninth year in the role.
“The Board is pleased to extend President Polakow-Suransky’s contract as leader of Bank Street as we continue our mission to support high-quality education for all students,” said Victoria Hamilton, Chair, Bank Street College Board of Trustees.
Since stepping into the role in July 2014, President Polakow-Suransky has prioritized the College’s public impact by launching the Bank Street Education Center and building new partnerships with school systems across the country to improve education at scale. He has strengthened the College’s research capacity to further support Bank Street’s role as a national thought leader in the field of education and has spearheaded long-term investments in Bank Street’s physical and technical infrastructure, including the launch of online programs within the Graduate School of Education.
During Polakow-Suransky’s tenure, Bank Street launched the Straus Center for Young Children & Families, which conducts research on practice- and policy-oriented issues within early care and education; Prepared To Teach, which works with programs and legislators across the nation to develop locally appropriate, sustainably funded teacher residency models and release ongoing publications to support high-quality teacher preparation for all; and Learning Starts At Birth, which works to leverage Bank Street’s longstanding expertise in early childhood education to impact policy and practice at scale. In 2019, Bank Street also welcomed the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), a non-partisan public policy research organization dedicated to improving the lives of low-income children and their families.
Polakow-Suransky’s deep relationships across the field of education have also played a central role in the development of several other new and vital initiatives, including a partnership with Learning Policy Institute to launch EdPrepLab, a network of leading educator preparation providers committed to documenting and developing preparation models that advance deeper learning and equity across the nation, and select teacher residency graduate programs in partnership with the New York City Department of Education.
In addition, through the work of the Education Center, School System Partnerships & Programs has partnered with public schools in Yonkers and Brooklyn to strengthen math education for Black, Lantinx, and low-income middle school students to help support their successful completion of eighth grade and enriched math teaching and learning in more than 3,000 pre-K classrooms across New York City.
Polakow-Suransky’s commitment to working from people’s strengths and values has also helped him build a more inclusive and diverse community across the College. In addition, he successfully led Bank Street through the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most challenging moments in the College’s history. His deep care and strategic leadership helped ensure the School for Children, Family Center, and Head Start maintained safe, supportive, and meaningful learning experiences both in-person and at home throughout the pandemic.
“Bank Street is a healthy, innovative, and resilient institution that supports learning each day in the lives of the children, educators, and the schools we serve. I am so grateful to be part of this smart and generous community and I look to the coming years with optimism and hope,” said Polakow-Suransky.
Hamilton added, “The challenges of the last couple of years demonstrate Shael’s strong leadership and communication skills, as faculty and staff rallied to support the community and adapt its educational practices under trying circumstances. Shael grounds his leadership in a belief that responsive relationships are at the heart of all learning and growth and an authentic passion for bringing the Bank Street approach to teachers and school communities at scale. The Board looks forward to continuing to partner with Shael, his team, and the entire Bank Street community that his leadership fosters.”
Prior to joining Bank Street, Polakow-Suransky was second-in-command at the New York City Department of Education, serving as Deputy Chancellor in the Bloomberg administration. Earlier in his career, Polakow-Suransky worked as a teacher and founding principal of Bronx International High school. He is the first alumnus to serve as president.