Dr. Robin Hancock, Director of the Guttman Center for Early Care & Education at Bank Street College, was honored with the United Federation of Teachers’ Union Partnership Award at the Fifth Annual Provider Appreciation Awards Ceremony held on May 11 in New York City. The ceremony honors providers who help provide safe and nurturing learning environments for children and families across the city.
Under Dr. Hancock’s leadership, the Guttman Center provides a free five-month integrated program of coaching visits and coursework for early childhood practitioners and program leaders working with children ages 0–3 in East New York, Brooklyn. Through deep collaboration with the community, the program helps practitioners develop a cadre of high-quality early child care programs to help improve the life trajectories of local infants and toddlers. The program has led to significant improvements in increasing caregivers’ knowledge of the developmental needs of young children and their ability to create environments that respond to the needs of the developing mind and body.
“This is a well-deserved honor for Dr. Hancock,” said Akilah Rosado, Vice President for Governance and Community Engagement at Bank Street College. “She has accomplished a great deal in such a short period of time—entering an unknown community, establishing critical relationships and partners—to help plant the seeds of growth for instructional communal learning. Her commitment to equity in education is tireless and Bank Street is fortunate to have Dr. Hancock lead the Guttman Center for Early Care & Education’s work.”
Dr. Hancock is an early education specialist committed to elevating the voices of educators who have historically been silenced in traditional academic spaces, building culturally relevant curricula, and strengthening the practice of early childhood educators in the field. She joined Bank Street as director of the Guttman Center in the fall of 2016.
She began her teaching career 16 years ago in New Haven, Connecticut, and has taught in classrooms with children ranging from three months to six years. After completing a Master’s in Social Anthropology at Brandeis University, she moved to California, where she engaged in social justice work, creating and sustaining early literacy programs with a focus on culturally relevant student-teacher professional development. In 2009, she returned to the East Coast to complete a Doctorate in Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University.
“I’ve learned so much from our program partners during the last two years about the world of caregiving in New York City,” said Hancock. “I am a teacher by nature and so it’s a humbling experience to be on the other side of that relationship. I’m grateful for the woman and men of the United Federation of Teachers who took me under their wing and it is a particularly special honor to be recognized by a community I admire so deeply.”