Occasional Paper Series #40

Note From New Editor-in-Chief

Dear Readers,

Gail BoldtI am pleased to introduce myself as the new Editor-in-Chief of the Bank Street Occasional Paper Series. I have served on the editorial board of the series since 2009, and it has been my privilege during that time to watch it change and grow, transitioning from a small, print-based journal to an online, open-access journal that boasts readership in 126 countries and 1,300 institutions.

I am the first editor of the Occasional Paper Series who does not have a formal Bank Street affiliation. During the interview process, I was asked several times why I was interested in becoming the new Editor-in-Chief. For me, the answers are found in the unique commitments of the Occasional Paper Series. This begins with our dedication to narrative research. Under Jonathan Silin’s leadership, a clear vision for research as human storytelling emerged, and in the essays we publish, we honor the role of biography and narrative in helping teachers and researchers assess how their own experiences can inform and shape broader educational beliefs and practices.

We have also placed a strong value on nontraditional and creative forms of research. Our online format allows us to explore multiple ways to represent ideas; in the past several years, we have published graphic essays, photo essays, and art. In Issue #38, we published original artwork with the artist’s statement and two video interviews—vlogs, I’m told—of participating authors. In this issue, we are publishing our first audio interview, a conversation between Bruce Springsteen and our guest editor, Mark Kissling. I am excited to continue collaborating with contributors to the Occasional Paper Series to push the boundaries of what counts as making important contributions to the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Equally, I am excited about Bank Street’s commitment to providing the Occasional Paper Series as an open access journal, making the ideas and issues presented available to anyone who has internet access. I am pleased with our track record of seeking out and nurturing first-time authors, including classroom teachers, curriculum and program coordinators, graduate students, and early-career scholars. From Jonathan, I have learned a great deal about being an editor-mentor for new writers. I am impressed with our readership, and especially with the practicing teachers who read our essays. Over the years, as I have published essays in the Occasional Papers Series, I have had the opportunity to subsequently correspond with teacher-readers, who have inspired me with their insightful questions and comments. They, along with the Bank Street faculty, represent a strong tradition of progressive education. As an elementary school teacher in Honolulu, Hawaii many years ago, I remember turning to Bank Street for ideas and materials—The Voyage of the Mimi and the Bank Street Apple Writer among the most important. I am proud to be associated with Bank Street and all it stands for.

As I make this transition from board member to Editor-in-Chief, I am pleased that Jonathan has agreed to stay on the board, offering guidance and reassurance as needed. The board is strong and active, and I am looking forward to continuing my work with them.

We would not be able to publish the journal without the hard work of our guest editors, and of Kristin Freda, Director of Library Services; Rachel Reda, Communications Officer; Shara Benison, Assistant Vice President of Communications; and, most recently, Alex Iwachiw, our new Managing Editor. I want to express my gratitude to Josh Thomases, formerly the Dean of Innovation, Policy & Research. Josh worked closely with Jonathan and me to shepherd the Occasional Paper Series through many positive changes. His vision for and commitment to the series was invaluable. Since Josh’s departure from Bank Street, I have had the pleasure of working with Cecelia Traugh, Dean of the Graduate School of Education, who likewise represents Bank Street’s commitment to the series. I want to thank my department head in The Department of Curriculum and Instruction as well as the dean of our College of Education at Penn State for supporting this appointment.

Last and certainly not least, there are not enough words to express my admiration for what Jonathan Silin has done to shape the Occasional Paper Series into what it is today and for mentoring me into this new role. I have known Jonathan for 25 years, and in our many talks about writing, Jonathan has been consistent in his insistence on fewer but more powerful words. In that spirit, I end with this—thank you, Jonathan.

With Best Wishes,

Gail Boldt