Lily Woo, a longtime New York City principal and educator, has been named the new director of Teachers College's Cahn Fellows Program for Distinguished Public School Principals. Published: 6/13/2014
Theodore Parker, (M.A., Private School Leadership) Published: 6/4/2014
"Assessing the Assessments: K-12 Measurement and Accountability in the 21st Century," a blog featuring dialogue among scholars and school practitioners, will be co-hosted by Madhabi Chatterji, Director of TC's Assessment and Evaluation Research Initiative (AERI) and James Harvey, Executive Director of the National Superintendents Roundtable. Published: 5/16/2014
Alan Mather, a member of the first Cahn Fellows cohort from Chicago in 2012, receivedthe Stanley C. Golder Award for Principals and Heads of Schools in Illinois. Published: 5/14/2014
"At the start of Children First [the public school program shaped by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein] in 2002, only half the students in our schools graduated, just as they had since the middle of the 20th century," writes former New York City Deputy Chancellor Eric Nadelstern in his recent book, Ten Lessons from New York City Schools: What Really Works to Improve Education (Teachers College Press). Published: 4/24/2014 11:01:00 AM
Aided by generous support from Trustee Marla Schaefer (M.A. '03), Teachers College has renovated the offices of The Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (ICCCR). Published: 1/14/2014
Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee, who led the women's movement that ended Liberia's second civil war in 2003, will keynote the conference "Sustaining Peace: Interdisciplinary Perspectives," at Teachers College on Thursday, October 24th. Published: 10/18/2013
Teachers College faculty members Jeffrey Henig and Anna Neumann have been elected to membership in the National Academy of Education for their contributions to educational research and policy development. Published: 2/7/2013
TC's Cahn Fellows Program Names Veteran Chinatown Principal (and Alumna) as Director
Woo, a member of the Cahn Fellows’ original cohort (the program has just welcomed its twelfth), will take up her new duties in August when she steps down as Principal of P.S. 130 Hernando de Soto in New York City’s Chinatown, a post she has held since 1990.
Woo succeeds Bill Moore, a 2007 Cahn Fellows who became the program’s director in 2013 after serving as an Alumni Committee member and Chair of the Selection Committee.
In Woo, the Cahn Fellows Program is getting a leader who not only knows urban schools, but also possesses an innate understanding of the challenges facing many students. Born in Hong Kong, Woo spoke no English when she arrived in the United States as a young child. She grew up in a tenement apartment in Chinatown, where her father worked in a restaurant and her mother ran a dry-cleaning business.
“I lived the lives of the children who live around me,” Woo said in 2010 when she received a Blackboard Award as New York City 2010 Principal of the Year. “I lived in a three-room railroad apartment, where the bathtub was in the kitchen and the bathroom in the hallway.”
Woo graduated from the Bronx High School of Science, studied elementary education at Queens College and earned her master’s degree in English as a Second Language at New York University. She taught at both the elementary and high school levels and later served as an adult basic education instructor, high school staff developer and state education department associate.
Under Woo, P.S. 130 – a Title I school where 82 percent of the students are on the free and reduced lunch program – has risen to the 98th percentile for student performance and has been honored by the city, state and U.S. Department of Education. Much of that success, peers say, owes to her collaborative leadership style. That approach, Woo says, was one of her key takeaways from the Cahn Fellows program and, in particular, from the program’s annual trip to the Civil War battlefield at Gettysburg, where thousands of lives were lost when commanders ignored the advice of their subordinates.
“It shows that you really have to be a good listener,” she says. “You really have to take people’s input into account and weigh all options. You can’t just say, ‘We are doing it my way because I said so.’”
The Cahn Fellows Program for Distinguished Public School Principals was founded in 2002 with the support of Charles and Jane Cahn. The program recognizes outstanding principals and provides them with opportunities for professional, intellectual and personal growth. Over 15 percent of New York City’s principals have benefited from the Cahn Fellows program, with some 20 to 25 principals receiving Fellowships each year. Collectively, the Cahn Fellows working in New York City schools directly impact the lives of over 225,000 children every year.
Cahn Fellow principals lead schools in every borough of New York City, as well as in Newark, New Jersey and Chicago, Illinois.