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Alumni News

The latest on alumni events, services and other goings-on

Alumni in the Schools

TC graduates are forging new connections between TC and schools in surrounding communities

The Educational Outreach Committee of the Teachers College Alumni Council has paired its members and other TC experts with parent groups at local schools for workshops. "Empowering parents and providing them with the tools to participate in their children's education is critical," says outgoing committee chair Joan Shapiro, (Ed.D., Special Education, 1982). "And the families in these communities are not consistently provided with the support or resources to make this happen."

Now in its third year, the program has offered workshops such as "Media Literacy: What's Good and What's Bad about TV"; "What is a Reading or Learning Disability?"; "Preparing for College: The Time is Now"; and "A Parent's Guide to the Library: Access to Success." Presenters have included Alice Wilder, TC Alumni Council President and the developer and Director of Research and Development for the Nickelodeon program "Blues Clues," who spoke on Media Literacy; Shapiro, in private practice, who spoke on learning disabilities; council member Patrick McGuire, who spoke on libraries; and Pamela Koch, Executive Director of the Center for Food and Environment, who spoke on nutrition and wellness.

The committee's workshops have been hosted by P.S. 125, P.S. 101 (also known as the East Harlem Leadership Academy), P.S. 241 (otherwise known as Family Academy) and the TC-founded Heritage School, among others.

At the Family Academy School, Alice Wilder's workshop was very successful, attracting triple the usual number of parents to a PTA meeting. "The community is thirsty for this," says Sheryl Siegel, Director of Program Development and Enrichment.

Other workshops have included "Facts about Special Education" and "Homework Issues". At P.S. 125, the group provided sessions for teachers; at the East Harlem Leadership Academy, the Media Literacy workshop was supplemented by programs for young children. "They were excellent," says Maria Torres, the school's Parent Coordinator. "I definitely recommended them for next semester. The parents enjoyed them and they had a really good turnout."

The workshops are held at times convenient for parents. "Sometimes it's eight in the morning, when they drop their children off at school, and sometimes it's five at night," Shapiro says.

Shapiro taught for 20 years at Marymount Manhattan College, where she also set up a clinical facility to treat learning disabilities, speech/language and hearing disorders, and train teachers. She has also co-authored a book called Facing Learning Disabilities in the Adult Years, her field of expertise. "My interest in the community has been longstanding," Shapiro says. "There's a real need for parent education and outreach to children who don't have easy access to services."

Ultimately the pro-gram could serve as a model for other community programs. In the meantime, it dovetails well with TC's community plans. "The work we're doing is very much in keeping with President Fuhrman's commitment to see that TC becomes a bigger presence in the community," Shapiro says. "I think we're off to a good start."

Council President's Message

Dear Fellow Alumni,

Welcome back to Teachers College!

As incoming President of the Alumni Council, I am honored to represent the community of thinkers, learners, and doers that made my experience at TC such a positive one. As alumni, we possess a breathtaking range of skills, knowledge, experience-'"and we share an important common bond that is our passion for what we do. Drawing upon this wealth of resources and sense of connectedness has provided me with rewarding relationships-'"both personal and professional-'"and a place that always feels like home.

I am so proud of the students, the faculty and, especially, the alumni who work to maintain our bond. Your involvement ensures that our network of friends and resources will continue to expand.

The Alumni Council is taking a leadership role in helping to plan programs and volunteering opportunities for alumni-'"but with only 35 sitting members and over 90,000 alumni, we need your help and advice! Here's a glimpse of what your friends on the Alumni Council are planning for the upcoming year:

  • Conceptualizing and organizing Homecoming 2008

  • Honoring accomplished alumni with the Teachers College Distinguished Alumni Award and Early Career Award

  • Delivering educational outreach workshops for parents of public school students in Harlem

  • Partnering with the Office of Alumni Relations to connect with alumni, domestically and internationally

  • Partnering with the Office of Admissions to deliver alumni panels for prospective students

  • And so much more.

    We hope that you continue to think of TC as your community, whether as a venue to make connections or simply-'"as I do when I walk through its halls-'"a place that you can call "home." Thank you in advance for your support!


    Alice Wilder, President, Teachers College Alumni Council

    Making Faces

    Videography looked like just one more radical career move, but Dan Krystallis discovered it was right in his wheelhouse

    When Dan Krystallis (M.A., Organizational Psychology, 1998) was hired straight out of Teachers College by the consulting arm of PriceWaterhouse, he had not only never done any consulting, he'd never worked for a corporation of any kind. His sole credential: Bonzai Consulting, a faux enterprise he'd conceived for TC Professor Warner Burke's Practicum in Change Management.

    "I had very little applicable experience to which I could refer during interviews," he says. "They understood it wasn't a real company, but it was still a fantastic resource for highlighting my creative skills."

    Krystallis' knack for invention quickly earned him a promotion and a job-'"developing employee training programs for the company's highest-profile clients. It wasn't long, however, before he felt the call of what he describes as "a propensity for self-teaching and a continual need to master something new."

    His next stop, in 2002, was Pepsi Bottling Group, as manager of organizational capability. There, in a career changing moment, he envisioned a new role for video in training the company's sales force.

    "This type of training required modeling behavior to communicate messages from leadership," says Krystallis. "I felt video was a powerful teaching tool."

    The field of custom media was exploding, and in 2003 Krystallis left Pepsi Bottling Group for TimeLine Inc., a Westchester-based video production company. That spring, while canvassing for new clients as the company's Director of Business Development, he crossed paths with Don Martin, TC's Associate Dean for Enrollment and Student Services, and was asked to join TC's Marketing Manager, Barri Roberson, in developing "The Faces of Teachers College," an award-winning recruitment video.

    Krystallis calls the piece-'"a stirring affirmation of the diversity of the TC community distilled from 20 hours of raw footage-'""the most personal, comprehensive and ultimately rewarding experience of my career."

    Today, Krystallis co-owns Wheelhouse Communications, a creative media firm he runs with partner Christopher Ryan in Bronxville, New York. He has since produced another TC-related video for The Cahn Fellows-'"the TC initiative that brings together top New York City public school principals for professional development and shared problem solving. Still, he retains a soft spot for his brief foray into the world of luminous skyscrapers and Web-ready boardrooms.

    "They say you have to put yourself in a position to make things happen," Krystallis says. "But sometimes you just have to let things happen to you."

    To view "The Faces of Teachers College," visit

    World Relations

    International alumni network renews ties to Teachers College in Turkey, Greece

    In 2000, the Alumni Council created the International Alumni Network (IAN) to enhance TC's international presence and reputation for global leadership. IAN is comprised of representatives from all the countries in which TC has alumni and provides a vital link between our international alumni and the College.

    This spring International Alumni Network Represen-tatives, Sibel Kamisli (Ed.D., Applied Linguistics, 1992) and Christina Laskari (M.A., Organizational Psychology, 1997) helped to host and coordinate alumni receptions in Istanbul, Turkey and Athens, Greece, respectively. Both events were hugely successful and were attended by alumni and newly admitted students from each country. "OurIAN reps were an invaluable asset in spreading the word about President Fuhrman's visit amongst alumni in their home countries," says Chris Greaves, Associate Director of Alumni Relations.

    Incoming students had the rare opportunity to meet President Fuhrman and connect with their predecessors before starting at Teachers College in the fall. Students in attendance at the reception in Turkey included two Fulbright scholars.

    A School Grows In Brooklyn

    During shared car rides from Park Slope to classes at TC, Luyen Chou (M.A., Education Leadership, 2007) and Daniel Kikuji Rubenstein (Ed.D., Education Leadership, 2007) decided to resolve their concerns about their neighborhood middle schools by building a new one.

    If approved by the state, the Brooklyn Prospect Charter School will open in fall 2008, open to all students in its district by lottery. It will use an International Baccalaureate curriculum, offering an additional diploma to graduates, and a program that pairs students with advisers on a daily basis. The school, through a holistic approach prizing compassion, knowledge and reflection, will require students to achieve world-class standards and participate with teachers and parents as members of a global community, Chou says. The faculty and administration will approach accountability from a value-added perspective with success measured by student progress toward their individual learning goals.

    In addition to their TC studies in independent school administration, both Chou and Rubenstein have backgrounds in private school education. Chou, now a vice president at technology developer SchoolNet, was first a teacher and then administrator at New York's K-12 Dalton School. Rubenstein most recently headed the math department at New York's Collegiate School, a K-12 boys school, but has been dreaming of opening a charter school for nearly a decade.

    Chou and Rubenstein wish to create a charter school that has the feel of a private school with a 21st-century curriculum and a global focus. And the founders say a global, knowledge-based learning community can only be achieved if high standards are also set for the adults. The school will require highly skilled educators who model lifelong learning, constant collaboration and professionalism, and who strive to become master teachers. For this, the school will provide ongoing professional development, collaborative decision making and performance-based compensation.

    In planning the school's mission and values, Chou and Rubenstein formed leadership and academic planning teams with strong ties to their alma mater. Their teams include TC alum and Klingenstein Center Chair and Director Pearl Rock Kane (Ed.D., International Education Development, 1983); Janice Savin-Williams, The Williams Capital Group L.P. Co-founder with husband and TC trustee Christopher Williams; Johanna Barmore (M.A., Mathematics Education, 2000), currently Collegiate School Dean of Students; Klingenstein Program students Sarah Heard, Dorothy S. Meyer and Candice Olson; LaNolia Ufondu, a biology teacher at Harlem's Frederick Douglass Academy and TC student wishing to become a public school administrator; activist, journalist, and teacher Drago Novkovic, who is currently extending his first TC master's to a joint M.S. degree in Applied Physiology and Nutrition; and others.


    She's the lady who brought the world the hit children's TV show "Blues Clues." Now Alice Wilder (Educational Psychology, M.A., '92; Ed.D., '98), TC Alumni Council President, has followed that act as part of the team that created Think It Ink It Publishing, a company that turns kids into publishers of their own books.

    Working with wordless picture books created by a group of artists that includes Chuck Gonzales and Dasha Ziborova, children can write stories to match images. The final product is a professional-looking book, complete with a dedication page and an author's bio.

    All kinds of people have publicly praised the new venture, which launched in April 2007, but perhaps the strongest endorsement comes from "Amanda, 10 years old," who is quoted on the Think It Ink It Web site ( "I love this book because a 10-year-old can express her feelings."

    Class Notes

    Connecting alumni far and near with Teachers College and each other



    Shondel J. Nero (Ed.D., 1997; Ed.M., 1994; M.A., TESOL, 1990) edited Dialects, Englishes, Creoles, and Education (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2006) and gave a Book Talk at the Gottesman Libraries this spring. At TC, Nero did a qualitative study of the language of four Caribbean college students, and her current research interests include ESL, teaching standard English as a second dialect, Caribbean Creole English, sociolinguistics, and language and identity. She is an Associate Professor of TESOL in the School of Education, St. John's University, New York. She has published several articles and is the author of Englishes in Contact: Anglophone Caribbean Students in an Urban College (Hampton Press, 2001).


    Ruthann Knechel Johansen (M.A., 1966) has been named President of Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Indiana, by the school's Board of Trustees. Johansen is a faculty fellow and professor in the Program of Liberal Studies at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. She has served as an adjunct faculty member at Bethany Seminary, guest lecturer at Earlham College, and has been a visiting scholar at Harvard Divinity School and Princeton Theological Seminary.


    Michael Bitz (Ed.D., 1998; Ed.M., 1996) initiated the Comic Book Project six years ago as a creative alternative to traditional modes of instruction. The project, which is housed at Teachers College, allows kids to develop and publish their own comic books with the help of established comic book artists. While the Project began as an after-school program in Queens, it is now in more than 500 schools nationwide. New Jersey's Yavneh Academy decided to use the Comic Book Project to augment its fourth-grade, character-education curriculum in both English and Hebrew. In Hackensack, New Jersey, Nellie K. Parker Elementary School art teacher Cheryl Parisi, another TC alum (M.A., Art and Art Education, 2005), attended a seminar last fall and then implemented the Project during lunch hour at her school. Parisi says she was struck by the way the girls-'"no boys got involved-'"learned from one another and how the project held their attention. "They didn't have to come down," Parisi said. "They could've been out at recess." The Comic Book Project is soon to be taken overseas to Central America, South America, Japan and Australia.

    Jasmin Bey Cowin (Ed.D., 1992, Ed.M., 1989) performed at several events this spring, including a lecture at the United Nation's German Consulate. Titled "From Darkness to Light: German Opera Discovered," Cowin's lecture discussed the development of German opera. Cowin is also a graduate of the Staatliche Musikhochschule Karlsruhe and a former Fulbright recipient.


    Erick Gordon (Ed.M., 2005; M.A., 1996), Director of the Student Press Initiative at Teachers College, and others spent last summer recording and transcribing oral stories from Riker's Island inmates who are also attending Horizon Academy at the prison. The latest edition of the three-book series, Echando Humo Para Siempre: Oral Histories from Rikers Island, contains stories by 18 student-inmates attending one of two Rikers schools. The books will be distributed to public school classrooms around New York City.



    Ralph Montalvo (Ed.D., 2007; Ed.M., 2002; M.A., 1998) is serving as Assistant Vice Principal in charge of physical education and health at the William Cullen Bryant High School in Long Island City, New York. Currently completing a doctorate at TC, he is writing his dissertation on the role of student attitude in physical education classes. Montalvo has introduced a program at William Cullen Bryant designed to interest students in their own physical health without alienating them first. The program features a variety of non-traditional activity options that include golf, performing dance and bowling, and upholds consistency and moderation in its approach to exercise.



    Yasmin Helou (Ed.M., 2007, M.A., 2005) received another master's degree from Teachers College this May. Two days after addressing fellow graduates at commencement, she started as a Ph.D. student in Behavior Analysis. Helou recently had her first journal article, on writer immersion, published in the Journal of Early and Intensive Behavior Intervention and presented her work at a conference in San Diego. She is now employing TC Professor Doug Greer's model-'"Comprehensive Application of Behavior Analysis to Schooling (CABAS)-'"in a research-based, special education-only school.


    Helen J. Streubert Speziale (Ed.D., 1989), Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs at College Misericordia, was recently named by the National League of Nursing (NLN) to head a national task group that will evaluate nursing student learning in classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings over a three-year period. The group is comprised of 12 nursing professionals from across the country and will complete a comprehensive review of literature and a critical synthesis of research and other scholarly evidence related to the assessment and evaluation of student learning in classroom, laboratory and clinical settings.



    Amy Stuart Wells (Ph.D., 1991), Professor of Sociology and Education at Teachers College, filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in December 2006 as part of its consideration of challenges to school integration plans. Wells also penned an opinion article for Newsday countering the notion that the poor are to blame for inequality in education. Wells argued that blaming the poor for their plight serves to cast government efforts to correct inequality appear "immoral and fundamentally unfair to the hardworking middle-class."



    Jennifer Jun-Li Chen (M.A., 1998) gave a Book Talk at the Gottesman Libraries on her new book, How the Academic Support of Parents, Teachers, and Peers Contributes to a Student's Achievement: The Case of Hong Kong(Edwin Mellen Press, 2007). Chen is currently Assistant Professor of Early Childhood and Family Studies at Kean University, New Jersey. She also earned her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Linguistics from Barnard College and earned an Ed.M. in Language and Literacy and an Ed.D. in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University Graduate School of Education.



    Bonnie Lehet (M.A., 1988) was appointed Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction for the Princeton Regional Board of Education. Lehet has served as mathematics supervisor in the district since February 2001. She previously served as the K--12 technology supervisor for the Millburn Township Public Schools and worked as a technology specialist, computer coordinator, and mathematics and science teacher at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School. Lehet is now a doctoral candidate in Mathematics Education at Teachers College.


    Dr. Ian K. Smith (M.A., 1993), who received the Teachers College Early Career Award in 2002, is a diet expert on VH1's, "Celebrity Fit Club." The diet featured on the show is from Smith's latest book, The Fat Smash Diet (St. Martin's Griffin, 2006). Smith is currently a medical contributor to ABC's "The View" and a columnist for Men's Health.



    Luyen Chou (M.A., 2007) was named Senior Vice President of Global Networks by SchoolNet, a leading technology company that helps public school districts improve efficiency and increase academic achievement. Luyen will oversee SchoolNet's development of an online global learning community that will connect educators, parents, and students worldwide. Chou, known as an education technology visionary and entrepreneur, was formerly the Executive Director of the Center for Integrated Learning and Teaching, and the Associate Head of The School-'"an independent K--8 laboratory school on the campus of Columbia University. In addition to his role as Director of Operations for the New Laboratory for Teaching and Learning, Chou taught philosophy, multimedia and history at New York's Dalton School, and he was also Project Manager for the Dalton Technology Plan, a million-dollar-a-year grant to build the school of the future in the context of networked multimedia. Chou has written articles on educational technology and interactive design, and also lectured on these subjects at Columbia University, MIT, Stanford University, the U.S. Library of Congress, TED Conference, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) and other venues.


    Tom Rock (Ed.D., 2002) appeared on CBS' "Amazing Race" last fall. The TC Admissions Director and his partner, Terry Cosentino, started the race in Seattle and traveled westward to Beijing, Mongolia and Hanoi, before the team was eliminated in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. While Rock and Cosentino may have missed out on the million-dollar prize, the two developed lasting friendships with several fellow cast members.


    John B. Clark (Ed.D., 2001) was named Interim Chancellor of the State University of New York in June. Clark, who grew up in the Bronx and worked in public finance and municipal bond research on Wall Street for 17 years, has served in similar capacities at the State University College of Technology at Alfred, SUNY Plattsburgh, SUNY Brockport and SUNY's College of Optometry. He was also briefly SUNY's acting vice chancellor for enrollment and university life. At TC, Clark wrote his doctoral dissertation on the works of the noted theologian and philosopher, John Henry Cardinal Newman, author of the classic treatise on higher education, The Idea of a University. He also holds the advanced degrees of Master of Public Administration from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York; Master of Arts in Economics from Fordham University; and Master of Arts in Philosophy from New York University. In April, he delivered the annual Cardinal Newman lecture at the National University of Ireland.


    Joyce N. Parseghian died in October 2006 of brain cancer at 80 years of age.

    She was an attorney specializing in immigration law and earned her M.A. from Teachers College with honors in Language, Literature, and Social Studies in 1980. She received her J.D. from Rutgers Law School. Prior to attending Teachers College, she earned her B.A. in French and Spanish from Bucknell University, where she was inducted into Pi Delta Phi, the National French Honor Society.

    She is survived by her son, Michael, her parents and two siblings.

    Albert Ellis (Ph.D., '47), one of the towering figures in 20th century psychology, died in July at the age of 93. He was the founder of Rational-Emotive Therapy (later, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, or REBT), which offers a more active, direct approach to treating psychological disorders than traditional psychoanalytic models. Ellis' approach provided an early foundation for what is now the most commonly practiced psychotherapeutic modality, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.

    A 1982 survey of U.S. and Canadian psychologists designated him as the second-most-influential psychotherapist in history, ahead of Sigmund Freud. At the time of his death, Ellis was President Emeritus of the Albert Ellis Institute in New York City.

    Born in Pittsburgh in 1913 but raised in New York City, Ellis received his doctorate in clinical psychology from TC, where he learned psychoanalytically-oriented psychotherapy, the predominant theoretical orientation at that time.

    Ellis developed REBT in the 1950s as a challenge to Freud's deliberate, slow-moving methodology, the prevailing psychotherapeutic treatment at the time. Where the Freudians maintained that a painstaking exploration of childhood experience was critical to understanding neurosis and curing it, Ellis believed in short-term therapy that called on patients to focus on what was happening in their lives at the moment and to take immediate action to change their behavior.

    Ellis published work from the 1940s until 2005, including 78 books. Among numerous career honors, Ellis served as President of the Division of Consulting Psychology of the American Psychological Association (APA), as a member of the APA's Council of Representatives, and as a Fellow and President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex.

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