Sandra J. Eiker
Published in Annual Report - 2012
“I believe that education is the fundamental method of social progress and change.”
Those words from John Dewey, which adorn the entrance to Teachers College, aptly reflect the thinking of the late Helen Eiker Bambam and her niece, Sandra Eiker (M.E. ’83, Ed.D. ’85) – so much so that Sandra, thanks to her aunt’s estate, has provided for the creation of the John Dewey Endowed Scholarship Fund at TC through her will.
“When I was thinking about what to fund, I asked, what would Aunt Helen have valued?” Sandra says. “She valued education because it is the means for social change.”
Dewey continues to have a strong influence on Sandra, as well as on her son, who is currently immersed in reading about the philosopher and who attended TC’s annual Grace Dodge Society luncheon along with Sandra’s granddaughter. Sandra also cites the late A. Harry Passow, an authority in the fields of urban and gifted education, as another great TC educator who significantly influenced her. She became friends with Harry and Shirley Passow after meeting them in Sweden in the late 1960s. Harry encouraged Sandra, who was already working full time as an educator, to enroll at TC. “It took almost a decade, but I finally did it,” she says.
Sandra, whose parents and siblings were also educators, began studying supervision and leadership. She was thinking about pursuing a doctorate but felt there wasn’t anything new in education. “So Harry said to me, ‘Well then, it’s your responsibility to do something new.’ TC allowed me to become the professional and personal person I am today.” And thanks to her fund, future TC students will have the opportunity to do the same.