Carly Lagrotteria (M.A., Politics and Education)
Published in Convocation
Life before TC
The grandchild of Italian immigrants and the daughter of parents who “thought education was the most important thing in the world,” Carly Lagrotteria was elected to student council in fourth grade. After graduating from Shore Regional High School in West Long Branch, New Jersey, as class president and salutatorian, she arrived at George Washington University with a plan to enter politics. “At first,” she says, “I wanted to be the first woman president.” But on subsequent reflection and many hours of watching The West Wing, she decided to work behind the scenes like C.J. Cregg, President Bartlett’s press secretary.
Lagrotteria earned her bachelor’s degree in political communication and decided she wanted to work to protect the American public school system that served her, her family and her community so well. She chose to attend Teachers College because Jeffrey Henig, whose books she had used in researching her senior thesis on the 2009 New York City mayoral race between Michael Bloomberg and Bill Thompson, was chair of the College’s Education Policy and Social Analysis Department.
At TC Lagrotteria helped organize a daylong symposium about racial segregation in suburban communities and schools to mark the 60th anniversary of the historic Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision. She also served as assistant director of government relations at TC’s Department of External Affairs. “I’m coming away with some very smart people on speed dial,” she says.
“Education is the way that parents give their children the life they want them to have,” she says. “But the American dream is elusive now. As a country, we really need to make sure that we continue to protect public education. If we don’t, we might miss the next Hillary Clinton, or Thurgood Marshall,” she says, adding, with a smile, “or the next Carly Lagrotteria.”