Four New TC Trustees
Four new members were elected to join the Teachers College Trustees this year. They are John Merrow, Executive Producer and President of Learning Matters Inc. and Executive Editor of "The Merrow Report"; Lorraine Monroe, Executive Director of the School Leadership Academy at the Center for Educational Innovation; Gillian Toledo, a third grade teacher in Seattle; and Arthur Zankel, General Partner of High Rise Partners, LP.
As a Trustee, Merrow said, he hopes "to be of help in getting the best schools of education, like TC, to take the lead in educating teachers."
As President of Learning Matters Inc., which he established in 1995, he works on television and radio programs that focus on education and directs the effort to train youth to celebrate their own public service messages.
Learning Matters, Inc. is the not-for-profit corporation that produces "The Merrow Report," a nationally broadcast PBS documentary series that he created in 1992, which looks at issues that shape the way people live and work "through the prism of education."
His latest series for PBS, "School Sleuth" had him "playing detective." In the show, he defined the characteristics of excellent schools and each segment focused on these characteristics.
Even in its entertaining detective guise, the series had a serious point. Merrow said, "The show helped to find the difference between good enough and excellent qualities of schools." His book, Choosing Excellence, which will be published in April, will focus on the issues that were brought up in the series.
As a former high school teacher, Merrow began his career in public broadcasting at National Public Radio (NPR) with an hour-long show about school finance. He created and hosted the weekly series, "Options in Education."
In 1982, Merrow "ventured into television" with a seven-part series about America's youth, "Your Children, Our Children." He then covered youth and education for five years on "The MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour" and two years at The Learning Channel.
Merrow is currently on the Board of Directors at the Hechinger Institute at Teachers College. He received his M.A. from Indiana University and his Ed.D. from Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
Nationally recognized teacher and principal, TC alumna, and the Executive Director of the School Leadership Academy (SLA) at the Center for Educational Innovation in New York City, Lorraine Monroe also recently joined the TC Board of Trustees to share some of her vast experience in education.
Monroe heads SLA, a program to teach strategies for innovation and excellence to principals and school administrators in the Center for Educational Innovation that began as an operating unit of the Manhattan Institute in 1989. The Center's mission is "to transform public education in America by shifting accountability from centralized bureaucracies to local schools and by creating systems of school choice for communities."
Monroe has been an administrator at several high schools in New York City and was Chief Executive for Instruction for the New York City Board of Education. She has taught at Bank Street College and is the founder of its Center for Minority Achievement.
In 1991, she opened the Frederick Douglass Academy, an experimental public high school in Harlem designed to help poor urban children graduate and go to college. The test scores at the academy quickly shot to among the top in all of New York City.
Monroe left the academy in 1997 to found the School Leadership Academy, a business-sponsored non-profit organization that aims to foster creative school leadership. Her first book, Nothing's Impossible: Leadership Lessons from Inside and Outside the Classroom, builds upon her 30 years experience as an educator.
She preaches what she calls the "Monroe Doctrine" which she describes as a hands-on approach in educating inner-city youth by holding students to high standards and helping them achieve these standards.
"Nothing is impossible-children can learn anything that teachers put before them," said Monroe. "We helped kids who had been 'discounted' do incredible stuff."
As a member of former Gov. Mario Cuomo's Commission for the Study of Youth Crime and Violence and Reform of the Juvenile Justice System, she helped develop New York State's K-12 curriculum guide titled, "Creating a More Human and Violence-Free Society Through Schooling: Understanding and Valuing Cultural Differences."
Monroe received her Ed.D. from Teachers College in 1985 in Educational Administration. She received her M.S. from Bank Street College and her B.A. from Hunter College. She also received honorary degrees.
Toledo developed her love of education through her interest in international issues. Through human rights work in Honduras, Guatemala and Ecuador, she discovered the power of education.
During her time studying in Ecuador, she worked with women who lost husbands or sons when political conflict made people "disappear." She helped them to fight for their cause by documenting it-interviewing them, writing about them and guiding them through the system.
"Without education, these women were powerless," said Toledo, who was in a University of Puget Sound exchange student program at the time. "Education is the most powerful tool that I had been given and it was then that I decided I wanted to make sure that others would have this tool, too."
After graduation, she taught sixth to eighth grade at a Montessori school in Seattle, "to test the waters of teaching." A short time later, she packed her bags and headed to TC to learn more about being an educator, earning a Master's Degree in Elementary Education from TC in 1997. She currently teaches at The Bush School, founded by Helen Bush. It is the oldest independent K-12 school in Seattle.
"I don't know where teaching is going to lead me," said Toledo. "But, I believe strongly that education gives people hope and the tools to be or do whatever they want-whether it's a teacher, a lawyer or fighting your cause."
Zankel has a strong connection to educating people to empower them. In his midtown office, chains of numbers float by on two large computer screens on his desk. It's obvious that he likes math, odds, and probabilities. After chatting with him for a few minutes, one can tell that he obviously loves education.
Teachers College is especially important to Zankel because he is interested in educating people in low-income areas. He said that education is the key to helping people to follow their dreams and pursue careers they would enjoy.
"If you look around the world, there is only democracy where there are minimal education standards," said Zankel. "Being involved with Teachers College is an excellent opportunity to do amazing things for both education and the College itself."
Zankel's busy life includes serving on the Board of Directors of Citigroup as well as being trustees of Carnegie Hall, Skidmore College, Jerusalem Foundation, UJA-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies.
A New York resident, Zankel has four children with his wife, Judy, who is an artist. He earned a B.S. in Economics from University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Published Thursday, May. 16, 2002