Minding the Gap
Having struggled with college costs, new Trustee Carole Sleeper (M.A. ’05) is helping TC’s students
Some years ago, when Carole Sleeper taught first grade, one of her students had not received an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), though he clearly had a learning disability. Rather, the boy’s kindergarten teacher had addressed his behavioral issues by ordering him to stand alone in a corner. “She didn’t realize he needed help,” says Sleeper (M.A. ’05), who recently joined TC’s Board. When Sleeper procured the IEP, the boy’s family, which was using the program then called Food Stamps, presented her with a can of beans — “the nicest gift I’ve ever received.” Sleeper’s mother, a high school valedictorian, was dissuaded from college on the grounds that young women should become secretaries, bank tellers or wives. Sleeper’s father, an electrician and handyman, left high school before earning a diploma. Yet both urged her to attend college, even though affording it would be tough. Sleeper attended Susquehanna University on a scholarship. Later, when her husband, Nate Sleeper, became successful in financial investment, she taught. She recalls absorbing the cost of school supplies, books and even the rugs used for story time: “A lot of the kids had nothing, so supplies were leaving every day.” At TC, Sleeper learned about the “whole child” and how non-school factors shape learning. She has created the Carole L. Sleeper Endowed Scholarship in TC’s Department of Curriculum & Teaching for students committed to public school teaching; contributed to the TC Fund and Teachers College Community School; and now endowed a scholarship in the Department of Education Policy & Social Analysis. Sleeper strongly believes in public education and wants to improve it through TC’s Board and by meeting students’ financial needs: “I want to close the gap between the haves and the have nots. So I feel very comfortable with being able to give something away.” — Steve Giegerich
SEEKING CLOSURE “I want to close the gap between the haves and the have nots. So I feel very comfortable with being able to give something away.” — Carole Sleeper
A Trustee to Bet On
Education helped Laura Sloate beat tough odds. Now she’s joining TC’s Board.
“I can do what anyone else can, just a little differently,” says new Teachers College Trustee Laura Sloate. Well — no. Sloate, blind since she was six, does most things better than other people. After establishing herself on male-dominated Wall Street, she founded her own company and sold it to Neuberger Berman, where she’s now a Managing Director. She serves on four charitable boards (“I want to help, not just sign a check”), works out daily (she used to run 75 flights of stairs in her building) and, thanks to Gizmo, her German shepherd seeing-eye dog, leaves fellow pedestrians in the dust. “He’s incredibly smart,” she says. “When I sign a restaurant check, he gets up to leave.” A self-described information junkie who sleeps five hours per night, Sloate spends weekends reading up on everything from cookies to gene editing to robotic ships that can cross the ocean with no one aboard. “Wall Street finances the future,” she says. Still, she credits her success to her mother, who had her home-tutored and then sent her to private school. “She said, ‘You’re my brilliant Jewish daughter, and you can do anything,” recalls Sloate, who graduated from Barnard and earned an M.A. in history at Columbia. Sloate joined TC’s board because “education is the key to helping people improve their positions in life, and an institution that educates educators has an even greater impact.” She’s interested in the College’s work in learning technology, a hot field on Wall Street. Her advice to young people: Make your passion your career. “There are bad days when I leave work depressed, but I come back raring to go. You can’t do that if you’re not passionate. I’m always looking forward to learning more and helping as much as I can.” — Joe Levine
STREET SMART “Education is the key to helping people improve their positions in life, and an institution that educates educators has an even greater impact.” — Laura Sloate