At Academic Festival, a Chancellor Who Listens, Speaks | Teachers College Columbia University

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At Academic Festival, a Chancellor Who Listens, Speaks

“I’ve been to 30 schools so far and in every one I’ve found something to replicate and share,” Carmen Fariña, New York City’s new public schools chief, told a packed audience at Teachers College’s Academic Festival on April 12. “We have to stop keeping what we do well a secret — and give it away.”

Delivering the Phyllis L. Kosoff Lecture on Education and Policy, Fariña reflected on the first 100 days of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration and set out the City’s education agenda. Her speech served as the keynote for Academic Festival, this year titled “Where the Future Comes First” after TC’s $300 million campaign.

A former teacher, principal and superintendent in the city’s schools, Fariña credited TC for its “pivotal role” at key moments in her career, with faculty such as Lucy Calkins, Celia Oyler and Aaron Pallas helping to shape her ideas and professional decisions. Fariña also has served on the board of TC’s Cahn Fellows Program for Distinguished Principals.

She presented a vision for a New York City school system that values the accumulated knowledge of teachers, staff and parents and looks for ways to develop and share best practices through collaboration. “All the answers are in the room,” she said, outlining an agenda based on four pillars: “Return dignity and respect to the workforce. Improve student achievement by aligning Common Core strategies with all that we do. Engage parents in every aspect of school life. Create new collaborative models,” including with universities and cultural institutions.

Other highlights of Academic Festival included honors for five alumni: David W. Johnson (Ed.D. ’66), Professor Emeritus of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota; Deborah Kenney (Ph.D. ’94), founder and Chief Executive of Harlem Village Academies; Kate Parry (Ed.D. ’86), Professor of Applied Linguistics at Hunter College; James Gordon (Ed.D. ’85), Associate Dean and Chair of the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy at USC; and Eric Shyman (Ed.D. ’09) Assistant Professor of Special Education in the School of Education at Dowling College, who received TC’s Early Career Award.

O. Roger Anderson
, Professor of Natural Sciences and Chair of the Math, Science and Technology Department, was honored for 50 years of teaching at TC. “Many remarkable people have passed through Teachers College during its 125 history,” John Allegrante, Professor of Health Education and Associate Vice President for International Affairs, said in his tribute to Anderson. “You stand among the very, very few of whom it can be truly said: ‘TC would not be TC without him.’”

Find more on Academic Festival 2014, including video, at

Published Monday, Jun. 2, 2014