BSCAA Awards Presented to 5 Outstanding Educators
In June, BSCAA honored five outstanding educators; three received Alumni Awards and two were the recipients of Faculty Awards…
Virginia Casper is a developmental psychologist and teacher educator who has worked in higher education and directly with very young children and families. She is a former Director of the Infant and Family Development and Early Intervention Program at Bank Street College and most recently was the Interim Dean of the Graduate School. She has worked in rural South Africa for the last ten years on curriculum development and teacher training with and for early childhood teachers, caregivers and communities. With Steven Schultz, she authored Gay Parents/Straight Schools: Building Communication and Trust (1999) and with Rachel Theilheimer, Early Childhood Development: Learning Together (2010).
Rachel Theilheimer has worked with young children, their families, and teachers in public school, private and public child care, Head Start, and parent groups. She has been a teacher, a group leader, a director, and an educational consultant. For the past twenty-five years, she has taught adults at the pre-GED, community college, bachelors, and graduate levels and conducted numerous professional development workshops. She is professor of early childhood education at Borough of Manhattan Community College. She has published articles and book chapters about teacher education, social justice issues, and infant care in addition to Early Childhood Education: Learning Together with Virginia Casper.
Gayle Cunningham is executive director of the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity, the Community Action Agency based in Birmingham, Alabama. For many years she also directed JCCEO’s Head Start-Early Head Start program now serving nearly 1900 children in NAEYC accredited centers. Ms. Cunningham was formerly an assistant professor responsible for coordination of the early childhood associate degree program at Delgado Community College in New Orleans, Louisiana. She also served as senior research associate with the CDA revision and expansion project at Bank Street College, and as field representative for the Bank Street College Parent Child Development Center Replication Project. Ms. Cunningham and the JCCEO Head Start program have participated in a wide range of research projects focused on Head Start classrooms and teaching, language and literacy, teacher mentoring and coaching, and child health. She has also served on advisory committees for several national Head Start expansion, research, and evaluation initiatives. These include the Head Start Advisory Committee on Services to Families with Infants and Toddlers, the three Head Start Advisory Panels on Research and Evaluation including the current one, and the Head Start FACES Study. She chaired the NAEYC Commission on Early Childhood Standards and Criteria and has served as treasurer on NAEYC’s Board of Directors. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the CDA Council for Professional Recognition. Recently awarded the NHSA Sargent Shriver Award of Excellence, Ms. Cunningham graduated from Connecticut College with a BA in American history, holds a master’s degree in early childhood education and leadership from Bank Street College of Education in New York, and was a Fulbright Fellow in Ghana, West Africa.
Barbara Sprung, Co-Director of the Educational Equity Center at AED has over 40 years of experience in early childhood education, as a teacher and as an innovator of programs and materials to promote equality of opportunity for children regardless of gender, race/ethnicity, disability or level of family income. Current center projects include: Raising and Educating Healthy Boys, Great Science for Girls, Science: It’s a Girl Thing! and After-School Math PLUS. Prior to joining AED, from 1982-2004, Ms. Sprung was Co-Founder and Co-Director of Educational Equity Concepts, a national nonprofit organization whose mission was to create bias-free programs and materials beginning in early childhood. Ms. Sprung has written extensively about equity in education and is a nationally known speaker on issues of gender equity, teasing and bullying, early science equity, and inclusion. She is the author of Non-Sexist Education for Young Children: A Practical Guide (Citation Press, Scholastic, 1975) a co-author of Quit it! A Teacher’s Guide for Use with Students in GradesK-3 (EEC, 1998), the Anti-Teasing Bullying and Teasing Book for Preschool Classrooms (Gryphon House, 2005) and Supporting Boys’ Learning: Strategies for Teacher Practice, Pre-K-Grade 3 (Teachers College Press, Columbia University, 2010). Barbara Sprung holds a B.A. degree from Sarah Lawrence College, an M.S. in Child Development from the Bank Street College of Education, and is a graduate of the Institute for Not-for-Profit Management, Columbia University.
Gil Schmerler has for 10 years directed the Leadership for Educational Change program at Bank Street, as well as advised and taught within the program. Previously at Bank Street, he was Chair of the Department of Ed Leadership, Director of the Early Adolescence Program, Director of the Center for Minority Achievement, and director of the Bank Street/Chicago Small Schools Study dissemination phase, among sundry other roles. As a member of the IMP Committee, he was instrumental in creating the Collaborative Student Faculty Inquiry as an alternative to the directed essay. He is a founding member of the Program Review Committee, and a former chair of the Writers’ Awards Committee. He was guest editor of Occasional Paper #23 last year: Teacher Leaders: Changing Schools from Within, and continues as an active member of the Occasional Papers Board. Teacher leadership has been a particular area of study and advocacy — and personal dedication. Gil co-founded the Bank Street Teacher Leaders Institute, which brought together teacher leaders from around the city for several years in the ’90s. He consulted in the development of the Teacher Leaders certificate program, affiliated with the Principals Institute. Mostly, he is eager for all Bank Street graduates – not just in leadership programs – to have some meaningful leadership study as part of their regular curricula, since they will invariably be looked to for leadership within their schools. Gil was originally a high school English teacher and has been an administrator in NY, MD, and NJ, in public and independent schools, urban and suburban, alternative and traditional. He has written chapters, books, and articles for the New York Times, Phi Delta Kappan, and TC Record, among others. Gil has a bachelors in English from Amherst College and a doctorate in educational administration from Columbia Teachers College. Gil still derives most of his professional/personal satisfaction from his role as an advisor and his interaction with students, present and past.