At Brooklyn New School, social studies and science are the basis for an inquiry-based curriculum that supports students in becoming changemakers. This approach has led to student-designed innovations such as a rainwater catchment system, a school-wide composting program that attracted the attention of other Brooklyn schools, and a wigwam built in Prospect Park.
This profile was prepared when The Brooklyn New School (BNS) joined the Ashoka Partnership in 2013.
Anna had the good fortune of being a member of the Brooklyn New School since 1987 when she worked as a substitute teacher. In 1988, Anna became a classroom teacher and in 1997, she became co-director of BNS. This led to the principalship in 2000. After pursuing a degree in fine arts at Pratt Institute, Anna studied at Bank Street College of Education where she did a combined program in museum and elementary education. This led to her work in elementary schools, which has been her focus ever since. Anna’s time at Bank Street was eye opening as she learned that school could be very different from what she had experienced as a youngster.
Her own education taught Anna that the best approach to school was silence. As an educator, she has embraced the opposite perspective, reveling in the sounds of student engagement and joy, young learners knowing that their voices count and their opinions matter. As the school has gone from being an experiment to a respected institution, Anna recognizes how important it is for BNS teachers, parents, students, and administrators to be a part of the discussion and debate of public education. Anna traveled with a group of sixty plus educators to visit the Reggio Emilia schools in Italy in 2012 and in the summer of 2013, she went off to a small town in Sweden to observe equally exciting schools. Her involvement in worldwide education allows Anna to continuously learn about best practices and to share this understanding with others. Anna received the 2012 BAMMY award as Principal of the Year from the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences. The school is a recipient of the annual certificate from New York State for student achievement.