Educational Philosophy

While Rachel’s official job title is Assistant Principal, she thinks of her role as educator, thinker, and

community builder. Rachel sees education as a political and personal act, and her work is heavily

influenced by both the progressive tradition and critical pedagogy. The three texts that have most

shaped Rachel’s thinking about education are John Dewey’s, Education and Experience, Paulo Freire’s

Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and Maxine Greene’s essay, “Wide­ Awakeness and the Moral Life.” Like

Emma Goldman, her personal hero, she is devoted to “freedom, the right to self­expression, everybody’s

right to beautiful, radiant things.” Rachel believes that both adults and youth can transform themselves,

each other and the world through shared inquiry in response to questions that emerge from their

experiences in the real world.

At City­As, Rachel’s main goal is to bring youth, educators, and family and community members

together to support youth and adults in becoming self­actualized agents of change in the world. In the

service of this goal, Rachel collaborates with City­As community members to revise and refine the

school’s mission and vision, establish school­wide goals, and plan and facilitate professional

development. Rachel also supports the work of teaching teams and departments and works with

colleagues individually in developing their teaching. Her favorite morning activity is walking around

the school and visiting classes, and she most loves visits where she can put away her laptop and take on

the role of a student. Rachel loves teaching and is happy that she is able to offer one course each

semester in English or Social Studies.

Because she believes so strongly in educating for democracy, Rachel prefers to use structures for shared

decision­making whenever possible and to meet all youth and adults at their growing edge, which means

helping them to identify goals and then supporting them in pursuing those goals. Rachel’s aspirations for

the year are to work with colleagues to establish and deepen structures for shared decision making and to

create more space for faculty, students and families to take on collective projects.

Rachel absolutely loves waking up everyday to ride her bike to City­As. She loves that we are a

connected community, that we make decisions together, that we care deeply about each other, and that

we are committed to a common educational vision as a highly­caring, experiential learning school.


Our Communities, Our Questions is a semester­long community­based research class through which

students use qualitative research methods to identify, study, and develop action plans for addressing

social issues in our communities. The class builds to the social studies research paper, and students

share their papers and their findings with panels of social scientists and policy makers.

Literacy Foundations is a semester­long course that is designed to support students in developing as

readers, writers and critical thinkers. Students engage in short personal and analytical writings, such as

passage papers and critical lens essays, that they present to small groups of peers and teachers.

This year, Rachel would really love to develop an oral history course that examines the history of City-
As­School and publishes a book about it.


Rachel grew up on Long Island and lived in New Haven for ten years after college, where she helped to

start a small, progressive school, called New Haven Academy. She also lived in Chicago, where she

taught Political Philosophy at DePaul and played a lot of volleyball. Now, Rachel lives in Brooklyn

near Prospect Park, where she loves to ride her bike and think, talk and write about education. Rachel

will always find New York City a little too busy for her, but she loves the creativity of the city, her

connection to City­As, and her thoughtful educator friends from all over the five boroughs.

Rachel earned a B.A. in Government from William and Mary, an M.Ed. in Organizational Leadership

from Teacher’s College, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University. Most of Rachel’s own

educational experiences have been pretty traditional. She has been looking for a creative, authentic

school her whole life and has found her home at City­As. She remembers sitting in high school classes

on Long Island, reading books that were not assigned, writing poetry, and daydreaming. Rachel’s best

educational experience, besides City­As, was at Bank Street College of Education, where she was

mentored by Frank Pignatelli and where she now teaches in the leadership program. She also learns a

lot from her conversations with friends, colleagues and students in education and the social sciences.

She loves study groups, writing buddies, and dreaming.

Fun Facts!

Rachel loves the water, especially swimming in the ocean, and also green places.

Rachel wants to learn how to speak Spanish, play the guitar, and dance salsa.

Rachel loves loves to write, especially about education.

Rachel loves spending Saturdays with her bf, Matt, and cat, Safi.