A letter from our Chancellor, Carmen Fariña:

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About

Leadership

Stacy Goldstein

Stacy Goldstein

Principal & Middle School Director

Why do you love teaching?
I found my career in education quite simply because I have always wanted to make the world a better place. I have always been frustrated by inequality and discrimination and have always been driven towards solutions. I initially wanted to be a lawyer, but in college I started to think that education was an even more significant lever for change than the law. I joined Teach for America in Oakland, California, thinking I wouldn’t stay in education. But I fell in love with the daily life of teaching. Designing curriculum is intellectually stimulating, my colleagues are inspiring, and my relationships with students and witnessing their growth makes every day matter. Some careers are good ideas, though disappointing in daily realities, while working in education and being a part of a school community is fulfilling in both larger purpose and a daily sense of fulfillment.

I decided to go into leadership when I saw how much of a difference my principal in Oakland made when she took over my second year. I was inspired again toward solutions. I am incredibly lucky to have been given the opportunity to lead School of the Future after teaching here for a few years. To me, SOF is the best representation of a truly diverse and responsive community. I love being principal of this school. Outside colleagues often comment on how quickly we make things happen here. Everyone is committed to excellent practice and everyone has integrity about healthy communication. Everyone is all in! We all love our students and find such joy in watching them interact, laugh, overcome, and learn.

What makes the School of the Future experience different from others you’ve had?
SOF is alive and real like no other place I have seen. That is the best way to say it.

What other activities/programs (at SOF or outside of the school) are you involved with?
I have gotten involved in education policy in NYC. I am on the Board of NYC Collaborates, which is a collaboration between district and charter schools to inform policy to make education in NYC excellent for every student. I joined not because I have no problems with charter schools. I joined, again, because I want to be part of the solution and I think that SOF  has a lot to offer the broader NYC and national education conversation. I am motivated to boil down complex problems to their essential core, and there is a lot of distracting noise about what should happen with education.

What is your advice to aspiring teachers?
Ask for help and listen. It is the most humbling job, and it is easy to get cynical as there are a lot of factors that make it difficult to be successful. But, if you listen to your colleagues (the ones who are successful and energized) and work to understand your students, you will figure it out. Also, being a good teacher is about more than personality and having a cool lesson idea. You have to become very good at designing coherent and intentionally rigorous lessons or all of your cool ideas will fall flat.

Why do you like working at SOF?
SOF is my home. The students, staff, and families drive me crazy, make me think, make me laugh, and make me feel like there is no place I’d rather be!

John Fanning

John Fanning

High School Director

Why do you love teaching?
I am an educator because it is a career where one can have a profound positive impact on a young person’s life and future. I was fortunate to have several amazing teachers growing up who helped shape who I am today. As an administrator, I unfortunately do not get to teach as much as I used to, but I still relish observing students in the “aha” moment. Taking time to reflect on how a young person has grown academically and social-emotionally over the course of a year is probably the greatest reward of teaching.

What makes the School of the Future experience different from others you’ve had?
School of the Future’s strong sense of community makes it different from other schools where I have worked. One of the many benefits of having a sixth through twelfth grade school is that the parent engagement that is strong in middle school remains throughout high school at SOF where, traditionally, it tends to taper off in other high schools. I also value that School of the Future has committed educators working with young people. I liken it to a teaching hospital where the teachers are learning as well as teaching. I credit Stacy, the principal, for creating that tone with the faculty.

What other activities/programs (at SOF or outside of the school) are you involved with?
I was a musician when I was younger and have recently started playing drums again with different musicians.

What is your advice to aspiring teachers?
Know your content, be prepared to be humbled by young people, and know that teaching at first will need a full commitment from you if you are to be successful.

Why do you like working at SOF?
School of the Future was founded on the premise that every child, no matter their background, should be allowed an excellent education and, although it is getting more difficult to accomplish this with the current political climate, SOF is committed to continuing to provide to students the individual attention and excellent instruction people have come to expect from us.