About Principal Stacy Goldstein
Stacy attended University of Wisconsin—Madison, where she majored in political science and government. She taught in Oakland, CA as part of Teach for America before coming to New York and earning her Master's of Education Administration at NYU. Stacy started at School of the Future in 2002 as a middle school Humanities teacher. She went on to be our Curriculum Coach and Assistant Principal before becoming Principal in 2007.
A conversation with Stacy Goldstein
Why do you love teaching?
I found my career in education quite simply because I wanted to make the world a better place. I am perpetually frustrated by inequality and discrimination and driven toward solutions. I initially wanted to be a lawyer, but in college I learned that education could be a more significant lever for change. I joined Teach for America in Oakland, California, and fell in love with the daily life of teaching. All of it was stimulating: designing curriculum, working alongside inspiring colleagues, and building relationships with students while witnessing their growth first-hand. Every day mattered. While some careers sound like good ideas and turn out to be disappointing in their reality, being an educator and part of a school community proved to be only fulfilling.
I decided to move into a leadership role when I saw the difference my principal in Oakland made when she took over, in my second year. She was inspirational precisely because she was oriented toward solutions. And so, after a few years of teaching at School of the Future, where I could observe both the impact of education and the challenges around it, I had the good fortune of becoming principal and helping to lead this truly diverse and responsive community.
I love being principal of this school and being part of such a proactive team. Outside colleagues often comment on how quickly we make things happen at School of the Future. In part, that is because everyone is committed to excellent practice, and they believe in healthy communication. Our staff is all in when it comes to caring about our students and finding joy in watching them interact, laugh, overcome, grow, 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. The students, staff, and families drive me crazy, challenge me to think, make me laugh, and leave me feeling like there is no place I’d rather be. SOF is my home.
What other activities/programs (at SOF or outside of the school) are you involved with?
I am on the Board of NYC Collaborates, in which district and charter schools work together to inform policy that can make education in our city better for every student. Regardless of my feelings about charter schools, I want to be part of the solution, and I believe strongly that SOF has a lot to offer the broader NYC and national education conversation. I am motivated to boil down complex problems into their essential pieces, and to push away the more distracting elements that impede the advancement of NYC’s education system.
What is your advice to aspiring teachers?
Ask for help and listen. Teaching is a humbling job, and it is easy to become cynical in the face of many factors that make it difficult to be successful. But if you listen to and observe your colleagues—the ones who are successful and energized—and work hard to understand your students, you will figure it out. Also, being a good teacher takes more than personality and having a cool lesson idea. You have to become strong at designing coherent, rigorous lessons that build on each other; otherwise, your cool ideas will amount to very little.