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Our Mission, History & Board


PENNY, Progressive Education Network New York, connects public, independent, charter, and teacher education schools and individuals of the greater metropolitan area to advance progressive pedagogy and promote equity, access, and social justice.

Through collaboration, advocacy and action, our driving purpose is to strengthen and broaden the impact of progressive education in the face of increasing challenges to full access to quality inclusive schooling.


In October 2015, the Progressive Education Network (PEN) hosted a conference on “Access, Equity, and Activism: Teaching the Possible.”  Spurred by this conference, Manhattan Country School, Castle Bridge School, and Bank Street College began a partnership to create a progressive education collaborative, named PENNY, consisting of public, charter and independent progressive schools and teacher education programs in and around New York City.


With the increasing visibility of racial injustice, the rise of high-stakes standardized testing, and the ever-increasing gap between wealthy and poor communities, the democratic principles of progressive education have never felt more important and critical to families and students today. Community, voice, play, choice, observation, learning by doing – these beliefs within the context of our world and society are some of the principles the original progressive thinkers espoused.  With this network, we hope to build a shared understanding of these principles and what they look like in practice in our classrooms today.


The founding board gathered for the first time in October 2016.  The founding board is made up of eleven members: five from district public schools, four from independent schools, one from a charter school, and one from a teacher education program.  The founding board of PENNY will be charged with helping lead the organization and development of PENNY.  Founding board members will serve on a voluntary basis. Specifically:

Some initial questions the founding board will focus on include:

  • How will schools and individuals become members of PENNY? What are the benefits of PENNY membership?
  • What are the first projects we might work on together?
  • What policy or advocacy work might we explore together?
  • What are the next steps to grow the group?

Each board member is expected to:

  • Have consistent attendance at meetings throughout the year
  • Be an acknowledged leader in the school
  • Have influence over the school community
  • Have decision-making authority in speaking for the school on the board.

Time commitment:

  • Each board member must commit to meeting once every three weeks (during and/or after school hours) for the 2016-17 school year.

This founding year is expected to be exciting, intensive, and creative.  The board believes it will be an opportunity to bring together progressive minds across various sectors in New York City to collaborate, think, discuss, learn, reflect and act together as a community.

Founding Board Member

Anna Allanbrook Brooklyn New School Principal

Cecelia Traugh Bank Street College of Education Dean of the Graduate School of Education

Diana Schlesinger Greene Hill School Director

Dyanthe Spielberg The Neighborhood School Principal

Jeannine King Bronx Community Charter School Director of Student Support

Julie Zuckerman Castle Bridge School Principal

Maiya Jackson Manhattan Country School Upper School Director

Mark Silberberg Little Red Schoolhouse and Elisabeth Irwin School (LREI) Director of Learning & Innovation

Noni Thomas Lopez Ethical Culture Fieldston School Assistant Head of School for Teaching & Learning

Sarah Kaufmann School of the Future Brooklyn Principal

Taeko Onishi Lyons Community School Principal

Upcoming board meetings

Wednesday, January 18, 5:00 – 7:30pm

Wednesday, February 1, 5:00 – 7:30pm

Wednesday, March 8, 5:00 – 7:30pm

Wednesday, April 5, 5:00 – 7:30pm

Wednesday, May 10, 5:00 – 7:30pm

Wednesday, June 7, 5:00 – 7:30pm