Tracie Benjamin Van Lierop '12

Tracie Benjamin Van LieropRecent graduate Tracie Benjamin Van Lierop feels confident that Bank Street has fully prepared her to be the change agent for the paradigm shifts that need to happen to ensure that children receive the education they deserve. Before she decided to go into education, Tracie worked in marketing for ten years. But education called, and she eventually enrolled in Bank Street’s  Leadership for Educational Change program.

“Bank Street reminded me of why I entered the field of education,” Tracie says. She feels that Bank Street works to ensure all students have access to higher quality education, adding that, “Education is truly a great equalizer and provides opportunities for students that they might not otherwise have. Bank Street has a very natural way of promoting and instilling this message.”

In her work as a special educator, Tracie most enjoys seeing former students truly come into their own—advancing into successful college careers or into the workforce. She firmly believes that developing meaningful Special Education policy is crucial, and that Universal Design for Learning is a framework that promotes ideal learning opportunities for all learners.

“Isn’t that the goal of education?” she asks. “We should provide ideal learning opportunities for children which allow for successful student outcomes.”  

Tracie hopes to see Universal Design for Learning broadly adopted, and there is no doubt in her mind that she can help to improve education in this country. She is already well on her way. Tracie had the opportunity to speak on Capitol Hill in support of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Along with other members of the Bank Street community, she spoke from a student’s perspective about how the leadership programs like the ones at Bank Street can make a positive impact on the quality of future school leaders.

“My goal as an educator is to provide students with opportunities to be happy, successful and independent individuals,” Tracie declares. “This is the goal of education.”

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Profile by Dana Rossi