Past Presidents

Elizabeth D. Dickey, president 2008-2014

Elizabeth DickeyAs Bank Street’s sixth president, Elizabeth D. Dickey has led the College since 2008.

After seventeen years at the New School, Elizabeth arrived at Bank Street and worked with the Board of Trustees to develop a new Strategic Plan;  it emphasizes an enhanced commitment to academic excellence, expanded efforts in educational policy and research, and  greater financial sustainability. Bank Street continues to focus on the preparation of exceptional teachers and leaders, and increasing quality and equity in early childhood education. Investments in technology, most notably the launch of BankSteetOnline, have been initiated by Elizabeth.

Augusta Souza Kappner, president 1995-2008

Augusta SouzaAugusta “Gussie” Kappner served the College as president from 1995 to 2008. A hallmark of Kappner’s presidency was the Campaign for Bank Street, a successful capital campaign that surpassed its goal and raised more than 26 million dollars for the College. During her thirteen-year tenure, Bank Street enhanced and extended its reach in the educational policy arena. The College also created an institution-wide strategic plan “Timeless Values: Timely Actions,” which affirmed the Bank Street mission and addressed contemporary educational issues.

Joseph P. Shenker, president 1988-1995

Joseph P. ShenkerJoseph Shenker, the first president of the City University/LaGuardia Community College, left that position to come to Bank Street in 1988 where he served until 1996.  During his tenure, as governmental and private foundation funding began to wane, Shenker emphasized the importance of public relations activities and focused the energies of the College on the support of the Graduate School and the School for Children.

Richard R. Ruopp, president 1979-1988

RichardRichard R Ruopp served as President from 1979-1988. His primary focus was on supporting the College’s day care initiatives. Ruopp’s efforts at integrating emerging technology with the Bank Street approach led to the production of multimedia software and  the groundbreaking educational program, The Voyage of the Mimi.

Francis J. Roberts, president 1973-1979

FrancisFrancis J. Roberts served as president of Bank Street from 1973-1979. Upon taking office, Roberts described his goals, “My goal for the next decade, is to see that Bank Street is firmly fixed as a key graduate institute in the field of education and human development – one to which people turn for the wise, practical, sensible help required to bring about the changes needed in American schools.” During Roberts’ tenure, the College grew to include new programs such as; the Family Center, New Perspectives, which offered short format professional development opportunities for educators, and the Tiorati Workshop.

John Henry Niemeyer, president 1956-1973

John HenryJohn Henry Niemeyer was the first official “president” of Bank Street College of Education, as founder Lucy Sprague Mitchell eschewed that title. From 1956-1973, Niemeyer oversaw the expansion of Bank Street into a more formal academic institution and he guided the College move from Bank Street  In Greenwich Village to Morningside Heights.  Niemeyer encouraged the College to focus on increasing the reach of Bank Street to underserved communities through publications and  through the Research Division. An influential and vocal member of the progressive education community, Niemeyer served as a consultant to the US Department of Education on desegregation and on the formation of notable national programs including Head Start and Follow Through.

Lucy Sprague Mitchell, president 1916-1955

Lucy Sprague MitchellThe founder of the Bureau of Educational Experiments (as Bank Street was first known) and first “acting president” of the College, Lucy Sprague Mitchell served Bank Street from its inception in 1916 until 1955. A pioneer in early 20th century progressive education and a strong advocate for children of all ages, Lucy’s emphasis on language development led to the creation of the Writers Laboratory, home to her protégé Margaret Wise Brown, and to the Here and Now movement in children’s literature. The work of Bank Street today is still guided by the credo defined by Lucy nearly 100 years ago.