We're proud to welcome two new talented teachers to our Portfolio professional team:
Tracy Rudzitis - STEM and Computational Thinking Teacher
Tracy Day - Humanities and General Studies Teacher
Finding educators with the skill set and mindset to thrive in Portfolio was a rigorous process and included three steps:
Step One: We reviewed resumes and educational philosophies interested applicants submitted, screening both for experience and for alignment with our approach.
Step Two (for those who could articulate alignment with our approach and had impressive experience): We welcomed candidates to submit both a 1-3 month long interdisciplinary unit for our multi-age environment on the topic of the planets and space, as well as a Portfolio of their own intellectual and creative work.
Step Three: We selected finalists for each position, based on the quality of their units and Portfolios, to spend a full day at Portfolio. They participated in the learning experiences in which our students were engaged, presented a model lesson for our five and six year olds, and interviewed for the position.
We're excited to share that Tracy Rudzitis and Tracy Day, our first choices for the positions, both enthusiastically accepted our invitation to join Portfolio. They are both incredibly impressive and passionate about Portfolio’s approach to learning.
Beyond their tremendous talent and passion, both Tracys are compassionate and inspiring role models with a deep commitment to caring for students and partnering with parents. We feel so very fortunate that they are joining Portfolio.
“Life is all about learning, and there are an amazing amount of things in this world to explore, to investigate, to discover, and to ask questions about. To be a part of the Portfolio School, a team of educators who are thinking about learning and putting ideas into practice, and a group of incredible children who are immersed in the practice of life and learning, is pretty much a dream come true!"
Tracy Rudzitis has been teaching computer program and STEAM/science classes in the New York City public school system for the past 16 years. During that time she served both as a teacher and as founding curriculum developer for the Department of Education’s Software Engineering Program, a hands-on portfolio-based and maker-centric initiative to bring computer programming to the New York City public school system, which laid the foundation for the larger Computer Science for All ( CS4ALL) and Computer Science NYC (CSNYC) programs currently within NYC K-12 public schools.
Always innovative and creative, as makerspaces were introduced to schools, Tracy Rudtzitis took the initiative to begin a makerspace at her school and volunteered her time and expertise so her students could spend their lunchtime tinkering, exploring their passions, and working with a wide range of materials and tools. The success and popularity of the school makerspace led to the establishment of a STEAM program at the school in which students explore hands-on making and constructionist education in the context of a middle school science curriculum. Beyond her teaching, Tracy Rudtzitis is a Senior Fablearn Fellow with the Transformative Learning Technologies Laboratory at Stanford University, a group of experienced educators in formal and informal learning spaces worldwide who contribute to research about making and makerspaces in education and the development of open-source educational resources for their peers. She is a member of the educator advisory boards of Little Bits, Curiosity Machine, and Open Source Gallery, collaborating with other educators to brainstorm and create meaningful and creative projects for schools and educational programs. She is also on the faculty of Constructing Modern Knowledge Summer Institute, a minds-on institute for educators committed to creativity, collaboration and computing run by Gary Stager and Sylvia Martinez, world renowned thought leaders in maker education and authors of the influential book Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. The National School Board Association named her as one of the 2014-15 “Twenty to Watch,” a list honoring individuals finding innovative ways to use technology to increase classroom learning.
“Joining Portfolio is like matching my passion, career and dream. A school that has the early years philosophy for all children and one willing to break the mold is something to be championed and celebrated. I'm sure September 2017 will be the beginning of something truly wonderful. I look forward to being part of the family!”
Tracy Day comes to Portfolio with 14 years of teaching and school leadership experience for all ages from Pre-K to fifth grade, most recently as the lead Nursery teacher at the British International School in New York City. Before moving to the United States Tracy served as an educator in her native London. She taught, served in faculty leadership positions, and was an Assistant Head of School, a role she redefined to include teaching in order to lead change by demonstrating good practice in her own class. Before earning her post graduate certification in early childhood education, Tracy Day graduated university with a law degree and served as a financial advisor and then as owner of her own events company. With a father who is an engineer, she grew up making, creating, and tinkering and has brought her diverse interests and talents to her teaching, earning the respect, admiration, and appreciation of supervisors, colleagues, parents, and children.