Centennial Multimedia

Conversations about the Workshop Center

Lucy Matos

Lucy Matos is a founding teacher of Central Park East Elementary School.  She taught early childhood.  I met her in 1981, when she was teaching second/third grade at Central Park East 2.  Lucy became the director of Central Park East 1, when Deborah Meier left to start the Central Park East Secondary School.  Lucy left CPE 1 and was the founding principal of Ella Baker Elementary School.

Bruce Kanze was a long-time classroom teacher, beginning as a social studies and Black and Latin American studies secondary education teacher.  He moved to teaching fifth/sixth grade at Central Park East in 1980.  He became the director of Central Park East 2 in 1994.  He has also been a long-time adjunct lecturer and supervisor of student teachers at City College and Queens College.

Lucy and Bruce have worked together for years and spent time at the Workshop Center.

The purpose of this video was to develop, in personal terms, a picture of the way the Workshop Center for Open Education helped to shape and guide teachers.  This video is about Lucy Matos's personal experiences with Lillian Weber and growth as a teacher.

Watch the conversation: Part 1 - Part 2 (recorded in May 2020)

Deborah Meier

Deborah Meier is a leading progressive educator.  During the early 1970s, she started Central Park East Elementary School, which grew into Central Park East 1, Central Park East 2, and River East elementary schools, and the Central Park East Secondary School.  She went to Boston in the 1990s and started the Mission Hill K -8 School.  Ms. Meier has written extensively about the misuse of testing to measure student learning and to evaluate teacher value.  She maintains a blog at roger@indefenseofchildhood.ccsend.com .

Listen to the podcast

Vivian Wallace

Vivian Wallace was a student at City College when the Workshop Center for Open Education was formed in 1972.  She had a long history working with the Workshop Center.  She was also a founding teacher of Central Park East Elementary School in East Harlem.  She helped to found Central Park East 2 and has continued to mentor new teachers in progressive education.

Watch the conversation

Jim Neujahr and Lillian & Henny Wong

Jim Neujahr was a professor of education in the Elementary Education Department at CCNY when Lillian Weber asked him to work with her at the Workshop Center for Open Education with Henny Wong and others. Jim considers Lillian Weber and his affiliation with the Workshop Center to have been the most important shapers of his understanding of teaching and learning.  He was the acting dean of the School of Education and continues to do activity based work with public school children in the New York public schools.
Lillian Wong was a long-time public school teacher in the New York City school system.  She taught from second through sixth grades in schools in Manhattan and Queens.  She taught in the Open Corridor classroom and was mentored by the Workshop Center advisors.  The advisors made weekly on site visits to the school.
Henny Wong taught for decades at the Workshop Center.  He created a hands-on science center which included a system of gerbil tanks and pond water tanks that helped teachers who came to the Workshop Center figure out how to set up their tanks in their classrooms.  He also created a darkroom in the Workshop Center and taught photography.  Henny is currently helping professors in the School of Education use technology in our classes.

Watch the conversation

Santiago Taveras

Santi (Santiago Taveras) got his bachelor's and first master's degrees from City College of New York.  While at City College, he attended the Summer Institute, which was part of the Workshop Center for Open Education.  He credits his work at the Workshop Center with shaping his educational view.  He taught at Central Park East 1 Elementary and Central Park East Secondary Schools and then at East Side Community High School, where he was the founding assistant principal. He was the founding principal of both Banana Kelly High School and The Academy for Careers in Sports in the Bronx and became deputy chancellor of the New York City Department of Education.  He has developed project based curriculum and taught leadership classes at the College of New Rochelle and the NYC Leadership Academy. He currently is a student support manager for 26 high schools in the Bronx and has volunteered to lead the Mott Haven Campus Regional Enrichment Center serving the children of essential workers and first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Santi has devoted his life to teaching the students of New York City and beyond.​

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Michael Trazoff

Michael Trazoff was one of the founding teachers of Central Park East Elementary School.  He was one of the few male kindergarten and first-grade teachers in the Board of Ed school system. Michael graduated from City College and the Workshop Center for Open Education. He applied the coursework and philosophy he learned in the curriculum into the everyday activities of the classroom. 

Watch the conversation: Part 1 - Part 2