Head of Nursery Marcia Levy retires

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Head of Nursery Marcia Levy retires

Jasmin Ortiz

Jasmin Ortiz

Jasmin Ortiz

Julia Robbins, Staff Writer

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At the end of the academic school year, current Head of the Nursery Division Marcia Levy will retire. Levy has worked in early childhood education for 46 years, leading the Nursery Division at school since 2010.

“In 2010, when former Board Chair Steve Friedman and I announced Ms. Levy’s arrival, we shared that the search focused on finding ‘an educator with a passion for nurturing young children and guiding their development,’” Head of School Dr. Tom Kelly wrote in a letter to the community. “We were confident that we had found that person in Ms. Levy,” he said.

In Kelly’s letter, he explained that a search for a new ND Head will be determined and shared with the community later in the fall.

“When I stepped into this position, Dr. Kelly told me that I could dream big, and I was able to do that here, for the first time in my career,” Levy said.

As Division Head, Levy helped to bring the emergent curriculum to the division’s classrooms, which places student interest and experiential learning at the forefront of teaching.

Through the emergent curriculum, students attend more field trips and interact with special visitors, Levy said. Recently, a kindergarten class was interested in stained glass, so a stained glass artist led a workshop for the students and brought the children to a museum to learn more about the art, Levy said.

“[Emergent learning] makes learning so much more relevant to the child,” Kindergarten Team Leader Anthony Bonsignore said. The curriculum has encouraged teachers to build lesson plans on topics that their students are interested in, whether that is history, construction, or Shakespeare, Bonsignore said.

“Ms. Levy’s leadership with our Nursery Division Emergent Curriculum has transformed our Nursery Division and had a transformative effect in the lives of our littlest cubs,” Kelly wrote.

Levy also implemented a variety of new initiatives within the ND, including the nature center, parent education sessions, a new movement program, the Central Park curriculum, and an educational partnership with the New Victory Theater.

During the parent workshops, coined “Meetings with Marcia,” Levy leads conversations in which parents  build a support network with one another, she said. Parents can talk to people going through similar experiences to them and get advice and support about raising young children, Levy said.

Levy also introduced events focused on bringing the ND community together, such as Pajama Day, the Thanksgiving Feast, and the Art Show.

“While we value her tremendous contributions, I am certain that it is Ms. Levy’s heart, passion and compassion that we will all miss most on 90th Street and in the Bronx,” Kelly wrote.

Over lunch, Levy can be found brainstorming and having in-depth conversations about child development with teachers, she said.

“I can bounce ideas off of her and no matter what, I know that I always leave that office feeling empowered, feeling comfortable, and also feeling more than anything that I go to a place that doesn’t really feel like work; it just feels like being in a place that’s fun to be at,” Bonsignore said.

Levy especially enjoys visiting students to read some of her favorite stories or share her own experiences to build upon the emergent curriculum, Teacher in Charge Marines Arroyo said.

Chase Forbes (7) still fondly remembers when Levy invited him and a few of his friends into her office for ice cream and pizza, he said.

“Kindergarten lunches are a special treat for all kindergartners in the spring,” Levy said. “The lunches take place in my office with four children each day, and we have pizza, ice cream sundaes, and storytime,” she said.

Levy made a point to visit all ND classes frequently and learn every child’s name, Brooke Gomez (7) said. “I had a really good connection with her,” she said.

Levy’s leadership has been empowering and comforting, Bonsignore said.

“I value Marcia’s support and guidance as an educator, a parent, and as a friend,” Arroyo said.

“In nine years, Mrs. Levy has championed a lifetime’s worth of thoughtful programs in our Nursery Division. We will be forever grateful for her leadership and stewardship, especially with our youngest of lions, our cubs at the Nursery Division,” Kelly said.

“I just feel that I’m one of the lucky ones,” Levy said. “I have loved my job from the day I arrived here and there has not been a day that has gone by where I haven’t felt that.”

Levy will spend her retirement traveling and with her grandchildren, she said.