Pearl Rock Kane, Director of the Klingenstein Center and Klingenstein Family Professor for the Advancement of Independent School Education, has been awarded the President's Medal of Excellence. Presented by Teachers College President Susan Fuhrman and Provost Tom James, this medal recognizes exemplary alumni of Teachers College and commended Pearl for her leadership of the Klingenstein Center over 37 years. During Pearl's tenure, the Klingenstein Center has grown from a single fellowship program to an internationally-recognized center for preparation of independent school teachers and leaders with five different programs.
Awarding the medal, Provost James said to Pearl, "Legions of Klingenstein alumni have been empowered to dream large, believe passionately, and act with confidence and joy. They have understood themselves in a new light – as role models for young people for how to function as members in communities devoted to deep learning and ethical practice. Certainly they have been enlightened by what they learned in the Klingenstein Center’s programs. But they also have seen how you conduct yourself – with gentleness, kindness, grace, caring, humor, intelligence and – always – a keen eye for constant improvement."
President Fuhrman said to Pearl, "Your impact reaches far beyond the Klingenstein Center’s extended family. In fact, you have secured your place in [Teachers College] history by nurturing an institution that will endure as the gold standard in its field, training new leaders who will go on to work at thousands of schools around the world." President Fuhrman also announced the establishment of the Pearl Rock Kane Endowed Scholarship, which will provide aid to future students of the Klingenstein Center.
The presentation occurred at the Klingenstein Center's 40th Anniversary Celebration on April 21, which was given in honor of Pearl Rock Kane and attended by 400 alumni, supporters and friends. Accepting the medal, Pearl thanked President Fuhrman and Provost James, noting she was humbled and honored to receive the award. Pearl reflected on her career, "I’ve stayed motivated and enthusiastic because of the extraordinary people who come to our programs and, through their participation, make the programs better. We stand on the shoulders of almost 4000 alumni, who include most of you here this evening. The Klingenstein Center is your legacy of achievement and innovation." Pearl spoke about the remarkable vision and generosity of John Klingenstein and his family in establishing and supporting the Klingenstein Center. She closed her remarks by reflecting, "John Dewey believed that education isn’t merely preparation for life – it is life. In the most personal and literal sense, that’s been true for me."
The celebration also included reflections from Nancy K. Simpkins, a member of the Klingenstein family and the Center's advisory committee; Andy Klingenstein, President of the Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Fund; Arthur Levine, President Emeritus of Teachers College; and from Pearl's six grandchildren. Klingenstein Advisory Committee Chair Jim Scott spoke on behalf of the Advisory Committee, the Klingenstein Family, and the alumni community, presenting Pearl with a commemorative plaque in the shape of a book, engraved with words all of her students remember from her classes, "Leadership is a behavior... not a position" and with the inscription "with our deep admiration and heartfelt appreciation from the countless independent school educators who you have inspired around the world."
View the 40th Anniversary Celebration Photo Gallery
View the video tribute to Pearl
Donate to the Pearl Rock Kane Endowed Scholarship