Meet Our Alumni
Dionne Beckford alumna, Bank Street Graduate School of Education '09

Dionne Beckford

Leadership in Mathematics Education '20

Each semester in my advisory group, we read a common text that focused on equity and racism, which led to many important conversations in a very supportive environment. Through these conversations, I developed strong bonds with the other students, and it helped to make my grad school experience more personal.

Dionne attended Bank Street Graduate School of Education and earned her MSEd along with a School Building Leader certificate in 2020. With over 20 years of experience working as both a teacher and a school leader in both public and private school settings, Dionne was a founding teacher at Columbia University’s Teachers College Community School and is currently a fourth-grade teacher at PS 321, a highly rated public school in Brooklyn, NY. 

Why did you choose Bank Street? 

I chose Bank Street because of the unique opportunity the math leadership program offered. I also chose it because it’s an institution focused specifically on programs for teachers and school leaders and provides a small and intimate experience.

What has been your favorite part about your experience at Bank Street to date?

My favorite part about my experience at Bank Street was the cohort model that brought us together into small groups. I had amazing teachers in my cohort, and the way in which we worked together was magical. I also really loved the style of teaching from my professors; the focus was on our learning journey, and they were there to facilitate that learning as opposed to just filling our brains with information. For example, I was asked to constantly reflect on what I was learning, and this constant practice really enabled me to take ownership over my education.

How have your fieldwork and advisement experiences impacted your professional work? 

The fieldwork was so important and my fieldwork supervisor deepened my learning. The chance to have my advisor visit my classroom and celebrate my work in the classroom was very comforting. The suggestions I received felt like advice from a friend as opposed to a supervisor coming to analyze you. I have used many of these suggestions since then. My advisor was also very integral in helping me make important career decisions and I’m still so grateful for the keen expertise and guidance. Even now, my advisor remains my constant champion—for which I am very grateful.

What is one of the most meaningful things you have learned?

Each semester in my advisory group, we read a common text that focused on equity and racism, which led to many important conversations in a very supportive environment. Through these conversations, I developed strong bonds with the other students, and it helped to make my grad school experience more personal.

What three words would you use to best describe your experience at Bank Street and why?

Enlightening—My eyes were opened up to a completely different style of teaching 

Affirming—Bank Street celebrates teachers and this program celebrates math and the importance of taking a leadership role in boosting mathematics.

Thought-provoking—My classes left me with deep thoughts about my own pedagogy, learning style, math strategies, and how to build a strong community.