Principal, Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science and Engineering
Miriam Nightengale is a career educator whose various educational experiences have given her a fresh perspective on effective ways to address endemic educational issues. Growing up in Indiana, she attended a large, traditional high school. Her undergraduate studies were grounded in the Great Books focus at St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree. After that, she served in the Peace Corps for two years as an educational volunteer in the Central African Republic where she taught math in a high school in Bozoum, CAR. On her return, she was awarded a Dewitt Wallace Fellowship at Teachers College, where she earned her Master’s Degree in Math Education. Her first New York City teaching experience was at Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn, where she taught for two years before being transferred to Brooklyn Technical High School. At Brooklyn Tech, she taught various math classes, and also gained experience in curricular improvement. During this time, she was asked to head up the Math-Science Institute at Brooklyn Tech, a Chancellor’s initiative which attempted to address the racial imbalance at the city’s screened high schools by providing intensive academic support to middle school students. She was then tapped to participate in the initial cohort of the NYC Leadership Academy. On graduation, she took the helm of the High School for Law, Advocacy and Community Justice, which she led for seven years. Under her supervision, the school experienced steadily rising test scores and graduation rates, climbing from the lowest C in the city when the NYC Progress Report scores were first released in 2007 to her most recent ranking in the top nine percent of high schools in the city. In 2009, she was selected to be a Cahn Fellow, in a highly selective program created to recognize outstanding leaders. In April 2011, her project for that program, examining the processes that resulted in the climb in science scores at her school, was published in Principal Leadership magazine. In August of 2011, she assumed the leadership of the Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science and Engineering, a 6-12 public school affiliated with Columbia University. Ms. Nightengale has presented her work at local, state and national conferences and participated in the Aspen Institute’s education policy roundtable in Washington DC with Linda Darling-Hammond.