And the Educator of the Year Award Goes To…

We are thrilled to announce the Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School Educator of the Year, PollyDee GoltcheJoin us on Tuesday, June 6 for our Annual Dinner as we honor Polly alongside 4 other honorees in support of our Synagogue and Jewish Education.

Polly’s passion for literacy and creativity began early on, during her time as Rita Moskowitz’s library assistant in fifth grade. Her love for the written word along with artistic expression through color and form led her to pursue a path that combined her interests. She completed undergraduate degrees in Business Administration and Spanish, but with the birth of her first child, Polly realized that her true calling was in education. After achieving Master’s degrees in Reading from Columbia University and Education from Adelphi University, as well as an Advanced Certificate in the History of Interior Design and Decoration from Parsons School of Design, Polly found a balance between the worlds of education and creative expression.

When she’s not working as Park East’s Literacy Specialist or running her private literacy practice, Polly can be found in her home studio, working on various art projects. She’s also an avid animal-rights advocate and frequently devotes her time to multiple organizations dedicated to helping homeless and abused animals. In addition to her artistic pursuits and activism, Polly is a passionate baker, carrying on the tradition of her Polish grandmother and making custom-filled babkas and challahs.

Polly has been the Literacy Specialist at Park East for twelve years and feels a strong sense of pride in the institution’s mission. She is particularly excited about the new literacy program she spearheaded with Principal Debbie Rochlin and Curriculum Developer Tracy Koy. The program includes weekly professional development modeled after the Teachers College Readers’ and Writers’ Workshop, as well as a book fair with famous authors and their craft presentations. Polly draws on her years of experience at Columbia University, where she was a graduate student in the Reading Specialist Master’s program, recipient of the James Neff Scholarship for Urban Literacy, and a dyslexia clinician at Teachers College Center for Educational and Psychological Services, to infuse the program with cutting-edge and empirically based practices.

Polly’s greatest joy is her family, which includes her husband, Danny, two sons, Michael and Adam (married to Amanda, Park East’s second and third grade teacher), two daughters, Jennifer (married to Will) and Ariel, three grandsons, Carter, Diem, and Charlie, and a rescue Jack Russell, Lily Ruby. She considers her family her greatest achievement and a constant source of inspiration and joy. She hosts weekly Shabbat gatherings and holiday celebrations that bring together the Ashkenazi practices of her parents and the Sephardic traditions of her husband’s Persian heritage.

Polly is humbled and thrilled to be chosen as Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School’s Educator of the Year and is grateful for the administration’s support of her upcoming attendance at the Feuerstein Shoresh Institute of Cognitive Instrumental Enrichment in Rome, Italy. She looks forward to continuing to help students learn and flourish for many more years to come.