• Master class with Sree Sreenivasan. Photo by Pat Swain.

What We Do

We organize master classes and other events that bring New York City’s teachers together with our culture’s most brilliant and creative minds. These classes are held in partnership with New York City’s institutions, which join us in honoring exceptional educators by hosting master classes in their most dignified rooms.

Teachers can be nominated or apply for master classes. Our general criteria are passion for the subject, creativity in the classroom, and devotion to students. Nominations and applications are evaluated by educators and the 18 strongest applicants are invited to attend. All become Fellows of The Academy and join our growing community of exceptional educators.

Master classes last a full school day. During the morning, teachers spend three hours working with the “master.” In the afternoon, they have a rare opportunity to exchange ideas and strategies with other brilliant educators who share their passion for the day’s topic. Both parts of the day are highly prized.

Because it is important that educators be connected to the intellectual and cultural life of the day, we also organize lectures, concerts, performances, and other events which are free for teachers.

Our work has a secondary mission of raising respect for this noble profession. We demonstrate to educators everywhere that their work is valued by our culture’s best and brightest.

Three of our master classes were written about in The New Yorker magazine’s “Talk of the Town.”



Gloria Steinem
master class

Stephen Sondheim master class

Joshua Katz
master class

Kenneth Jackson master class
Andrew Delbanco master class Mary Norris
master class


What Educators Say

92% of our teachers rank master classes as better or far superior to other enrichment programs.

96% are inspired and impressed by the other teachers in their class.

93% report that our program made them feel more respected as a teacher.

95% say their master class will have a long-term positive effect on their teaching.

“This is fantastic!”
Carmen Fariña, New York City Schools Chancellor

“I have never been more stimulated intellectually or professionally or made to feel more valued as a teacher.”
Ben Wides, Teacher
East Side Community High School

“Spending the day with a renowned scholar and a room full of intelligent, passionate, and committed educators is a dream come true. The deeply intellectual conversations we engaged in were inspiring and refreshing. The Academy’s classes should be a model for all teacher programs.”
Catherine Thompson, Teacher
School of the Future

“The Academy for Teachers is a magnificent program that offers unique and amazingly powerful opportunities for our teachers. It is the best professional development I know of.”
Robert Lauder, Head of School
Friends Seminary