2019 Woodridge Award for Great Teaching

Mary Rooney, a native New Yorker, learned how to teach from the educators who taught her at St. Joseph’s Academy, Marymount High School, Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart, New York University Institute of Fine Arts, and the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She got her first job in 1964, teaching third graders at Our Lady of Pompeii in the West Village for an annual salary of $2,300. Many of her students came from Mafia families. She stayed a year. After briefly teaching at Charles Evans Hughes High School in Chelsea, she moved across the street to IS 70, the middle school where she taught until her retirement in 1996. There, Rooney was called on to teach a variety of subjects she knew little about, including math, art, and shop, but for the most part taught social studies and English, both of which she had to figure out how to teach on her own. What success she had with students she credits to the time she spent communicating with their parents, who became her allies. She was known as a demanding teacher. One of her fondest memories is overhearing a student say to his friend on the first day of school, “My life is over. I have Rooney for English and social studies.” Says Rooney, “He did, indeed. He was mine.”

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David Coleman grew up in a family of educators. He went to public school in New York City before enrolling at Yale, where he started Branch, a community service program for inner-city students. Upon receiving a Rhodes Scholarship, he studied English literature at the University of Oxford and classical educational philosophy at the University of Cambridge.

With a team of educators, David founded the Grow Network, an organization committed to making assessment results useful. McGraw-Hill acquired the Grow Network in 2005. In 2007, he co-founded Student Achievement Partners, which played a leading role in developing the Common Core State Standards in math and literacy. David left Student Achievement Partners in the fall of 2012 to become president of the College Board.

In 2013, David was named to Time magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. He was also recognized as one of Time’s “11 Education Activists for 2011” and was one of the NewSchools Venture Fund Change Agents of the Year for 2012. He is the proud father of two and lives in New York City.