The Gateway School Speaker Series Newsletter

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SPEAKER SERIES WHAT'S INSIDE THIS ISSUE: snippets from the inaugural Gateway School Speaker Series

CONVERSATIONS X CONNECTIONS Celebrating the Diversity of Minds, Intelligence, and Abilities

Things look different in 2021. So as we began to reimagine our Spring Gala, we looked to our mission to offer direction. This reflection led to the creation of a week-long Virtual Speaker Series, Conversations x Connections: Celebrating the Diversity of Minds, Intelligence, and Abilities. This series turned our attention back to our community, highlighted our internal talent, and modeled for our students components of our mission. The importance of critical thinking skills, self-advocacy, collaboration, mentorship, and forging close relationships in a diverse and inclusive community were themes that were woven into all our talks.


“That’s what Gateway does, Gateway makes your kids selfadvocates.”

Confidence and Self-Advocacy During Challe Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, President, Founder, and Medical

“If I need more time, if I need more help, I know it’s not because I’m dumb, it’s because I need this accommodation and I’m entitled to this accommodation.”

Director of the Child Mind Institute, and Carolyn Salzman, former Head of The Gateway School, were moderated in conversation by Laurie Gruhn, current Head of The Gateway School.

Harold S. Koplewicz, MD

Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, is the founding president and medical director of the Child Mind Institute, the only independent national nonprofit dedicated to child and adolescent mental health. One of the nation's leading psychiatrists, Dr. Koplewicz was previously founding director of the NYU Child Study Center and served as director of the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric research. He is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology and author of several books, including The Scaffold Effect: Raising Resilient, Self-Reliant and Secure Kids in an Age of Anxiety.

ON LIFE AFTER GATEWAY The Gateway School Alumni Panel Continuing the beloved tradition of "Life After Gateway," Gateway's Grandstand teacher of fifteen years, John Banta, led five of our wonderful alumni in conversation: Jordan Cohen '15, Luca Daly '17, Nieve Ferguson '11, Anna Garner Kaminski '03, and Olivia Giuliano '07.

“My experience at Gateway really gave me those organizational skills and that discipline to thrive.”

“Thank you, Gateway, for teaching me how to ask for help.” Anna Garner Kaminski '03

"When I came to Gateway, this came up a lot, thi my whole entire time at Gateway I really dislik really grow fond of it – is this idea of a toolbox skills that you can use to so

Jordan Cohen '15

Talking with a fellow alum:

“‘Do you remember when we graduated [Gateway], and how scary it was? And now look – we’re all graduating high school! And we are graduating with the tools that we need to go out to college.’ And I had the same feeling [when I left] Gateway, ‘I’m graduating with the tools that I need to go off to high school.’” Luca Daly '17

Luca Daly '17

LEARNING DISABILITIES nging Times During her tenure, Carolyn Salzman (Gateway parent of Ben Salzman '04) led the school through a remarkable period of redefinition, which began with focusing on and streamlining Gateway's mission. Since Carolyn's son first walked through Gateway's doors in 1998, she has remained devoted to ensuring that the school continued to grow and thrive. In 1999, Carolyn was elected to the Board of Trustees and served as Chair from 2001-2005. In 2013, she was appointed Head of School. In the ensuing seven years, the school grew to nearly 200 students ages 5 to 14. She successfully led a strategic plan to secure Gateway's position as one of the premier independent schools serving students with special needs. In March 2020, Carolyn seamlessly transitioned the school to a distance learning program. She retired as Head of School at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

“…When success happens, and it builds on itself, the individual self-esteem rises because there are real accomplishments. You want the student to be able to really own their accomplishments and say ‘I did it!’ And…with that, you get the kind of positive frame of mind and the resiliency that we’re all looking for.” Carolyn Salzman

“We're so lucky to have attended Gateway.” Nieve Ferguson '11

s idea, this notion of this toolbox – ed the term, but now I've come to of strategies, and techniques, and lve a problem.”

This exceptional group of young adults has already accomplished so much. Jordan Cohen '15 is currently a sophomore at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business studying finance and economics, and will be pursuing a career in either investment banking or commercial real estate. Jordan credits Gateway for teaching him how to organize himself. Luca Daly '17 is a senior at Dwight School and will soon be moving on to Bennington College's class of 2025, where he has been accepted with a scholarship for Creative Design. Luca is forever grateful to the special time and people he encountered at Gateway: "They helped me open my mind to prioritize both hard work and creative discoveries."

“When I went to Gateway, the teachers taught me how to ask questions, and when to ask questions, and how to articulate what [I] couldn’t understand. And I didn’t know how to do that in the mainstream environment, and that’s why I suffered there. So when I got homework at Gateway, it was actually amazing, because I could go home and do my homework, and I hadn’t been able to do that before.” Olivia Giuliano '07

Nieve Ferguson '11 attended York Prep and went on to graduate from Emerson College in the spring of 2020.


Nieve interned at CONAN on TBS right when the pandemic hit, and was forced to leave LA. She is currently working as a Covid Compliance Officer on NBC's Manifest, and her dream is to write for television. She loves Gateway and everything it stands for. She believes she wouldn't be where she is today if it weren't for Gateway. Anna Garner Kaminski '03 attended The Gateway School from 1995-2003. Anna works as an Assistant Teacher and a Spanish interpreter in a public high school in Hell's Kitchen. She attended SUNY Empire State College for her undergraduate degree and is currently getting her master's degree in 7-12th Grade Special Education. Along with teaching, her passion is drawing illustrations for children. She lives with her husband in Brooklyn. Olivia Giuliano '07 went on to the Birch Wathen Lenox School before enrolling at Connecticut College where she was a history major. She graduated college in 2017 and is currently working at The Hospital for Special Surgery. This fall, she will be attending Columbia University to start her Masters in Occupational Therapy. Olivia's goal is to graduate from school and help people with physical and mental challenges, which she states she can relate to given her own learning differences.

ON LULU IS A RHINOCEROS Exploring Identity and Inclusion Through Storytelling Jason and Allison Flom – son and granddaughter of The Gateway School's founder, Claire Flom – performed a live reading of the children's book they wrote together, Lulu is a Rhinoceros. This dynamic father-daughter duo spoke on the themes of the book: being true to yourself, celebrating your identity, and the importance of allyship. Jason Flom is the founder of Lava Records, a music empire that has discovered superstar acts like Katy Perry and Kid Rock. Moreover, he is a philanthropist who

“To this day, I have the wonderful experience on a frequent basis of running into someone… who says ‘The Gateway School transformed my child and my family’s life.’ And it’s so beautiful every time I hear that, and I still feel my mom’s presence.” Jason Flom

has fought for social justice for decades. He is a founding board member of the Innocence Project, and he is the host of the Wrongful Conviction Podcasts. Allison Flom is a writer and director whose work also explores justice, identity, and human rights. Her true-crime podcast "Erased" highlighting unsung womxn heroes throughout history premieres this spring with Lava for Good.

“My extremely cool grandma I think saw learning differences as not only an opportunity, but a superpower. And she wanted to tap into the infinite capacity and opportunity and potential that lies in every single developing mind. …Gateway continues to embody her integrity and her life mission in its daily work.” Allison Flom

ON FASHION How Clothing Trends Reflect the Times Libby Wadle P'23, CEO of J.Crew Group, and Micaela Erlanger, celebrity fashion stylist, were moderated in conversation by Chassie Post P'19, TV Style Correspondent, Host, and Lifestyle Editor.

“One of the most important traits for anyone is to be a student for life. And that’s something I learned from my mentor: endless curiosity. No matter how accomplished you are in your role, it is way more fun to always be learning something new than to think you’re the expert at everything.”

“Allow yourself the time and the room to learn. Curiosity is really the key to success.” Libby Wadle

With over 25 years of experience in the retail industry, Libby Wadle most recently served as the CEO of Madewell, before she was appointed CEO of the J.Crew Group, overseeing J.Crew and Madewell brands, as well as serving on the board of directors. Libby has dedicated herself to an ambitious sustainability and social impact strategy, and holds a key focus on commitment to building responsible brands.

Micaela Erlanger – who is the niece of former Head of The Gateway School, Carolyn Salzman – is one of the most sought-after celebrity stylists in the industry, whose diverse high-profile clients include Meryl Streep, Lupita Nyong'o, Common, Diane Kruger, Sigourney Weaver, Lucy Hale, Amanda Hearst, and Shailene Woodley. Her work has been seen on the biggest red carpets around the globe and in the pages of top fashion publications worldwide.

“[Don’t be] afraid to try new things, [don’t be] afraid to ask questions. Discovery, learning, openness, and willingness to do those things is so important. See what it is that interests you!” Micaela Erlanger

Known for her keen and exuberant eye and her upbeat style-savvy, Chassie Post is a TV Style Correspondent, Host, and Lifestyle Editor. As a guest on national television shows such as The Today Show, Extra, Entertainment Tonight, E!, Wendy Entertainment Tonight, Wendy Williams Williams Show, GMA, The Insider, Access Hollywood, Show, GMA, The Insider, Access Hollywood, Live

“Sometimes we think about these powerful, very successful people we might meet along the way, and to see how generous and how much they can care about your trajectory and your career, it’s so wonderful… to know there are people out there who are happiest when you’re successful and only want you to succeed.”

Live with &Regis & Kelly, CNN,Harvey The Steve with Regis Kelly, CNN, The Steve Show, Harvey Show, and covers more, Chassis covers thein all things style. and more, Chassie trends more, Chassis coversthe thehottest hottest trends hottest trends in all things style. in all things style.

Chassie Post

ON ENTREPRENEURISM The Importance of Collaboration and Teamwork Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice – cofounders of the fitness phenomenon SoulCycle – were moderated in conversation by Ellen Grayson, The Gateway School's Director of Admissions and Placement. Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice are entrepreneurs best known for co-founding the national fitness sensation, SoulCycle. Cuter and Rice started SoulCycle in 2006 in the rear lobby of an Upper West Side dance studio found on Craigslist. They grew the company to 60 studios as founders, CEOs, and Creative Officers before departing in 2016. Cutler and Rice were honored as one of Goldman Sachs' 100 Builders + Innovators in 2013 and 2014, and SoulCycle was voted one of the World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Fitness of 2013 by Fast Company. Rice and Cutler's latest collaboration is Peoplehood, which focuses on a new way of connecting with each other and creating communities.

“Collaboration has to be a priority. It has to be rewarded, and there has to be an environment where collaborative thinking and ideas are honored.”

“Find the best qualities in the people around you, and lift them up so we can all run as fast as we can together.”

Julie Rice

Elizabeth Cutler

ON ACTING How to Overcome Rejection While Pursuing Actors and Gateway parents Noma Dumezweni P'21 and Judine Somerville P'20 were in conversation about their failures, their dreams, and their experiences as both actors and Black parents in the world of New York City privat

“When your child finds the right school, they bloom. Within three months of arriving at The Gateway School, it was ‘okay - we landed.’”

“I will say this, absolutely: because of Gateway, I am now in New York, to be in America, because the investment in outweighed anything that I thought was

Noma Dumezweni is a British stage and screen actress, most widely known for originating the role of Hermione Granger in the West End and Broadway runs of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which garnered her a Tony nomination and a second Laurence Olivier Award (the first she won for her role in A Raisin in the Sun in 2006). This past winter, Noma starred alongside Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant in the HBO drama The Undoing. Other notable screen appearances include Mary Poppins Returns, Normal People, and Made for Love, which is out now on HBO Max. Noma most recently wrapped up filming for a new role in The Little Mermaid, a live-action remake of the animated Disney classic.

Noma Dumezweni


Using Poker Strategies to Win at Cards and Succeed in Life

Professional poker players Erik Seidel and Maria Konnikova were moderated in conversation by Gateway's Director of Middle School, Elian Seidel.

Erik Seidel is a legendary professional poker player from Las Vegas, Nevada with eight World Series of Poker bracelets and a World Poker Tour Title, and is an inductee to the Poker Hall of Fame. In his first major tournament, Seidel was runner-up in the 1988 World Series of Poker main event. This famous final hand was featured in the movie Rounders starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton.

On mentors:

“I had a teacher in high school… I barely got through each grade. And she was always supportive and always believed in me. She was really a lifechanging person for me.” Erik Seidel

Your Dreams successes, their e schools.

making the choice to be my child's education has possible.”

Maria Konnikova is a New York Times best-selling author, journalist, and professional poker player. She is the author of several award-winning books, including her most recent book, The Biggest Bluff, which inadvertently turned her into a professional poker player while she was compiling research shadowing Erik Seidel and learning from him as a mentor for a full year. Maria is also a regular contributing writer for The New Yorker. She is currently a visiting fellow at NYU's School of Journalism. She graduated from Harvard University and received her PhD from Columbia University. “I just think that one of the most amazing things about life and being alive is that you can learn something new every day. And that you can meet people who inspire you and who teach you to be curious about something you didn’t even know to be curious about.” Maria Konnikova

Judine Somerville has performed in five original Broadway musicals, including the eight-time Tony Award-winning Best Musical Hairspray, where she was part of the singing trio sensation, "The Dynamites." Judine reprised her role for NBC's "Hairspray Live" in 2016 alongside Harvey Fierstein, Ariana Grande, Martin Short, Jennifer Judson, and Kristin Chenoweth. Judine has sung the National Anthem at Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center and is a former member of The Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. Previously a Guest Artist at Lincoln Center's Meet the Artist Series, she is currently on the faculty of The Ailey School Broadway Classroom and a Guest Artist at Rosie's Theater Kids. Judine is a a member of The Gateway School Board of Trustees.

“In private schools, in learning differences institutions, there aren't many of us [Black parents]. ...My whole showbiz gig has turned to advocacy activism, so those families that don't have the wherewithal to put the pieces of the puzzles together can. ...I really want to let other families know the 1,2,3 of how to get to a school like this. What is the Gateway to a Gateway?” Judine Somerville

MEET THE GATEWAY MODERATORS: Laurie Gruhn, Head of School

Ellen Grayson, Director of Admissions and Placement

John Banta, Grandstand Teacher

Elian Seidel, Director of Middle School

Thank you to our generous donors and to everyone who made The Gateway School Speaker Series, Conversations x Connections: Celebrating the Diversity of Minds, Intelligence, and Abilities, possible. You may view the talks in their entirety on our YouTube page. Be sure to follow our other social media platforms for updates, future events, and news on The Gateway School.

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SPEAKER SERIES CREDITS Producer: Jennifer Cherney, Director of Institutional Advancement Newsletter: Nicole Mion, Advancement and Communications Associate Communications Ashley Knauer, Associate Director of Communications Coordinators: Nicole Mion, Advancement and Communications Associate Production: SpotMe, WEDO Charity Auctions Contact Us: