At the Klingenstein Center, we are dedicated to building the capacity of educators so that they can better teach, lead, and make change for the kinds of schools all students deserve and need to flourish.

Strong schools require strong leadership. At the Klingenstein Center, we dedicate ourselves to improving the quality of independent and international schools by developing and strengthening the leadership skills of teachers and administrators at every stage of their careers. Carefully structured programs provide enhanced learning that hones skills and philosophical approaches to leading and learning for teacher-leaders, mid-career administrators and heads of schools.

Welcome to the Klingenstein Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College where we learn and work at the intersection of education, equity, and change leadership.

The Klingenstein Center is the premier professional learning program for independent and international school educator-leaders. From our beginning in 1977, we understood that professional growth positively impacts student learning and leads to thriving students and schools. Today, our nearly 4,000 alumni lead, create, design, and innovate in education across the globe.  

We were built to cultivate change. We are committed to transformative and continuous learning.

The Klingenstein Center’s multiple degree and non-degree programs, institutes, and workshops invite students and participants to experience transformative professional learning. We grow the capacity of educators to lead in a time when rapid change is our constant and the commitment to socially just and social-emotionally-informed leadership is most urgent. In our programs, participants build resilience, knowledge, and mindsets as they explore, reflect on, and practice behaviors necessary to lead with intention and for impact.

We are dedicated to cultivating creatively confident, growth-minded, informed, nimble, and inclusive leadership that thrives.

When you choose to learn with us in our graduate programs, you do so in a cohort of individuals working with distinguished faculty and school leaders. You learn through core courses, electives, coaching, connections with independent school practitioners, action research, leadership shadowing, and design challenges. We leverage the power of human connection by balancing collaborative learning and peer feedback with deep study and individual reflection. Our university’s urban ecosystem of New York City provides opportunities to engage schools, educational non-profits, and organizations in other industries to deepen learning.

A quest to build resilience and capacity as we lead change and growth in complex schools and a complicated world, a commitment to creating schools in which all persons thrive, a culture of transformative learning and succeeding together -- these are all a part of our history and are essential components of our future. Come join us in its making.

Nicole Brittingham Furlonge
Professor and Executive Director, The Klingenstein Center
Teachers College, Columbia University

Klingenstein Team

Advisory Board

The Klingenstein Center’s work is strengthened and informed by the contributions of an advisory council of experienced educators and thought-partners committed to supporting independent and international schools. The Advisory Board serves as a think-tank on issues of importance to the Center and the field.

Board Members

James Scott, Chair and Search Consultant, RG175 (President Emeritus, Punahou School, HI)
Jim Best, Former Head of School, The Dalton School, NY
Carolyn Chandler, Head of School Emerita, Metairie Park Country Day School, LA
Liz Duffy, Executive Director, International School Services, NJ
Olaf Jorgenson, Head of School, Almaden Country School, CA
Mark Reed, Managing Director, John M. Belk Endowment, NC
Nancy Simpkins, Klingenstein Family Representative, NY
Curtis Turner, Principal, Saint Frances Academy, MD

Klingenstein Advisory Board Group Photo


Educators often wonder what impact their efforts have on an individual student. For the Klingenstein family, classroom experiences of long ago inspired them to provide similar opportunities for future students by ensuring a cadre of strong school leaders to replace the great ones of the past.

In 1977, The Klingenstein Fund established the Joseph Klingenstein Fellows at Teachers College, Columbia University, the first university-based leadership training for those in the independent school field. The Fellows Program began with twelve participants and over the years Klingenstein Center offerings have grown to include five programs serving early career teachers, mid-career educators and administrators, and heads of schools. The Center currently has over 4000 alumni in 49 U.S. states and territories and 60 countries working in schools around the world and has been credited with contributing to the professionalization of the field.

Through carefully-designed programs that are continuously evaluated and improved, cutting-edge knowledge, skills for effective practice and well-chosen faculty, the Center has sustained a reputation for developing more informed and better prepared leaders to confront independent and international school challenges and possibilities in a rapidly-changing world.

Remembering Pearl Rock Kane

Pearl Rock Kane was the first director of the Klingenstein Center and a beloved professor, advisor, and mentor to thousands of independent school educators who attended its programs. She led the Klingenstein Center for 37 years, during which she built the Center from a single fellowship program into the preeminent organization of its kind featuring two fellowship programs, three graduate programs, the Klingbrief newsletter, and more.  Pearl was honored at the Klingenstein Center's 40th Anniversary celebration in April of 2018, where she was presented with the Teachers College President's Medal of Excellence and where Teachers College announced the creation of the Pearl Rock Kane Endowed Scholarship, which honors Pearl's vision and leadership by providing scholarship funding to future Klingenstein Center students. Pearl passed away in February, but her legacy will continue to shape the Center, the lives of her students, and the global independent school community.