About Cooke


Our Guiding Principles

Embrace and value the whole child in a joyful, inclusive environment where meaningful progress towards independence is realized.

At Cooke, instruction is guided by students’ strengths and interests, not just their learning deficits. Programming is designed with an explicit focus on developing social/emotional and adaptive skills, as well as robust academics. Clinical services are seamlessly integrated into classroom lessons and school-wide planning, as well as provided through individual and small group sessions. School activities are designed to ensure that every student can meaningfully participate so that each child is included, each makes a contribution, and everyone shines. In this setting, friendships flourish and peer-to-peer learning thrives.

Enhance learning by carefully selecting a well-blended mix of students with diverse learning profiles and cultural origins.

Our school brings together students with a range of strengths and challenges, selected so they blend well together socially and academically. We welcome families of all income levels, and our policies ensure that the cost of tuition is not a barrier to enrollment. Thus, Cooke’s educational model is aligned with its longstanding commitment to equal educational opportunity.

Innovate and adapt to meet the evolving needs of our students, parents and consulting partners.

Cooke has a proud history of adapting to changes in the special education environment to address a broader range of student disabilities and evolving parent interests. We draw from a variety of empirically-grounded methods and develop new instructional techniques that succeed with our unique mix of students.  We encourage families to be partners in their children’s education and growth towards independence and welcome their input on program offerings.  We innovate by incorporating experiential learning within and outside classroom walls, multi-disciplinary programming, alternative interventions, and transition-to-life planning and programming.

Incorporate real world settings in student education to provide authentic learning environments and inspire public acceptance and accommodation of people with disabilities.

Generalizing classroom lessons in real world settings is the linchpin of student progress towards independence, and a hallmark of a Cooke education. Our partners provide settings in which our students can apply and practice what they learn at school in authentic community and work settings. For this purpose, Cooke administrators forge alliances with a wide variety of businesses, non-profits and cultural institutions that support our mission. In this way, we seek to transform attitudes and practices in workplace and community settings so they become more welcoming and accommodating of people with disabilities.

Share our knowledge with other educators and advocates to improve the educational experience for all children. 

Cooke has always sought to extend its reach beyond its school by sharing its knowledge and expertise with others. Cooke School and Institute works to improve the educational experience of thousands of students in underserved neighborhoods by consulting with general education schools and teachers. Cooke is also an active participant in advocacy efforts to reform special education in the NYC public schools.


Cooke School is proud to be accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools. Cooke Academy is registered as a high school with the New York Board of Regents and can award New York State diplomas.

Board of Trustees

Andrea Pollack


Heather Damon

Vice Chair

Karen P. Robards

Chair Emerita

David Warren



Wendy Banner
Gary Barton
Michael D. Beck, Esq.
Ellen J. Bickal, Esq.
Dag Folger
Christine Hennessey

Roger W. Miller
Andrew Morris
June Niklus
Sarah E. Paul, Esq.
Ozzie Ramos

Brett Rogoff
Eileen Caulfield Schwab
Arthur N. Skelskie, Esq.
Eamon Walsh
Lisa Westlake
Kenneth I. Wirfel

Executive Staff

Michael Termini, PsyD


Deborah E. Cooper, Esq.

Vice President and General Counsel

Michael Eaton

Vice President, Institutional Advancement


Joyce Pariser

Vice President, Finance and Administration


Francis Tabone, Ph.D.

Head of School


Contact Information

Cooke School & Institute (Middle and Upper School)
1713 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10029

School Admissions Office
1713 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10029


Cooke Lower School
219 Stanton Street
New York, NY 10002
(212) 995-2020

Cooke Transitions
60 MacDougal Street
New York, NY 10012