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Founders Celebration

February 8 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Cooke School and Institute’s Founders Day Celebration is an annual community event which commemorates the work of our founding families and reminds us of the core values upon which Cooke was built. We are reviving the event with a fabulous relaunch following the pandemic - it is long overdue!

Cooke hosts a “parents night out” (adults only!), to foster connection in our community and encourage all of the hardworking caregivers to take a night for themselves. Additionally, this is the exclusive event of the year dedicated to building relationships within the Cooke community with families from kindergarten through Transitions, so we really hope to see you there!

We are pleased to be honoring three extraordinary members of our community:

Ken Wirfel

Founding parent and Board member (served 1987-2023)

Ken Wirfel, a founding board member, shaped Cooke’s programming from the bottom up. On behalf of his daughter, Mikhaila, and generations of Cooke students, Ken and his wife, June helped form Cooke’s mission, managed finances, led long-term strategy, formed school partnerships, and recently helped fund and construct our new school building at 1713 Madison Avenue. Ken did it all with warmth and caring, which is summed up by his joy for our school. In his words: “You cannot walk into that building and not feel the excitement, the joy. They [students] have a thirst for learning.”

Katie Riordan

Associate Head of School
Transitions (2008-2023)

Katie Riordan worked at Cooke for 15 years and led the Transitions program since its beginning. She helped create a vibrant program for young adults that taught them to value connection (to each other and the outside community). She encouraged students to go out into the world with a can-do attitude, helping them nurture their interests, build their confidence and ultimately achieve greater self-reliance. She always joked that if there were no students in the Transitions building, the staff had done their jobs correctly because students should be out in the world!

Vicki Doucet

Assistant Head of School, K-12 (2008- 2023)

Vicki Doucet was known for wearing many hats at Cooke, figuratively and literally (she loved a good costume party). For 15 years, she worked tirelessly to create robust operational systems based on a vision of our student’s potential and long-term growth. Along with a deep commitment to students, she never lost sight of the importance of our school’s day-to-day logistics (everything from scheduling to program enhancements).


The Campbell Bar, conveniently located at Grand Central.

*Please note that the Campbell is located on the Vanderbilt Ave side GC entrance (all the way to the right). You will enter through the doors that say “Campbell Apartments.”

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Date & Time
Thursday, Feb 8, 2024
6:00pm -8:30pm


Tickets for this event are suggested at $50 per person, but in the spirit of our founding values, contributions are at your discretion. We want the entire Cooke community to be there, regardless of ability to pay/donate. However, please RSVP to ensure we have enough food and drink for everyone!

**For those who wish to help cover the cost of the event, we are offering the option to donate extra tickets. This helps Cooke make this event as inclusive & accessible as possible!

What To Expect

We are pleased to offer an open bar and heavy appetizers! Get ready for a night of conversation, good music, and fun!


Smart business-casual attire is recommended, but please feel free to come as you are!


February 8
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm


The Campbell Bar
15 Vanderbilt Avenue
New York, NY 10017 United States
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(917) 209-3440
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