Thomas H. Wright Lecture Series

The Thomas H. Wright Lecture, inaugurated in 1995, honors Thomas H. Wright's dedication to Sarah Lawrence and his long service on the Board of Trustees. An endowment, established by the Leon Lowenstein Foundation, funds the lecture.

Watch the 2021 Thomas H. Wright Lecture

Thomas H. Wright Lecture - November 18, 2021
Gender and the Gender Spectrum in the Early Childhood Classroom

Watch this panel discussion on supporting young children’s explorations of concepts of gender, their own gender identity, and the gender spectrum. Panelists work in various educational settings ranging from a small suburban preschool, to an urban elementary school classroom, and a graduate education program.

Click here for the wonderful list of resources from our panelists.


Laleña Garcia (she/her) is a kindergarten teacher living in Brooklyn. A graduate of Yale University (BA, History) and Bank Street College of Education (MS, Early Childhood and Elementary Education), she has been teaching in New York City since 2000. Laleña also works as a Gender and Sexuality Trainer, helping early childhood professionals and families create expansive and supportive understandings of gender, sexuality, relationships, and family structure. Her online course for adults, Rooted, offers contextual background and concrete strategies for anti-bias work in Early Childhood Education. Laleña’s first children’s book, What We Believe, was published by Lee and Low in 2020.

Cassandra Santos (she/her) is the lead teacher for the 5/6s Class at the Early Childhood Center of Sarah Lawrence College. She began teaching at the ECC in 2011, while a field work student at Westchester Community College. She continued to work as an assistant teacher at the ECC while she earned a degree in Childhood Studies from City College of New York and during her graduate studies in the Art of Teaching program at Sarah Lawrence College. She became lead teacher for the 5/6s Class in 2019. Cassandra’s passions are literature, history, democratic teaching and learning, and nature. She is thrilled to be sharing these interests through her teaching.

Marjorie Brickley, MSEd, (she/they) is Faculty and Coordinator of the Infancy Institute at Bank Street Graduate School of Education. Margie is the Program Director (and a graduate of) the Infant and Family Development and Early Intervention program at Bank Street. She teaches courses in development and assessment and is an advisor to fieldwork students. She holds an Infant Mental Health Endorsement (Level IV Research/Faculty). Her work experience includes directing early childhood programs including child care centers, teen parent programs, and a therapeutic program; early intervention home visiting; teaching infants and toddlers; and teaching at the community college, undergraduate and graduate school levels. Margie also presents workshops to teachers, clinicians, and family child care providers. Margie’s current research projects focus on learning about the many ways to conceptualize child development; providing emotional support and resiliency training for teachers; applying recent research about gender to measuring Adverse Childhood Experiences in professionals working with young children; and applying recent research about gender.

Brendan Cheney (he/him) is the parent of two children, a 10 year old and a 7 year old, that attend an independent progressive school in Manhattan. Professionally, Brendan works on housing and homelessness policy in New York City and has experience with the policy needs of homeless transgender youth.


Jan Drucker Ph.D., (she/her) is a Clinical Psychologist and SLC Psychology Faculty Emerita. She is a co-founder of the Child Development Institute and was the longtime Director of the Empowering Teachers Program.

Previous Thomas H. Wright Lectures

  • 2020
    Mothering, Reimagining & Starfishing: A Radical Way Forward
    Jodie Patterson
    Watch the lecture video on Vimeo 
  • 2019
    Social Justice Belongs in Our Schools
    Sydney Chaffee, '05
    Watch the lecture video on YouTube 
  • 2018
    Small Actions for Big Justice
    Albert Sykes
    Watch the lecture video on YouTube
  • 2017
    When All Else Fails, We Must Protect Childhood
    Denisha Jones, PhD
    Watch the lecture video on YouTube

  • 2016
    Preserving Childhood at School: The Importance of Being Little
    Erika Christakis, MPH, MEd
    Watch the lecture video on YouTube

  • 2015
    Recognizing, Understanding, and Transforming Inequalities into Opportunities in the Classroom
    Steven Hawkins, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA
    Joshua Bogin, Director of Springfield Magnet School Program, Springfield Public Schools
    Jan Drucker, PhD, moderator
    Watch the lecture video on YouTube

  • 2014
    Asking Questions and Trusting What You're Told
    Paul Harris, PhD
    Watch the lecture video on YouTube

  • 2013
    The Environment of Childhood Poverty
    Gary Evans, PhD

  • 2012
    Teaching and Learning in a Diverse and Inequitable World
    Patricia Ramsey, EdD
    Watch the lecture video on YouTube

  • 2011
    Voices of Children Voices of Teachers: Reclaiming the Classroom
    Mary Hebron, MA

  • 2010
    When Parents, Educators, and Clinicians Collaborate: Classrooms for All Learners
    A Panel Discussion with Stephanie Petrillo Gould, MEd, CSP; Maggie Hoffman; and Cassandra Hyacinthe, MEd
    Jan Drucker, PhD, moderator

  • 2009
    Consuming Kids: Reclaiming Childhood from Media and Corporate Marketers
    Susan Linn, EdD, Co-Founder and Director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, and Associate Director of the Media Center of Judge Baker Children's Center
    Watch lecture video on YouTube

  • 2008
    Where da Heat Go: Social Justice, Agency & Science
    Angela Calabrese Barton, PhD, Associate Professor of Teacher Education, Michigan State University

  • 2007
    Children and Nature Design Principles
    David L. Sobel, MEd, Director, Teacher Certification Programs; Co-director, Community Based School Environmental Education Program, Antioch New England Graduate School

  • 2006
    Open Pandora’s Box: Curiosity in the Classroom
    Susan Engel, PhD, Director of the Program in Teaching at Williams College

  • 2005
    Building a Community/Building a School
    Nancy Mann, MA, Principal, Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School

  • 2004
    Reflections on Teaching: Relationships, Possibilities, and Power
    Jane Andrias, MA, Leader in New York City's progressive education movement

  • 2003
    Nurturing the Remarkable Powers of Children
    William Crain, PhD, Professor of Psychology at The City College of New York

  • 2002
    Processes of Change in Schools
    Tom Roderick, MEd, Executive Director of Educators for Social Responsibility, New York City Metropolitan Area

  • 2001
    Pathways to Literacy: Non-Standardized Approaches to the Enhancement and Assessment of Literacy Across the Curriculum
    Frank Smith, PhD, Writer and Researcher, British Columbia, Canada

  • 2000
    Rethinking Standards and Assessment
    Harriet K. Cuffaro, EdD, Professor Emerita of Education, Bank Street College of Education and Staff Developer at the City and Country School, New York City

  • 1999
    Play and Learning
    Celia S. Genishi, PhD, Professor of Education, Teachers College, Columbia University

  • 1998
    A New Look at Families, Schools and Child Development
    James P. Comer, MD, Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry, Yale University Child Study Center

  • 1997
    Rethinking Teaching: What Schools Can and Should Be
    Linda Darling-Hammond, EdD, Stanford University

  • 1996
    Conflict as a Fact of Life: Families, Schools, Communities
    Regina Arnold, PhD, Professor of Sociology and Associate Dean of Studies, Sarah Lawrence Colleg e

  • 1995
    Family/School Partnerships: Working Together for Children
    Patricia Carini, Founder of Prospect School and the Prospect Archives and Center for Education and Research, North Bennington, Vermont