Lucy Sprague Mitchell, educator, advocate for children’s education

Lucy Sprague Mitchell (1878–1967) was an American educator and the founder of Bank Street College of Education.

A Radcliffe graduate, Mitchell was the first dean of women at the University of California at Berkeley, where she lectured in the English Department and promoted educational and career opportunities for women students from 1903–1912.  In 1916, influenced by the work of John Dewey, Mitchell founded the Bureau of Educational Experiments (BEE) in New York City to study and develop optimal learning environments for children. Mitchell sought to create a group of thinkers from different fields to study child development and to advocate for fundamental educational reform.

Bank Street College of Education is a private, nonprofit educational institution located in New York City. The College includes a Graduate School, an on-site independent School for Children, professional development and social programs, and partnerships with school districts, colleges, museums and cultural institutions, hospitals, community service organizations, and educational media corporations. Though Mitchell founded the Bureau of Educational Experiments, she served only as the “acting president” of the college, choosing not to fully assume the title. During her extensive tenure at Bank Street, Mitchell defined the college’s mission with a credo still used by faculty and students today.

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