Cornelia Connelly Center
New York City, NY
Ellen Banks joined the Connelly Center family in 2014 as an AmeriCorps teaching fellow for upper school math. She has since taught 6th grade, 7th and 8th grade math, and is now beginning her new role as the new Dean of Curriculum. But her work doesn’t stop in the classroom — Ellen coaches track and cross country, has served on our Mission Effectiveness Committee, and has been a counselor for Camp Holy Child several times. As an alumna of Mayfield Senior School, Ellen knows the value of a Holy Child education firsthand and has a deep understanding and love for the mission of CCC and Cornelia Connelly.
Ellen has seen many students come and go throughout the years, which has helped her define her teaching style and philosophy. She prioritizes relationships in her work with students to be able to offer the most individualized education plan possible and help them to get excited about learning. Having spent most of her career teaching math, she has a deeply held belief that math is for everyone, and she uses her strong relationships with students to sell them on this idea. She views math as an indispensable tool for promoting equity, building confidence, and unlocking your inner genius, and believes math should be made accessible to people of all sexes, races, genders, ethnicities, and abilities. Ellen sees teaching math as her way of promoting equity by cultivating resilience and inspiring future problem solvers.
When we spoke, Ellen shared that her favorite part of working with students is helping them work through difficult math problems and watching them realize that they are capable of doing hard things, even when they may doubt themselves. This is something that she said her students have helped her to learn also. When she came to CCC, Ellen stopped short of identifying herself as a “math person.” Over the years, however, she has watched her students commit to believing that math is for everyone and seeing how much they identified with their abilities. Now she tries to ensure that everyone sees themselves as a math person!
As the Dean of Curriculum, Ellen hopes to apply her teaching philosophy to teachers. Her role will help to facilitate more teacher collaboration in an effort to align the curriculum across subjects and grade levels to promote student learning and success. She hopes to harness the enthusiasm our teachers have and help to support and guide them as they grow professionally. Ellen sees this renewed focus on teachers as a way to model continuous learning and growth for our students. She is excited to work with teachers to bring the creativity and tools that we relied on during remote teaching back into the classroom.
Ellen embodies the Holy Child spirit every day in her work with students, families, teachers, and staff. She embraces the uniqueness of each person and sees our differences as strengths as we collaborate, learn and grow together. She helps us all realize our full potential!