CPE1 Elementary School in Harlem was founded 43 years ago by educator Deborah Meier to give children who live uptown, and who may not have many opportunities, a solid chance. Her progressive, unorthodox approach worked, and it eventually established Meier as one of the world's foremost educators. She won a MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant" in 1987.
She began her teaching career in the mid-1960’s as a kindergarten and Head Start teacher in Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City schools. In 1997 after retiring from New York City public schools, Deborah created the Mission Hill School in Boston, spending eight years as both principal and co-principal.
She is currently a senior scholar at NYU’s Steinhardt School, speaks widely on educational reform, and co-writes a monthly blog for Edweek magazine with Diane Ravich: Bridging Differences.
Ms. Meier serves on the board for the Coalition of Essential Schools, FairTest, and SOS; she is also an editorial board member for magazines Dissent and The Nation. Meier is now in retirement in New England.
Meier was born in New York City; she attended Antioch College (1949-51) and received an MA in History from the University of Chicago (1955).