P.S. 8’s Ellis Moves Up


Former P.S. 8 Instructional Specialist Olivia Ellis (pictured above with former PTA president David Goldsmith) has been promoted to director of school support  for the NYC Department of Education's Office of Parent Engagement, the Brooklyn Eagle reports today. Ellis was part of the team that revived that failing school and made it one of the best in New York City. Friends and supporters gathered to wish her luck last week at Palmira's on Clark Street.

Brooklyn Eagle:  Before Olivia Ellis started working at P.S. 8 in the spring of 2003, her family piled into a car, drove to the Heights and circled the block “to make sure that it was OK,” said Ellis, a spirited woman with auburn-colored plaits. “It’s not like I was a little baby and I was off to elementary school."No, Ellis’ days as a grammar school student have long since past (though she won’t say how long ago). But in a way, this Park Slope native was leaving the nest. She had been a second grade teacher at celebrated P.S. 321 for over 20 years when she moved to P.S. 8 to become the then-flailing school’s instructional specialist — a position that was new to her. Much has happened since that fateful spring when former Deputy Chancellor Carmen Farina handpicked Ellis and Principal Seth Phillips to turn around the underperforming Heights school. In three years time, P.S. 8 has gone from “rock bottom” (Ellis’ words) to a listing in Clara Hemphill’s New York City’s Best Public Elementary Schools: A Parent’s Guide. In 2004, Ellis helped to secure a nearly $1 million Magnet Grant from the U.S. Department of Education, and P.S. 8/ The Magnet School for Exploration, Researchand Design was born. Since then, P.S. 8’s enrollment has doubled…

photo: Brooklyn Eagle

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