raisehandThe Alexander Robertson School is a co-educational Junior-Kindergarten through 5th Grade community of creative learners. We welcome families of every configuration, ethnicity, and religious tradition and believe that empowerment and education go hand in hand.

A Welcome from our Head of School, Irwin Shlachter:

I am delighted to welcome you to the Alexander Robertson School. I became Head of this “little gem” of a school in 2014 and am proud to carry on a long tradition of commitment to academic excellence.

Our founders created ARS in 1789 with the purpose of educating the sons and daughters of farmers and common folk. This was indeed an ambitious goal at the dawn of our nation! We are very proud to be one of the first coeducational elementary schools in New York City, and to have never wavered from our founders’ mission of academic equality for all students.

In 1789 George Washington became president, the French Revolution reached a watershed with the storming of the Bastille and Scotland, the mother country of Alexander Robertson, was in the midst of intellectual enlightenment. This moment signaled a turn in European intellectual history toward the prioritization of critical reasoning, scientific thought and the humanities as a path to a stronger, more egalitarian democracy.

Located in the heart of the Upper West Side of Manhattan, ARS takes pride in teaching the same critical reasoning, scientific and language skills that have long been associated with democracy. I strongly believe that children who learn ethical values, along with the ability to listen and reason well in their early years, are best positioned to become future leaders.

At ARS we create environments for young students that balance structure and independence so that they can express themselves in as many ways as possible. Our dedicated teachers foster students’ individual learning styles so they remain curious, confident learners and develop into effective, innovative thinkers. Our students learn that asking the right question is just as important as knowing the answer. The result is a school where both learning and teaching are enjoyable, rewarding and affirming.

I welcome the opportunity to show you our lovely school so that you can see what makes us a special place. Please call or email to arrange a visit.

Warmest regards,


Irwin Shlachter
Head of the Alexander Robertson School.

Our Mission

Founded in 1789 to educate the sons and daughters of farmers and common folk, the Alexander Robertson School seeks to have an impact on its social environment by educating children from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds to advocate for themselves and for their communities. Our belief that empowerment and education go hand in hand stems from the 18th century egalitarian movement from which our school emerged, and to the social justice values our school maintains today.

Our Philosophy

Asked whether we are a traditional or a progressive school we generally answer: yes! Our students wear traditional school uniforms. Nice behavior and respect for one another’s thoughts and feelings is a strong focus. We are very comfortable with imparting a sense of order and structure. However, we are progressive when it comes to our curricular choices. Being small we are nimble enough to take advantage of an extraordinary educational opportunity when it presents itself. We are also very creative in the ways we encourage the students to express themselves. We support the children’s learning through interdisciplinary programming, music, the arts, community service, and physical education. Above all we strive to model, encourage and practice good ethical and moral principles. Responsible and sensitive interactions with others is a high priority for the whole community.

Our History

The Alexander Robertson School is a co-educational Junior-Kindergarten through Fifth Grade community of creative learners. We welcome families of every configuration, ethnicity and religious tradition. Our current families hail from 20 different countries!

We are very proud of our long history, dating to 1789. We were one of New York’s first co-educational schools and have been in continuous operation for 230 years, but our heritage begins even earlier. In 1696 the Scottish Parliament passed its “Act of Setting Schools” with the purpose of establishing a school in every parish. By 1750 literacy in Scotland was estimated at 75% compared to England’s 53%. This inspired the Scots Presbyterians of New York to replicate Scotland’s success.

Well before New York had public schools Alexander Robertson, a wealthy member of The Scotch Presbyterian Church, donated a house and lots on Pine Street as an endowment for a free school for children of the congregation who would not otherwise have been educated. Now called the Second Presbyterian Church, https://secondpresbyteriannyc.org/ it continues to provide support to the school in a myriad of ways.

ARS was remarkable from the beginning for accepting both boys and girls, specifically the sons and daughters of farmers and common folk. We continue to embrace the mission of educating children from diverse backgrounds to advocate for themselves and for their communities.

Our longevity, traditions, and diversity define our school. Today we are a non-sectarian school and have dwelt in several locations throughout our many years. Our core values have not changed, however. We are committed to mold students into curious and confident learners who develop into innovative thinkers and leaders, prepared for the challenges of adolescence and beyond.

Our Location

Located at 3 West 95th Street just steps away from Central Park the Alexander Robertson School offers many wonderful opportunities for play, for nature walks, for visiting the Central Park Zoo, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and some of the world’s most important cultural institutions.

It is also easily accessed via the 96th Street Transverse from Manhattan’s East side.

The B and C subway trains stop right by our door and the 1, 2 and 3 trains just a couple of blocks West on Broadway and 96th Street.

Coming by bus? Take the M7, M10, M11 to 94th or 96th Street or take the M96 to Central Park West.

Contact Us

Alexander Robertson School
3 West 95th Street
New York, NY 10025
Main Office
(212) 663-6441

(212) 663-2844

Human Resources

Parents' Association

Meet Our Board

Karen Amrhein

Karen Amrhein teaches English as a second language to children through an online program based in China. She has been a preschool teacher, elementary school teacher and counselor, and a case manager for children with special needs. Karen has volunteered at ARS’ Carnegie Library and at the Bereavement Center of Westchester, as a group counselor for children. She currently serves as a Deacon of Second Presbyterian Church.

Nancy M. Hughes

Nancy M. Hughes is a clinical social worker and recently consulted at Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, advising MSW students studying childhood trauma. She formerly worked in interactive multimedia design and video production. She is Clerk of the Session of the Second Presbyterian Church.


Nancy Ireland

Nancy Ireland is a Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) and an Adjunct Faculty member at CCNY. Before changing her career path to education she was a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley and an insurance underwriter at Travelers Insurance and CNA. Her son, Bryan, graduated from ARS.


Suzannah Kellner

Suzannah Kellner chaired ARS’ Parents Association and its Auction Committee for three years before her son, Marshall, graduated in 2017. Between ARS and Friends Seminary she has racked up 13 years of volunteer experience. She previously worked in Membership at the American Folk Art Museum.


Eli Lederman

Eli Lederman is the youngest of four brothers who attended ARS in the 1960's and 70's. He has started and run innovative businesses in electronic trading and financial technology, including a pan-European stock market. He is the author of two novels, HIGH FINANCE and FROM PILLAR TO POST.


Rachael Levine

Rachael Levine is a Corporate Vice President at CCS, a strategic fundraising firm that partners with nonprofits to plan, manage and implement campaigns and development programs. She is also an adjunct instructor at New York University. She serves as Vice President of the Board of Trustees at All Souls School and supports Princeton University’s fundraising efforts as a member of the Special Gifts Committee in her reunion years. Her son, James, is in second grade at ARS.


Ali Meli

Ali Meli, a partner at Goldman Sachs, is global co-head of Structured Finance, Investing and Lending (SFIL). He was previously based in Hong Kong and before that London, where he was co-head of Principal Funding and Investment (PFI) in Europe. His experience includes structuring, pricing, risk management and execution of various debt financing transactions globally. His son, Taj, is in second grade at ARS.


Kenneth B. Miller

Kenneth B. Miller is an executive at Tutor.com, an online education company. He has been involved with the Smithsonian Institution for forty years including service on the National Board, where he was founding co-chair of the Education Committee, and as Chief Strategist for the Smithsonian Science Education Center. He is Chairman Emeritus of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and a board member at the American Foundation for the Blind, UrbanBioRecovery, and Sessions College for Professional Design.


Asumana Jabateh Randolph

Asumana Jabateh Randolph is a science teacher and varsity soccer coach at Hunter College High School and has coached its Science Bowl Team since 1993, leading them to four regional championships. He was a guiding force behind the school’s I-HELP Liberia Project, which takes American students and scientists to Liberia to train their science teachers and encourage their students to excel in science and math. I-HELP also supports several Liberian schools with laboratory equipment and curricular expertise.


Sam Rittenberg

Sam Rittenberg is a Certified Financial Planner, recently retired. Prior to establishing his practice he was Executive Vice President of Victoria Hotels, where he serves as an advisor. He is a member of the board of Aqualibrium, LLC, and is President of his condominium association.


Dr. Lydia Spinelli

Dr Lydia Spinelli is the Director of Brick Church School on the Upper East Side. She served on the Accreditation Commission and Professional Development Committee of the New York State Association for Independent Schools (NYSAIS) for eight years, and currently chairs its annual conference for Early Childhood Directors and Lower School Heads. She founded and directs Summer Steps, a summer program for low income students preparing to enter independent school kindergartens.


Sally Wheeler Maier

Sally Wheeler Maier is an actor and producer in television, film and theater. Her company, A Friend of a Friend, produces both documentary and narrative films. Only Make Believe brings interactive theater to children in schools and hospitals. She is a nationally ranked amateur competitor in the Arabian horse industry and serves on the boards of Wheeler Farms, Wheeler Companies, Boston Mining, Preservation of Natural Florida, and Queens University of Charlotte.


Carol Feinberg

Carol Feinberg, Vice Chair, is a nationally recognized leader in marketing and a start-up entrepreneur. She serves on the Boards of the Smithsonian Science Education Center and the Stephen Gaynor School. She is the former Board Chair of CityArts, a youth-empowerment public art program, and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.


Elaine Song

Elaine Song, Secretary, is a former adjunct lecturer in Journalism at Queens College, CUNY. She is a Program Manager at the Episcopal Service Corps of New York, a social justice fellowship program for young adults. She is an Elder at the Second Presbyterian Church where she has chaired the Worship and Music Committee and the Strategic Planning Committee.


Clayton Young

Clayton Young, Treasurer, was an Assistant Treasurer and Director of Investments of Exelis Inc., responsible for the investment and management of over $7 billion in defined benefit and defined contribution assets. Prior to the spin-off of Exelis from ITT Corporation in 2011, he was ITT's Director of Investments. Retired since 2016, he now consults for the family business, Harold L. Lee & Sons, New York Chinatown's oldest insurance agency, serves on the West Side YMCA’s Finance Committee, the Investment Committee of the YMCA of Greater New York, and is President of the Board of Trustees of Second Presbyterian Church


Bram Lewis

Bram Lewis, Chair, is a theatrical director and producer. He was the founder and artistic director of the Westchester-based Phoenix Theatre Company. He has had a long association with the Royal Shakespeare Company and has produced Shakespearean workshops at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Public Theatres. He is an Elder of the Second Presbyterian Church and a member of its strategic planning committee.

Schools Attended by Recent ARS Graduates

  • The Brooklyn Friends School
  • The Calhoun School
  • The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine
  • Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School
  • The School at Columbia
  • The Dalton School
  • Dwight-Englewood School
  • The Dwight School
  • Friends Seminary
  • Hackley School
  • The Hewitt School
  • Horace Mann School
  • Ivanhoe Grammar School
  • Leman Manhattan Prep School
  • Marymount School of New York
  • Poly Prep Country Day
  • Professional Children’s School
  • The Speyer Legacy School
  • St. Hilda’s and St. Hugh’s School
  • The Town School
  • Trevor Day School
  • Trinity School
  • United Nations International School
  • York Preparatory School