raisehandThe Alexander Robertson School is a co-educational Pre-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.

Welcome from our new Head of School, Irwin Shlachter:

I am delighted to welcome you to the Alexander Robertson School and overjoyed to become this “little gem” of a school’s new Head.

As I reflect on ARS’s 225 anniversary I think of the many families, teachers, and Heads, who have gone before me and realize the deep affection that this wonderful school is held in throughout the Upper West Side Community and the world at large. It is a testament to ARS’s nurturing, caring and inclusive philosophy that the school has endured and prospered all these years. I welcome the opportunity to build upon the deep affection that the Alexander Robertson School is held in to secure its future for the next 225 years and beyond.

As an educator I am very aware of the importance of the elementary grades in terms of getting to know a child and working with their learning styles to foster a curious and confident learner. A small school with dedicated teachers can really get to know a student and help to maximize their individual strengths. From the start each child will have a lot of positive validation. I believe that a young student needs to be in an environment that is structured but also invites a great deal of creativity – a balance that allows each child to express themselves however they can. Then, as they progress into the older grades, their learning styles come into focus and we can best nurture and support them as independent thinkers who are confident in their own abilities and skills.

I welcome the opportunity to meet with you in person, to show you around and to tell you our plans for the future of the Alexander Robertson School. Please call or email to set up a visit.

Warmest regards,


Irwin Shlachter
Head of the Alexander Robertson School.

  • To promote self-confidence that comes from mastered skills
  • To provide sufficient intellectual challenge through robust curricula
  • To stress high standards in all activities while using developmentally appropriate practice
  • To encourage and involve the students in opportunities for service
  • To provide structure in the daily schedule and in the curricula
  • To utilize the cultural resources available in New York City
  • 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 feelings, thoughts and stuff 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.
    The Alexander Robertson School was one of the first schools to be established in New York City. It was founded in 1789 to educate the sons and daughters of farmers and “common folk” so that they could become effective citizens in the newly created United States of America. ARS was started by the Second Presbyterian Church, then known locally as “The Scots Church” because of the high numbers of Scots in its congregation, and the successful merchant, Alexander Robertson, for whom the school is named. Robertson donated $500 to establish the school. A princely sum in those days.

    At that time Scotland had one of the highest literacy rates of any country in the world and education was (and still is) highly valued by the Scots. They were also keenly aware of the need to check the power of former British elites if the newly formed republic was to endure as a true democracy. For the Church elders the only honorable route into the power structure was through education.

    To this day the Alexander Robertson School continues its commitment to give a voice to all its students regardless of their socio-economic or cultural background which is why we say that this is a school where empowerment and education go hand in hand.

    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


    Meet Our Board

    Dr. Richard Soghoian
    Dr. Richard Soghoian

    Dr. Richard Soghoian has been Headmaster of Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School since 1981 and is largely responsible for the School’s expansion over the last 35 years. Dr. Soghoian took over at CGPS in the same year that our new Head, Irwin Shlachter, took over the Rodelph Shalom School. Together these two educators have made an indelible impression on the independent school community of the Upper West Side and on the city at large. Richard is also the author of Mind the Gap - An Insider's Irreverent Look at Private School Finances and Management - a highly acclaimed work on private school and college financing and administration.
    Dr. Lydia Spinelli
    Dr. Lydia Spinelli

    Dr Lydia Spinelli is the Director of the Brick Church School. Dr. Spinelli has been a close colleague and friend to the Reverend Leslie Merlin since the two women worked together at Brick Church in the years prior to Leslie’s being installed as Pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church. The Brick Church School, founded in 1940, was the second early childhood school in the state to be accredited by NYSAIS. Lydia served on the Accreditation Commission and Professional Development Committee of NYSAIS for 8 years. She initiated and chairs an annual NYSAIS conference for Early Childhood Directors and Lower School Heads. She founded and directs Summer Steps, a summer program for low income students entering or applying to independent school kindergartens.
    Ronald P. Stewart
    Ronald P. Stewart

    Ronald P. Stewart is the founder and Headmaster of the York Preparatory School. A former British Barrister, Ronald, along with his wife, Jayme Stewart, who is a nationally recognized leader in college guidance and placement, founded York Prep in 1969. Since its inception, York Prep has been a traditional college preparatory school that provides outstanding learning support to all its students. The school’s college placement outcomes are amongst the best in the country. Located on West 68th Street near Central Park West, York Prep is another Upper West Side private school success story.
    Carol Feinberg
    Carol Feinberg

    Carol Feinberg has held several senior-management positions with prominent retail corporations but for the last 15 years has put her executive skills to work in a variety of philanthropic pursuits. A nationally recognized leader in marketing (by Advertising Age magazine) and a successful start-up entrepreneur, Carol serves on the Boards of the Smithsonian Science Education Center (alongside Irwin Shlachter) and Stephen Gaynor School. She is the former Board Chair of both CityArts, a youth-empowerment public art program, and the Columbus, OH Symphony Orchestra.
    Kristen Leesment
    Kristin Leesment

    Kristin Leesment is Director of Development at the Alzheimer’s Foundation. She has extensive experience in the philanthropic community having worked for organizations as diverse as the China Institute and the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. Kristin has also worked for Save the children, amfAR and ProLiteracy Worldwide.
    She is a former ARS parent and a Trustee of the Second Presbyterian Church. She was very involved in the work of the search committee which reviewed over 100 applications for the post of our new Head of School.
    Elaine Song
    Elaine Song

    Elaine Song is the Legal Editor at the New York Law Journal where she revises expert analysis articles submitted by attorneys. She is also a former adjunct lecturer in Journalism at Queens College, CUNY. Elaine obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Law Degree from Northeastern Law School in Boston. She has been a member of the Second Presbyterian Church for 10 years and a Deacon since 2007. She is currently Head Deacon and the Chair of the Church’s strategic planning committee.
    Nancy Ireland
    Nancy Ireland

    Nancy Ireland is a special educator who is working as a Special Education Itinerant Teacher(SEIT). She is also an Adjunct Faculty member at CCNY. Nancy is a career changer having worked in the corporate world as a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley and as an insurance underwriter at both Travelers and CNA before going into education. She has an MBA in finance from Fordham Graduate School of Business and a Master's of Science in Education from Bank Street College of Education. She has professional certification in early childhood, students with disabilities and students with severe and multiple disabilities which she received after completing an Autism Annotation course study at Bank Street College of Education. Nancy is married to her husband, Gary and they have two children, Bryan and Sydney. Bryan graduated from ARS. Both Gary and Nancy have been long term supporters of the school.
    Vivian Tom
    Vivian Tom

    Vivian Tom retired from teaching in the public school system in 1994 after 44 years as a beloved educator. A native of Hawaii, Vivian came to New York to complete her MA at Teacher’s College, Columbia University then settled in Yonkers where she taught high school History and Social Studies. In 1973 Vivian was recognized as the New York State Teacher of the Year and in 1974 she was invited to the White House to receive the National Teacher of the Year Award from then President Nixon. After retiring she spent several years tutoring members of the United Health Care Workers Union to obtain their GED’s. Vivian is an Elder of the Second Presbyterian Church. She’s a “Foodie” and enjoys cooking traditional Hawaiian dishes.
    Nancy M. Hughes
    Nancy M

    Nancy M. Hughes, ACSW, LCSW-R is the Faculty Advisor & Grant Liaison at Hunter College School of Social Work where she advises MSW students selected for trauma focused training. A mental health professional since 1997, Nancy has also enjoyed a career in interactive multimedia design and video production.
    Nancy is the Clerk of the Session of the Second Presbyterian Church.
    Diane Hulse
    Diane Hulse

    Diane Hulse recently retired from the Headship of Staten Island Academy Diane has taken up a career in organizational consulting and leadership development for nonprofits. She has more than 35 years of leadership experience at independent schools such as Friends Seminary, the Collegiate School and Rutgers Prep. Diane serves on the board of NYSAIS and has chaired numerous accreditation committees. As a member of the NYSAIS Commission she has reviewed every independent school in New York State. Diane’s board service includes: The Guild of Independent Schools of New York City, Boys Schools: An International Coalition, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Project Hospitality, and the Caedmon School.
    Melanie Nardone
    Melani Nardone

    Melani Nardone has been a grassroots advocate for children and animals for over twenty years. Her desire to improve opportunities for children keeps her active on the board of La Palestra Kids, a program that provides nutrition, exercise and socialization intervention for at risk children in Manhattan. As a passionate advocate for animal welfare she has represented the Greyhound Welfare Foundation, a California based national non-profit group, as its spokesperson in all press and media venues, including televised and radio interviews and investigative reports in print publications. Her research and development of fact based educational literature is currently in use by animal welfare organizations nationwide. Melani is currently pursuing an MA and Ph.D in Anthrozoology (2019) at the University of Exeter in England. She shares her life with a patient husband, teenage daughter and two rescued dogs, Alice and Bubs. She enjoys long distance endurance events aspiring to complete a swim marathon at some point in her life.
    Gwen Dordick
    Gwen Dordick

    Professor Gwendolyn Dordick is a Lecturer and faculty advisor in the Department of Sociology at the City College of New York. She received her B.A. from UCLA and her Ph.D. in Sociology from Columbia University. Before coming to City College she taught at Hamilton College and Harvard University. Her research concentrates on the consequences of Poverty and Homelessness. Her book, Something Left to Lose: Personal Relations and Survival among New York's Homeless, concerns the efforts made by four groups of homeless people in New York City to construct shelter in places where it was not meant to be and is based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork. Her later research explores the development and implementation of a comprehensive and coordinated continuum of both housing and supportive services designed to help the homeless overcome personal problems such as substance abuse and mental illness. While at Harvard, she designed, managed and implemented the neighborhood ethnographic component of Welfare, Children & Families: A Three City Study, exploring the impact of welfare reform on family and child well-being. Her current research focuses on panhandling and other kinds of stigmatized labor. Prof. Dordick lives in New York City with her teenaged son. She is also a certified Pilates instructor.
    Bram Lewis
    Bram Lewis

    Bram Lewis, Chair of the School Committee, is a theatrical director and producer. He was the founder and artistic director of the Westchester based Phoenix Theatre Company and has served on the Stratford Shakespeare Theater’s board. Bram’s long association with John Barton of the Royal Shakespeare Company led him to produce Shakespearean workshops at both BAM and the Public Theatres. Bram led the search committee that reviewed over 100 applications for the post of Head of School and is delighted that Irwin Shlachter has taken up the appointment. Bram is also an Elder of the Second Presbyterian Church and a member of its strategic planning committee.

    Schools Attended by Recent ARS Graduates