A Message from Tom & Cassie: Keep Our Light Shining!

Morningside Center's outgoing and incoming executive directors have a message for you about Morningside Center's new era. 

Dear Morningside Center friends,

We are writing at a promising time of transition for Morningside Center – but a perilous time for our country. We need your support to keep our light shining through the fog of racism, division, distraction, and willful ignorance that surrounds us.

From Tom:

Tom RoderickFor the past 35 years, I’ve led Morningside Center as we worked steadily, day in and day out, partnering with educators, students, and parents to realize a vision of education grounded in social justice; community; awareness of the current political, social and environmental reality; and joyful, courageous action to create a better world. This work has never been more important than it is today.

Now, I have passed the baton to a new Morningside Center leader who is passionately committed to carrying on this work – and moving it forward in exciting new ways. 

Cassie Schwerner became Morningside Center’s new executive director on November 5.  She comes to us from the Schott Foundation where she worked for 22 years promoting racial equity and fully-resourced public education. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision of the beloved community inspired Cassie’s work with Schott, and she will pursue that vision with great vigor as executive director of Morningside Center.  

As I wrap up my years as executive director of Morningside Center, I am proud of the work we are doing—including our Whole School Racial Equity Project, funded by a prestigious Investing in Innovation (i3) federal grant; our new program for middle school students, C Squad: Together for the Journey, which helps young people use social and emotional skills to tackle challenges in their lives, from stress to social media; and TeachableMoment.org, which provides a continual stream of new lessons to help students learn about and discuss what’s happening in the world and what they can do about it. 

I am thrilled that we have a new leader for Morningside Center worthy of the decades of loving work my colleagues and I have devoted to this organization – and worthy of the support you have provided to Morningside Center in the past. 

I send you my deepest gratitude for that past support. And I ask you now to please honor my legacy by giving generously so that we can keep our light shining—and growing brighter – for decades to come. 

From Cassie:

Cassie SchwernerI am honored to be writing to you as Morningside Center’s new executive director.  I believe this is a moment of great promise for Morningside Center, and I am so excited to pick up the baton that Tom Roderick has been carrying with such dedication and commitment over the past 35 years

Like Tom, I am deeply grateful for your past support, which has helped to bring the organization to this exciting point in our history. I hope you’ll honor Tom’s legacy and invest in Morningside Center’s future by giving generously this season!  

Now is the perfect moment to begin a new era of growth at Morningside Center. Education leaders around the country are calling on schools to advance racial equity in our schools.  More and more, school systems – including and especially in New York City – are urgently looking for exactly the kind of change that Morningside Center is prepared to bring.

For years, Morningside Center has been partnering with schools to develop and test approaches to make our schools more equitable, building on our extensive work in social and emotional learning and restorative practices. We’ve always seen SEL as a tool for helping young people and adults create a more just and peaceful world. We’ve always believed that schools must be a model of the world we wish to see – not merely a replication of the world as it currently exists.

With this history, Morningside Center is now poised to become a national leader in the movement for racial equity in schools. With our talented staff and deep programs, and with renewed energy and openness to innovation, we are ready to begin a new chapter in Morningside Center’s history. 

But we need your help to do it!  Please join us and the incredible staff of Morningside Center in this new era for the organization by supporting our work in the days and years ahead.

Love and admiration,

Tom & Cassie




Tom Roderick and Cassie Schwerner


P.S.  Here are some of those incredible staff members!

Morningside Center staff at Joy & Justice Celebration