Co-founder Murray Fisher’s first call to help start the school was to Richard Kahan, President of The Urban Assembly.  Richard immediately committed to become a founding partner. Since its inception, New York Harbor School has been a part of The Urban Assembly family of public schools, which now include 21 middle and high schools throughout the city. The Urban Assembly is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering underserved youth by providing them with the academic and life skills necessary for postsecondary success.  

The Urban Assembly creates and supports unique, small public schools that are open to all students. UA helps to scale up promising programs, and partners with hundreds of organizations in the private, public, non-profit and higher education sectors. Their goal is to prepare 100% of graduates for success in the 21st century economy through rigorous college preparation and cutting-edge career and technical education. Richard Kahan and the Urban Assembly were instrumental in working with the city administration to help the Harbor School secure its location on Governors Island in 2010.

Richard Kahan will be accepting the award on behalf the Urban Assembly.  


Upon his election in 2001, Mayor Bloomberg committed to improving outcomes for public school students.  He took control of the Department of Education (DOE) and implemented a massive initiative to create more than 200 new, small public high schools.  Harbor School was among the first wave of schools created in the city’s decade-long initiative. Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein, and many other NYC Department of Education support personnel were instrumental in the creation of Harbor School, its location in the Bushwick Campus, and later its re-location to Governors Island. Founding Principal Nate Dudley was approved by the DOE in March 2003, and  the Harbor School continues to be led by DOE Principal Jeffrey Chetirko, and receive support from Superintendent Fred Walsh and Chancellor Richard Carranza. Currently the NYCDOE is the largest school district in the US, serving 1.1 million students in over 1,800 schools, and the current Mayor Bill DeBlasio continues to be a great advocate for fair education policies and school teachers.

Chancellor Richard A. Carranza will be accepting the award on behalf of the DOE.  



From the inception of the school, the core mission of the school has been carried out by its amazing teachers. As a public school in NYC, these teachers are members of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT).  Randi Weingarten was UFT president when Harbor School was founded and she and Brooklyn District Representative Charlie Turner were supportive of the school from the outset.

Michael Mulgrew is the current president of the United Federation of Teachers, elected in 2009.  He began his career as a Career and Technical Education teacher. Given his CTE background Mulgrew clearly understood Harbor School’s ambitions and has been a strong supporter for many years. UFT is committed to strengthening communities, the teaching profession, and the lives of its members and students. The Harbor School has worked closely with the UFT over the years and appreciates this ongoing support, working in the best interest of the students.

Michael Mulgrew will be accepting the award on behalf of UFT.  


New Visions for Public Schools is dedicated to ensuring that all New York City public school students, regardless of race or economic class, have access to a high-quality education that prepares them for the rigors of college and the workforce. Since its founding in 1989, New Visions has partnered with New York City’s public schools and played a leading role in some of the system’s most significant improvements, including supporting the nation’s most successful example of secondary small school reform. As part of this work, New Visions helped found the Harbor School and supported the school during its early years. More recently, New Visions has led ambitious and impactful efforts to use data to drive school improvement. The organization currently manages 10 charter high schools, supports a core network of 69 district high schools, and provides data tools to more than 250 additional district schools, in total serving more than 180,000 students across all grades and all five boroughs of New York City.

Jennie Soler-McIntosh, currently New Visions’ Vice President of Community and Family Engagement and accepting the award on behalf of the organization, was on the original New Visions School Creation Team that helped Harbor School get started, and supported the school through its initial years.

Jennie Soler-McIntosh will be accepting the award on behalf of New Visions for Public Schools.  


In 2002, Co-founder Murray Fisher’s second call to start the Harbor School was to Peter Neill, then president of the the South Street Seaport Museum (SSSM).  Peter, who had previously founded The Sound School in New Haven, CT, immediately offered to become a founding partner, offering the city’s best maritime resources, including the use of the schooner Lettie G. Howard. Most Harbor School students and staff have vivid memories of their time aboard Lettie, or SSSM’s other tall ship Pioneer.  The Museum also provided classroom space, office space, and waterfront space, all of which were critical to the early success of the school, then located in Bushwick, far from the water. The Harbor School students were able to access the Harbor more directly because of the support of the South Street Seaport Museum. Currently The Museum continues its historic role, to preserve and interpret the regions and growth of New York City as a world port, a place where goods, labor, and cultures are exchanged through work, commerce, and the interaction of diverse communities.  

Peter Neill will be accepting the award on behalf of South Street Seaport Museum. 


Waterkeeper Alliance, led by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., strengthens and grows a global network of grassroots leaders protecting everyone’s right to clean water. They are the largest and fastest growing nonprofit solely focused on clean water. They preserve and protect water by connecting local Waterkeeper Organizations and Affiliates worldwide. Their goal is drinkable, fishable, swimmable water everywhere. Waterkeeper provided much of the inspiration for the Harbor School. Co-Founder Murray Fisher was working for Waterkeeper in the early 2000’s when he came to see the potential and need and opportunity for a school to teach and train a new generation of young people to manage the world’s water resources, and to engage students with their local environment. In much the same way as a Waterkeeper, Harbor School students learn the science and history of their local body of water, to operate boats, and to become advocates for the environmental protection of their water body. Today, Waterkeeper Alliance unites more than 300 Waterkeeper Organizations and Affiliates that are on the frontlines of the global water crisis, patrolling and protecting more than 2.5 million square miles of rivers, lakes and coastal waterways on six continents.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. will be accepting the award on behalf of Waterkeeper Alliance.