February 2011, NYU-Poly hires the Director of K-12 STEM Education Programs

Polytechnic Institute of New York University is pleased to announce the appointment of Ben Esner as Director of K-12 STEM Education Programs. Ben brings over 20 years of professional experience to the position including roles in the public, private and not-for-profit arenas.


As Director of K-12 STEM Education Programs, Ben is charged with strengthening existing activities at NYU-Poly and better integrating their i2e framing into Poly’s overall mission. He will also be seeking new strategic partnerships and opportunities within Poly, NYU, and externally with academic, educational, corporate, and non-profit partners which result in promising new endeavors. Working with the Development team, Ben will also be seeking funding to support initiatives, partnering with faculty to shape strong proposals for existing funding streams, and working to develop new funding streams.


Prior to joining NYU-Poly, most recently, Ben held the post of Senior Vice President for Programs at Brooklyn Community Foundation (formerly Independence Community Foundation), an institution dedicated to improving life-outcomes for residents of Brooklyn's diverse neighborhoods and, in particular, high educational attainment for the borough's low-income students. At the foundation he created, oversaw, and ran competitive grant programs disbursing $5 million a year seeking to address a broad range of educational and social issues, focusing on supporting public schools and young people, early education, improving living conditions and programs that advance the economic prospects of youth and families. Ben was also the Deputy Director of Independence Community Foundation, joining the staff shortly after that entity was founded; in that role, Ben helped develop and nurture the initial grant programs of the Foundation as well as the organizational infrastructure of a high-functioning, successful not-for-profit. At various times, he has overseen the Foundation's finances, information technology and data systems, and other administrative needs. In his twelve years in philanthropy, Ben developed a range of strong relationships with colleagues, community leaders, heads of not-for-profit organizations and government officials.


Ben is a founding and current Trustee of three public charter schools serving the communities of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, and Ocean Hill; these schools are highly successful at achieving an educational mission and are affiliated with Uncommon Schools, one of the nation's most respected and accomplished not-for-profit charter management organizations. In addition, he is Vice Chair and Secretary of the Board of Trustees of Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, the country's first full-fledged community development organization.


Earlier in his career, Ben was Chief of Staff to the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and Assistant to the Brooklyn Borough President for Environmental Affairs. In addition, he has had stints in the private sector, as a government relations specialist at a trade association, and as an executive in a public relations and marketing firm. He has also served on various committees with his colleagues in philanthropy and over the years has assisted a host of not-for-profit organizations in reassessing mission, goals, and strategies.


Ben is a life-long committed Brooklyn resident and has two daughters that he hopes ­ among many other fatherly aspirations ­ share his passion for service, education and his fascination with science and the natural world.


Provost, Elizabeth Dianne Rekow