Head of School
Welcome to the Nightingale-Bamford School.
It is a time-honored tradition at Nightingale that on the first day of school, each Kindergarten girl shakes my hand at our iconic blue doors and then takes the hand of a senior who warmly and excitedly welcomes her into our community and leads her upstairs to her Kindergarten classroom. This small but significant moment embodies the Nightingale ethos: each girl is known, each girl matters, and those who come before will help ensure the success of those who come after.
Our visionary founders, Frances Nicolau Nightingale and Maya Stevens Bamford, first welcomed girls to our schoolhouse in 1920. Miss Nightingale was known for the interest and care she displayed for every aspect of her students’ lives; Miss Bamford was celebrated for her academic rigor and passion for bringing out the best in girls. More than 95 years later, the unique melding of these two women continues to shape the bold promise that is central to the Nightingale-Bamford experience: we will educate the mind and heart in equal measure, and we will make an absolute commitment to the success of every girl.
Keep that promise in mind as you navigate our website to learn more about the Nightingale of today. This is a particularly exciting moment for our school as we completed a multi-year renovation and expansion project in 2016 that allowed us to create new spaces and reimagine existing ones to create the ideal learning environment for our students. We redesigned and renovated over 80% of our schoolhouse and added more than 20,000 sq. ft. of sparkling new spaces, including a blackbox theater, fitness center, brand new art studios and science labs, redesigned libraries, a makerspace, and a greenhouse. These new facilities have also allowed us to redesign our academic schedule to reflect best practices and encourage a depth of learning and a balance between school and life. Throughout it all, we have remained committed to a one-schoolhouse philosophy, believing that the strength of our community comes from a conviction that girls are educated best when they are known by all and celebrated for their many talents.
Paul A. Burke
Head of School
Paul A. Burke is Nightingale's seventh head of school. An American history teacher for more than a decade, Mr. Burke began his career in 1996 as a college counselor at the Salisbury School in Connecticut. In 2000, he joined the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, where he was college advisor for three years before becoming a dean of students. He joined the faculty of the Nightingale-Bamford School in 2008 as head of Upper School; he became head of school on July 1, 2012.
A 1996 graduate of Williams College, Mr. Burke earned a master's degree in Educational Administration from Teachers College, Columbia University, where he was inducted into the Kappa Delta Pi honor society. He also serves on the boards of the Independent School Admission Association of Greater New York (ISAAGNY), the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, the Packer Collegiate Institute, and the Browning School. He is married to Christine Rowe Burke, a senior marketing executive; they have three children.
Head of School's Office
Assistant to the Head of School and Trustees