Bi-Cultural Day School recently elected David Pitkoff as the incoming president of the board of trustees, replacing Robert Zitter, who served in this role for six years. Pitkoff, a partner in a CPA and financial-services firm, is a devoted community volunteer, having served on Bi-Cultural’s board of trustees for the past 12 years, chairing the finance committee, and serving on the executive committee and on various search committees. Pitkoff has also served as president of the Mount Kisco Hebrew Congregation and directed numerous Israel-related charities. He and his wife, Cindy, a Bi-Cultural teacher in the early-education program, have three adult children, all Bi-Cultural graduates.
How did you first become acquainted with Bi-Cultural?
While we toured a number of schools, we couldn’t get over the joy in the classrooms and all the smiling faces of the children at BCDS. Our three children attended Bi-Cultural, then went on to SAR High School in Riverdale. Joshua is 23 and graduated from Princeton University, Danielle is 21 and a junior at Johns Hopkins University, and our youngest son, Andrew, 18, just finished a gap year in Israel and is a freshman at the University of Maryland.
What prompted you to become so involved with the school?
Judaism teaches a concept of hakarat hatov—to appreciate and express gratitude for everything we have been blessed with. When our youngest graduated, we were able to celebrate one of the wonderful Bi-Cultural traditions: Parents are presented with a plant as the melody is played from the mezinka, the traditional dance honoring parents when their last child weds. It felt like we were in the midst of a celebratory life-cycle event, surrounded by our community and loving family. So, when offered the opportunity, I wanted to help serve the school that has meant so much to our family.
What are your initial priorities and challenges as incoming president?
I am so fortunate to collaborate with our principal and head of school, Jackie Herman. She and her team of administrators and faculty continually inspire our school and children to excellence—a school bustling with engaging events and activities for children and families. Every year, Bi-Cultural students shine in local and national competitions, and faculty members are recognized for our progressive programs in both secular and Judaic studies.
Given the school’s strong leadership team, the board’s focus will be on strategic and community issues. The greatest challenge facing all Jewish day schools is the need to provide affordable and accessible education, a goal Bi-Cultural is committed to. We believe that every Jewish child deserves the best-possible secular and Judaic education. I also believe we have a responsibility to identify and promote the next generation of leadership that will ensure Bi-Cultural’s continued growth for another 60 years.
Finally, we must always create innovative ways to inspire and nurture a love of learning, of Torah and a love and pride of Israel. We are all part of one community and one family—Bi-Cultural embodies this on a daily basis.