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Dr. Foster and Toussaint Scholars c1997
James Baird State Park Tennis Outing

Social entrepreneur; Education Activist;

Advocate on behalf of young boys of African ancestry;

Advocate for parents;

Research Scholar

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Dr. Gail Foster and Mayor David Dinkins
honoring the Toussaint Scholars.

John Henrik Clarke House, Harlem, 1996

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Morningside PlayCare
Language Immersion Nursery School (2015)

as an educational opportunity.

Locations in Harlem and
Upper West Side

Gail Foster, Ed.D.

Gail Foster has a 20+year history as an educational entrepreneur, educational research scholar,  and school consultant developing frontier programs in her field. After establishing and operating her first social enterprise, the Toussaint Institute Fund,1988 - 2003, and founding the Association of Historically Black Independent Schools, she took ten years off to raise her daughter.  Dr. Foster returned to scholarship and practice in 2016, and is currently the CEO of Morningside PlayCare (MPC). MPC is an early childhood program whose mission is to tap the language genius of young children and make Americans multilingual. It also is studying early childhood second language acquisition in an effort to contribute research to the field.


A graduate of Columbia University's Teachers College, Dr. Foster has extensive experience in consulting and leadership for school start-up entrepreneurs. She has served as a public and private school leader and contributed to the field as a published research scholar.   

As a research scholar at the RAND Corporation, the Institute for Independent Education, the NYC Department of Education, CUNY, and the Toussaint Institute, she has published on the power of inquiry-based learning; inner-city private schools, including Historically Black Independent Schools, private school start-ups, small public schools; African American boys with special education labels; and community-based and women-led educational enterprises.


She is the founder of the Association of Historically Black Independent Schools and co-founder of the Manhattan Early Childhood Alliance (


Awards: Dr. Foster is the winner of numerous civic awards and a gubernatorial citation, as well as an invitation to the White House for developing programs to save young black boys, give working class parents access to quality school options, and serve as leading-edge models for education practitioners and policymakers. She regularly presents at the National Chinese Language Conference, and her most recent presentation was on the topic of Early Childhood Mandarin Immersion. Her current passion is creating opportunities for American children—including and, especially, African American children—to become multilingual. Above all, she is a mom with a passion for transforming American education, and views her current work as yet another opportunity to serve and contribute.

Board Memberships: Dr. Foster has served on many distinguished boards, including the national Council on American Private Education and various private and charter school boards. 


Children's Book Author: Dr. Foster's commitment to multiculturalism led to this recent publication.









Would You Help Me Choose A Pet? by Gail Foster, Ed.D.



Ravitch, Diane & Viteritti, Joseph (2000). City schools: Lessons from New York, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Chapter by Gail E. Foster “Historically black independent schools.”

Testimony: US House of Representatives, Sub-Committee on Education and the Workforce, No Child Left 

Behind Act of 2001, Topic: Expanding Educational Opportunity for Children in Low Achieving Districts, 2001 Washington, DC.


Hill, Paul, Foster, Gail & Gendler, Tamar. (1990) High schools with character, Santa Monica: RAND Corporation.


Foster, Gail, E. (1992). New York City’s wealth of historically black independent schools. Journal of Negro Education. Vol. 61, No. 2.


Foster, Gail, E. (1989). Cultivating the thinking skills of low achievers: A matter of equity. Journal of Negro Education. Vol. 58, No. 4.


Institute for Independent Education. (1991). On the road to success. Washington, DC: Institute for Independent Education.

Foster, Gail (1991, 1996, 2001) Directory of HIstorically Black Independent Schools, Toussaint Institute.


During the 1990s and early 2000s, the work of raising consciousness and being an activist on behalf of young black boys in crisis in the school system was not mainstream work.  Community activists, black ministers and black media led the way and laid the foundation for the raised consciousness and work that exists today on behalf of these families and young boys.  Dr. Foster was an education activist among them, and has won many awards for her work as an outspoken advocate and activist at the forefront of this effort.  Through the Toussaint Institute Fund she empowered thousands of striving parents each year to access educational opportunities for their children in private schools and top public schools.  She raised scholarship funds for African American boys considered "at-risk" for drop out at the tender ages of 5, 6, and 7.  These were boys with challenging behavior or learning issues, in danger of being lost to the devastating special ed-to-prison track of the system. She researched and identified  black independent schools (eventually producing a directory and documenting this important history).  She approached the schools to admit and work with these boys, without labeling them and raised scholarships to cover their tuition.  Scholarships to these schools gave these young boys a path to school engagement, high school graduation, and beyond.  Dr. Foster worked with working class African American and Latino families with boys and girls of all ages, to find alternatives to the poorly performing schools in their neighborhoods.  
For this service, Dr Foster received awards, citations and honors from community based organizations and local and national government.  Below are listed a few.


Hon. George J. Pataki, Gubernatorial Citation

Outstanding Community Service to Parents in Search of Educational Options  New York,  1998


Testimony: US House of Representatives, Sub-Committee on Education and the Workforce, No Child Left 

Behind Act of 2001, Topic: Expanding Educational Opportunity for Children in Low Achieving Districts, 2001 Washington, DC.

United Parents Association

Parent Empowerment Award for Services to Public School Parents       New York City, May 13, 1996


President George W. Bush, Host, Rose Garden Reception 

Honored with an invitation as a  Distinguished Educator         Washington, DC 2000 

WCBS Television

Outstanding Community Leader Award for Educational Service to Children & Parents     New York City, 1996

Vulcan Society (Black Firefighters)

In Recognition of Work on Behalf of At-risk African American Youth   New York, June 5, 1998


The Learning Tree Cultural Preparatory School                                                               

Outstanding Service to Schools and Parents, Bronx, June 2003


National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women                                                       

Outstanding Professional Achievements Award        May 21, 2000


Brooklyn Fund for Children and Community      

Excellence in Community Service                                 New York City, May 18, 1997


Climb, Inc.                                                                                                                             

Commitment Award for Service to African American Youth                  New York City, 1996


National Association of Black Accountants                                                                    

Outstanding Community Service Award                                                New York Chapter, 1991

Flying Deer Nature Center 

Outstanding service to organizational growth and development             New Lebanon, NY, June 2015

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Boys of African ancestry
GF Research
GF Civic Awards
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