Alumni Update: Alex Lee ’98 

Posted on Monday, March 28th, 2022
Director of Alumni and Parent Engagement Tia Murkison spoke with Alex to discuss his time at Gaynor and hear more about what he is up to now.

Alex Lee is a Gaynor alumnus from the Class of 1998. He began attending Gaynor in the fall of 1993 and believes that the five years he was able to spend in the “beautiful townhouse with the funky bathrooms” was a tremendous influence on his life. 

Alex said there are some similarities between his time at Gaynor, and Gaynor as it stands today, such as… Pizza Fridays! He also remembers current Math Specialist Joseph Kaufman and current Blue Cluster Head Teacher Chris Meyer, as well as having similar smaller class sizes, which gave the ability to really get to know and connect with the other students. In addition, he felt a sense of privilege for the individualized attention he received from his teachers during his time at Gaynor. He never took that for granted, because he knew that compared to some students in public school who were not getting the help they needed, he was learning every day how to succeed. 

Following his graduation from Gaynor, Alex went on to York Preparatory School for high school, and then to the University of Vermont for college, where he was able to self advocate thanks to the tips he learned at Gaynor. In both high school and college, he participated in sports, including basketball, track and field, and soccer. Alex heavily attributed his love and interest in sports to his time at Gaynor with former Physical Education Teacher Rick Stackow, who took the students to Central Park and to Winston Preparatory School to play basketball. 

The school was a catalyst for Alex, and he feels that he would not be where he is today without Stephen Gaynor School and the amazing teachers he had. Gaynor didn’t make him feel ashamed of his learning differences, and he said he is proud to have attended. The teachers taught him to accept others, and helped prepare him for the world. They also gave him passion, drive, and confidence, which helped guide him to his career. 

Alex works for the Cooper Square Committee and is a resiliency coordinator and housing organizer. He strives to make housing in New York City’s Lower East Side and East Village neighborhoods more affordable, durable, and liveable. He has compassion for others and believes that it is extremely important to love what you do, which is a major reason why he works in the nonprofit sector. 

Some final thoughts Alex shared that he believes ring true to the Gaynor experience are: 

  1. Patience is a virtue. If you want to achieve something and you try hard and persevere, eventually you will get there. 
  2. There’s no “normal” out there. Gaynor made him feel confident that he is on the same “playing field” as everyone else. 

It was a pleasure talking to Alex, and he hopes his story will inspire other Gaynor alumni to share their stories and experiences.