Q&A: Getting to Know Dr. Nancy Block

Nicole Hirschkorn '22

Dr. Nancy Block, the new Sophomore Grade Dean and Learning Center Specialist has an affinity for chesed. She enjoys hiking, traveling, and helping others. Dr. Block is looking forward to helping students make a difference in the world by encouraging them to doing acts of chesed. She hopes to make a meaningful impact on the Ramaz community.


Nicole Hirschkorn: Where did you grow up?

Dr. Nancy Block: In Washington Heights, but I raised my kids in Teaneck.


NH: What was your favorite and least favorite subject in school?

NB: My favorite subject was English, and my least favorite was Math.


NH: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

NB: I love spending time with my grandchildren, hiking, and traveling.


NH: If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be? 

NB: Probably hiking in the fall when the foliage changes.


NH: What is your favorite book, and why?

NB: My favorite book is Man’s Search For Meaning by Victor Frankel. My parents were Holocaust survivors and I found the book to be unbelieveably hopeful. The book was able to provide positivity for people who face evil and hardship. I volunteered with kids with cancer and I found that the messages in the book provide light.


NH: In what way do you work with kids with cancer?

NB: I’ve run programs for Camp Simcha for over 25 years. As a psychologist, my role was to help families with children with a life-threatening disease. When I heard about the organization I thought I could help, and it’s my hakarat ha tov for my 5 children.


NH: What is your favorite holiday?

NB: My favorite holiday is Pesach. I love the traditions of having the seder at my house. As a child, I spent Pesach with all my cousins in my grandparents’ house, and now I enjoy hosting sedarim at home with the same tradition. I like the tradition of freedom associated with Pesach.


NH: What is your favorite part of your career?

NB: Helping kids realize that they have endless possibilities, and if they put their mind to it everything is doable.


NH: What brought you to your role of Sophomore Grade Dean and Learning Center Specialist at Ramaz?

NB: I thought it was time for a change, and Ramaz optimized the values that I believe are very important; academic rigor, community service requirement for Sophomores, and the goal of inspiring kids that they have to be responsible for more than just themselves. That’s why 10th grade was such a great fit. 


NH: What do you like most about working at Ramaz?

NB: I like the faculty that I’m collaborating with; they are forward-thinking and always looking for ways to inspire their students. 


NH: What new initiatives do you hope to bring to the Learning Center at Ramaz?

NB: Making it a comfortable place for students to stop by for them to get help with their assignments. I want them to realize that staff is by all the time to help them succeed with their work. 


NH: What impact do you hope to make on the Ramaz community?

NB: I love the theme for this year of “see different,” and I hope that can translate to students so they can see themselves differently, and appreciate they can make a difference on others; not just their own life.


NH: What additional insight would you like to leave the students with? 

NB: Never underestimate the power of the individual to have a big impact on the world. 


We are excited to welcome Dr. Nancy Block as the the new sophomore grade dean and learning center specialist, and wish her great success in her new role.