Gilbert Trachtman, Steinhardt professor emeritus, died August 18, 2013 of kidney disease. He was 87 years old.
In a career at NYU that spanned forty years, Trachtman distinguished himself as a teacher, mentor, author, and passionate voice of school reform.
Trachtman’s career as a psychologist and educator began when he was appointed to the School of Education’s faculty in 1962. Through the course of his tenure at NYU, he was the prime architect of the school’s doctoral program in school psychology and pioneer of its Psy.D. programs.
Trachtman earned his Ph.D. from NYU’s School of Education in 1958 and served as director of the school psychology program from 1963-1986. His specialty was child clinical psychology and he published papers on a range of topics from the history of the school psychology at NYU to the complex dynamics faced by parents seeking out school psychologists to help their children.
In his department, Trachtman was seen by his students as a sage, mentor, and friend who was invested in their success. He evoked in his colleagues emotions ranging from respect to admiration to love. In 1987, he received the school’s Professor of the Year award.
A past president of the Nassau County Psychological Association, Trachtman was recognized with many awards for his advocacy on behalf of children. He was recently honored by The New York Association of School Psychologists with a named award — the Gil Trachtman Leadership Award in School Psychology, which recognizes the contributions of unique individuals in the field.
The husband of the late Joan Polan Trachtman, he is survived by his sons, Jeffrey and Joshua, his daughter-in-law Sonya Yerid, and grandchildren Anna, Jordan, Benjamin, and Matthew.
Services will be held on Thursday, August 22, 11:45 a.m. at the Riverside Memorial Chapel, 76th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, New York City.
Photos courtesy of the Trachtman family: Gil Trachtman, informal, official headshot; the Trachtman Family on vacation.