Gladys Nussenbaum, Fieldston innovator, 93


Gladys Nussenbaum — formerly of Brooklyn, Riverdale and New York City — died on Monday, March 13, 2023, at the Sunrise Assisted Living facility in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, where she had resided the past two years.

She was 93.

Born in Woodbridge, New Jersey, on Aug. 13, 1929, she graduated from New Utrecht High School in Brooklyn in 1946.

She received her bachelor’s degree from Adelphi University in 1950, and a master’s degree from the University of Iowa a few years later. It was at Adelphi she developed her love of foreign languages, and in particular Spanish, which she taught at the Ethical Cultural Fieldston School in Riverdale for three decades.

At Fieldston, she developed an innovative exchange program between her students and Spanish-speaking children in public elementary schools in the East Bronx, which she ran for 10 years.

While still teaching high school in 1980, she obtained a Ph.D. in languages and culture from New York University. Soon after obtaining her doctorate, she left Fieldston to run a graduate program in bilingual and English as a Second Language education at William Paterson University in New Jersey.

While at William Patterson, she also trained at the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. She became a certified psychoanalyst in 1988. Following her retirement from WPU and after graduating from IPTAR, she worked at mental health clinics in New Jersey and New York and had a private practice, primarily engaging in Spanish/English bilingual therapy.

She was married to dentist Irving Nussenbaum from 1955 until his death in 1987. Following his death, she relocated to Manhattan, where she soon integrated into the dynamic fabric of the Upper West Side, and could frequently be spotted at the Jewish Community Center, Zabar’s and the West End Synagogue.

She persevered during the coronavirus pandemic with the support of her loyal home aides, but in 2021 made the difficult decision to move from her apartment into an assisted living facility in New Jersey.

She is survived by her two sons, David Nussenbaum and his wife Betsy of Ridgewood, New Jersey; and Adam Nussenbaum and his wife Shari of Newton, Massachusetts; and three grandchildren: Max, Kate and Julia.

A Zoom memorial service was held March 19.

Contributions in Nussenbaum’s memory may be made to the Hispanic Federation, Mazon or Planned Parenthood.


Gladys Nussenbaum, Fieldston Ethical Culture School, Irving Nussenbaum, David Nussenbaum, Adam Nussenbaum