K-12 / Boarding Consulting Services NYC

There are many diverse curricular options available in the country for families navigating public or private schools. The challenge for many families is finding the most ideal match in a system that is complex and competitive not by design, but because of the volume of students applying and the few spaces available. Families should take the time to explore all of their options in making a considered decision, keeping in mind that the “right” school is the one that reflects your families’ needs and is the best suited for your child’s learning needs.
At Smart City Kids, we believe that with direction and information, parents can navigate the school application process. Toward that end, we:
  • Offer personal sessions that provide you with a detailed, inside look at school admissions
  • Meet your child to provide our educational assessment of your child’s academic skills and presentation
  • Help you focus on the schools that will best meet your child’s needs
  • Tell you what to look for during the tour, provide critical tips for student interviews and test preparation
  • Cover what schools will be looking for when they meet your child
If your child needs tutoring prior to testing, we also provide tutors with excellent track records preparing children for these tests. For families who are relocating, students in public schools, or in K-12th grade schools, we interact directly with the ongoing schools.
Get started now by scheduling a free, 15 minute service call with Jackie or Adriana!
The complexity of the K-12 school application process is daunting to many and our advisors look to clarify goals, fit and ultimately develop strategies for successful outcomes for each student. We offer personalized advising services to help parents manage all aspects of the admissions process with each learner’s specific and unique academic, creative, social and emotional profile at the center of the work.
Our expert advisors provide one-on-one sessions to offer parents an in-depth understanding of the school admissions process. During these sessions, we distill the family’s priorities and the learner’s skills pairing those with what schools are looking for in their applicants. To better understand your child’s academic abilities and presentation skills, we conduct an educational assessment. This assessment helps us identify your child’s strengths and areas for growth, which informs our recommendations for school placement.
With our extensive knowledge of the local, regional and national K-12 landscape, we guide our clientele to create a list that will best meet their child’s needs. We offer detailed advice on what to look for during school tours, provide critical tips for the interview process and develop strategies around accessing the optimal fit environment as your child grows.

Our advisors guide parents on how to best amplify their child’s strengths and capabilities throughout in the admissions process. Our K-12 educational consultants aim to empower parents to make informed decisions and help their child achieve success whether in Lower, Middle, or Upper School.

Other Divisions


Jackie Sirgo, MA

Lead Boarding School Consultant, K-12 Consultant

Jackie has spent her entire professional career focused on access and equity to K-12 schools, colleges, and universities. She has a particular interest in the history of educational institutions as it pertains to the students each serves. Over the years, she has developed the skill set to fully understand the complexities of a student’s academic profile, which greatly informs her recommendations. Schools she suggests to clients are both academically and emotionally appropriate, a balance she feels is critical in allowing every student to reach their fullest potential.

Prior to joining Smart City Kids, Jackie served as the Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at the Speyer School. Before that, she served as the Associate Director of Admissions and Secondary School Placement Director, also at Speyer. Her roles required her to identify gifted and accelerated learners using non-verbal assessments and academic achievement tools. She led the financial aid committee, managing a budget of over three million dollars. She collaborated with the school’s marketing team to identify the best forms of outreach to attract families to Speyer. She also supported the Placement Office by establishing relationships with Admissions Directors nationally, both at Day and Boarding Schools. Jackie served as the Secondary School Placement Director at The School of Columbia, and she held the Junior and Senior academic and admissions counselor position for the Higher Education Opportunity Program at Barnard College.

Jackie earned her Bachelor of Art degree in Philosophy from Buffalo State College and her Masters in Higher Postsecondary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She sits on the selection committee for the Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship, which offers one of the only merit-based, need-blind high school scholarships to highly gifted students across the United States.

When she is not thinking about access and placement, Jackie enjoys the outdoors, the history of the Americas, and gardening. She lives in New Jersey , where she co-parents three children.

(212) 249-4066


Adriana Payne

Managing Director, K-12 and Boarding School Consultant

Adriana Payne is an Educational Consultant specializing in K-12 advisory. She is passionate about demystifying the school process for families. In helping students and families navigate the complexities of school options and problem solve with good humor, she is committed to finding the environment where each child will flourish. Adriana is warm, curious, and deeply intuitive. She brings thoughtfulness and care to the process of finding a school.

Adriana was the Director of Admission and Associate Head of School at The Mandell School in New York, overseeing all admissions, enrollment, communications, and marketing. Prior to Mandell, Adriana ran her own independent communications consultancy in New York and London.

Raised in Chicago, Adriana attended an independent school, and then set her sights further east to earn a bachelor’s degree in religion from Hamilton College. She enjoyed living in the UK and France, broadening her experience and her knowledge of education. She is an active volunteer for the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), and at Hamilton College, where she is the Vice Chair of the Alumni Association. She also volunteers at Hamilton’s career center. An avid reader, writer, and lover of books, she also volunteered at the New York Public Library for many years.

Adriana has raised her two children in New York City navigating each stage of the school process from preschool to college as a parent. When not advising families, she enjoys traveling, cooking, contemporary art and architecture, music, hiking, skiing, and theatre.

(212) 249-4066


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