Lisa SchalkEducational Specialist
Lisa has been drawn to serious writing since the ripe old age of nine, when after reading Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy, she mapped out her own Spy Route and began earnestly writing about her neighbors’ lives.
After moving to New York City, with English degree in hand, Lisa worked as a writer in the worlds of advertising and marketing on accounts ranging from Hershey’s Chocolate Milk to American Express. When she became a mother she continued writing on a freelance basis, but shifted her primary focus to parenting her three children. As she accompanied them on their educational journeys, she served on such Friends Seminary school committees as the Diversity Committee and the Learning Differences Committee. She began to write about education – and all of this led to her decision to become a teacher.
Lisa accepted a teaching position at Chelsea Day School and became a graduate student at Bank Street College of Education, where she earned a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. At Chelsea Day School she worked closely with her teaching associates to create and maintain a warm, nurturing, and challenging environment for her students with specific focus on social and emotional safety, creative expression, and cognitive development. She led a dynamic teaching team to plan and execute curriculum that was relevant, engaging, and developmentally appropriate. She wrote informative Daily Recaps and Monthly Newsletters to parents, highlighting the momentum of her curriculums and explaining the what’s how’s, and why’s of her work. She wrote detailed progress reports for each student twice yearly.
Additional roles, accolades, and activities:
- Served as Director of the CDS Summer Program for four years, leading a staff of 23 teachers in a six-week program that served an average of 100 families with children aged two to seven years old.
- One of 15 New York City teachers to receive a 2014 Blackboard Award for Teachers.
- Served on the governing board of the New York City Chapter of National Association of Education for Young Children (NAEYC).
- Attended an intensive, weeklong North American Study Group for Teachers in Reggio Emilia, Italy.
In 2001, Lisa also began working with Smart City Kids families, helping clients navigate the often daunting school essay process. After 18 years of a remarkably fulfilling teaching career, Lisa has begun a new chapter by officially joining the Smart City Kids team as an Educational Specialist. She is thrilled to continue her work with families, pulling from her experience as a professional writer, a mother, and an educator, helping them in their search for the best school fit for their children.