Sparkjoy Consulting is Leila Sinclaire.
Leila Sinclaire gained her expertise in education as a classroom teacher in grades K-11. Her career as a teacher spanned both public and private schools in the East Bay and in Manhattan, and she has a depth of understanding of the nuanced differences between various independent schools in the East Bay as well as the micro communities of the Berkeley and Oakland public school systems.
As someone who has witnessed and participated in the admissions process from the inside of independent schools, she is uniquely positioned to not just support you in understanding which schools might be the best fit for your child, but to also share with you trade secrets for a more successful admissions process. Leila knows children, and with kindness, humor, and a keen eye, she can get to know your child well quickly, so as to best understand where they might have an experience of belonging and acceptance, and of being met and challenged in the ways they learn best.
As a former public school teacher, Leila can help you understand how to assess various schools within your district to give you the clearest picture of your choices, understanding which schools, principals, and teachers share values with you, how resources are spread across the district, and what questions are vital to ask to make sure your child is seen and met in their school environment. She can also teach you how to wade through the bureaucracy of the lottery system with the best odds of getting your child into the school of your choosing.
In addition to her professional qualifications, Leila also has the wonderful credentials of being a mother to her "spirited" son and headstrong daughter, and having navigated securing satisfying placement for them in their current schools. In her two-teacher household she approached this process with such diligence and success that friends and colleagues started turning to Leila as they navigated their own schooling decisions. This was the birth of the idea for Sparkjoy Consulting, which has grown from a small but passionate side project amongst friends to becoming Leila’s full time calling. She knows firsthand as both a teacher and a mother that a great fit can make a huge difference in a child’s successful and happy transition into a new school environment.
Swimming through the murky waters of assessing each local school as a fit for your child can be very overwhelming and time consuming, as can clarifying whether your family wants to look at public, charter, or independent schools. And once you’ve chosen a school, pinning your hopes on it can be a powerless experience. Leila can use her extensive knowledge and keen child intuition to answer your many questions, point you in the right direction, and to set your child up for success on the path you ultimately choose.
Kendra Lubalin is a guest consultant at Sparkjoy.
Kendra Lubalin has experience with educational supports for children with developmental, social/emotional and/or learning disabilities on both sides of the process.
As a preschool head teacher for many years, Kendra was routinely in a position to be the first person in a family's life to acknowledge and bring attention to demonstrated development or behavior out of the standard range. In this role, she has a history of supporting parents through the process of seeking educationally and/or medically based assessments, to gain as much clarity as possible about what supports and services would best meet the need of their children, and provide an ongoing infrastructure of support for the family.
As a parent of an autistic child, Kendra has herself navigated the complex waters of the assessment and IEP processes, weighed the value of public school support services against the value of independent school class size and approach, waded through various therapeutic approaches and methods to find the right fit for her child, and has by need become an expert advocate.
Facing the assessment and IEP/504 plan processes for the first time can be very daunting. In the midst of what is often a very emotional process, you are asked to learn a new language and then use it assertively in an environment where everyone else is fluent.
Kendra can give you practical straight forward advice on how to take the process step by step, can decode the new language and help you understand your rights, can guide you to valuable resources, and can make suggestions about what approaches to the process will result in the most and best support for your child. She will do this with compassion, empathy, and a personal understanding of the emotional complexities for parents in this process.