Faces Around SLLIS — Meet Sarah Kirschner

Sarah Kirschner is the Chief Operating Officer at SLLIS.

In your opinion, what is St. Louis’ best kept secret?

In my opinion, St. Louis is its own best kept secret. Although I grew up near St. Louis, I didn’t live here until I moved from San Francisco 20 years ago. Moving from the Bay Area is hard to do; it’s beautiful, fun, crazy and great. I still love it. But St. Louis has become much more fun and great over the years. The restaurants are wonderful and keep getting better, the tech and entrepreneurial scenes are growing and drawing people, and I keep finding something new – like the St. Louis Language Immersion Schools where I just started working. We have great cultural institutions like the art and history museums, the symphony and, my favorite, the Missouri Botanical Garden. Our traffic isn’t too bad and the weather, while it can be awful, changes enough to keep it interesting. After 20 years, I love it here!

Any advice for prospective parents?

Being a parent, I try never to give advice to parents. I can only hope that I’ve done more right than wrong. It’s the hardest job in the world.

If you could have dinner with 3 people (dead or alive) who would they be?

I’m a huge fan of Eleanor Roosevelt. She had a very challenging upbringing and her marriage must have been a challenge as well, but she did so much good I would love to hear her talk about her life and accomplishments.

Ernest Shackleton, who led one of the most amazing (both disastrous and incredible) expeditions to the Antarctic would be a pretty interesting dinner companion. After being stranded in an ice field, seeing his ship crushed in the ice, and crossing uncharted glaciers to get help, he managed to rescue his men and return to England.

Speaking of disasters, Jon Krakauer has written a great book (Into Thin Air) about a terrible season on Mt. Everest as well as other really good books and articles. He might have some interesting tales and would probably enjoy spending time with Shackleton.

Tell us about your favorite vacation.

I live to travel and I’ve had some really great trips, but one that stands out was a trip to Hong Kong with three friends. Two of us flew from St. Louis, one from Atlanta and one met us in Hong Kong, where she was living. Our friend worked for a large hotel so she made us feel incredibly welcome with a suite overlooking the harbor, breakfast in the hotel and the most amazing sightseeing. We didn’t have to do anything but get there. And nothing beats spending a week with three close friends.

What are your hopes and dreams for SLLIS?

Being the Chief Operating Officer, my dreams are kind of ordinary. I want to build infrastructure – facilities, policies, procedures, and plans so that the educators, the people who really make a school special, can do their best work.

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