Introducing new THHS faculty and staff: A Q/A with Jodie Lasoff, Parent Coordinator

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As the school year begins once again in an unconventional manner, it marks new realities, but also familiar sights. New teachers are by no means unfamiliar at Townsend Harris, but this year, the school has welcomed close to 20 new staff members. As part of The Classic’s introducing THHS teachers series, we gathered responses regarding the motivations, goals and aspirations from THHS’ new staff members.

As part of this week’s coverage, we spoke to Jodie Lasoff, the new Parent Coordinator, as she discussed her background and her goals and hopes for the future.

1. Tell us about yourself and your background. What department do you teach/work with and how long have you been an educator? What do you like to do in your free time? What are your hobbies, your interests, etc? 

I am the new Parent Coordinator at Townsend Harris. While this is my first time in this particular position, every job I have had since the age of 24 has been education-adjacent. I was a Director with SCORE! Educational Centers, which was a national chain of tutoring centers. I was an Assistant Teacher for Bright Horizons in a back-up day care facility. During my children’s elementary school careers I spent five years on the Parents’ Association Executive Board, two as President. And before I came to THHS [as parent coordinator], I was the Service Learning Coordinator at American Academy Casablanca, a Pre-K through 12th grade American-accredited school located in Casablanca, Morocco. 

Since I have just moved back to NY after three years living abroad, my free time right now is spent furniture shopping. I am an unapologetic cat lover and I can’t wait until my two felines, Fiadora Love and Panda Bear, arrive from Morocco in December. I love reading and writing. I am an avid puzzler. My favorite type is killer sudoku, but I’ll do any puzzle from crosswords to logic to jigsaw. I am interested in learning everything. It pains me when there are things I don’t know or don’t know how to do, so I spend a lot of time researching random questions that arise throughout the course of my day. I also sing. A lot. If you ever come by my office after school, you can probably hear me before you see me.

2. What motivated you to want to choose this career path? 

I have always been drawn to working with children, by which I mean any school-age non-adults. I have also always been a strong believer in and advocate for public education. Additionally, I have never outgrown the toddler instinct to be helpful. Being a Parent Coordinator allows me to tap into all those things. My job is to talk to and help THHS families. It is very fulfilling to solve problems and give people peace of mind. The sense of gratitude people have when I can help them makes me grateful for what I get to do every day.

3. What are your goals for this school year? 

This school year I want to further improve the school’s communication with families. As we are still under COVID-19 protocols, family access to our building is limited. Even in a “normal” school year, not everyone can be closely involved with what’s going on. I want those family members who won’t be in the building to feel like they are still a part of everything. We are a community and I want everyone to feel included in that. As part of that goal, I will be working on establishing and expanding our official social media presence across multiple platforms. There are so many great things happening here; I want to share all of them!

4. What do you look forward to the most this year? Is there anything you are excited about in becoming a new member of the THHS community? 

This year I am looking forward to almost everything. That sounds kind of silly, but everything is new and exciting right now. There is the sense of accomplishment that comes with learning a new job and getting better at it throughout the year. I will get to build new relationships with the staff, and the students and their families. Having moved back from living in Africa there is a sense of homecoming. I feel like I’m settling back into something familiar and yet it also feels brand new at times. I’m not excited to become a new member of the THHS community but that is because I am not a new member. I am an alum, a member of the THHS class of 1991, the fourth graduating class. I am very excited to reestablish myself in the THHS community. 

Photo by Kate Romero and Audrey Chou, photography editors