Educational Consultants for Help Choosing a School

Parent Q&A

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  • Schools consultant?

    (3 replies)

    We just relocated here from NYC and are trying to figure out where to target our housing search which is obviously impacted by schools (i.e., which cities/districts/schools to target, strong private options, etc.). In NYC, there were several individuals in each borough who provided "school consulting" - informing parents on the options in their neighborhood or how to optimize a housing search around schools. Since we're new, the number of district options (Berkeley/Piedmont/Oakland/Albany, etc.) are overwhelming, and we don't know the nuances with each (lottery/ranking/forced assignments/magnets, etc.)  

    There are a few recommendations for consultants like this on this platform, but they're old, and the folks cited are no longer providing the service. 

    Is there anyone in the area who is doing this currently? Should it help, we are primarily concerned with K-5, as that's the upcoming gauntlet.

    Thanks for any recs!

    Since you are new to the area, why not rent a house at a price you can afford, to try out a neighborhood? Then research school options in that vicinity (you don't say how old your child/ren are and when you need K-5 schools). An important thing to know about the East Bay that may be quite different from NYC is that there are microclimates here - the weather varies a lot by neighborhood depending on where you are in relation to the bay and the hills. Pick an area where the weather is to your liking, and go from there in terms of your schooling needs. Welcome to the East Bay!

    I agree with the previous poster, it’s a good idea to rent and then get ideas from neighbors and people who are like-minded. The East Bay is waaaaay more chill than NY, so you probably don’t need a consultant. In general, if you live in a “good” school district, then you can just send your kids to the neighborhood school. If you don’t, or the neighborhood school is not a good fit, you have to start navigating the maze of intra and inter district transfers, charter schools, and private schools. There is lots of school choice in CA, for better or worse, so you will always have options. I know plenty of people who moved to an expensive neighborhood for the schools, and then ended up in private school anyway, and the inverse is also true - plenty of families prefer the convenience and community of a neighborhood school and many of them offer excellent academics anyway. I also know kids who commute long distances to other districts or charters, and others who walk to school. Once you get a feel for a neighborhood and meet some people, you’ll have more reliable school info. 

    Hi and welcome to the Bay Area! I am not aware of schools consultants around here. As the mom of a current college student, my advice is live where you want to live. The house, neighborhood, commute, price, weather, should be what impacts where you live. Register for whatever the public school is in the locale you have chosen (Really. I know many families who "moved for the schools" and were OK but not overwhelmed with the result, and other families who stressed over the "perfect" private school and never found it, and other families who did send their child to expensive and/or highly rated schools and the kid did not end up at a college better than any other.) You and your children will benefit from the sense of community and place that result in living somewhere you enjoy and supporting your local public school.

  • Our bright and artistic ADHD child is currently enrolled in a small private school. While we really love the strong and loving community, we don't feel his educational needs are being met. We are seriously considering switching schools and we don't know where to look. We would love a recommendation for an educational consultant who has experience with ADHD. There was an older post for Theresa Lozach but it looks like her website is down and her company is no more? Any and all recommendations for an educational consultant are truly appreciated.

    No responses received.

  • Private School Consultant

    (2 replies)

    We did not grow up here, so are unfamiliar with the Private School system in the Bay Area. Our child is currently in a public elementary school, but we are consider going private for Middle/High school. I'm not looking for "the best" school. I just need one that is a great fit for our child. I'm looking for a consultant who can tell us what schools are out there, suggest a good fit for the strength and weaknesses of our child, and then help us apply and get in. If you can recommend a consultant or a service (even a series of workshops?), it would be greatly appreciated.  

    You need Theresa Lorzac'h! With our child's strengths and weaknesses in mind, she helped us pick the perfect school out of several private and public options, and she offered support throughout the entire process, helping with applications and timing. Good Luck!

    If your child is a student of color, definitely check out A Better Chance. It's a fantastic organization and it's FREE!

  • We are new to the area and have an elementary school aged child with dyslexia and ADHD. We are looking for names of reputable Educational Advocates or consultants. Any ideas would really helpful!

    Jane Ashley is SUPER. She was an absolute life saver for my dyslexic son with mild ADHD, who could not read a simple three letter word half way in third grade, and a year and a half later was reading AT GRADE level!.  She just quit her part time job at her school district so she can devote more time to really helping Dyslexic students. She is very active in the Statewide Dyslexia Association too.  She works from her home in South Berkeley where she has tons of materials she uses. Run and get a spot! Her phone number is (510) 601-9780. My friend who had older dyslexic students referred me to her and I practically parked on her lawn until she accepted my son.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


RE: Which Albany Kindergarten?

Feb 2012

We recently went through the craziness of choosing a school for our son who will enter kindergarten in the fall, so I feel your pain! While I can't speak specifically to the Albany choices, I recommend you contact Theresa Lozach. She is an educational consultant. I first talked with her by phone and then met with her in person, and both interactions were all I hoped they would be. We were struggling with the many schools, the many things to consider, the many ways of looking at what's right for our child, and she brought us such calm and clarity. She really helped us sort out the facts and our feelings and guided us in choosing a school that matches both our goals and our son's personality and needs. She has many years of experience, so much passion for her work, loads of useful information, and best of all a real understanding of what it's like to be in this process! Check out her blog (http://beyondqualityco...) and give her a call. You'll be glad you did! Happy Parent


Need Help with High School Selection

Dec 2011

We need some guidance and help with looking at high schools. It is so overwhelming. Can you recommend someone to help us. Have you ever heard of Gail Berland or Amanda Mallory? Please send your recommendations. thanks! Middle School Mom

Amanda Mallory is very experienced and professional, in addition to kind. She was an immense to us when we were looking into alternative highschools for our son who was struggling at the time. I can't say enough wonderful things about her. HTH Grateful mom

Help pinpointing best school for 1st grader

Nov 2009

We need someone to help us. Our son is in first grade in a bilingual school (this is his 4th year, has been there since pre-K). While his language acquisition is great, it is becoming clear to us that the school's learning approach is not a good match for our son. He is very interested in science and hands on work (a kinesthetic learner), and the emphasis in the program is on language acquisition and verbal engagement (auditory learning). We are considering moving him to a different school -- but the thought of navigating the search for private schools in Oakland is extremely daunting. We were hoping that we could get a recommendation for an education consultant -- someone who really knows about learning and Oakland schools -- who could help us pinpoint the private schools that might be the best fit for our son. Any recommendations would be much appreciated! Help us find a school for our hands on learner!

We were so lucky to have found Ethan Ris from another parent on the newsletter. I have talked to some other consultants but found that Ethan to be the most reasonable and helpful. Yes he looks very young, but he has been in the business for quite a few years and has a good connection and understanding with teenagers. He answers calls/emails quickly. We used his Diagnostic Evaluation package but he went beyond. He gave great tips on essay ideas and strategies on why my son should apply certain schools and why to avoid others. He is warm hearted and always willing to help. If it's anything quick, he'd help you even without charge. For us, he read and commended on my son's essays and answered our ''emergency'' questions (i am sure you will have one or two of those in the last minute) how to fill application forms. His fees are very reasonable and he does not just watch his clock and to count the fees. He goes to your home to meet the child and parents, that's another big plus. his website and contact info is in google. i think he does hourly rate too which is really reasonable in the bay area. good luck to you! we have another child who will need such advisor in a couple of years. we will definitely use his service again. you can contact me for any other questions.

Seeking consultant to help select private school

Dec 2008

We would like to move our energetic third-grader to private school, and are searching for a consultant who can help advise us. Any recommendations? DC

I would highly recommend Nancy Blum. She's lived in the Bay Area most of her life, raised her children in Marin and knows all the principals and schools throughout the Bay Area. Her background is in education and she's been an educational consultant for many years. She's absolutely lovely! She really listens to what you're looking for, what your child's interests are, and understands best ''fit''. She can be reached at 415-435-2414. Best of luck to you. Dana