Meet Stratford: Sherrie Paregian

Reopening and Reuniting at Stratford in the Age of COVID-19

As California counties have begun to allow schools to reopen for in-person instruction, many of Stratford’s schools are in the process of welcoming K-8 students back to campus, with stringent health and safety protocols in place.  Prospective families are invited to schedule a tour and learn more.

Though she might not have known it at the time, Sherrie Paregian has been destined to be an educator since the sixth grade. Unlike most sixth graders, Sherrie spent her recess time volunteering in kindergarten classes. She loved helping young students with small projects in the classroom and enjoyed being a resource for the kindergarten teachers.

Now the Head of School for Stratford’s San Francisco campuses, Sherrie’s passion for helping students and teachers has only grown.  In her words, “I’ve always wanted to be the kind of educator that truly cares for my students regardless of their challenges and/or unique abilities. Figuring out a way to creatively reach all of my students has always been my driving force.”

Finding a home at Stratford

Sherrie first joined the Stratford family as a teacher. She was drawn to the school because of what Stratford represented, the warm and caring environment, and the value and passion that the administration had for its students and teachers. She felt an instant connection with founder Sherry Adams and knew she had found a home at Stratford.

To Sherrie, the most rewarding part of being an educator are the relationships and connections she makes with Stratford students and families. From the first day of kindergarten through graduation, she considers her students an extension of her own family, and has kept in touch with many of her students long after their time at Stratford ends. 

STEAM - Curriculum for the Future

Sherrie believes in the value of cross-curricular learning, which is why she is a strong proponent of the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) curriculum taught at Stratford.

“STEAM education helps students be able to relate what is learned in the classroom to the outside world. Establishing these real world connections as early as preschool helps establish the foundational skills and knowledge students need to truly find and explore their unique passions as they continue through their educational journey.”

With a strong emphasis on critical thinking and collaboration, Sherrie believes that Stratford’s STEAM curriculum will truly prepare its students to face the unknown challenges of the future. As technology becomes more and more omnipresent and the workforce changes, Sherrie knows that students will need to know how to work together more than ever. Giving students the skill set and practice to effectively communicate and collaborate is paramount.

Fostering a Love of Learning at Home

Sherrie encourages her parents to blur the line between school and home by finding learning opportunities at home, in the community, and the outside world. Asking questions, taking trips, visiting museums, and attending ethnic events, all foster curiosity outside the classroom walls and help children become lifelong learners with global awareness.

“Take note of what your children are learning at school and ask questions that provoke further inquiry. Taking interest assures students that their parents are interested in their education, and encourages a sense of ‘learning together.’  By articulating what they have learned to their parents, students are able to further solidify their understanding of topics. Students also start to realize that learning is happening all the time.”

Furthermore, Sherrie believes that parents can help instill a growth mindset in their children. She says, “learning happens regardless of your age or being in or out of school. Parents can be a role model for their children when they too are learning something new, or from a mistake they’ve made.  Articulating the lesson learned with their children in real time, makes it relevant and meaningful.  When the world is the classroom, children are able to value the process, the experience, and the journey of learning, not just the end result.”

Beyond the Classroom

Outside of Stratford, Sherrie enjoys ballroom dancing, cooking, baking, making jam, and entertaining her friends and family.  A California native, Sherrie also spends plenty of time outside gardening in her vegetable garden or taking a bike ride with her two children who are also Stratford students.