Be an ECFS insider! Get more stories straight to your inbox.

September 29, 2022

By Emma Johnson, Communications Manager

We are so excited to officially introduce another amazing team member to our ECFS community — Fieldston Lower’s new Assistant Principal for Academic Life, Shawn Chisty. 

With over 20 years in education, Shawn has experience teaching 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Grade and has held significant leadership throughout his career — most recently at the Town School on the Upper East Side. Shawn has also been a summer site director for John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth in New York City and Hong Kong and has served in roles such as a Language Arts Curriculum Coordinator, Diversity Leader, and Long Range Planning for Academic Excellence and Equity Co-Chair.

According to Principal Joe McCauley, “Shawn’s experiences, warm and engaging personality, passion for dynamic learning models, and teacher collaboration make him a great fit for our community. During his first campus visit, we all felt inspired by his passion for language arts instruction and his ability to brainstorm ways to connect our core curriculum with language arts and diversity, equity, and inclusion.” 

We sat down with Shawn to discuss his first few weeks at ECFS.

What do you think makes the ECFS community unique?

Ever since I was a novice teacher, I’ve aspired to be part of a school that centers its curricular narrative around the ethics of caring. Nel Noddings, an educator I have long admired, once shared that education, by its very nature, should inspire people to be their best selves. I think ECFS is one of those unique and distinct places of learning where we live by this philosophy. Members of this community have ingeniously created an approach to teaching young people that inspires them to be more caring and connected individuals driven to use education to better the world.

Tell us a little bit about your first couple of weeks at ECFS. What stood out? 

The onboarding process was thoughtfully carried out. While I met many administration and faculty members during the interview process, Joe McCauley, our principal, was quick to put me in contact with the departing Assistant Principal Taína Coleman so that I would have a firm understanding of her work over the past few years. Taína and I spent several days reviewing the curriculum and our pedagogical approach, paying particular attention to the student’s academic experience through the past few, inordinate years. Thereafter, I met and began working with the entire administrative team at Fieldston Lower to prepare for the academic year. My onboarding with the team was immersive and invaluable.

What are you looking forward to this year? 

I am currently living what I have been looking forward to all summer —  supporting our teachers as we launch the academic year! I see families invited daily into a warm and welcoming community, students and teachers engaged in dynamic learning experiences, and colleagues deeply invested in teaching their students well. Fieldston Lower has a unique identity in the ecosystem of New York City independent schools. Every day that I get to be part of classroom life and have conversations with colleagues, students, and families, I discover additional reasons why our School deserves that distinction. I look forward to more of those discoveries. 

Do you have a favorite spot on campus?

I love my morning walk from the parking lot by the Tate Library to Fieldston Lower. I get to enjoy our beautiful campus and admire all the student art that decorates the School’s walls.