Lisa Warshafsky, Principal of SJP2CA Lower Mills

What is your background in education? How did you come to be the Principal of SJP2CA?

I earned my Master of Social Work at Boston College in 2004. Prior to joining the SJP2CA team, I was working in the Probation Department and Department of Youth Services. I started my vocation at SJP2CA as the Guidance Counselor of the Lower Mills Campus when the Academy opened. I loved this role! It offered me a unique experience to work with students, families, teachers and community partners. I was afforded the opportunity to be a part of the Boston Compact Equity and Diversity committee, where I met the Executive Director of Lynch Leadership Academy. At the time, I was the Director of Guidance and was working closely with the school leadership team. I learned more about elevating my voice and the power that effective school leaders can have on shaping a school environment and academic outcomes for students.

It felt to me that God had provided me this opportunity, to open another door. I completed my Principal Residency for one year as a part of Lynch Leadership Academy while working the remainder of my coursework at Boston College towards my Master of Education in School Leadership. This is now my 4th year as Principal of SJP2CA Lower Mills. This year also marks my 20th year in working with youth and families!

What was your experience like in the Lynch Leadership Program?

Lynch Leadership Academy was a transformative experience for me as a person and as a Catholic school leader. It was powerful to learn new instructional approaches, proved intervention practices, the value of data driven instruction, best teaching strategies, how to lead a diverse group of teachers, and most importantly, have a lifelong group of thought partners across sectors to calibrate ideas and reflect on our practices. Learning and growing with such dynamic leaders and coaches was an experience that I continually utilize as a school leader. Our moral imperative was always grounded in equity in urban education for all students.

What’s one thing about SJP2CA Lower Mills that makes it unique?

SJP2CA Lower Mills is known by all as a family, one that is closely connected to our community, rooted in our faith and the Gospel. We know that the work of our community partners directly supports the work that we do and value that our work together is more powerful than in silos. It is imperative to know every child in our building…and not just their name! It is important for me to know where they live, whom they live at home with, what their favorite color is and any special talents or unique gifts from God that they are proud of. Relationships are the basis of all interactions, whether this is working with teachers, students, or families. This takes intentional time! You will always find me at school because it is part of who I am. This is not just a job to me, but part of my DNA. I am blessed to work in a Catholic School where we can talk about how much Jesus loves each of us and where we get to start our morning in prayer as a school community.