As PSC's parent coordinator of a few weeks, Steffen Nelson sees a single underlying purpose driving his work: "To facilitate for parents," he says. "Whatever they need."
Steffen's new position marks a career change. For fifteen years, he worked as a talent agent, mostly representing theatrical designers but also some well-known names such actress and singer Elaine Stritch and director Gene Saks. But Steffen was ready for something new that still, like protecting artists, did some good in the world. Several close friends were teachers, and Steffen also knew a few PSC parents, so education in general and PSC in particular called to him. And after a few less-than-stellar interactions with his daughter's parochial school in the Bronx, he's motivated to be the advocate for parents that he would have liked his family to have.
He also will play a crucial role in PSC's work to build an integrated school that doesn't track students. The students at his daughter's current school, he says, are all black and Latino. Steffen and his wife, Sandy, who is Haitian, want a more diverse middle school experience for her; she'll join the sixth grade this fall. Steffen also recalls his own experience of being tracked in middle school: Because his last name doesn't obviously indicate his Mexican heritage, he says, he was put into a French class, where nearly every other student was white. When, at his mother's insistence, he was switched to Spanish, he found that nearly every student was black or Latino. "So, I'm with PSC's mission," he says.
Steffen and his family are in the process of moving from the Bronx to Park Slope. For Steffen, it's a homecoming. He grew up in and around Park Slope, attending P.S. 321 and M.S. 88. For years he coached 78th Precinct baseball and basketball teams. "I've always been around," he says.
So, welcome Steffen! He is here to help parents, so feel free to contact him with any concerns or questions. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 718-832-4362.