Getting to Know Bennett's Consultants: Meet Stacey Kinnamon
Updated: Mar 3
Stacey Kinnamon is one of Bennett’s SEN (Special Education Needs) consultants. Her background, education, lived experience, and empathetic nature are an ideal combination for her work with families at Bennett.
Stacey works with families who are seeking a new school that can provide the supports their children need in order to be successful in the classroom. She is currently based in New York City but works with families relocating all over the world. She has been with Bennett International for the past five years.
Stacey grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and headed east for college and law school. As an attorney, she worked for a mid-sized Manhattan law firm focusing on commercial litigation. She then made the switch to education, starting with earning an MA in general and special education (and eventually becoming certified as an Orten-Gillingham classroom educator). As part of her course work, Stacey student-taught in a 4th grade classroom in East Harlem. The classroom was an integrated co-teaching classroom with a general education teacher and a SEN teacher. After earning her degree, Stacey remained in that classroom as a substitute teacher and a volunteer.
The transition to education consulting was a natural combination of Stacey’s passions and skills: helping families with SEN students find the right school, researching different educational models and curricula all over the world, and writing. Stacey’s excellent writing skills come into play when she presents a student to a potential school and when she communicates with families, who often are not native English speakers. Her reports are as thorough as any legal document, and they paint a true and honest picture of the whole student.
Stacey often draws on her own corporate relocation when working with families. Stacey moved to London in 2012 with her then four-year-old son, Noah. While the family did have assistance with most aspects of the move, they did not have access to an educational consultant. By the time the family was in London, the admission deadlines had passed (as is the case with many corporate relocations). Stacey ended up conducting the school search on her own, without any knowledge of the local landscape, curriculum, or cultures of the local schools. The school search for Noah had an added layer of difficulty because the family was just starting to discover that Noah had some learning differences. This was further complicated due to the different approaches to educating students with learning differences in the UK and the US. Stacey knows firsthand the multi-layered challenges families face when moving to a new country.
In addition to finding a school for Noah, Stacey did her best to prepare Noah for the big move. She said she "read Noah every book I could possibly find about castles, knights, and all the magic of London."
Noah’s birthday was one of their first days in the UK, and all he wanted to do was play with a friend... who lived in NYC. (Stacey has two children, Noah, now 24 and an educator himself, and Alex, 18, who is starting her first year of college in September.)
This firsthand experience of relocating to a new country without the support of a consultant informs every interaction Stacey has with a family. I've had the privilege of working with Stacey on several family relocations to the east coast of the United States. Parents (and students) often begin the conversation with apprehension and are a bundle of nerves. Stacey’s approach, which seems to combine the thorough listening and research skills of a lawyer with the knowledge of a seasoned educator and parent, almost immediately puts the family at ease. Stacey says her goal is to find a school that "teaches the way your child learns (Noah's quote)."
I asked Stacey if she has any tried-and-true advice for families. She said, "It’s so dependent on the family, but in the first conversation, I can usually sense some concerns about the move. I suggest that they take a deep breath to start. I tell them to take the relocation one step at a time and reassure them that we will work together to find the right school for their children. Sometimes, we are fortunate enough to find an education setting that is an improvement from their current school."
Stacey has several favorite parts of working with families. "I love when a family feels heard and supported, and when we (Bennett) can remove some of the pressures of the relocation." She also loves those iconic first day of school pictures.
Our favorite question to ask consultants is, "If you had a year's sabbatical, where would you live?" Stacey had a fantastic answer! "I would pick more than one location because there are so many amazing places in the world. I would start with a return to London. It’s an incredible city filled with beautiful parks and history. Then I would spend some time in Asia—probably in Vietnam or Thailand. I would read books, get some R&R, and enjoy the scenery. But I can't stay away from education for too long... So, I would volunteer at a local school to help students struggling with reading, much like Noah’s teachers did for him. We are forever grateful for that help.”
By Erin Brady
Erin Brady serves a dual role as Co-Director of Private Client Services and one of Bennett’s Global Team Leads, supporting Bennett’s consultants in Canada and parts of the U.S. In the latter, she oversees consultants working with families relocating to Greater New York City, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Phoenix, and Toronto. She also serves as the Bennett International liaison for a leading global investment banking, securities, and investment management firm in New York. Erin joined Bennett in 2006 and has worn many hats over the years, consulting with families relocating to areas throughout the U.S and to non-U.S. locations; she eventually focused on U.S. boarding school and New York city placements, PreK through grade 12, though she was frequently called on for other tasks such as co-managing special projects and serving as the Senior Account Representative for a large Global Relocation client.
To read more about our top-flight team of consultants, please see here.
Bennett International Education Consultancy works directly with hundreds of families each year across the globe. We support families by helping them make informed decisions about the best-fit schools for their children; with our guidance, they secure placement in preschools, private day schools, public/state schools, boarding schools, colleges & universities, including schools with particular programs, such as special needs support.