We'd like to introduce you to our Associate Product Manager, Liana Lo Conte. While you might know her as the smarts behind our most popular email newsletter, Liana has also been responsible for the freshness of our school profile information for the last year. She came to us with experience in both education policy research for Abt Associates and management consulting for NWNIT Smart Government Solutions, and we're thrilled to employ her expertise throughout our website.
What inspires you about the GreatSchools mission?
Liana: I believe in empowering people to make choices that will improve their lives. That's what I love about our mission to provide credible information for parents to take control of their kids' educational experiences. The more parents know about a school, for instance, the better choices they can make about whether it's the right school for their child.
Who in your childhood most inspired your love of learning?
Liana: My mother, no contest. She would be the GreatSchools definition of an involved parent. All throughout my childhood she focused so much of her energy on educating my brothers and me. On her own she taught each of us to read before we got to school, and this was while working hard on her PhD dissertation! When she found out that our school system was cutting funding to math and science programs, she formed an extracurricular math club for me and my friends to ensure that none of us fell behind. Every Sunday my mother taught us pre-algebra concepts and organized fun projects to learn at our house. She showed us how math figures into selling products, and we designed foam-core models of our dream houses — accurately built on the topography of land near a local quarry, which we measured ourselves.
What's the best parenting advice you've heard?
Liana: I'm not a parent yet, but I am looking forward to starting a family in the coming years. The best parenting advice I've heard is about giving your child "ownership." Even at very young ages, kids love projects that they can be responsible for. Caring for a small plant or animal teaches them that they have agency in this world. It teaches children about the space outside of their own heads, instilling a love of giving back and helping others that can last throughout their lives.
Sounds like your mom definitely took matters into her own hands!
Liana: Her intense focus on the importance of our education really instilled in me a passion for knowledge — for striving beyond what's assigned as homework and for learning just for the sake of it.