London Calling

Kara Schupp to Teach at The American School of London


Photo credit: Benjamin Kagan

Rather than being across the science hallway in her courtyard office, Upper School science teacher Kara Schupp will be across the pond in London next year. Schupp will be a high school biology teacher at the American School of London (ASL) for the next school year, after teaching 10 years at Parker. 

Prior to her five years teaching science in the Upper School, Schupp taught seventh grade biology at Parker for five years. Before that, she also taught in Omaha, Nebraska, Los Angeles, and Bernard Zell Anshe Emet in Chicago. “I’m going to miss her both as a friend and as a colleague,” Upper School science teacher and department chair George Austin said. “She’s been such an integral part of science at Parker, both in the Middle School and in the Upper School and helping out with other divisions as well.”

Schupp never planned on leaving Parker prior to her children, who are in 5th and 7th grades, graduating. In the winter she had COVID-19 and during isolation, she began to research schools and update her resume, with plans to be ready for when she did want to move on from Parker. “The COVID crisis happened, so I said to myself, ‘Are you living your dreams? Are you working towards them at least?’” Schupp said.

Like Parker, ASL is a K-12 independent and college preparatory school. Schupp will be teaching ninth and tenth grade integrated science classes called “The Universe – From Atoms to Life” and tenth graders take “Life on a Changing Earth,” which include biology topics, as well as possibly teaching electives on genetics and evolution. “I was just looking at schools with a good reputation that were similar to Parker because the feeling I have that Parker is home, and I wanted that to be the case at my next school,” Schupp said.

While she was browsing the ASL website, Schupp noticed an opening for a biology teacher and decided to apply. She largely didn’t think about the opportunity until receiving a request for a screening interview. “It was kind of fortuitous, like throwing it to the universe, and then it worked,” Schupp said. “Before it was just this possibility.”

Schupp received a job offer a month after applying, before she had told her children about the potential opportunity. She was able to visit London and ASL after the offer, and she met with administration and Science department members while she was there. “I’d never even been to London before applying,” Schupp said. “Everything felt right.”

Schupp begins her new role on August 16 but is unable to enter the UK on a work visa until August 2. In the meantime, Schupp and her family are selling their home and the majority of their belongings and visiting family before they move. “What we’re looking forward to is just living more simply, like it’s going to be a smaller flat with just less stuff,” Schupp said. “Hopefully we’ll do more instead of have more.”

When she decided to leave, the first students Schupp told were her advisees. “She was gone for a week and we were so confused. It was very unlike her to just not be there so when she was like, ‘I didn’t want to tell you guys because I wanted to tell you this in person,’ it made sense,” advisee and junior Phoebe Friedman said. “I am so happy for her that she’s been able to find this opportunity that she’s wanted. She talked about how she wanted to travel the world and one day move out of the country, so I’m really proud of her that she’s been able to do that.”

Though in Schupp’s advisory, Friedman has never had Schupp in a class and was disappointed that Schupp would not be returning to teach her as a senior in a Biology II class. “Even before I switched into her advisory, we’d had this connection, like she would come up to me in the halls and we would just talk even though I’ve never had her as a teacher. She just has this contagious energy,” Friedman said. “There are teachers like her that truly love what they do, and you can clearly see it just in there.”

“We wish her the best and know that it’s going to be exciting for her when she goes to London, it’s something she’s always wanted to do so I’m glad she has the opportunity to do it,” Austin said.

Schupp will miss the students and her colleagues, but the memories will “always have a special place” in her heart. “I’m going to miss so many things. I’m going to miss the students. I’ve gotten to know students over the years and I love to see when they come back and get to hear about their lives,” Schupp said. “These teachers helped to raise my own kids, and I have so much respect for my colleagues. I’m going to miss the people and the community and just truly feeling a part of the Parker family.”