Tsinakis, Sophia, Literacy Coordinator
Ms. Sophia Tsinakis was born in Houston, Texas, and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. She has earned a Master's in Elementary Education and a K-12 English Language Learners endorsement at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology - with a minor in Art Therapy - from Lesley University in Cambridge Massachusetts.
After teaching for four years at an innovative elementary public school in Nashville, Ms. Tsinakis joined the ACS Athens faculty in 2018, originally teaching first grade during the 2018-2019 academic year and fifth grade during the 2019-2020 academic year. The past academic year, she transitioned into the position of Literacy Coordinator to further the aims of ACS Athens literacy program. The ultimate objective of the literacy program is the development of readers and writers across the grade levels. To this end, she facilitates the development of an ongoing collaborative literacy learning culture that aligns reading and writing curriculums (including Phonics and Grammar). Moreover, she champions teachers to support students in writing with fluency for an audience, about topics they care about. Lastly, she fortifies best instructional literacy practices to bolster resilience, grit, and empathy to promote ethical decision-makers, strong relationships, and positive action.
Ms. Tsinakis has a great passion for teaching and her priority as an educator of young minds is to assist children of diverse backgrounds to find meaning, passion, and direction in their educational experience, and ultimately in their lives. Ms. Tsinakis is committed to fostering, inspiring, and sustaining high levels of authentic learning in all students as a path through which they become active, compassionate, independent, and global learners. The principles and inspiration of Lucy Calkins and the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project have been a guiding influence in her pursuit of refining and growing her literacy instruction.
Ms. Tsinakis has a strong professional interest in curriculum design and professional development. Specifically, she has served as a scope and sequence writer for Metro Nashville Public Schools, was a member of the vertical K-4 planning team, and has led literacy workshops at the school and district levels. During the past three years, she provided ongoing literacy professional development in and outside of ACS Athens. In particular, she created and presented a professional workshop at the Pinewood American International School in Thessaloniki and one (in collaboration with Evi Eyloyias of ACS Athens) at the American Farm School in Thessaloniki. She served on the ACS Athens Elementary Literacy Team and implemented the balanced literacy model of instruction in her classrooms. Furthermore, in collaboration with her curriculum partner Laura Kollintzas of ACS Athens, during the 2019-2020 academic year she reshaped the Grade 5 literacy curriculum and augmented it with new components, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Throughout her career, Ms. Tsinakis has participated in various professional development seminars and webinars. For example, she attended the Teachers' College Reading and Writing Project Unit of Study seminar in Atlanta (December 2015); the English Language Learners Summer Institute of Metro Nashville Public Schools (June 2016); and the Teachers' College Reading and Writing Project Writing Institute: Grades K-8 (July 2017) in Barcelona. Most recently, she attended the virtual institute by Teachers' College Reading and Writing Project, Teaching Literacy Virtually and with Magic: Grades K-8 (April 2020). Additionally, she attended a number of webinars by Teachers’ College Reading and Writing Project: Building Schoolwide Excellence in Reading and Writing (December 2019) and Virtual Saturday Reunion (March 2021); Deepening Reading Comprehension Across Complete Texts, based on Jennifer Serravallo’s research and education theory (May 2020) and by Chapters International - Coaching in Education: What it is, What it isn't, and Why Coaching is Essential by Jim Knight (May 2020); and The Power of Making Thinking Visible (June 2020) by Ron Ritchhart and March Church.
While teaching in Nashville, she was a finalist for the Teacher of the Year, recognized as a Literacy Leader by the District Director of Literacy, was interviewed and observed by the National Public Radio program, Mind/Shift, and one of her guided reading lessons was filmed by the district as an example of exemplary reading instruction. Additionally, she collaborated in the SAIL Project (Survey, Analyze, Infer, Link) with education researcher Kathy Ganske of Peabody College to pioneer innovative and engaging word study instruction. She was featured in the November/December 2016 edition of The Reading Teacher, in the article SAIL: A Framework for Promoting Next-Generation Word Study by Kathy Ganske. Moreover, she is a contributing writer in the 2018 published revision of Word Sorts and More by Kathy Ganske.