Meet Stacy Penkala

Stacy Penkala
Associate Director of College Placement
Detroit Country Day School (MI)

How did you become the associate director of college placement at Detroit Country Day School?
This is my 22nd year at Detroit Country Day School. Prior to DCDS, I worked in college admission at both Oakland University and Central Michigan University. I found my way to Country Day as a result of a colleagues' strong suggestion. She had crossed the desk from college admission to high school college counseling and encouraged me to take a close look at expanding my horizons.

What made you decide to get into this field?
Like so many colleagues across the world, I received my first taste of college admission work as an undergraduate student serving as a tour guide and admission volunteer at my alma mater. I never really looked back. I felt that this profession would challenge me and I truly appreciated the interaction with high school counselors, prospective students, and their families. Today, I feel so grateful that I landed in this profession where every day I am professionally fulfilled knowing I am making a positive difference in the lives of my students and families.

What is your favorite part of the job?
The best part of working at Country Day is interacting with young people. Most are a laugh a minute –wide-eyed, open-minded, engaging, high achieving, incredibly passionate, and full of excitement and anticipation about the college process. The juniors and seniors I am privileged to know and work alongside of keep me on my toes, and hopefully, keep me young at heart.

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
I was a member of NACAC when dinosaurs roamed the Earth (only half-joking). What an amazing organization! I have met many dear friends through my engagement with NACAC (conferences, networking opportunities, etc.), and more specifically, my past involvement in the Michigan ACAC. The ongoing professional development opportunities are a highlight of my work life. There are always ways to grow and things to learn.

You've been a supporter of the Imagine Fund. Why do you choose to give to NACAC?
Frankly, I am very fortunate to work at Detroit Country Day School. Ongoing professional development is expected and encouraged. Annual budgets are developed recognizing this overarching goal. If I can personally support a colleague who does not enjoy the same financial resources at their school, I am happy and proud to do so. We are all better as a result.

When you aren't working, what do you like to do?
I most appreciate time with family. My husband works in college placement in the metro-Detroit area. I have two adult daughters who live out-of-state. Lauren is a non-profit administrator and Lindsay is a 2nd grade math teacher. As a family, we like to vacation in northern Michigan.

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
Tinker Bell, of course! Fairy wings and pixie dust, come on!

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