Lower School

In the Lower School, children begin their journey to discovery, self-awareness, and advocacy.

Dear St. Luke’s Families and Friends,

As a young child from Peru, my family moved to and within the United States many times, each journey symbolizing new beginnings brimming with hope for the future. With each new community, there were always teachers who made a difference for my three brothers and me, and who helped us connect to the many new places we lived. I am excited to continue in their footsteps as the instructional leader of St. Luke’s Lower School, where we create loving spaces of belonging and inspire life-long learning.

Now in my fifth year as the Head of Lower School at St. Luke’s, I have enjoyed the endless possibilities to learn and grow in our community. Our teachers don’t just inspire their students, but they help them to think flexibly, reflect critically and solve problems creatively. Experts at their craft, our teachers masterfully create opportunities for students to ask questions, discern information, and present their ideas. 

With careful attention to social, emotional and cognitive development, we place students at the center of learning as we balance their emergent interests with a rigorous standards-based and interdisciplinary curriculum. Art, dance, music, science, library, physical education, and world languages are woven carefully throughout the curriculum to open new ways of understanding the world while contributing to the students’ knowledge, skills, and habits of heart and mind. In her book, Variations on a Blue Guitar (2001), Maxine Greene reminds us that when we “expand the range of literacy: offering the young new ways of symbolizing, new ways of structuring their experience ... they can see more, hear more, make more connections, embark on unfamiliar adventures into meaning.” The powerful impact of the arts deepens students’ experiences and explorations. 

Surrounded by our beautiful gardens, state of the art playground, action-based learning rooftop space21st Century library, and spectacular gym, we beckon our community to engage with one another and imagine new vistas. Our students learn from one another and the world around them; they are confident and courageous; and, they have much to say about what they learn and how they learn it. In the Lower School our students become leaders of their own learning, and imagine the world as it might be. 

With friendship and joy,

Karina Otoya-Knapp, Ph.D.
Head of Lower School

Headshot of Karina Otoya-Knapp




Headshot of Karina Otoya-Knapp


Jessica Soo
Jessica Soo
assistant head of lower school


Joe wood
Dean of students, jk - 8

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