SCHS welcomes instructional coach Nancy Schlink and her plans to help students succeed


Rhea Gosain

Schlink brings 24 years of experience in education to SCHS.

Nancy Schlink had just started to set up her room at Wilcox High School. Out of the blue, she was brought into a virtual meeting with the district’s other teachers on special assignment, where she was told there had been reshuffling and she had to pack up in the next few days. She found out she was headed to SCHS. 

“I was over at Wilcox at their community day and I had just met the teams there and unpacked my boxes, and then found out I was moving here,” Schlink said. “It’ll just take a minute to get settled in and start meeting people and get to know everybody.” 

Schlink is SCHS’s new career technical Teacher On Special Assignment and instructional coach. She started in the position two weeks into the 2022-2023 school year. As a coach and TOSA, Schlink helps teachers with their lesson plans and teaching strategies. She also helps to analyze test scores and other data to help students succeed academically and have the best experience possible. 

“Every year, every period of the day is different with different people who have different needs,” Schlink said. “And so how do we do this job of teaching the best way that we can so that students enjoy our classes and are engaged, not sleeping in the back corner?”

Schlink has been in education for 24 years. She studied biological sciences at University of California, Davis and later worked at the Lawrence Hall of Science, teaching marine science, and mentoring teachers through the University of California, Berkeley. Schlink then moved to teaching biological sciences at Peterson Middle School, where she often found herself mixing cooking with science. 

“Any way that I could – even if I was teaching about plants – I’d be like, ‘So here’s the parts of the plant. Which of these do you eat? Let’s cook them and eat them.’ With chemistry, it was always food related,” Schlink said.

Schlink decided to study at the Professional Culinary Institute. She later began the culinary arts program at Buchser Middle School, where she taught for 12 years. While teaching, Schlink started her own business baking for high end events on the nights and weekends. Eventually, focusing on both careers grew exhausting, and she returned to concentrating solely on teaching. 

This year Schlink’s first year as a coach and TOSA after being a middle school teacher. She is anticipating the challenges the new job brings and is excited to be able to reconnect with her past students. 

“It’s fun for me to be here in Santa Clara and see a lot of familiar faces. A lot of former students are here, so that is super fun for me to walk around,” Schlink said. “Just in the two hours that I’ve been here, I’ve seen so many people, so many students that I know.” 

Outside of school, Schlink enjoys reading, pilates and baking. Drawing on her career as a pastry chef, Schlink enjoys sharing her recipes with others. 

Schlink has two dogs, Scruffy and Peggy Sue. Peggy Sue, a basset hound, is a show dog, who is descended from a long line of show dogs, and currently does confirmation and will do field trials in the future. Though Schlink tried to learn how to show the dog herself, she found the level of practice too much and has someone else show Peggy Sue instead. Schlink has always had a soft spot for hound dogs because they are independent, sassy and stubborn. They provide a respite from her often hectic career. 

“That’s the nature of being a teacher. You learn to just go with the flow,” Schlink said. “And you find your things that make you happy. Like hound dogs.”