March 2023: Staci Schwartz — children’s book author and bullying prevention activist, former geriatric physiatrist, wife, mom

PW Class of 1982: What do you do now for work? And what has your career path been?

Staci: For the past 20 years, I have worked as an educational consultant for children’s bullying prevention and have performed interactive readings and bullying prevention workshops for children in elementary schools, after-school programs, and religious institutions.

PW Class of 1982: You are also a musical theater producer!

Staci: A few years ago, I adapted one of my children’s books into a play, Billy the Baaadly Behaving Bully Goat: The Musical, performed at the 2019 Philadelphia Fringe Festival. With additional performances canceled or postponed by the pandemic, I used the time to expand the script, and I worked with my composer to write three additional original songs (bringing the total to 8) so that the show could now appeal to an even wider audience once it’s back up and running. I created Good Character Productions, LLC, and I am currently applying for grants and corporate sponsorship to support the development of a multimedia bullying prevention package that includes live and virtual performances of the show, a soundtrack of the music, books, and teaching guides for parents/caregivers, teachers, and children—all to teach kids to be kind, empathetic, and inclusive and to stand up for themselves and each other!

PW Class of 1982: You are also a medical doctor, right?

Staci: Yes! After graduating high school, I went to college at Ursinus and medical school at Jefferson. I completed a residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and a subsequent fellowship in Geriatric Rehabilitation at Temple University. I practiced for several years and left my clinical practice to stay home and raise our daughter. During this amazing time, I began to write and illustrate children’s books.

So many people have thought I was a pediatrician because I write children’s books and do bullying prevention work for kids, but my former clinical practice involved taking care of the elderly, especially patients who had strokes, arthritis/joint replacements, and cardiopulmonary disease.

PW Class of 1982: Tell us about your personal life.

Staci: I have been married for 30 wonderful years, since 1992! He is is a cardiologist at Jefferson. We have one beautiful daughter who graduated from the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania and now works for a Virtual Reality company.

PW Class of 1982: What did you dream of becoming when you were in high school?

Staci: A doctor or a medical illustrator.

PW Class of 1982: What advice would you give to your high school self?

Staci: I would tell myself to enjoy every minute of high school because that time of my life flew by much too quickly.

PW Class of 1982: What advice do you have for others about creating your best life?

Staci: Always put family first, pursue your passions, don’t sweat the small stuff, and treat others with kindness and respect.

PW Class of 1982: What would you like to say to all of your classmates today?

Staci: I just want to wish everyone the very best! We are so lucky to have grown up when we did—during simpler times. I am so grateful to have connections with classmates still, and look forward to reading our Classmates column to find out even more about what is going on in everyone’s lives!

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