Synergy Academies Founders
Dr. Meg Palisoc is a co-founder and former CEO of Synergy Academies, a non-profit organization that operates nationally recognized urban public charter schools in South Los Angeles. Since 2004, Meg helped start three STEM-focused schools: Synergy Charter Academy, Synergy Kinetic Academy, and Synergy Quantum Academy, which serve over 1300 students in grades K-12. In 2013, Synergy’s elementary school was named the Best Urban Elementary School in America and the #1 charter elementary school in California.
Prior to starting Synergy, Meg was a former Los Angeles Unified School District teacher, writing coach, and visual and performing arts coordinator. Teaching was a second career for Meg. Meg was formerly the Director of Engineering Career Services at the University of Southern California (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering, and she left higher education to pursue teaching after she witnessed firsthand how there were not enough students from low-income families persisting in college, let alone in the STEM fields. So, Meg became a teacher and later helped create Synergy's schools to empower more kids to get into colleges such as USC.
After spending over a decade proving that the achievement gap can be eliminated, Meg left Synergy in 2017 and is now an executive coach and consultant for school leaders. Additionally, Meg is pursuing her childhood dream of acting and writing under her stage name, Meg Lin.
|Dr. Randy Palisoc is a Co-Founder and former Chief Achievement Officer of the national award-winning Synergy Academies, which operates three charter public schools in inner-city South Los Angeles (elementary school, middle school, and high school). In 2013, Synergy’s elementary school won its fifth national award and was named the #1 Urban Elementary School in America by the National Center for Urban School Transformation.
In 2014, Dr. Palisoc started Ironbox Education and created the Core Advantage math fluency system. He currently teaches at James Jordan Middle School, which has won back-to-back California Distinguished School Awards in 2019 and in 2021, both years in which it was eligible. Dr. Palisoc is known for making math easy, and he is a featured TED speaker. His TED talk on math education currently has over 3 million views on YouTube.
Dr. Barbara Shannon is a Co-founder of Synergy Kinetic and Synergy Quantum Academies. She served as the founding principal of both schools and, in 2014, became the Director of STEM Education for Synergy Academies. During her time as principal, Synergy QuantumAcademy became the first TEALS (Technology Education and Learning Support) school in Southern California. Before her retirement in June of 2022, Dr. Shannon returned to the classroom to teach Principles of Biomedical Science at Synergy Quantum High School.
Prior to joining Drs. Randy and Meg Palisoc, Dr. Shannon taught AP Biology, Biology, and 9th-grade Physical Science at Westridge School for Girls in Pasadena, coached the Science Olympiad team, and served as the Director of Multicultural Affairs. During this time, she realized how few women and students of color were in the STEM fields and decided to pursue a doctorate in Learning and Instruction to see how this could be changed.
Dr. Shannon has been in education since 1966. In 1972, she began her teaching career as an intern through a program instituted to provide more science and math teachers in underserved areas. She was assigned to John Adams Junior High School as a 7th-grade health teacher and an 8th and 9th-grade science teacher. She was also the girls’ track coach. As the demographics in the area changed, Dr. Shannon happily tackled the challenge of teaching science to students whose primary language was not English, including students from Mexico and Vietnam. Three years later, she accepted a position closer to home at Upland Junior High School. There she learned another valuable skill: how to help students become leaders in her role as the ASB adviser.
In 1981 she completed training and a residency to become a Clinical Laboratory Scientist. She returned full-time to teaching in 1983 and taught at the high school level until 2008 when she joined Drs. Meg and Randy Palisoc at Synergy Academies.
Dr. Shannon has presented at national conferences and, in 2022, received the Education 2.0 Outstanding Leadership Award. She is the co-author of an insect cookbook, “Entertaining with Insects,” that she wrote with Dr. Ronald Taylor.
Post-retirement, Dr. Shannon enjoys reading, photography, visiting family, and staying in touch with Synergy alums. She intends to found an organization that will support Synergy alums through college.