A Scholastic Spirit

A Scholastic Spirit

Dana Shaked is one of those people making a difference in the world of education from a corporate standpoint. As the Director of Merchandising at Scholastic Reading Club, her job is to sell books to teachers and students across the country, from Preschool to Grade 6+, and it’s a position that fulfills her professionally and personally. 

The Start of Her Journey

By the early age of three, Dana was a confirmed book enthusiast. The fact that she was chosen to be one of the Scholastic poster children is proof that her love for the written word was genuinely undeniable and obvious to everyone around her. Since then, Dana graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a major in English Literature and minor in Philosophy, taking with her the valuable life lessons she learned along the way. Her realization of the importance in having confidence in yourself was vital, and she tells Stepforward, “I realized I would be most successful if I could acknowledge my own strengths, and also figure out some of my weaknesses so I would know if/when to look for help.” Speaking of help, she found some in the late Dr. Larry Robbins, who taught a Shakespeare course at Penn. She signed up for his class at the start of her sophomore year, knowing she would have to work more seriously than ever before, but found him so brilliant and compelling she knew it would pay off. “That was one of the first times I truly applied myself and realized how satisfying it is to take on a challenge, work your absolute hardest, and succeed,” she explains. The discipline and focus she learned in Dr. Robbins’ class remain with her to this day.

Dana Shaked, front and center, in the yellow sweater – circa 1986

Her Role At Scholastic

Finding a role in your field isn’t always feasible, but Dana found herself in publishing — right up her alley as an English Lit major. When she started working at Scholastic, she realized her work and performance were no longer limited to her as an individual. There were suddenly other people who depended on her, and she found that really motivating. As long as she tries her best, she can feel confident in herself and proud of her contribution. “I don’t ever want to think ‘I could have done more’,” she says definitively. With a mindset like that, we’re sure she won’t have any regrets as she moves forward in her life. Dana says the best part of her job is that she truly believes in the mission, which is to get books in the hands of teachers and students and to help kids fall in love with reading. Sometimes working for a large corporation can feel frustrating, but she is extremely lucky to work with an amazing group of intelligent and creative people, and feels like she is constantly learning.

Dana’s Style Evolution

As a self-described “business casual” dresser, Dana admits it’s sometimes more casual, sometimes more business. “I went through a pencil skirt phase in my mid-twenties, I think I was trying to make myself look more legitimate,” she reveals. “These days it’s all about comfort: skinny jeans, ankle boots, and crewneck sweaters in winter, then short dresses with nude pumps in spring/summer.” Her confidence comes from within, but dressing the part and feeling comfortable add to the aura of professionalism that makes being a Director a career and not just a job for Dana.

What’s Next For Dana?

Never the type to have a ten year plan, or even a five year plan, Dana is playing it by ear. “I am getting married in August, so right now I’m trying to wrap my head around planning a wedding. So many details!” To learn more about the Scholastic Reading Club, visit their website and see the difference they’re making in the world of education.  

Dana for blog

Dana Shaked with her fiancé Thomas Conrad




Jesse Erin