Center Director / Co-Owner
Tom Shenk has just retired from 22 years as an elementary school educator. He enjoyed teaching 6th and 3rd grades for 14 years before becoming an elementary Physical Education instructor. Soon after switching to PE, he learned of the strong influence cardiovascular exercise has on brain function. This sparked a fascination with what current brain research is telling us about how the human brain develops and learns. He designed and conducted a pilot program from 2009-2011 where he implemented Brain-Friendly activities and techniques in a 2nd and 4th grade classroom of low achieving students. As a result of these efforts, he was honored as Teacher of the Year for his school, then his school district, and finally for Region II of the entire state of Virginia. He continues his efforts to make homes and education more Brain-Friendly by sharing his knowledge with parents, educators, educational leaders, and political leaders at the local, state, and national levels.
For Tom, opening the first Brain Balance Center in Hampton Roads is the perfect next step in his life. It combines his years of experience working with children who have social, academic, and emotional struggles and his Physical Education knowledge of the positive impact of movement on brain development.
Tom is tremendously excited to help bring positive changes in the lives of children and their families all across Tidewater!
Paola P. Shenk
Executive Director / Co-Owner
Paola Shenk is originally from Ecuador and the mother of two girls (Sammy & Thessa). She holds two degrees, one in Architecture and one in Early Childhood Education. At the beginning of her career she worked in Architecture and enjoyed the creative process, graphic design and use of colors and materials. She later found that teaching children was more in line with her passion and pursued a degree in Early Childhood Education. Paola worked as a pre-school and elementary school teacher in Ecuador. She also started a Children’s Entertainment Business that allowed her to combine her two interests of creative design and working with children.
While attending a Face Painting and Body Painting Convention in the US for her business, Paola met Tom Shenk. They married a year later, and she moved to the US. In 2004, Paola became part owner of A-1 Party Artists, Inc., a children’s entertainment company in Hampton Roads, VA. She managed up to eight artists, and handled all aspects of the business including marketing, hiring, training, purchasing, and internal accounting.
Paola also continued teaching as a Spanish tutor, substitute teacher, and an International Face and Body Art Instructor for Kids at FABAIC (Face and Body Art Convention).
In 2012, Paola attended a presentation by Dr. Robert Melillo about the Brain Balance Program. She left the presentation in tears understanding for the first time that all her cognitive, emotional, and personal struggles throughout her life had a coherent explanation and that finally there was hope. Regardless of her successes her struggles have been significant. She was working twice as hard for what came easy to others. She knew, after Dr Melillo’s speech, that there was a reason why she thinks, acts and feels the way she did for years. She is following a special BB program and she is experiencing amazing and subtle changes daily. She is a true believer and an advocate of this life-changing program. Paola decided to turn over the management of A-1 to a capable manager and pursue opening a Brain Balance Center in Virginia Beach.
Paola’s passion, business and teaching experience, creativity, motivation, and love for children as well as experiencing the benefits of the Brain Balance program herself, makes her one biggest assets to the future success of Brain Balance Center in Virginia Beach.
A Norfolk, VA native, Christin knew from an early age that she wanted to help others, and over time realized that working with children was her passion. As a young child that went through foster care and was later adopted, she developed a keen interest in childhood development and psychology. This led her to lots of volunteer work with children during her teen and young adult years. She went on to pursue a degree in psychology and fine arts to become an art therapist to help children from similar backgrounds. While attending Old Dominion University and working as an artist for children’s events, she met, Tom and Paola, the owners of Brain Balance Virginia Beach and became very excited about how Brain Balance dramatically helps children. The opportunity to grow and develop as part of the Brain Balance team since the center opened in 2013 has sparked a desire for further education in the fields of neurology and psychology. She started as the AD of the center and because of her skills, knowledge of the program and passion helping parents now is the former PD. She is currently taking psychology classes at Old Dominion University and is earning her certification in Childhood Neurobehavioral Disorders from the International Association for Functional Neurology and Rehabilitation. She enjoys reading, drawing, riding her motorcycle, and enjoying time outdoors with her husband and puppy.
Katy grew up in a small town outside of Lynchburg, Virginia, and originally moved to Hampton Roads to attend college at Old Dominion University. She found Brain Balance Virginia Beach shortly after their opening, while working towards a career in Occupational Therapy. After seeing the way Brain Balance improved kids’ lives, she could not see herself doing anything else. As a student coach, she was able to relate to the children because of her own struggles with focus and social anxiety during childhood. Her skills and talents quickly elevated her to lead Coach, and early in 2016 to Assistant Director and Program Director in training of Brain Balance Virginia Beach.
Intellectually, she is fascinated with the understanding of brain development and function at the heart of The Brain Balance Program. This passion has led to further education in the fields of neurology and business. She currently attends ODU and is completing her certification in Childhood Neurobehavioral Disorders from The Institute of Applied Functional Neurology and Rehabilitation, and hopes to one day open her own Brain Balance Center. She currently resides in Norfolk and loves to escape the city with her dog to go hiking, kayaking, and exploring.