Each year we recognize the five-year milestones of Marin Academy faculty, staff, and administrators. This year we celebrated in December, and I read the following about people who have served for five years at MA. I wanted to share these appreciations here so that the larger community could know just how much we value these individuals. In the coming weeks I will share more about those who have reached other milestones during the 2011–2012 school year.
Thank you again to our wonderful faculty, staff, and administrators—Marin Academy wouldn’t be the extraordinary community it is without you!
English teacher, coach extraordinaire, journalist, leader are all things that we know Mary to be. She is the consummate teacher-coach who understands that the best way for students to learn—whether in the pool, the classroom, or roving the halls as reporters—is to give them opportunities that challenge them, the space to make choices, and the support to work with complexity. When I think of the best combination of words to describe this incredible teacher who walks through the halls with such a joyful spirit, here is what comes to mind: compassionate candor. Direct, thoughtful, and engaged, Mary tells it like she sees it—always aware of the other person, always from a place of doing what is right for all. Now add to this the fact that she is an accomplished baker who can exploit the possibilities of combining dark chocolate with sea salt, and you have our colleague Mary Collie. Thank you for reminding us that amidst the hard and worthy work we do, we need time for the sweet as well.
There are many ways that we come to know each other, and I will confess that I have come to know Sue, in part, by her footsteps. Several times a day, sitting in my office puzzling over an idea or talking on the phone, I hear her deliberate, quick paced steps coming down the hall. They tell it all: direct, energetic, intentional, a can-do approach to anything that comes her way. She is a morning person, ready to greet what is about to happen with openness and thoughtfulness. Whether it is moving fast to make a deadline or getting something out, or welcoming a shadow, or organizing the hosts, Sue shows up. She has helped to create what I believe to be the best Admissions process in the Bay Area. She has a warm, quick smile for everyone. We are lucky to have her kindness and energy here at Marin Academy.
Lise Eisenberg’s feats as a baker are signature moves for her. If you have not had the chance to taste her carrot cake, make an order NOW. Seriously, it is the best that I have ever eaten. In addition to that, she has been a constant for all of us as a member of the café and foodservices team. As we have undergone changes, Lise has been the familiar face, the one who has kept us feeling comfortable, reminding us that taking our time and eating well should matter to us every day. I have gotten to know her best though when almost no one is around. In the late hours of the day, Lise is in the front office watching over the BBLC, answering the phone, ready to help if there is some after hours emergency. Often I have forgotten the key to my office, and she will let me in with hers. Every afternoon, as I leave at the end of the day or we leave together, we have the following exchange: “Goodnight, Lise, see you tomorrow.” “Take care, Travis,” she answers. Thank you, Lise, for being here at the beginning of each day, baking the best treats around and at the end of the day as we wrap it all up.
When I first met Josh, I will confess that the initial portrait that came to mind was this: gentle giant with an MA baseball cap, hair a little below the ears. It is hard not to jump to that. He is a big guy who has a ready, warm smile. What is most compelling about Josh, however, is what lies beyond that exterior, the less obvious but by far the most important. In his line of work, it would be easy, perhaps even understandable, to begin to look at the world through the columns of wins and losses. But those folks are not the real teachers and leaders in schools. For Josh, character counts and counts above any winning strategy. He brings integrity to his work, a desire for our athletes to learn about themselves and their role in a community as much as their skill. Don’t misunderstand me, Josh is competitive, but he is the kind of competitor who values how we win and lose more than the fact of winning and losing. And his world isn’t only about his role as AD at MA. He readily walks into challenges with an open mind and a willingness to do the hard thing. He provides wise counsel with a keen eye to understanding the practicalities of life; he is a voracious reader. And what a loving father. Thank you, Josh, for all that you do.
David almost always looks as though is he is about to laugh or tell you a really funny secret. “We can take care of that” are ready words that he speaks in response to all of our many and varied requests. No doubt, having David in Operations is a boon for all of us. He is behind the scenes working and learning, and his goal is always making MA work better. Here are just a few examples: he has been mastering all sorts of forms of technology to make sure that we are getting the best information to become greener as a school, more efficient in meeting our needs. He is a person of great initiative as well. He isn’t content to just check things off of a list, he wants to understand why something needs to happen and how best he can make that work. You should also know that if you are playing any kind of music trivia game, you want David on your team. Seriously. He knows it all from the 70s when I am pretty sure he was a youngster at best to the present day. And Liz and I are especially grateful as he has helped us to make the Head’s house as safe as possible for two young boys who seem to know no fear! Thank you, David, for all that you do.