Celebrating 15-Year Anniversaries at MA

Earlier this month at our employee holiday party, I read the following about individuals who have worked at MA for fifteen years. I share these appreciations here so that the larger community will know just how much we value these colleagues. Over the next few weeks, I will share more about those who have reached other milestones during the 2012–2013 school year.

Thank you again to our wonderful faculty, staff, and administrators—Marin Academy wouldn’t be the same without you!

Hideko Akashi

Hideko Akashi

Hideko Akashi

I am going to be honest here. I look forward to Halloween at MA because of Hideko’s costumes. The two that stand out the most to me are Russell from Up and her pairing with Lynne as an angry bird. At first blush, this whimsy may seem incompatible with the master teacher that we know Hideko to be. One need only see her Taiko students in concert to witness the discipline and focus that she brings to all she does. Listen to her as Class Dean speak of the 9th graders that she shepherds through their first year of high school, though, and you understand the power of her whimsy and focus. You can see how they work together. She has a clear vision of how to move a recent 8th grader to a near future 10th grader. She takes them seriously while also giving them perspective. Perhaps the most important lesson they learn from her is the lesson of community, how to join, how to contribute, how to shape, and how to value one. And we see this commitment from Hideko everyday, whether as teacher, Class Dean, Outings Leader, or long-standing member for our Diversity Committee. Thank you, Hideko, for all that you give MA, for your courage and commitment.

Ken Ellingboe

Ken Ellingboe

Ken Ellingboe

Most people in Ken’s position in schools are very good accountants. Very few, however, also coach state championship runners or are known for their dry sense of humor at the lunch table. Almost none of those accountants can help deliver a near flawless audit year after year. Wearing his signature jeans and sneakers, driving that Mini, Ken brings humor and perspective to all that he does at MA. And he humors us. . . a lot: how many of us have called him more than once even in the same week to clarify our TIAA-CREF or what the deadline is for reenrollment for our health insurance? Ken, thank you for taking seriously what needs seriousness and for not taking too seriously those parts of us that can be let go.

Marilou Graham

Marilou Graham

Marilou Graham

Every Friday, I am lucky enough to spend some quality time with Marilou: I am signing checks, and she helps me keep my spirits up! Let’s face it: without Marilou, we would all be lost. Her attention to detail, unwavering integrity, and good humor keeps things moving in the background. Without her, the works would get mucked up terribly. And who hasn’t gotten advice about gardening, fashion, and exercise from her? Marilou, thank you for all that you do for each of us, much of it unseen on a daily basis. It is truly an honor to work with you. Your combination of hard work, excellence, integrity, and humility are an example to us all.

Lynne Hansen

Lynne Hansen

Lynne Hansen

To say that Lynne is the epitome of understatement is, well, understated. This is a great quality for a career dean of students. Very little can unsettle her. It’s not that she has seen it all before, although goodness knows she has seen a lot, but rather that she understands the journey that is adolescence. In her awe-shucks way, it is easy to forget that she holds two masters degrees that focus on adolescent development. It is easy to forget that she has her own two teenagers at home. What isn’t easy to forget is how she respects students and affectionately lays down the smack when that is what is called for or swings into full support and triage mode when that is necessary. Even at her most focused with us adults, she is looking beyond us, keeping an eye on the kids. Watching Lynne watch our students is instructive: she is engaged, amused, bemused, respectful, and always hopeful. In her humble way, she is always quick to say, “I am not a teacher.” Well, let’s just call her out for that misstatement. I think that of all the things that I have come to appreciate about Lynne over the years is her sentimentality: she does wake up at 4 in the morning concerned about students and colleagues, she does cry quite easily. She is a person of great heart. Lynne, thank you for all the ways that you have helped to shape MA, thank you for putting students and their education at the center of all of your decision making, and thank you for the perspective and humor that you bring to us everyday.

Nancy Hoffman

Nancy Hoffman

Nancy Hoffman

Intellectually rigorous, a Californian tried and true, seasoned educator with rich experience, environmentalist, and lover of dogs, are all words that come to mind when I think of Nancy, and the list could go on. When Nancy gave me my first tour of the school, I was struck by her passion for education, her affection for MA, and her wisdom about students and teachers. If you have ever had the chance to observe her teach, you would see someone who was masterful at respecting students where they are and pushing them where they can go. It is wonderful to watch her handle our 9th graders. She fuels their natural enthusiasm, directs their inevitable squirminess, and always believes in them. She is the teacher that students look back and think, “I worked really hard, and it is a good thing.” Nancy, thank you for the ways in which you have made MA a stronger school and a place where students can thrive.

Brad Lakritz

Brad Lakritz

Brad Lakritz

It is true that he is the tech guy who can help us all solve our problems. Whether it is as simple as to remind us to make sure we turned off the caps or to remind us of an on-going debate about technology, Brad brings understanding of machines and a strong sense of human beings to his work. He loves to work with our students, and he has helped to develop their leadership and technology skills. An avid sports fan, a dedicated father, and a believer in community, Brad helps to keep us balanced in this modern world of all things technological. Thank you, Brad, for your behind-the-scenes work, for your willingness to help us figure it out, and for being such a joiner in our community.

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About Travis

Head of School, Marin Academy.
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