Every year around the December holidays, the MA faculty and staff gather to not only celebrate the holiday season but also appreciate those who have worked for the school for 5, 10, 15 and sometimes even 35 years. Seeing how much of the work of the faculty and staff goes on in a very public arena, I thought it appropriate to share the appreciations with the larger community. Over the course of the next two weeks I will be posting the appreciations. I hope you enjoy them.
Celebrating Five Years of Service to MA
When I interviewed Ellie five years ago, I asked her, as I asked all candidates, how she taught stoichiometry. And her answer made that complex concept critical for all students of chemistry as clear as I have ever heard it. Ellie has brought a sense of warmth and enthusiasm to the study of science. Her own commitment to being a scientist and her willingness to try things on have made her the teacher who can explain complex chemical processes and also put on boots and head out to do field work with her students. As the leader of the science department, she has been integral in helping us create a program driven architecture for the Science and Innovation Center. She’s also a two-time ironman finisher, and has forged deep connections with students as a regular outings leader. The gift of Ellie is she sees the connections between life inside and outside the classroom.
Without Robbie’s constancy, integrity, and work ethic, we would not be able to execute on some of our core values at MA. Very few people understand the integral role of database management, and the need for a sharp eye when it comes to knowing who our parents are, expressing gratitude in a thoughtful and timely manner, and in making sure that we can move quickly and accurately to recognizing others for what they do. In fact, Robbie’s job is so much about taking care of others, that I am grateful for this moment to thank her publicly for her generosity, her gracefulness, and her absolutely invaluable role in the growth of our school for the past five years. She is a true professional with a kind heart.
It is a little known fact, and she may not even remember it herself, that on her second day of work Evie came into my office and said — I really want to learn and grow, so please don’t ever hesitate to give me feedback. And thus began, at Marin Academy, the work life and contributions of the Formidable Evie Koh. Very few people have had two jobs at MA in five years. And very few have had such jobs that are so integral to the work of MA. We all know the many ways in which Evie was able to serve faculty and students as the registrar. She played a major role in critical analysis that allowed us to make important moves around Science and Innovation Center. As the Senior Associate Director of Admissions she has been able to combine her analytical skills and creative skills with her thoughtful and engaging presence with students and families. I believe she has truly found her calling in Admissions.
Several people in this room participated in what was essentially the founding of our school. Tonight I want to recognize Beth Sherman who has played a key role in ensuring the foundation of MA. As a member of the class of 1996, and in her role as Director of Alumni Relations over the last 5 years, Beth has brought an unwavering commitment to her school and has laid more than a few important bricks in the foundation that is MA. Her engagement with alums, recent and in the distant past, has allowed MA to build a strong database of over 2600 living alums — well over the majority of individual who have graduated from MA. Her tireless work in connecting alums to their past, while engaging them in our vision for the future, has made all the difference.
Perhaps it’s the Woody costume from Toy Story or perhaps it is his gracious smile and endearing laugh, but he almost immediately engenders a sense of trustworthiness from those with whom he spends his time. Once in a joking moment a colleague asked that if he had won the lottery for $100 million, would he stop working. His answer was no. And truthfully, I believe him. I am often reminded of Diana Ross’s rendition of “Aint’ No Mountain High Enough”. And when I think about the task at hand, whether it’s a high mountain or a wide river, Scott is always Marin Academy’s guy. He holds equally a sense of the right thing to do with the understanding of the people and the issues at hand.