Here are some of the most obvious things to note about Jamie. At 6’5” he is the tallest person on campus. In his early years, many of us noted the ubiquitous presence of his small brown pad on which he would take notes or jot down ideas. Now he doesn’t. The most obvious signature move of Jamie Collie, one that you can see any day when he is teaching in the BBLC 214 or coaching at the pool, is his kneeling down to work with his students or players as they struggle with a problem or a stroke or a strategy. And, frankly, this move says it all. No matter the complexity of the challenge or the frustration of the student or player, Jamie models patience, engagement, and encouragement. As the quintessential teacher/coach, Jamie demonstrates his faith in and commitment to his students through his purposeful and honest feedback and his unrelenting respect for them as individuals. It is always about them, their learning and never about him or his ego. But, let’s make this moment about him.
From her Midwestern twang to her genuinely kind heart, there is no one I would rather bump into on a Saturday afternoon at MA when I come in to do a couple hours of quiet work. And there have been a number of Saturdays where we have run into each other. Her students praise her for being kind and challenging, and her colleagues rely on her for her skill as a teacher and her can-do attitude. It was great day for Marin Academy when Krista decided to step away from the business world and her MBA to teach Algebra 2, Geometry, and Calculus. There isn’t a student who has had the privilege of being in your class who doesn’t learn that kindness and commitment not only makes the classroom a great place to be, but is also the best path towards meaningful learning. There isn’t a rock that you have left unturned as a former cross-country coach, as a current study coach, and everything in-between. You have truly put your commitment to community into action.
There are not very many people either by will or skill who can engage in an argument about the most important 19th century British and American novelist to teach. Should you find yourself wanting to engage in such a enlightening conversation, Nicole Stanton is your person. Unbeknownst to many, independent schools bare a lot of resemblances to the 19th Century novel. The layers of social interaction, drama, fashion, manners, and in all of these Nicole always maintains a sense of openness, compassion for the characters, and a recognition that each and every one of us is more important both as individual and a member of the community. As the school’s inaugural Dean of Faculty, she brought judiciousness, compassion, and a strong sense of responsibility to every decision she made large and small. We often regret the moment when a master teacher leaves the rank of teaching to become an administrator. In this transition, however, Nicole never lost her commitment to her colleagues and her singular focus on what was most important for our students. And it’s a rare person that has the courage to follow her heart and return to the thing that is most important to her. In Nicole’s case, she followed her heart, returning to the classroom, ever committed to making MA the best, the most inclusive school focused on educating the hearts and minds of our future.
Although Rebecca graduated from that other school in the city in 1995, that school across the bridge when she lived in Marin, I am most grateful that Marin Academy has been her home as a teacher and a leader. Rebecca’s commitment to all of our students, and especially to our students with learning differences and involved in the study coach program has been so thorough and profound that I can’t remember what life was like without you before you took on learning services. Her ability to see beyond what may be a painful moment of struggle for a student to how that individual can grow as a learner and self-advocate makes her the perfect person to do some of the most challenging work in our community. Her aspirations for the students and programs she serves and lead have made Marin Academy stronger academically, and more intentionally compassionate in the experience we provide. As a trustee, she always modeled engagement and a fondness for insightful questions. Thank you for what you have done not only for our individual students, but also for growing our school with a deeper awareness of how students learn and develop.