Westridge Says Goodbye
As our year comes to a close, Spyglass would like to say goodbye to all those leaving the Westridge Community. Read one of our four features on those retiring, as well as short pieces on the other faculty that are moving on to exciting positions elsewhere. We are grateful for all of their time at Westridge. We wish you all the best of luck.
Middle School Spyglass
Since 2016, Tracy Hoffman has taught students as the Lower School Science Teacher. Next year, she will be teaching Life Science at Polytechnic School to 8th graders. Sad to leave Westridge, she reflected on how she will miss the fourth grade marble roller coasters, the fifth grade overnight experiential week trip, and the sixth grade earthquake engineering project.
Q: What is something about Westridge that you won’t forget?
A: The community, which includes the students, the faculty, the staff, the parents.This school is unlike any other school I’ve been at. It is a warm, embracing, wonderfully collaborative community.
Though those who have seen Ms. Vivian Liao in the classroom, deftly manipulating scientific instruments for labs or methodically explaining chemistry problems, might have a hard time believing that she actually took a “long and windy” path to becoming a high school teacher. Ms. Liao has previously worked as an air quality engineer, determining the environmental impacts of proposed construction projects, a professional DJ, and a baker, as well as teaching community college classes for about seven years.
Ms. Liao is leaving Westridge to become the director of the new innovation studio at the Athenian School in the Bay Area. She describes an innovation studio as “our Makerspace plus the art studio,” and is excited for the opportunity to “help the school figure out how to actually utilize that space and the tools inside and train a lot of the teachers.”
Q: What will you miss the most?
A: “The thing I will miss the most is the all-girls environment. I love how our students support each other... I love that we are open to people having different identities and diversity, whether that's ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.”
Ms. Becca Marcus has taught dance at Westridge for five years and service learning for four, but beginning this summer and during the 2019-20 school year, she will be taking on a new role at Chadwick School as Director of Global Programming. Ms. Marcus is excited to “design and run global programming for students, from travel experiences to curriculum to special events.” She also co-created the Westridge March Madness Table Tennis Tournament!, an annual way for teachers, students, and faculty to blow off steam and have fun playing ping-pong.
Q: What three things will you miss most about Westridge (in no particular order)?
A: “1. The food! Westridge has great food, always a vegetarian option at lunch, and lots of fun, food-related events.
2. The beautiful campus: I especially love it at this time of year, when it smells so nice with the jasmine and orange blossoms.
3. The people: From collaborative coworkers to thoughtful students, everyone has been so amazing to work with.”
After working at Westridge for 13 years, Cindy Martin, Project and Event Coordinator, will be leaving. Ms. Martin joined the Westridge community in 2006 and previously worked as the Assistant to the Assistant Head of School. As she looks back on her time at Westridge, Ms. Martin reflected on what made this community so special.
Q: What do you think is special about Westridge?
A: “The fact that it’s such a small community, and I feel like for the most part everyone's voices are heard whether it is the adults or the students. I like how it seems like everyone can kind of come together and to find solutions to problems. I like seeing how the students grow and have their voices be heard and all the activities and assemblies and things that you guys put on.”
Since 2017, Michael Powers has directed Chamber Orchestra, Intermediate Orchestra, Middle School Orchestra, and after this school year he will leave Westridge to pursue other career opportunities. In his two years at Westridge, he redesigned the Middle School music program and led Chamber Orchestra on an interim trip to Florence and Rome.
Q: What are your top three favorite things about Westridge:
A: “My favorite things about Westridge are Chamber Orchestra number one, the great faculty, and lastly, of course, the food.”
Kali Reider has worked at Westridge for the past three years as the Student Leadership Assistant. Kali will be leaving Westridge to finally finish her masters in theology. She is planning to help her friend start a BBQ pop-up restaurant called BBQ Box. She also plans on continuing to volunteer at a nonprofit that works with women who have been sexually exploited and trafficked. Kali mentioned how much she will miss students coming into her office to share their lives with her while sitting in her big red chair.
Q: What are your top three favorite things about Westridge?
A: “My three favorite things about westridge are the students, Greek and Roman initiation and competitions, and the dino nuggets (obviously)."