Middle and Lower School Bids Goodbye to Mrs. Tuck
By Adrian C. and Anna F.
May 20, 2019
For more than 40 years, Mary Tuck, our beloved Director of Lower and Middle School, has served as a beacon of change and stability for students and as a role model to other educators. After a combined 22 years at Polytechnic and 19 years at Westridge, Mrs. Tuck planted the seeds of change for the future. She is now retiring. Mrs. Tuck is a legend in the hearts of students, faculty, and staff at Westridge and Polytechnic, as well as within the larger Pasadena independent school community.
Mrs. Tuck is known for being creative, approachable, and dependable. When asked about the biggest lesson she hopes she imparted to students, Mrs. Tuck spoke about the importance of making and learning from mistakes: “I hope that [students] hit those bumps in school. … We give them those challenges because when they get out there in real life— guess what?—you don't get graded. If and when you get bad grades, the best approach to learning from your grade is to ask for help and to use the help to educate yourself on the mistakes you made and the best ways to avoid them in the future.”
During her time at Westridge, Mrs. Tuck made a great impact on curriculum and pedagogy. For example, she has consistently advocated teaching the whole child and working on balancing social and emotional development with hands-on project-based learning. She has also encouraged teachers to be creative in the classroom. As a mother and an administrator, Mrs. Tuck understands the need for play in learning and realizes that young minds need to feel some connection to the topic to really understand it. When Mrs. Tuck began working here at Westridge, there was an activity called the Pet Show. Mrs. Tuck decided that two hours was not enough time to make the Pet Show meaningful, so she thought up Petridge, a day where girls can learn about endangered animals in a way that they will remember, with dogs (and cats). Through her expansions in the curriculum and student life in Lower and Middle School, Mrs. Tuck brought the best and most meaningful experiences to the Westridge girls she serves.
Retirement is a bittersweet prospect on the horizon for Mrs. Tuck. Although sad to leave her students and colleagues, she is eager to spend quality time with her family, including her husband, mother, a beautiful granddaughter, and a grandson on the way. With the stress and responsibilities of being a division director finally behind her, she can now throw herself into mindful activities like gardening, golfing, exercising, volunteering, and helping at her church.
Mrs. Awad, who is also retiring this year, fondly recalls interviewing Mrs. Tuck for her position as Head of Lower School over twenty years ago. During candidate interviews for the position, Mrs. Tuck stood out because of her experience. She was a mom as well as a teacher, and she had administrative experience. In addition, Mrs. Tuck’s approachability and willingness to listen were enticing. On the interview day, Mrs. Tuck interacted well with different types of audiences, making a wide range of people comfortable talking to her; students, parents, staff, board members, and other faculty members all felt that Mrs. Tuck truly heard them. As Mrs. Awad commented, “It’s the way she listens to teachers and understands where they are coming from. … She’s supportive, but also she’s a leader who has made me see things in different ways.”
The Westridge community is grateful for the dedication that Mrs. Tuck has given to her job. As we close this 2019 school year, we want to honor those community members who are leaving. Mrs. Tuck has shown all of us in the Westridge community what it means to live a life of impact. She will always live on in our hearts, minds, and actions.