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THE SEATTLE ACADEMY MAGAZINE VOLUME 17 FEATURES JULIA KASSISSIEH Dean of Curriculum and Instruction ROB PHILLIPS Associate Head of School JOE PUGGELLI Head of School ALISON RAY Dean of Faculty—Humanities, English Department Chair FRED STRONG Dean of Faculty—Arts and Athletics, Arts Department Chair MINDY WATSON Dean of Faculty—STEM, Mathematics Department Chair EDITORS Megan Conklin Sheila Hanrahan Paula Prewett DESIGN & PHOTOGRAPHY Megan Conklin PHOTOGRAPHERS Erin Aitchison ’97 Lake Lewis ’18 Karen Ames Caitlin Lyons Brendan Beyl ’08 Peter Nguyen ’18 Gayle Bush Kathi Petrotta Thaddeus Duhme David Pynchon Alex Garland Steve Rinn Rachel Godbe ’07 Claudia Smith Jazzy Photos Mark Strong Whittnee La Chapelle Lara Swimmer Nick Lew Katherine Ward ’18 MIDDLE SCHOOL 1432 15th Avenue Seattle, WA 98122 (206) 676-6880

UPPER SCHOOL 1201 E Union Seattle, WA 98122 (206) 323-6600 @seattleacademy



Seattle Academy prepares students for college and life. Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent secondary school with a mission to prepare our students to participate effectively in modern society. We, therefore, seek a diversified student body and faculty. We offer a demanding college-preparatory curriculum integrating the arts and emphasizing a global perspective. We utilize the resources of our urban environment to extend our classrooms, to enhance our programs, and to engage our students in public service. Most of all, we seek to graduate motivated young men and women of talent and integrity who are prepared to contribute productively to a changing world.

NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY Seattle Academy admits qualified students of any race, color, religion, gender, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or disability to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. Seattle Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other legally protected status in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship or loan programs, and athletic and other school administered programs.


TRYING TO SEE THE WHOLE FIELD Rob Phillips, Associate Head of School and Joe Puggelli, Head of School

Schools can easily become myopic, focused on the day-to-day of students, homework, programs, parent meetings, grades, and all that comes with being a school. Sometimes this focus is at the exclusion of what’s happening in the community, in the country, and in the world outside of the school’s walls. Learn about the ways that SAAS works to “see the whole field” for our students and families.

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The rate of change facing today’s generation of middle and high school students upon graduation means that changes are occurring at an unprecedented rate in all facets of human existence. How do we prepare our students and kids for an unknowable but fast approaching future?



The only true test of how well you teach your students is how they perform in the Real World. Seattle Academy’s Culture of Performance helps create and maintain the critical alignment between the learning environment and Life. An example of this is the junior-level Honors Humanities course, American Studies.

CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE 30 Alison Ray, Dean of Faculty—Humanities,

English Department Chair

If you put students in impossible situations, with no obvious route to an answer or solution, they must learn how to collaborate (not simply cooperate) and engage in true dialogue (not just debate). And they learn what to do when they don’t know what to do, emerging much better prepared to deal with life’s unpredictability.


MIDDLE SCHOOL/UPPER SCHOOL LEADERSHIP Julia Kassissieh, Dean of Curriculum and Instruction

Meet our new Middle School and Upper School leadership teams. Read about how they ended up in leadership roles, their daily experiences in supporting students and teachers, and what they love about their jobs.


STREAM AND HOW IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE Mindy Watson, Dean of Faculty—STEM, Mathematics Department Chair

We opened our STREAM (Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) Building in the Fall of 2015. Learn about how the new building has impacted our curriculum, our faculty’s teaching, and our student’s learning.



THE PROGRAM: OUR FOUR PILLARS Seattle Academy’s program is built upon the four pillars of academics, arts, athletics, and outdoor/travel. Learn more about each of these and individual program highlights from the 2016-2017 school year.

WHAT DOES GREAT TEACHING LOOK LIKE AT SAAS? Julia Kassissieh, Dean of Curriculum and Instruction, and Fred Strong, Dean of Faculty—Arts and Athletics, Arts Department Chair Read about Seattle Academy’s learning culture, our guiding principles about how students learn best, project-based learning, and the role of teacherstudent relationships in learning. Take a detailed look at a specific 6th grade project to see how our guiding principles play out in a real classroom. .


Seattle Academy's service to the community is far reaching. Read about our on-going service projects as well as new partnerships that were formed in 2016-2017.





Check out the extra-curricular offerings in which students can participate.

Learn more about our College Advising program and the graduates from the Class of 2017.



We are a close-knit community that understands and appreciates the contributions that each group adds to the whole. Read about our Board of Trustees and Parent Association's commitment to Seattle Academy, our culture of philanthropy, and recent faculty and staff endeavors.



Catch up on our Alumni Association and Alumni news.


Trying to See the Whole Field “Get your head up! Try to see the whole field” That phrase has a great chance of being the most frequently shouted phrase by coaches to their players. Why? Because it’s really hard for a player to see the whole field, especially when they’re near the ball. There is so much going on around them, happening so quickly, so many pressing responsibilities. And NOT seeing the whole field dramatically shrinks the available options. Not surprisingly, however, yelling at players to “See the whole field!” has limited value. Good coaching happens BEFORE that moment—coaching that prepares them, teaches them, to see the whole field and to act effectively and decisively at game speed. That is what makes a positive difference. But just as players can get their heads down on the field and coaches can get caught up yelling during game situations instead of better preparing their players for game speed, schools can get bogged down by what’s happening right in front of them. Schools can fail to see how the game is changing, how the needs of students are changing, and how the future is looking less and less like the present, and very little like the past. Schools can easily become myopic: focused on the day-to-day of students and homework and programs and parent meetings and grades and all that comes with being a school, to the exclusion of what’s happening in the community, in the country, and in the world outside of the school’s walls. At Seattle Academy, we spend a lot of time thinking about and working on how we can help our students develop an ability to “see the whole field” and then to act in ways that will be effective in combining their knowledge and their skills in moments of action. That’s why we’re constantly considering what kind of curriculum we should have, what courses should populate that curriculum, and how we can create a schedule that allows students to develop the key skills and content they need in core areas to pursue the talents they were born with, while also offering avenues for them to discover and build on potential talents and interests they might never have dreamed they’d have.


By Rob Phillips, Associate Head of School, and Joe Puggelli, Head of School

That’s why we hire teachers who are not only accomplished in their academic disciplines, but who also have a breadth and depth of experience in the Real World—not just in academia­­—because they know what Game Speed looks like in the world that our students will graduate into. That’s why we ask experts, from educational fields as well as from cutting-edge innovative and entrepreneurial endeavors, to come into our schools, walk the halls, help us interrogate our day-to-day reality, and give us feedback on what we can do better, and what we should be trying to do that we aren’t currently doing. And our commitment to our students is also why we don’t flinch from addressing tough, complex issues that come up in the lives of our students and in our community. Seattle Academy literally sits at a major intersection in one of Seattle’s most vibrant neighborhoods, in a diverse and dynamic city. So we are well placed in our mission “to prepare students for college and for life.” Living up to that mission requires us, as an institution, to “see the whole field,” to avoid lapsing into the myopia of daily details and adopting the limiting view of “independent school as walled compound” that is unfortunately a common perception and perhaps reality of many schools. Living up to our mission also means teaching our students how to think, not what to think. That’s not just a practice that is confined to academic discussions in the classroom setting; it’s a practice that is even more critical (along with having relevant skills) when students are confronted by challenging situations that intersect and even transcend the traditional boundaries of “school.” In fact, “preparing students for college and life” for us means preparing them to navigate as individuals and to come together as a community when tragedies occur. It means being willing to confront tough issues of racial and socio-economic inequality, to develop a sense of empathy and courage in recognizing and addressing historic and deeply rooted injustices, and to listen to each other openly and earnestly as we engage

in discourse and debate over divisive political issues. If you’re reading this magazine, the chances are very high that you’re either a member of our community or a prospective member—student, parent, alumni, faculty, staff—of our community. So we want to share with you several important letters that were written by members of our community this past year. Those letters are examples of how we respond as a school to tragedy, to tough issues, to historic and deeply rooted injustice, and to potentially divisive political issues. The letters should give you a sense of how our school’s leadership responds in magnified moments and how we work with students as they respond to charged issues. One of the letters is directly from students to the community. The first letter was a response by the school’s leadership (the Head of School, Associate Head, founding Head of School, and Board Chair) to an antiSemitic act of graffiti and vandalism that occurred at Temple De Hirsch Sinai, in the park right outside of our middle school. The second letter was written by the Head and Assistant Head of the Upper School, in advance of our major athletic event in the fall, as context for discussions that student athletes were having about how they planned to respond to the National Anthem, in light of other protests that were occurring around the country. And the third letter was written by the student athletes and members of The Onions, the school vocal group that would be performing the anthem at the game, explaining what actions they would be taking

during the anthem, and why, and what their process had been in reaching their decision. Those were important moments and important communications in the life of our school community. Our hope is that in sharing them here, you will come away with a clearer sense of what it means to us to have our heads up so that we can see the field; what it means to us when we say that we teach students how to think, not what to think; and what we think it means to prepare students for college and for life.


Trying to See the Whole Field Seattle Academy Community Letters

A letter in response to an anti-Semitic act of graffiti and vandalism that occurred at Temple De Hirsch March 11, 2017 Dear SAAS Community, On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this past week, our 8th graders participated in the Seattle Challenge Trip. For the 25th straight year, our 8th graders were learning about homelessness, doing service work in soup kitchens and shelters and food banks, and making a direct human connection with a real and growing problem in our city and our nation. On Friday, those same students came to school prepared to talk about the positive lessons of their Seattle Challenge experience, only to be confronted by graffiti at the Temple that said, “Holocaust is fake history.” That spray-painted statement—the action, and the ugliness it represents—is antithetical to what we believe in as a community. We can’t begin to adequately express how alarming and revolting we find the words spray-painted on the wall outside the Temple, but we can affirm our determination to stand in support of the congregation at Temple De Hirsch Sinai. We recognize the hurt and fear those spray-painted words provoke in our own community. And we want to say that the depth of our rejection of those words is exceeded only by our determination to reject, confront, and combat the malicious ignorance that is both implicit and explicit in the phrase, “Holocaust is fake history.” At Seattle Academy, we will support students in examining, articulating, and believing in a wide range of intellectual, ideological, and political perspectives. To do otherwise would undercut our commitment as a school to free and open inquiry and dialogue. That means our students will walk away from Seattle Challenge with a wide range of beliefs and responses to the problem of homelessness—responses and ideas that could be found in the platforms of the Republic, Democratic, Libertarian or Socialist parties. Our students should be free to reach a wide range of conclusions, and then respectfully articulate a diversity of opinions. That’s the “how to think, not what to think” expression of our mission. But we will not be a community that tacitly accepts ignorance, or turns away from the ongoing impacts of historic injustice. As Dr. King said in Letter from a Birmingham Jail, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” That means that we will, as central to our mission, ask our students to understand the dark history of anti-Semitism, the unconstitutional internment of Japanese Americans, the damaging legacy of Native American boarding schools, and the realities and ramifications of African American incarceration rates.


2 We will ask them to recognize the barriers that hard-working, law-abiding immigrant families— whether they’ve come here from Mexico, Somalia, Ireland or India—have to overcome. And we’ll ask them to consider the challenges that members of LBGTQ community face day in and day out. And we will do more than just ask our students to understand that the Holocaust was real— we will ask them to understand and recognize that the Holocaust occurred in part because people of conscience stood by silently and let it happen. We will support the Temple and its congregation; we want them to know that we stand with them in this moment, and we will provide whatever support we can, including increased attention to security in the neighborhood, and cooperation with law enforcement as this act of vandalism is investigated. And we will continue to ask our students to apply the lessons of Seattle Challenge—that homelessness is real, that it has a complex history, and that it has a human face—to the many other areas where we as a society are struggling to live up to our goals and values. We encourage you as a family to continue this conversation at home, in whatever form is consistent with your values and experiences. We’ll be addressing this particular incident with students in the coming weeks. Please contact us directly with questions, concerns, and suggestions. We’re also happy to forward on words of support and solidarity to Temple De Hirsch Sinai. This continues to be a challenging year, for our school and for our nation. But in the midst of all these challenges, there continue to be so many reasons to be grateful for a community that consciously works to strengthen the bonds that bring us together. We’ve been reminded time and again of how important it is to clearly articulate our values, and to take action in support of those values. And we’ve been reminded that we can never lose sight of the importance of taking care of each other. Sincerely, Donna Bellew, Board Chair Joe Puggelli, Head of School Rob Phillips, Associate Head of School/Future Head of School Jean Orvis, Founding Head of School

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Trying to See the Whole Field Seattle Academy Community Letters

A letter from the Head and Assistant Head of the Upper School as context for discussions student athletes were having in response to the National Anthem, in light of protests around the country.

September 22, 2016 Dear Seattle Academy Community, In 2008, we brought Tommie Smith to Seattle Academy to talk to our students about his choice in the 1968 Olympics. By raising his fist, Tommie Smith provoked discussions of what he saw as disparities between what the flag stands for and what he saw happening in our country. To him, his act was one of patriotism; to others, the absolute opposite. Smith’s message to our students was clear: Character. Conscience. Action. His message spanned beyond issues of race alone, and instead tapped into the importance of acting on a conscience that is built upon your values and your character. As many of you may know, there is a growing conversation occurring in the media surrounding how athletes choose to acknowledge the National Anthem. Colin Kaepernick’s recent actions have brought these conversations around race, equity, and inclusion back to the national forefront. Naturally, these topics and conversations have made their way into our classrooms, offices, fields and team meetings. As we approach Fall Mania, please know that many of our teams and athletes have been thinking deliberately about how they wish to present themselves during the National Anthem. As coaches, mentors, faculty and staff, we have worked to help students navigate these conversations thoughtfully. We have had the opportunity to engage and listen to students as they grapple with these complex and thought- provoking topics. We have watched them think deeply about themselves, about one another, and about the society we live in. We have watched as some of them have pulled aside our on-campus police officers and worked to gain perspectives far from their own. We have witnessed many reflect, grow, and begin to establish roots in who they are and what they believe. Their thoughtfulness has re-affirmed to us that our job is to teach students how to think, not what to think. In Tommie Smith’s recent response to Colin Kaepernick’s protest, he stated:

There are problems in a system that carries the flag and doesn’t address the needs under that flag. America is a great country—you better believe it’s a great country, one of the greatest on the planet—but even the greatest needs to pay attention.

Many of us would agree with Smith’s statement, but may disagree about what “paying attention” looks like. Our job as educators is not to create what “paying attention” is for our students, but to help them create it for themselves. Open inquiry, dialogue, and engagement help shape this community into what it is. It is our job to provide students the space (both physically and emotionally) and the tools to think, trust themselves, take risks, and feel empowered to share their beliefs. As an administration, we are in full support of our students acting on their conscience—however that may look. For some, that may be a deliberate act, for others, a lack thereof. We continue to believe in our core values of Responsibility, Trust, Integrity and Respect, and hope that you will join us in supporting and respecting our students. We look forward to seeing many of you at Fall Mania. Thank you, Lauri Conner, Head of Upper School Makenzie Brandon, Assistant Head of Upper School Jarad Gifford, Upper School Dean of Students 10

A letter written by student athletes and members of the Onions vocal group about their planned response to the National Anthem, in light of protests around the country. To the Seattle Academy Community The events and discussions taking place in countless cities across America have sparked a conversation within our team and within the Seattle Academy community. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” We feel that connection now more than ever. There comes a point when injustice can no longer be ignored, and that is what compels us to act tonight. The discussions we’ve had as a team and with others have strengthened us as we try to understand how we can act in a way that is true to both ourselves and our community. As one police officer we talked to put it, “There aren’t two sides to a story; there are at least twenty.” There’s a side of this story for every person in the bleachers tonight and for every person who has ever had to confront the way race is treated in America. We know that we’ll never be able to understand everyone’s point of view, but the conversations we’ve had have brought us closer. Every opinion deserves recognition. Knowing that, we stand in solidarity as a team and respect each individual’s choice to kneel or stand as the national anthem is sung. Our decisions do not divide us in two—everyone’s experiences and beliefs are different and by kneeling or standing we remain true to who we need to be. We want to make clear that our choice to protest is not a symbol of disrespect. We respect teachers, students, parents, and every person who is a part of the SAAS community. We respect police officers, especially those who work in and around Seattle Academy to keep us safe. We respect the sacrifices made by our troops and our veterans and hold them in the highest regard. We also wish to express our gratitude to our fellow SAAS students who will be performing the national anthem and want to emphasize that our actions are in no way intended to distract from their performance. What we see in the United States is a society where not all lives are valued equally. That is the reason some of us will choose to kneel, and all of us will choose to stay together. Our goal is to be part of the dialogue. This conversation doesn’t end tonight, and our opinions will continue to grow and develop through the discussions taking place. With the sincerest gratitude, we thank you for being a part of a community where we are encouraged and supported to express our beliefs. The Seattle Academy Varsity Girls’ Soccer Team, with the support of the Onions Jazz Choir


“ There is so much energy and excitement building in our community for the Fall 2018. We’ll open a new building that is dynamic and forward-looking and that creates so many new pathways for an equally dynamic and forward-looking community, campus and curriculum. ” -Rob Phillips, Associate Head of School


A Campus for the Future


A new Middle School... and more Our Campus transformation includes facilities that maximize programmatic flexibility and community cohesion. The recently


completed STREAM Building enhances scientific laboratory work and the Cardinal Union Building, opening in Fall 2018, includes a new home for the Middle School, second gym, rooftop playfield, grade-level community spaces, instrumental music classroom space, and additional parking. The completion of our campus transformation will ensure continued curricular innovations that have become a hallmark of Seattle Academy.


To learn more about the SAAS Rising Campaign please contact:

Special thanks to our many partners for this

Erin Culbertson

SAAS Rising donors, LMN Architects, GLY,

Director of Development (206) 676 6863

Seneca Group,Homestreet Bank, and the

volunteer committees.

project including the over nine hundred

Seattle Academy Board of Trustees and

SAAS continues to push the boundaries of a secondary education by preparing students with an innovative, hands-on, creative, and entrepreneurial education.

“The new Middle School building will offer opportunities to enhance our commitment to project-based learning with more space, larger classrooms, and flexible space for small and large group activities” -Nick Creach, Head of Middle School

The Cardinal Union Building and STREAM (opened Fall 2015) are projects funded by the SAAS Rising Campaign for Campus Transformation, a nearly-completed campaign to raise $35 Million.



I put my foot in cold water and hold it there: early mornings they had to wade through broken ice to find the traps in the deep channel with their hands, drag up the chains and the drowned beaver. The slow current of the life below tugs at me all day. When I dream at night, they save a place for me, no matter how small, somewhere by the fire. William Stafford

Dreamers and Doers

Echoes of the Past, Vision for the Future by Rob Phillips, Associate Head of School I

We eased the canoe towards the willow-covered bank and into the faster current that runs along the outer edge of the river’s turn. We were just a day into a week-long family canoe trip, on a river more than two thousand miles from Seattle in northern Canada, and anxious to set up our first camp. Our eyes were on the river’s edge, looking for a likely camping site. 16

Which is partially why we were completely surprised by the sudden noise in the water, just a few feet ahead of our boat and towards the main channel. When we heard the loud “Thwack!” right off of the canoe’s bow, we were all startled enough to send a shudder through the heavily laden canoe, and it took us a couple of breathless seconds to realize that we hadn’t run into a rock or submerged tree, and there wasn’t a bear or moose chasing us. There was, however, one of the North’s most impressive and prolific creatures right in front of us. A beaver had eased out of one of its hidden canals that connected the river to a beaver pond a ways back in the trees, and had whacked its tail in the water as a warning that we were encroaching on its turf. We watched for a little longer, drifting in the current, and then we resumed paddling. A few minutes later, we paddled ashore on an island in the middle of the river, set up camp, and soon had a campfire going on the river bank. As we sat by the fire, sipping coffee and hot chocolate and talking about the highlights of our day, we all agreed that finding this great campsite was topped only by getting to see the beaver up close and in action. They’re a remarkable animal, and their activities have played a central role in reshaping the landscape and human history of North America. As my family reflected on our day, I reflected on what I knew about the pivotal role the beaver has played in the exploration of the North American frontier. Beavers were at the center of a complex and lucrative resource-based economic system that was central to both American and Canadian history. But successful systems have a way of lulling their participants into a false sense of confidence and permanence...and then crashing spectacularly. That false sense of confidence and permanence was

dashed one day in London in 1854, when Prince Albert decided NOT to wear his ever-popular and classy beaver felt top hat. He selected a silk top hat instead and wore it to a big party. In so doing, he launched a new fashion craze, and within a few short years, the beaver trade was snuffed out like a candle at bedtime. I thought about how those graceful, industrious, and remarkable beavers that my family had encountered as we paddled serve in many ways as a good example of how entrenched assumptions, trusted systems, and venerated institutions can come crashing down virtually overnight. And it doesn’t always take wars or elections or advanced technology to bring down our assumptions, systems, and institutions. Sometimes, all it takes is wearing a new hat to a big party. Long after my family had gone to bed, I sat by the campfire, drinking coffee and looking out over the river. A little after midnight, the sun dipped below the horizon into the perpetual dusk of the northern summer, and a mist settled over the river. I peered into the wisps of fog and felt like I could almost see the canoes of the old beaver trappers emerging, heading downriver with bales of fur. Generations of Native Americans, Canadian Voyageurs, and rugged American fur traders paddled the rivers of the North and West and set up their camps, secure in the belief that they were part of an economic system that was lucrative and completely reliable. As I sat staring at the river, I wondered what assumptions we have for our kids and their futures that might be similarly flawed. What systems have we placed too much faith in? What questions aren’t we asking that we should be?



II Beaver furs had long been valued in European civilizations, in large part because beaver fur is uniquely adaptable to being shaped into felt. In fact, in the oldest versions of Cinderella’s story, her slippers were made of felt from furs rather than from glass. In the late 1660’s, an ounce of gold was not as unheard of as the price for a beaver hat. So as the European exploration of North America continued apace, gold-hungry explorers quickly recognized that the millions of beaver dams dotting the landscape were the REAL gold mines. And for many of the more than five hundred Native American nations who lived in the land that was being “discovered and explored” by the Europeans, trading in the plentitude of beavers for tools, weapons, food, and blankets was a different but equally alluring and lucrative sort of gold rush. In fact, a native trapper from the Cree Nation could, at a Hudson Bay post in the 1730’s, trade ten beaver pelts for a brass kettle, twenty iron fish hooks, two hatchets, eight knives, twenty flints for fire-starting, a gun and ammunition, two pounds of sugar, two pounds of tobacco, and one pound of trade beads. That haul, for a Cree trapper, represented enormous wealth—and all for an animal that lived nearby in abundance. But once the Cree trapper had staked his wellbeing on procuring a yearly supply of trade goods by trapping for the specific animals valued by the Hudson’s Bay traders, he had become on many levels a servant of the fur trading system. Which meant that, whether he recognized it or not, his well-being was tied to the cross currents and riptides of a global economy and—unfortunately—to the whims of European fashion. 18

For over two hundred years, the circumstances of global enterprise and the whims of European fashion intersected in ways that produced favorable economic terms for the fur trade. The wealth generated by the fur trade was staggering, and that wealth and opportunity was distributed across a wide geographic and demographic spectrum. Until it all suddenly came crashing down. Within a few years of Prince Albert’s silk hat debut in 1854, the once politically powerful and eminently profitable Hudson’s Bay Company was in shambles, and the curtain closed on a profitable business and an entire resource economy that had thrived for over two hundred years. And the individual trappers? Prince Albert’s fashion switch created an economic tidal wave that started in Europe, swept over the Atlantic, and smashed across the western settlements and the fur trading infrastructure of North America. Hardest hit were the trappers who were the very foundation of the fur trade. “Early mornings / they had to wade through broken ice / to find the traps in the deep channel / with their hands, drag up the chains,” as William Stafford writes in the poem that begins this piece. The skills they had acquired and honed became irrelevant or of limited value in the new economic contexts. The resource was played out, and their skills were obsolete. III I see a number of discouraging parallels between the trust trappers once placed in the fur trade and the faith that our society asks students and parents to place in the American educational system.

Students collect knowledge and some fundamental skills, not unlike the way trappers were asked to collect furs. Trappers had a very specific role to play in a transcontinental supply chain. Success and failure were defined in concrete and unambiguous terms. The architects of the modern American educational system were focused on America’s transition from an agricultural to industrial society, with students as the metaphorical products of an assembly line; ironically, students were also literally being trained to work on assembly lines. The result: a modern American educational system that emphasizes standardized tests, standardized skills and knowledge, and standardized outcomes. And as in the case of the fur trade, success and failure are defined in concrete and unambiguous terms. While the growth of private and independent schools was often in part a reaction against an educational assembly line aimed directly at industrial era jobs, many private and independent schools eventually accepted a dubious assumption: they accepted the premise that a meaningful education is whatever the most selective colleges define as success. Many independent secondary schools and many colleges share the fundamental assumption that getting kids into the “best” possible colleges will automatically, magically prepare them for what comes next. In making that assumption, independent schools haven’t moved away from the industrial era assembly line and its standardized product at all; they’ve merely targeted the assembly line to produce a different standardized product. And that product is determined by whatever the current criteria for college admissions process calls for. It’s not hard to visualize students as modern day trappers who, after traversing the landscape of kindergarten through college, show up at the trading post with a canoe full of furs—in this case, their canoes are their brains crammed with bales of information gleaned by doing a ton of homework, writing scores of research papers, and taking countless quizzes and tests. They’ve done everything they’ve been asked to do. A sixth grader who enters Seattle Academy in the fall of 2018 will most likely leave college and enter the work force in 2029. So that’s when they’ll “paddle” into the trading post of the Real World, with a canoe full of knowledge and skills to trade for entry into the job market. What are the odds that the information, and even the skills, that they arrive with will be relevant and valued?

What will they know that can’t be answered faster by asking Siri or Alexa? Lest our students and our children fall victim to the same trust in assumptions that befell the fur trade, they need to learn to ask the right kinds of questions– essential questions—about the Present and the Future. “What’s happening in the world, not just in our backyard?” “What socio-economic fault lines are widening, and why?” “How can we better understand and address the ongoing divisions in our communities, and the deep and real impacts of historic injustices?” “What is being prototyped in a lab right now that is changing what employers need from their workers and teams and leaders?” “How are robotics and artificial intelligence and virtual reality impacting the world and the workforce in real time?” “What are the jobs that their parents have right now that won’t exist in ten years?” Those are not questions that are asked, much less well-answered, in most curriculums, on standardized tests, or in private school admissions brochures. And they aren’t questions that students are usually asked to respond to in the typical college admissions process.

IV We ask ourselves those questions at Seattle Academy every single day. The rate of change facing today’s generation of middle and high school students upon graduation means that changes are occurring at an unprecedented rate in all facets of human existence. The changes are not occurring at a constant rate, the way the tides erode a beach, or at the speed that our kids outgrow their clothes, or even at the rate that traffic builds into rush hour. Seattle Academy doesn’t claim to have the answers to the questions above or to the underlying question, “What does the future hold for our students?”

But if we’re going to empower our students to face an unprecedented rate of change—that dynamic and challenging and potentially exciting future—we ourselves must think differently about what it means to educate them. If our graduates are going to be able to meet the future head on, rather than be side-swiped by it, we must arm them with an array of diverse and meaningful skills that they will have tested and honed in moments of action. They will need to be able to think and act and speak on their feet, which requires a special kind of grace under pressure. If our graduates are going to have a shot at effectively solving the problems they’re inheriting today, much less the challenges they’ll be asked to tackle ten to twenty years from now, they’re going to need to rely on a collaborative competency. And they’re going to need to be able to act upon a recognition and respect for inclusivity as the most practical and effective way to get multiple vantage points and multiple skill sets into the mix. We’re going to have to produce a generation of leaders who are adept at rethinking what’s possible and at envisioning and implementing creative, innovative, and sustainable solutions. They’ll need to be able to see opportunities that nobody else has identified yet. Unfortunately, schools often close rather than expand the aperture on how a student sees opportunities and thinks about what’s possible. Schools do that by defining Talent, Potential, and Giftedness in narrow and conventional ways. Our schools are filled with brilliant pattern thinkers who comprehend the world on a deep level but who perhaps process traditional academic material more slowly. So they aren’t considered Talented—by their teachers, their families, or even by themselves. Our schools are filled with students who make and remake whole worlds with their hands, but who aren’t the type of verbally facile thinkers that schools are oriented towards rewarding. So the kids who are better at doing than at saying see their Potential discounted. Our schools are filled with kids who have an emotional intelligence that allows them to truly listen to others, to see a way to bring people together, and to get the most out of any group they’re placed in—but perhaps they struggle with traditional tests. So their Gifts of emotional intelligence and intuition are either dismissed or at best patronizingly relegated to a supporting role for those who excel in the analysis of ideas and information. Ironically, those very students whose Talent, Potential, and Giftedness are discounted and dismissed may be the very people who are now and will continue to be best able to see


around the next corner: to think about, anticipate, and prepare us all for the future. The future requires a generation of leaders who are willing to dare, who aren’t paralyzed by a fear of failure or limited by the narrow definitions of success that so many educational institutions have committed themselves to. V I sat around the fire long enough to watch the sun peek back up over the mountains in the early morning hours. And I stayed up long enough to watch the beavers emerge from their hidden canals into the river, eager to tackle their morning chores. As I peered out into the early morning mist and thought about trappers and silk hats and the beavers swimming across the river, my head was filled with mostly unanswered questions. But as the fire burned down, and as I sat there thinking, one of the beavers again crossed in front of me as I gazed out at the river, as if to say, “What about us? Those trappers are gone, but we’re not. We’re still here, swimming back and forth across the river, building our dams and canals and beaver lodges.” And watching them steadily at work as the sun warmed away the mist on the river, I remembered that what was most unique about the beaver is how they are eminently at home in their environment. They are capable of adapting as their environment changes. And they can do more than adapt to change—they can shape it, make it, lead it. Beavers are Architects and Engineers. They are Builders and Shapers.

They have Creativity and Resilience in abundance. They are undaunted by challenges; they know what it takes to succeed; they are Doers. And perhaps they are Dreamers, as well. So maybe, just maybe... ...while they’re building their dams and canals and houses, they’re also showing us how to understand Creativity and Resilience, and Talent, Potential, and Giftedness; and how to envision the task of preparing our students and our kids for an unknowable but fast approaching future.


Some time when the river is ice ask me mistakes I have made. Ask me whether what I have done is my life. Others have come in their slow way into my thought, and some have tried to help or to hurt: ask me what difference their strongest love or hate has made. I will listen to what you say. You and I can turn and look at the silent river and wait. We know the current is there, hidden; and there are comings and goings from miles away that hold the stillness exactly before us. What the river says, that is what I say. William Stafford

By Joe Puggelli, Head of School



hen I came home from a sixteen-month journey to Southeast Asia that included voluntary service in the US Army and involuntary service in the Central Intelligence Agency my grandmother gave me a button that read: Experience: What you get when you didn’t get what you wanted but you did get what you needed. I wore the button proudly, and then spent the next twenty-plus years gaining more such experience (and in the process frustrating my mother, who once said to me, “You wouldn’t know a career path if you stepped on it.”)




hen I arrived at Seattle Academy in 1996, I met Rob Phillips, whose passage through the world and into education included a number of less orthodox back trails that made him equally deserving of my grandmother’s button. Rob and I found ourselves to be on the same page about a number of important things: one, we both believed that traditionally taught academic skills translated poorly into Real World productive tools. For example, in my experience as a professional writer working with editors, and as an editor myself of both magazines and books, I had learned the hard way that academic writing is frequently overdone, too complex, and insufficiently focused on the needs of the reader; all things that will get you fired as a real-world writer. Rob was equally convinced that post-college success as an oral communicator required a much larger “tool chest” of skills and habits than were trained in most academic settings. Two, we were also veteran coaches, I of football and wrestling in New York, and Rob of basketball, track, and soccer at Seattle Academy. In the interest of full disclosure, we didn’t get these jobs because we were outstanding applicants: Rob beat out zero candidates to get his job of coaching a Seattle Academy basketball team without a gym, a track and field team with neither a track nor a field, and a soccer team without a field; and I won out over no competition to get my job coaching a McBurney School football team that practiced in Central Park and played every game on the road, and a McBurney wrestling team that practiced in a room only slightly larger than a phone booth. Still, these experiences proved the wisdom of my grandmother’s button: The jobs hadn’t been what we would have wanted if we actually had had a choice, but they had given us what we needed.

Necessity is often the Mother of Invention. The adverse circumstances Rob and I dealt with every day as coaches offered only two options: Do things The Normal Way, and lose; or Try New Stuff that might actually work, and give your kids a chance of success. Some of the new ways didn’t work, and watching your athletes perform poorly because what you taught them during practice didn’t work in competition is an unpleasant learning moment for the coach. But we learned from our mistakes, and some of the new ways did work: my football team won twenty-seven consecutive road games, and the wrestling team had a least one state champion every year. Rob’s track team won the school’s first-ever Gold Medal at state, and then the school’s first-ever state team championship; and his soccer team has won four state championships. By infusing us with a passion for skill-development plans that demonstrably improved the competitive performance of athletes in games, our coaching back-trails had shaped us as classroom teachers.


WE KNEW THAT ATHLETES OR STUDENTS WOULD “PLAY UP” TO THE HIGHEST STANDARDS-IF THEY SAW WITHIN THEMSELVES GROWTH IN THOSE THINGS THAT DRIVE SUCCESS AT ANY COMPETITION LEVEL One day Rob and I sat down to design a junior-level Honors Humanities course that integrated American literature and American history. Both of us had taught English and history, preferred American history and literature, and were comfortable switching from one to the other. Our goal was to develop what came to be known as American Studies, a course, team taught by the two of us, which would be to the typical high school learning environment what a graduate-level seminar is to the undergraduate experience. We knew that athletes or students would “play up” to the highest standards —if they saw within themselves growth in those things that drive success at any competitive level: superb fundamental skills, well-developed higher level skills, and productive habits of mind and habits of action (the latter two patterns, we knew from experience, are just as important to college-and-life success as having skills, and these patterns are just as trainable). We were clear about the kind of student we wanted in the class: young people who, rather than running away from intellectual challenge, ran toward it; young people who were excited by an intense educational experience that might bring the occasional B or C or Q (more about the Q later), but which would also bring out their best and which would demonstrably prepare them well not only for college, but also for life. Fortunately for us, this description covered the Seattle Academy student body. As we thought about the course that would become American Studies, Rob and I were firmly on the same page about What to Do and What Not to Do. Both lists were a function of what we had seen as teachers: Every Humanities course on the high school level that we were aware of suffered from the same Three Fatal Flaws: Fatal Flaw One: No Humanities course that we were aware of included a steady dose of the kind of work that has always been a foundation stone of the Seattle Academy learning environment: a commitment to project-based, problem-based work that requires the application of skills, habits of mind, and habits of action over time to solve a real-world problem that engages students and inspires their best work. We therefore planned that the students would have a significant project or problem to grapple with in each of our three trimesters. Fatal Flaw Two: The philosophic framing of the American Studies Humanities courses we were aware of tilted either too far to the positive (We’re the greatest: America is the Shining City on the Hill) or to the negative (Fascist Amerika: Aren’t we terrible?). We determined to be as fair, balanced, and honest as we could be about the forces that produced not only the beautiful vision of the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg address, but also the shameful reality of Sand Creek and of the murder of Emmett Till. And, Fatal Flaw Three, what we saw as the biggest flaw of all in Humanities courses: Skill development took a back seat to class discussion.


We have a heavy dose of skill and habit development, where the development of skills and habits would be measured by real-world standards.

Skill development exercises, especially those that train speaking and writing skills, are the equivalent of eating one’s vegetables. Class discussion, especially in a room full of the kind of high verbal students and teachers who would be attracted to a Humanities course, can be the equivalent of eating chocolate cake (class discussion is a lot more fun for both teachers and student, and a lot less work).

you know what you’re talking about and what point you’re trying to make, but I’m the reader and I don’t have a clue about either; this is not school, where the teacher has to read what you write. If you can’t connect with a reader right away, the reader is gone. And if my readers are gone, my magazine goes out of business and I’m unemployed.”

A student with a Q was required to have a revision We planned, therefore, to have a heavy dose of skill and conference with me and to hand in a new draft that habit development, where the development of skills and reflected the specifics of this conference. He or she could habits would be measured by real-world standards. then take the grade on the revision and had the option of revising the essay again. The same revision option existed For example, the aforementioned Q was a common for any student with any essay, and all students were taught grade for a student essay that contained the same failings the same rule my editor quoted to me, “The three rules of that an editor once cited as he eviscerated, with good great writing are Revision, Revision, and Revision.” reason, my draft of an article for his magazine: “I guess 27

And students making oral presentations learned quickly how to engage with audience members who not only disagreed with the presenter’s thesis, but who also denied every implicit and explicit premise that led to the thesis. The first time that students were exposed to such grilling during an oral presentation, at the end of the first trimester, they had the same level of success that I had had with the editor of my article. After intensive coaching, and with the benefit of Having Been There Once, they were markedly better—although still not good—in a similar situation at the end of the winter trimester. After more coaching, much of which was designed to teach them how to coach themselves, they were then ready, or as one student put it, “readier,” for the capstone project of American Studies, the Civil Disobedience Project Presentations. (See Alison Ray’s article on page 30.)

LOOKING BACK Being involved in the creation of American Studies and then teaching it for years with Rob, was, to quote my grandfather, more fun than being a fat rat in a cheese factory. What is clearer now, with hindsight, is that American Studies benefited from taking root and growing in a learning environment that was the perfect garden for its seed.

The Seattle Academy Culture of Performance helps create and maintain the critical alignment between the learning environment and Life. The truth is that the Culture of Performance is an effective training mechanism because it replicates Life. From Grade 6 through Grade 12, our young people can’t just sit in class and memorize information: they have to do work, especially project-based work and problem-based work, that requires them to use different skills in a moment of action, frequently before an audience that will judge them not by their standardized test scores, nor by how charming they are, but by their actions under the pressure of scrutiny. They learn the acceptance of failure as part of the process of success; the use of all capacities, including the rational, the emotional, the creative, and the intuitive; and the absolute necessity of assessing the audience and adjusting one’s plan based on the reality of the audience.    The Culture of Performance was the launching pad for the success of American Studies. We watched over the years as young people ventured out of the Comfort Zone that prevents real growth and into the Discomfort Zone where most real growth takes place. A young lady who later went to Harvard got a Q on her first American Studies essay, the first non-A grade she had gotten on a piece of writing in her life. Three revisions later, it was an A, and she had learned the difference between school-good and real-good. 28

And we purposefully pushed students (and they willingly—but not always enthusiastically J—went) into the Panic Zone, that Foreign Land where You’re In Over Your Head and you have No Clue about what to do next, but you’d better darn well Do Something and Quickly, because Everybody is Expecting You To. We pushed them into that Unknown because, as Rob and I would tell them, the only way to avoid the Panic Zone is to lead a dull life. And since Seattle Academy graduates do not lead dull lives, and since you are going to end up in a Panic Zone sooner or later, it’s a good thing to learn how to become more comfortable in one; and learn how to navigate through one by trusting your capabilities and by having the confidence that you have earned through experience that you’ve been here before and you made it through and you’ll make it through this time. And every kid did. A retired University of Virginia professor, whom we had asked to be a panel member in the Civil Disobedience Project presentations, later wrote to me, “In my thirty plus years of teaching at the college level, I have never seen a group of college students as good as your students were at making and defending a cohesive position on an issue involving truly complicated legal and moral conundrums; and they did so in the face of rigorous and relentless questioning by faculty and panelists that went far, far beyond what I had expected to see in a high school class.”

THE ONLY TRUE TEST …of what you teach your students is how they perform in the Real World. Here’s an example of the impact of American Studies on students: American Studies alumni Dorothy “Dot” White and Daniel Stewart both did their senior projects (a six-week capstone experience which involves a senior working as an intern in an area business or non-profit) at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. They were given a job that no one at Fred Hutch had the time to do, or knew how to do, one that several years before had frustrated the programming professionals to whom the task had been outsourced. That task was to create a usable database from hundreds of pathology reports. The programmers to whom the job had been given were successful “inthe-box” thinkers, but they failed to solve this out-of-the-box, Gordian Knot of a problem of creating a practical tool out of the mess of a gazillion pathology reports written by many doctors with different communications skills and different writing styles, who made both significantly and subtly different language choices; and who used different protocols for templates and formats. Now we can’t take credit for Daniel and Dot being two really smart young people; they were smart when they came to us. But both of them say that being used to the hurly burly, rough-and-tumble learning environment of American Studies made them well prepared for the hurly burly, rough-and-tumble “real world” of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and gave them a plan for grappling with a “wicked” problem that had no solution but which they solved. When they found themselves in a metaphorical Strange Land without a compass, Dot and Daniel had been there before. They knew that even when one is lost, there are principles and rules that one can rely on, that the sun still rises in the east and sets in the west, and that moss still grows on the north side of trees. Or, as Daniel put it, they followed a rule of thumb that they had picked up during their Civil Disobedience Project: “We learned that there are problems you can solve by figuring out the Big Picture, and then the details work themselves out; and there are problems where you work out some of the details, and then you can see the Big Picture. We tried both approaches. The second one worked.”

JOE PUGGELLI Head of School

Joe Puggelli began his tenure as Head of School in 2009 following the retirement of our founding Head of School Jean Orvis. He has been with Seattle Academy since 1996 and, prior to his appointment as Head of School, served as Assistant Head of School, Head of the Upper School, and English Teacher. Under his leadership, the school has successfully completed a $35 million capital campaign, SAAS Rising, which has enabled our campus expansion including the addition of the STREAM Building (opened in Fall of 2015) and moving the Middle School to the Cardinal Union Building (opening in the Fall of 2018) on the 12th Avenue Block. Joe’s accomplishments also include ensuring that the school’s dedication to project based, innovative learning and a close-knit community stayed strong. This has included developing the junior-level Honors Humanities course that integrated literature and history (American Studies), expanding the senior project (internship) program, developing the marketing and communications department, and recruiting and training some of the most accomplished, innovative, and dedicated faculty in Seattle. A recipient of the prestigious Newsweek/ Sallie Mae “Inspiring Teacher” Award, Joe has written extensively about the theory and practice of teaching and coaching. He has considerable experience in business as a magazine owner/publisher, management consultant, novelist, and Playwright. He is a veteran on the U.S. Army who was twice decorated during the Vietnam War. Joe will be retiring from Seattle Academy in June of 2018. Rob Phillips, our current Associate Head of School, will be Seattle Academy’s third Head of School.

By Alison Ray, Dean of Faculty—Humanities, English Department Chair Eli Bernstein ’17 stood at the podium, about to share a personal anecdote at the request of one of his teammates, fellow junior Nia Kajumulo ’17. Nia had asked Eli to share a story as part of their team’s closing argument in this major class presentation, knowing that now was the perfect moment for her story to be told. Earlier, during her portion of the presentation, she spoke about the potency of the Confederate flag as a symbol for her and her family. Despite the damage she believed that symbol caused, she still believed that education was the only path toward reconciling differences when they appeared in society. Eli and Nia’s group of six students had learned to trust one another through weeks of difficult conversation and hard work. As Eli spoke, his teammates sat nearby on the stage, their emotion evident in their faces as he related Nia’s story.


Each summer, Nia’s father, a local soccer coach and a Tanzanian immigrant, traveled to rural Washington where he held a camp near the property of a farmer who flew a Confederate flag. Each year, her father advocated, through engaging the owner in dialogue, for the flag’s removal. Though that dialogue did not produce that desired result he kept at it, in part to encourage the owner to consider what meaning that flag imposed upon him, his daughter, and many of his players as visitors to that community, and also because he believed that conversation was a powerful means by which to promote change. That anecdote, delivered in Eli’s closing, and Nia’s context setting remarks a little earlier, were parts of a presentation for the American Studies Civil Disobedience Project. A culminating moment for the year-long course, the project itself requires an intensive presentation with many components. Students prepare a solution—including a hypothetical act of civil disobedience—for a set of injustices set in a school community. In addition to considering ethical and constitutional arguments regarding those injustices, they analyze the situation and their response to it from the perspective of thinkers like James Madison, Henry David Thoreau, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Perhaps most importantly, they consider the real-life ramifications of the divisions created within a community when injustice occurs. In the hypothetical scenario that had been posed to Eli and Nia’s group, a young woman attends the prom at a fictional independent college preparatory school in a dress cut from fabric bearing the design of both the Confederate and American flags. Though the student’s motivations were artistic and political, not malicious, conflict erupts, which obscures her original intentions and results in disciplinary action without due process. Ongoing tensions reveal a fissure in the community. In particular, the fissure reveals the school’s inability to act according to its mission and to apply sound policies. At the podium that day, in his group’s closing, Eli spoke about his personal discoveries during the project, and how those fueled him to want to do better. He and his group members had undergone a series of tests and discussions regarding their biases, and he spoke honestly about their results. With greater awareness and through honest dialogue, he hoped, they could address the complexities at the heart of an impossible situation. Far Left: Nia Kajumulo ’17; Left: Eli Bernstein ’17


His group knew and demonstrated a valuable lesson: Acts of conscience are most often collaborative. Nia and Eli’s group convinced everyone in that room for the presentation that their plan had a chance of working in the real world, achieving perhaps the most fundamental objective of the project. The following year, as a senior, Nia reflected, “During the presentations, I felt like my team supported me in helping me find out that what I had to say was important, that my family’s experiences and perspectives matter, and that it was about making connections between people and ideas. The project was a place where my life and school and the world all came together.” The Civil Disobedience project began over fifteen years ago when then American Studies teachers Joe Puggelli and Rob Phillips invited two Seattle Academy parents into the classroom to help students apply Constitutional literacy in a way that intersected with their lives as high school students. Pat Noonan and Ron Schiffman, parents of graduate Matthew Schiffman ’01, are attorneys with extensive experience working on human and civil rights issues both nationally and internationally. Particularly interested in the philosophical and constitutional elements of the American Studies course their son was enrolled in, Pat and Ron proposed a version of a project they had implemented at a college on the East Coast. Their proposal was adopted, and the Civil Disobedience Project quickly became the capstone project of our American Studies course. Though the scenarios with which students grapple change over the years, many aspects of the project remain fundamentally the same. For one, the project’s core has always been, in the words of Joe Puggelli, “To put talented people in impossible situations, with no obvious route to an answer or a solution, so that they must learn what to do when one does not know what to do, and they therefore emerge markedly better prepared for Life’s ambushes than they were before.”


Over a period of weeks, students prepare for their group’s ninety minutes on the stage, during which they both present and are questioned about an “impossible” scenario. Though those ninety minutes are critical, so are the days of thought and preparation that lead up to that experience. During their weeks of preparation, students learn how to collaborate (not simply cooperate), given a difficult set of tasks. They engage in true dialogue (not just debate), in order to arrive at understandings that then allow them to support one another during the performance. And they learn what to do when they don’t know what to do. That ability to know what to do when we don’t know what to do is vital to navigating the world today, and it’s a vital part of the mission of Seattle Academy. To prepare students for college and life, we have to prepare them to creatively solve problems that we haven’t yet faced, those that we cannot even yet predict. The fictional scenario mentioned above (and any scenario assigned for the project) contains many elements that our students might have heard referenced in soundbites from the news over the years and up to the current day. To address the problems, they have to wrestle with tensions that arise from issues related to race, gender, and sexual orientation, conflicts resulting from due process violations within an institution, and the implications of and potential limitations on free speech. And they have to consider all of these human problems in real human context, meaning they have to strive for balance between the intellectual and the emotional. Longtime American Studies teacher Steve Retz notes that the teachers (the course is teamtaught) “craft Civil Disobedience scenarios that are often ripped from the headlines, such as recent controversies over transgender bathrooms in schools, and students need to go far beyond simply doing what they might think is right as an individual teenager and really work to consider how they can bring different constituencies in a community back together, to restore a wholeness that had been fractured by a controversy.”

In developing their presentations, students have to apply what they’ve learned during the year in their study of American history, writing, and rhetoric, and they do so given topics that bring their academic work into the world of today. Retz notes, “The greatest value to me as a teacher is to help students work their way through these complex situations and create responses that really take into account the diverse positions of people that are in conflict. Given how difficult it is for adults to cooperate and truly collaborate to solve these kinds of problems, it is a fantastic educational experience for our kids to work on these same kinds of real life problems that simply don’t have any easy answers.” Joe Puggelli observes that in order to be successful in the project—with “success” defined as evolving and defending a plan under circumstances that would “send King Solomon running for the exit”—students must access empathy. They learn one of life’s valuable lessons, that “Before I worry about a solution, before I can even determine what the problem is, I need to work to understand, from the inside out, both intellectually and emotionally, what is driving this person who is on the other side of the table who has a view of the world that is as different from mine as Earth is from Mars.” Empathy is often missing from discourse today, yet it is critical if we hope to address the fragmented nature of the nation and society. How can we help build such an understanding? One of the great benefits of Seattle Academy’s Culture of Performance is that it requires students to do things publicly that will sometimes result in failure. There is certainly pleasure in publicly performing and doing well, receiving recognition for a talent that one has developed. But struggling or failing in front of an audience, especially in a community built on relationships that encourage healthy risk-taking, actually promotes and develops empathy. Because students have to perform in all areas of the school program, not just in self-selected areas of strength or interest, they learn both how and why to consider what others might be feeling when facing their particular challenges or when expressing their particular point of view on a problem. That awareness comes into play in the Civil Disobedience project when students have to plan acts of civil disobedience that are acts of resistance with the intention of forcing negotiations as a follow-up step. Both non-violent direct action and negotiation require understanding multiple perspectives if they are to produce effective results. Top: Ben Gode ’17. Middle: Kenji Lee ’17. Bottom: Emily Piette ’17.


During their weeks of preparation, students learn how to collaborate (not simply cooperate), given a difficult set of tasks. They engage in true dialogue (not just debate), in order to arrive at understandings that then allow them to support one another during the performance. And they learn what to do when they don’t know what to do.

Students also have to take into account the practical barriers to empathy, so they learn about the systems and structures that often limit or guide human behaviors. Greg Magnan, a professor at the Seattle University Albers School of Business and Economics and longtime guest presenter during the project, teaches students how to apply systems thinking to their project scenarios. Magnan teaches that “the structure of the system creates the behavior of the system,” and that refrain leads students to investigate their scenarios for the structural problems they need to address. As Magnan says, “Systems thinking can help to identify the ‘leverage point’ in the system— where best to intervene—which is an important learning for all of us, not just the students in the American Studies class. And an added benefit of Systems Thinking is to begin to understand unintended consequences: where they come from, and how to carefully consider them before acting,” which is an important skill for intelligent and mature problem-solving.


Top: Associate Head of School Rob Phillips teaching American Studies. Middle left: Alison Ray, Dean of Faculty-Humanities, English Department Chair. Middle right: Steve Retz, History Department Chair. Bottom: Greg Magnan, Ph.D., Seattle University Albers School of Business and Economics, Photo courtesy of Greg Magnan.

Both Henry David Thoreau and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. argue that it is our duty to take action when systems break down or produce injustice as a result of dysfunction. For our students today, identifying where or why those breakdowns occur is more complicated than ever, as is knowing how to address dysfunction when it occurs. The nature of activism and protest is changing before our eyes, occurring on the public stage by way of traditional and new media. Our students are thus inundated by messages about issues of social justice, and they care deeply about civic action, but they can also become overwhelmed by the number of opportunities to act. Should they sign a petition? Take to the streets for marches and rallies? Participate in fundraising efforts? Or work for a political campaign? They want to do something for causes they care about, but they don’t always know how to choose, what to choose, where to start, or how to predict and then evaluate their impact. Though the Civil Disobedience project does not make its goal to teach students how to protest, it does ask them to learn about and reflect on the longstanding tradition of resistance in the American experience. And it encourages them to consider how one might most effectively solve complex problems in an ever-changing world. For many students, the demands of the Civil Disobedience project help them think through what they care about based on their values, what meaningful action might look like, and how to go about creating community around those issues. As Eli noted in his closing remarks that day, “The right solution is often the toughest one, but as members of a community, it’s up to all of us to strive to better our world.” The Civil Disobedience project teaches students to define an act of conscience in a collaborative—and therefore more powerful and enduring—fashion, and in that collaboration, the community of our classroom becomes a critical place to begin conversations that lead to meaningful change.

Top: Andy Kaplan ’09. Bottom: Fia Green, ’10


NEW LEADERS AT SAAS As Seattle Academy prepares for Rob Phillips to take the helm as Head of School in 2018, other leadership transitions have also taken place in the 2016-2017 school year. Featured here are the new division leaders in the Middle and Upper Schools. These five SAAS team members have a range of experiences under their belts and last year took on the challenge of leading the Middle and Upper Schools. Julia Kassissieh, Dean of Curriculum and Instruction, conducted the interviews with SAAS’ new division leaders.


How would you describe your team leadership style?

How did you end up a leader at SAAS?

We want to help people to be the best version of themselves. We believe we are lucky to have a highfunctioning team with players who make high-quality decisions. In that analogy, players decide when and how to move on the field. We are not striving to control or to ensure compliance, as much as we aspire to engage people to take ownership over their work and to provide the autonomy for them to have that ownership.

Caitlin: I started as a 6th grade English teacher, and then became the 6th-grade Coordinator team lead. Being a Coordinator made me curious about life beyond the classroom and life in Middle School. And as the 6th grade lead coordinator, I found myself drawn to big picture conversations about middle school life. Nick: I was a Middle School athletic director—but I really wanted to work more closely with kids and families. I was looking for a challenge, for a purpose. When the opportunity came up to work at SAAS, I jumped at the chance to grow in my job and to keep myself more closely aligned to what I believe as an educator. Team: SAAS is an exciting place to be a leader. We believe so wholeheartedly in the mission and how we take care of kids. Middle school is a fun and important time in a kid’s life and so this is crucial work supporting kids and families. What do you love about your work? We really love the people. There is such a strong community feeling with the faculty and staff, and everyone loves the work they do. The kids really are great. No two days are the same. The variety and unpredictability make every day fun.

How do you lead for a healthy middle school learning environment? Leadership is a very human endeavor. We must understand people as humans with lives and feelings. We want to know who they are—kids, families, co-workers. That’s what is special about SAAS: we meet people where they are. Compassion is a huge part of how we work. For the students, we try to create healthy opportunities to try new things in a safe space. Middle schoolers have appropriate and increasing levels of independence. Giving students choices is really important at this age. We work with the kids to internalize our Core Values and we expect them (along with all of us) to carry them out. That’s what we’re striving to be.

What does your team do daily to support the students and teachers? We definitely model collaboration and our SAAS Core Values. That makes for a healthy, positive culture that is very collaborative. We want everyone to have an opportunity to grow, to learn from every experience and to be kind and gracious to others.

Middle School New Leaders from left to right: Caitlin Lyons, Dean of Students. Nick Creach, Head of Middle School.



Upper School New Leaders from left to right: Makenzie Brandon, Assistant Head of Upper School. Lauri Conner, Head of Upper School. Jarad Gifford, Dean of Students.

UPPER SCHOOL INTERVIEW What does it mean to your team to develop a healthy functioning Upper School? We start with a place where students are in a safe space: both physically and emotionally. They can share critically, analyze, think, and fail. Students challenge one another and what they are learning. We see them developing opinions and beliefs, and we want to teach them to be self-advocates; to use their voice to make changes and to create their own values. What kind of culture are you striving to create in the Upper School? We are striving toward a community where students can self-identify values and where we can help them align actions to those values. Doing this requires thinking beyond the classroom setting. Kids are taking deep dives into the school work, but they are also building strong relationships outside the classroom to be a productive part of the community. One might consider these things “soft skills,” but we believe that these soft skills are important because they help students learn more effectively. What does the Upper School Leadership team do each day to support the students and teachers? Though our actions may seem routine on a daily basis —such as being in the hallways during passing time and lunch, speaking with kids one-on-one when we notice they seem distracted or alone, greeting students as they arrive

in the morning—each small moment allows us to build the relationships and trust that are necessary to have the larger conversations when needed. With teachers, our work is to consistently message the school’s core values so that the whole staff is on the same page. Our key principles are consistent among faculty and staff: We work to support and challenge the kids; relationships are important; and we are modeling our values all the time. Each day, we are exhibiting a really strong team doing the same things that we expect from our students. Why do you do this job? Conner: I went to a really big high school and almost fell through the cracks. I had that one teacher who pushed me, who asked, “Why are you being less than you’ve been raised to be?” I want to be that person for that kid. Team: We love that we work at a place where the administration can have strong relationships with kids. Being in a mission-driven school helps—we understand the trials of teen years. We have flexibility to do what is right for each kid and working with teenagers makes work fun. What keeps you at SAAS? We know that this is the best gig in town. We feel we have the right mission and we live it out in every single thing we do. We love our work, we strive to keep getting better, and we are working from a strong team foundation.



“You’ve been at SAAS for nineteen years, Mindy,” people frequently ask me, “How has the STREAM Building changed SAAS?” I love this question, because it allows me to scroll back through the development of the school’s science program, through all its stages. The short answer to the question is that we have eleven Upper School science faculty delivering an array of courses to just over five hundred 9th through 12th grade students every day in six, twelve hundred square foot lab/classrooms and a Robotics lab/machine shop. We have added electives in all the science disciplines including Climate Science, Science Innovations, Genetics, Geographical Information Systems and Urban Ecology, Infectious Diseases, Meteorology, and Science, Opinion, and Society. The STREAM Building (Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Arts, and Math) is truly a buzzing hive of science learning and doing. Students have ample classroom space for their team-based, project-based lab classes, and they also have dedicated work/study spaces on each floor of the building, as well as three hundred and fifty square foot prep rooms that connect the two lab classrooms on floors three, four, and five. 38

That’s a snapshot of Now: science activity in the STREAM Building since it opened in the fall of 2015. But that doesn’t fully answer the question of how science has changed at SAAS, so here’s a look at that story. SAAS always had a vision for the science curriculum that we wanted to provide for our students. We knew that students deserved a full experience of lab science in order to be prepared for College and Life. There was only one problem for us: our classroom building, the Temple building, didn’t have fully-equipped science labs! We solved that problem in the way we solved lots of facilities challenges back in those days: we searched the neighborhood and found a partner institution to work with. Seattle Central Community College (SCCC) was only six blocks away from us and they were happy to rent us science labs every week. You can verify this story with Melinda Mueller, our Biology teacher who now has her classroom and office on the fifth floor of the STREAM Building. Melinda, who has been at SAAS since day one in 1983, would lead her students on a trek from the Temple Building (at 15th and Pike) to the SCCC campus at Broadway and Pine every week. Not the best use of class time, it’s true, and not the best use of Melinda’s prep time, either. But it got the job done. In our typical can-do fashion, we worked around the limitations, students had labs for their science classes, and the walk was—after all—only one block further than the Bobby Morris Playfield, where our students had their PE classes and soccer practices and games. Since all our science classes couldn’t walk to Seattle Central every block of the week, we did construct science labs in the Temple building. We knocked out walls to double the space to six hundred square feet, and we built out the plumbing for first one lab and then eventually two more. Those science classrooms have served us well over the years. In recent years and to the present day, they have been home to our Middle School science classes: Physical Science in 6th grade; Earth and Environmental Sciences in 7th; and Human Biology in 8th grade. And they also house our vibrant

Middle School Robotics club, which sent one team to the semi-final round in the 2017 competition at the University of Washington. So yes, those labs in the Temple Building are buzzing with activity. Lab classroom T3 has also been the home base for twenty-two 8th grade Science Symposia, and for one more year, the labs will continue to be the home to dynamic Middle School science teaching and learning. The city is still our classroom, however, as it always has been; only now our treks are field trips to places like nearby parks, the Seattle University campus, and Stumptown Coffee Roasters—to explore the science of coffee, of course! And exciting changes are just around the corner. In the fall of 2018, our new Middle School classroom building, the Cardinal Union Building, on 13th and Union will house new, state-of-the-art science labs as phase two of the SAAS Rising campaign! The fact remains, however, that the Temple Building science labs are retrofitted lab classrooms, and they aren’t the ideal spaces that our students and faculty deserve. But back to my story. When growth and budget allowed, the school purchased the Vanderbilt Building on the corner of 12th and Union, and straight away the building remodel project produced for us two new, fully-outfitted science labs for Chemistry and Biology. That was in 1998. Physics also shared those labs, and the science program was able to consolidate our science program to our own spaces rather than needing to travel to off-campus labs. But that didn’t mean we were finished trekking just yet! In 2003, we remolded a former truck assembly shop on the corner of 12th and Spring Street into our current Arts Center, and down in the basement of that building, we constructed our new Physics lab. Since our 9th grade Scientific Investigations class could be taught in any of the three labs, it was common to see Science Department Chair Peter Clark and other teachers pushing a cart loaded with test tubes, beakers, scales, and all sorts of other equipment for the day’s lesson out on the sidewalk between the two buildings—in all sorts of weather! Students no longer had to trek to reach their lab classes, but some teachers had to roll 39

their lab setups between labs in the two buildings, as we scheduled four grade levels into our three dedicated labs. Another aside: Many years of Physics students will fondly remember that basement Physics lab in the Arts Center. The windowless room was ideally suited for our longtime Physics teacher, Bill Woodman, since Bill had been the commander of two nuclear submarines in his previous career! Today in the STREAM Building, our two Physics labs are on the fifth (top) floor. Their window walls face south, which means that a student can now let their gaze drift to a gorgeous view of Mt. Rainier on the horizon. No more simulated submarine life required as part of that course! During this second phase of the science program, the Upper School science program once again started to outgrow our available lab spaces. In 2008, for example, Gabe Cronin began the school’s Robotics program, and his club set up its practice space in the Vanderbilt and Arts Center lobbies. That less-than-ideal space didn’t prevent the club from regularly placing in the state competition, but it did mean that the club had to set up and break down its work space and test arena every single day after school. Resourceful, yes. Successful, yes. But makeshift, and obviously less than ideal. In the spring of 2017, Upper School Robotics Club (team 2856 Tesseract) finished in the top 20 of First Tech Challenge Worlds competition in Houston. 2856 was one of four finalists for the prestigious Inspire Award, which recognizes teams who are truly an inspiration to other teams. A clear demonstration of how the new space in the STREAM has assisted in the program success. Over all those “phase one and phase two” years for the science program, 1983-2014, the Seattle Academy science department and administration (and student and parent body) maintained and developed its vision and commitment to a project-based, lab-based science curriculum. Melinda and Gabe attended (and later taught) science trainings for teachers at the Fred Hutchinson Center for Cancer Research and brought back cutting-edge projects for our classes. Melinda, Peter, and Dexter Chapin wove one-to-one laptop computer technology into the curriculum (starting in 1999), including sophisticated system-modeling Stella software program that is being used to this day. And so, as was the case all along, intrepid SAAS students graduated from our program and went on to postsecondary science and engineering programs in college. Which brings us to the amazing STREAM building. By 2009, it was clear to our community that the STEM subjects needed and deserved their own purpose-build home. And here we are today. Gabe Cronin says, “the STREAM provides a statement of values for the STREAM BUILDING HIGHLIGHTS school, and it says clearly how much the school values the sciences. It likewise provides a public conduit for displaying the work that we • Five stories plus a basement do.” Physics and math teacher Mark Betnel acknowledges that “the • Thirty-five thousand square feet STREAM Building has really unified the science department in a way • Six science labs that wasn’t possible before. We’re able to collaborate in our shared office spaces, connect in the faculty kitchen, and pop in and out of • Three prep labs each other’s classes to get equipment and to observe and reflect • One Robotics and Innovations lab on each other’s work.” Along our journey, we understood that • Two-story Learning Commons our students (and faculty) deserved the physical spaces in order to expand upon being innovative, creative, and entrepreneurial • Faculty, coordinator, and administrative thinkers and doers. offices as well as an atrium Chemistry teacher Shelley Kunasek says, “our move to the • Designed and Built to meet the US STREAM Building has facilitated the transition towards much more Green Building Council’s Leadership student-centered Project Based Learning.  Just walking into the in Energy and Environmental Design room and seeing the orderly array of beakers, flasks, funnels, and other chemistry materials sends a message that this will be a space (LEED) Gold Standard of creativity and experimentation.” 40

“...Just walking into the room and seeing the orderly array of beakers, flasks, funnels, and other chemistry materials sends a message that this will be a space of creativity and experimentation.” Melinda adds, “The access to these spaces, equipment, and materials encourages student ingenuity in designing their investigations. The large labs, spacious prep rooms, and generous counters allow student-designed investigations to run over several days without also disrupting other ongoing work. Finally, the great common areas allow for the ongoing display of student work such as the field ecology research posters, soap project presentations, and robotics projects.” And in just twelve short months, the Middle School will move into its new classroom building, with three new lab spaces to support the work of our students and teachers. Our time in the STREAM has most definitely informed what gets incorporated into the new Middle School Building. While the integration of programs across departments has always been a part of SAAS’ DNA, added physical spaces

have indeed provided more opportunity for our students to explore ideas in a wider variety of areas. Our science program prepares our students well for Senior Projects, College, and Life. The campus transformations since 1983 support the schools mission and philosophy about what is best for students as they develop their personal and academic horizons. 41




Seattle Academy’s program is built upon four pillars: academics, arts, athletics, and outdoor/travel. The program has requirements that ensure students participate in each of these pillars. In addition, extracurricular opportunities abound in each area so that students who find a passion in a specific arena can explore it further. In each of these areas, students learn to conceive, collaborate, create, and evaluate; they fail early and fail often; they learn from both their successes and their failures. Each area provides students with opportunities, both inside and outside the classroom, that foster both personal growth (by developing inner resources and greater self awareness) and a global perspective (by developing awareness of the connections linking people to each other and to their environments). The program allows students to go beyond anyone’s preconceived notions of who they are and who they might be.


What We Believe About How Students Learn Best By Julia Kassissieh, Dean of Curriculum and Instruction, and Fred Strong, Dean of Faculty for Arts and Athletics, Arts Department Chair

Do you think much about how “going to school and learning” actually works? You go to school, there’s a curriculum, teachers teach, and students learn. That’s it. Well, maybe there’s a little more than that. What, after all, gives a school its particular feel? What shapes the way it delivers its education? What creates coherence from one classroom and department and grade level to another? One answer could be coherence comes from the traditions in the school, from the faculty, and from alignment in the curriculum and the teaching methods.

The Role of Tradition One tradition that shapes what learning feels like at Seattle Academy is the way a student’s daily schedule has a balance of our four program areas: academics, arts, athletics, and outdoor/travel. A Middle School student’s day naturally includes academic subjects, but it also includes an art class and a PE class every day. Many students (well over 70%) play on a school sports team after school; and trips, retreats, and service activities are a regular part of school life. Upper School students have broader elective choices, and they build their schedules around graduation requirements, but their learning experiences, too, are shaped by SAAS’ four program pillars. The school’s thirty-five-year-long commitment to all those program areas certainly contributes to the particular feel of a school day at SAAS. But beyond the traditions of a school’s program, what most determines the feel of a student’s experience is how a school defines its “Learning Culture.” Seattle Academy’s four program areas are the “What”; the Learning Culture explains the “How” and the “Why” of our approach to teaching. Ultimately, our beliefs about how students learn best establish the foundation for our instruction and create the “feel” of our classrooms.

Defining a Learning Culture How exactly does a Learning Culture take shape? The mission is the starting point, as it is for all decisions about the life of the school. SAAS’ mission is To Prepare Students for College and Life, and everything flows from that. It’s the standard by which we engage students authentically, develop curricular proposals, and set school-wide priorities. The mission is the lens by which we view and develop our learning environment, and accordingly, Seattle Academy has developed six Guiding Beliefs and Assumptions about “the ways students learn best.” Here is a summary of those beliefs: We believe students learn best… •

When relationships between students and faculty are strong.

When the curriculum includes a combination of direct instruction and discovery (i.e. Project-Based Learning).

When the program includes a rich variety of experiences and exposures, in a wide range of disciplines and activities (i.e. the four program areas referenced earlier in the article).

When a Culture of Performance is deeply embedded in the overall program, and students are challenged to take risks in front of a variety of audiences, combining disparate skills in moments of action in order to learn and communicate complex ideas.

When we as a community follow certain Core Operating Principles, which provide a critical road map for how we translate the school’s mission into concrete day-to-day decisions and actions.

When a program rests on the Core Values of trust, respect, responsibility, and integrity.

What Good Teaching Looks Like In the same way that a school translates its mission into priorities and action, our Guiding Beliefs about learning need translated into action and into our expectations about how our teachers teach. We’ll examine three of our core beliefs in detail later in the article, but first let’s take a detailed look at a 6th grade project, to see how our beliefs about good teaching translate into a class project.

Teacher Bill Metcalfe’s “Project IF (Innovation Factor),” lays a strong foundation for inquiry and research. Students are asked to identify a problem and find a solution for it, and the project unfolds over the course of the entire year, which means that students have time to study and understand a problem at a deep level. Problems investigated are as varied as the interests of the students. Topics range from climate change, energy production, care for infants in orphanages, funding AIDS orphans in Southern Africa, innovations in drinking tubes found in hamster cages, and even emergency electric blankets for the unsheltered. One student who was interested in climate change built a small wind generator and a photovoltaic cell and placed them outside of his family’s home. He measured and kept records of the energy they created, and he also measured his personal energy consumption by tracking the energy used to power his personal space in his home. The year-long investigation also pushes against students’ self-perceived limits, often taking them just beyond their comfort zone. For example, students have to identify an “expert” in the area they are investigating, and then prepare and conduct an interview with them, which can be a daunting task for an 11-year-old. While this project may sound like a big undertaking for our 6th graders, it is broken into clear and meaningful steps, and it thereby becomes foundational work for all the Middle School years. Bill explains that “throughout the 6th grade Ancient History course, we spend time learning the basics of good research. We lay the foundation for asking questions that drive inquiry, and with each lesson we work on annotating texts in order to identify BIG ideas and potential answers.” Bill asks students to commit to and become personally involved in the communities they have chosen to explore in their project, and as he observes, “Because students exercise complete agency over their work, the process itself inspires engagement and a passion for learning.”


ACADEMICS Looking beyond Bill’s history classroom, Middle School teachers meet regularly to share their ideas and coordinate their curricula, which means that students have the opportunity to continuously revisit and reinforce key skills, such as collaboration, communication, inquiry, and risk-taking. Those skills are developed in all subjects over their three years of Middle School, and students ultimately leverage them into their 8th grade capstone project, the Science Symposium. Before we look at that project in detail, however, let’s take a deeper look at two of the core principles of SAAS’ Learning Culture, Project-Based Learning and the emphasis on Relationships, to see how they provide what we believe is a strong pedagogical foundation for dynamic learning experiences. Project-Based Learning (PBL) is really the “how” of what takes place during assignments such as “Project IF.” PBL has several essential elements, starting with a focus on significant content and developing 21st century skills (in this way, PBL is both content and skill-rich.) Additionally, students engage in in-depth inquiry, they learn to organize tasks around a driving question, and through their study, they establish a need to know. A natural outcome of this work is that students are encouraged to use their voice and make choices, increasing their investment in learning. And like any high quality project, PBL incorporates revision and reflection, and finally, some form of presentation to a public audience. Ultimately, a Project-Based approach reflects our belief that students learn best by prototyping and actively doing things. “Relationships Precede Performance” is another principle of SAAS’ Learning Culture that is evident in the 6th grade’s “Project IF.” The emphasis on relationships is both an essential concept for us and a complex one. We believe that having a solid foundation in healthy relationships helps students engage, understand, reflect, and solve problems. And if a student happens to be reluctant, resistant, or struggling in a subject, why not reach out and make the connection that might (and usually does) lead to engagement and interest? One can find this theme echoed in examples described in other articles throughout the magazine. Knowing a student’s strengths and limitations (perhaps self-imposed limitations) and having the benefit of a healthy trusting 44

relationship as a leverage point, our teachers know how to move a student out of their Comfort Zone or away from their Panic Zone (neither of which are conducive to learning) and into their Dis-Comfort Zone of optimal learning. In “Project IF,” for example, Bill coaches his students (knowing what type of coaching each one needs) in the skills that allow them to conduct their required interview with an expert in their chosen problem. Much like “Project IF,” the 8th grade Science Symposium is a major project that requires (and teaches) complex skills applied to a topic that is rooted in personal interest and research. The Symposium grows out of Lewis Travis’s 8th grade science course, which is Human Biology. Over the year, students study four main frameworks for understanding the human body, including Anatomy, Physiology, Health, and Anthropology. When students come to the Symposium assignment in the final trimester, they apply all the skills they’ve developed throughout Middle School into this culminating experience. They learn about the scientific method—posing a question, hypothesizing, testing the hypothesis, analyzing the results, and formulating conclusions--and then in teams of four to five students, they choose their own question to research. Topics from 2017 Symposium, which was focused on Public Health, included: “Did you wash your hands: Observation’s effect on students handwashing behavior”; “Paper or screens: Which is better for reading comprehension?”; “Air quality and housing costs in the Seattle area”; and “Rent control and homelessness.” In learning about methodology, students considered a main theme of public health: “What factors help or hurt having a long, healthy life?” Once they had their question and hypothesis, students then needed to determine how to test them, which involved identifying scientific literature in the field to gain an understanding of the current knowledge base, and learning about data-collection strategies. From there, they refined their questions, and then they emailed teachers in the school to request small blocks of time to

come into classes and conduct their research. Final stages then included analyzing data, considering implications from their evidence, drawing conclusions, and then creating research papers and presentations. On a Friday in the spring (the Symposium has been held for the last twenty-two years), the 8th grade teams presented their research to the entire Middle School: 6th and 7th graders, their 8th grade peers, and their teachers and parents. The thirty-minute presentations they developed needed to model good instruction, with a combination of direct instruction and student discovery activities. foundation in healthy relationships helps students engage, understand, reflect, and solve problems. And if a student happens to be reluctant, resistant, or struggling in a subject, why not reach out and make the connection that might (and usually does) lead to engagement and interest? These are two—and only two of countless—classroom examples of projects that demonstrate how we put our Learning Culture into practice. We’ll conclude the article by exploring one more key component to what makes our Learning Culture work, The Culture of Performance. The Culture of Performance is an expression that was coined in 1993 to describe our style of teaching. The basic idea is that students are asked to demonstrate what they have learned or are learning in front of an audience of some sort. In that public moment, the student has to integrate disparate skills in a moment of action, which ultimately teaches the high-level skill—as Joe Puggelli writes in his American Studies article on page 22—of “assessing the audience and adjusting one’s plan based on the reality of the audience.” While it’s common to think of a “performance” in the context of Arts and Sports (where an audience is in the bleachers or in theater seats), we’ve always emphasized that The Culture of Performance is key to the learning in all departments, including academics (as we saw in our examples). Students experience these “performance moments” again and again over their years at SAAS, in big iterations and small (the entire school community or one’s own classroom, for example). And in these iterations, teachers watch their students develop the key skills of collaboration, communication, taking a risk, dealing with ambiguity or failure, and empathy, to name a few skills. Some might consider those “soft skills,” but their value is increasingly being recognized, and they develop naturally when they are practiced day in and day out in some fashion in all courses. By their senior year, students have a sophisticated basket of skills that they can carry with them to College and Life, into the professional, academic, and social settings they will all encounter.

List of City Resources Amazon Amazon Tower Bagley Wright Theatre Ballard High School Beacon Food Forest Bellevue Jazz Festival Burke Museum Camp Long Challenge Course Central District Central District Rotary Boys and Girls Club Experience Music Project FAME / MLK Community Center Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Gates Foundation Green Plate Special Highland Ice Arena Impact Washington Institute for Systems Biology International District Japanese Cultural Center LiveLoveFlow Lower Gold Creek Basin Madison Park McCaw Hall Microsoft Miracle Ranch Museum of Pop Culture NatureBridge Northwest Harvest Open Window School Pacific Science Center Pike Place Market Port of Seattle Pratt Park Rainier Vista Community Center Seattle Aquarium Seattle Art Museum Seattle Bouldering Project Seattle Opera Seward Park Snow Lake Spruce Street School State Capitol Building, Olympia Top Hat Neighborhood University of Washington CoMotion Makerspace University of Washington Meany Hall University Prep Uwajimaya West Seattle Bowl Wing Luke Museum Winston Wachter Fine Art Gallery 46

The Learning Culture in the Words of a Student These elaborations should give you a glimpse into the mechanics of what gives learning at SAAS its particular feel. But the best messenger would be a student, and in remarks that he gave to prospective Middle School students last winter, 8th grader Yonase Galeta captured all the points of this article. He talked briefly about his classes, class retreats, a major service trip called “Seattle Challenge,” and about his surprising experience in the arts. Yonase was “a little scared” about the dance class he had to take, but “in all honesty it was the most exhilarating thing to do the salsa in front of the whole Middle School and High School,” he said. “And if you think that it stops there, it never does with SAAS. They always push you to learn new things, and you will always find yourself finding new interests that you never imagined would be for you. In the last trimester of my Middle School career,” Yonase concluded, “ I have found a new interest, and that’s what I love about SAAS. They never cease to make school really fun and inclusive.”

Signature Programs 6th Grade SEE Trip to NatureBridge 7th Grade SEE Trip to Camp Orkila 8th Grade Symposium and Seattle Challenge 9th Grade Ethics Project and Odyssey Trip 10th Grade Soap Project and Salon Project 11th Grade Biology Field Project and American Studies 12th Grade Senior Projects

A classroom called Seattle 47

ACADEMICS | Student Profiles

Sarah Goh ’17

Lewis Greenstein ’17

Sarah earned spots on the High Honor Roll and All A’s List, including high GPA for 9th grade. She was a member of the league championship soccer team, the SAAS lacrosse team, and our league champion and state qualifying basketball team, earning league all-star honors. A member of the state championship Speech and Debate team and the Global Health, Experimental Business, and Science Clubs, Sarah also served as an Upper School student facilitator, went on the China and Senior Yukon trips, and won the Women’s University Club Scholarship. She developed product features and usability questionnaires for a concussion assessment platform for her Senior Project at MultiModal Health. Sarah will attend Siena College and the Albany Medical School with a direct entry into their BAMD Honors College.

Lewis earned High Honors, All A’s, and high GPA for his 10th grade year. A cast member in the production of The Museum and a member of the Film Club, his sculptures earned the Anthony Quinn Foundation Scholarship as well as a Scholastics Arts Silver Key Award. The national winner of the Future Engineers Mars Medical Challenge, Lewis designed a 3D digital Dual IV/Syringe pump that astronauts could produce and use in space to maintain physical health. He also went on the Ashland and Senior Yukon trip. His Senior Project was at the University of Washington’s Immunologic Monitoring Laboratory where Lewis audited their Clinical Specimen Inventory, reconciled their electronic and paper records, and retired obsolete freezer units. Lewis has been accepted at Tulane University.


Arielle Isaacs ’17

Army Olsen ’17

Arielle was consistently on the High Honor Roll and All A’s List, earned high GPA for 9th, 10th, and 11th grade, and was named a National Merit Semifinalist. She played tennis and was a member of the Experimental Business and Science Clubs. In addition, she was on the Youth Legislature team, the Robotics team, competing at worlds, and the state championship Speech and Debate team. Arielle also served as an Upper School student facilitator and went on the Ashland and Senior Yukon trips. She worked at the Department of Atmospheric Science for her Senior Project, where she measured the isotopes of nitrate from the Antarctic ice core and prepared figures for data analysis using Python. Arielle will attend Harvey Mudd College.

Army earned spots on the High Honor Roll and All A’s List. He was a member of the state champion lacrosse team, the Ultimate team, and the tennis team (where he earned a Coaches’ Award), as well as a cast member in the production of Hair. He also joined the Outdoor and Interesting, Well-Rounded Individuals Clubs, served as an Upper School student facilitator, and went on the Senior Yukon trip. He was named a semifinalist in the Future Engineers Mars Medical Competition for his otoscope design. His Senior Project was at Neiders Company, a national real estate investment firm headquartered in Seattle. While there he shadowed upper management, and interfaced with a leasing and site manager and the accounting office. Army has been accepted to the University of Washington’s Honors Program. 49

Arts by the Numbers


ARTS Through our emphasis on participation in the arts by every student, we create an environment where performance in front of the community is standard practice. The high level of participation in the arts and the Culture of Performance establish skills which are fundamental for successful participation in society. These skills include a high level of selfconfidence and comfort with performing in front of an audience, the ability to communicate and critique effectively, the ability to assess and take risks, and the ability to apply diverse strategies for problem solving.















Arts Offerings Costume Design Dance Film Instrumental Photography Theatre Technical Theatre Visual Arts Vocal 50











Creativity is a life skill

Arts Highlights • Mark Hoover, Vocal Director, Named Teacher-of- the-Year by Arts Schools Network • SAAS Places Third in Washington State Photography Competition • Jaidyn Lam ’18 Named Outstanding High School Vocalist at International Reno Jazz Festival • Ezra Conklin ’17 Artwork Featured at Wing Luke Museum

• PJ Colino ’20 Appears as Guest DJ for KNKX Jazz Radio •

Josh Jaffe ’18 Wins the American Road and Transportation Builders Association National Student Video Contest

• Seven SAAS Students Win Gold Key Awards in Scholastic Arts Competition •

Dance Program Brings Home High Gold and Platinum Awards and Wins Best Performance Overall at the FLUID Dance Competition

• Matilde Monti ’17 and Emily Rubin ’17 Ceramic Work Selected for the National K12 Ceramic Exhibition Foundation •

Zach Cohen ’20, PJ Colino ’20, Axel Hejlsberg ’19, and Zach Santos Ufkes ’18 Earn Outstanding Musicianship Awards at International Reno Jazz Festival

• Rebekah Rocha’s Photography Accepted to WAEA “Teachers and Artists” Exhibit

• Advanced Jazz Choir (The Onions) Win Fourth Straight Title at International Reno Jazz Festival


ARTS Student Profiles We encourage students to take a risk and try new things on their way to discovering new talents. Here are graduates from the Class of 2017 who participated in various disciplines within the arts.


Nash Queary ’17 Nash was a cast member in Cyrano de Bergerac, The Odyssey, Once in a Lifetime, Hotel Paradiso, and The Wedding Singer. He earned spots on the Honor Roll and was a member of the Advanced Dance group and participated in the vocal and instrumental programs. He went on the Ashland, Southwest Adventures, Vietnam, and Senior Yukon trips, and participated in Ultimate, the Magic and Chess Club, and the Outdoor Club. Nash will be attending Ithaca College in the fall.

Recent Season Offerings November 2-5

Upper School Production of The Wedding Singer

November 15

7th Grade Vocal Ensemble and Middle School Instrumental Concert

November 17-18 8th Grade Production Andromeda’s Galaxy December 1-2

Upper School Vocal Showcase

December 8

Upper School Instrumental Concert With The Middle School Jazz Combo

February 2-4

Upper School Production of Museum

February 9-10

7th Grade Production Spy TV

February 9-11

Upper School Vocal Ensemble

February 14-15

Dance Showcase

March 2-4

Middle School Production of James And The Giant Peach

March 14

Upper School Instrumental Concert With The Middle School Jazz Combo

March 22-23

Upper School Vocal Revue

May 8

6th Grade Arts Evening

May 9

Film Night

May 10

8th Grade Vocal Ensemble and Middle School Instrumental Concert

May 11

All-Grades Visual Arts Show

May 18-20

All-Grades Dance Show

May 18-20

Upper School Production of The Crucible

May 25-26

7th Grade Production of Johnny Squeaky

May 26-27:

The Onions In Concert

Madison Dillard ’17 Madison’s film, The Day Before, earned an Award of Excellence at the Northwest High School Film Festival. She was a cast member in Cyrano de Bergerac, The Odyssey, Fiddler on the Roof, Hotel Paradiso, Once in a Lifetime, Hair, The Wedding Singer, The Museum, and The Crucible. She also participated in the Interesting, Well-Rounded Individuals Club and on the Improv team, as well as went on the Ashland and Senior Yukon trips. Madison consistently earned a spot on the Honor Roll. She will attend New York University.

Matilde Monti ’17

Caper Woodson ’17

Matilde’s ceramics earned a Scholastic Arts Silver Key Award and an exhibition with the K-12 National Ceramics Foundation. She was a cast member in Fiddler on the Roof, participated in lacrosse, and joined the QSA, Health and Nutrition, Global Health, and Interesting, Well-Rounded Individuals Clubs. She also served as an Upper School student facilitator, went on the Senior Yukon trip, and earned spots on the Honor Roll and High Honor Roll. Matilde plans to attend the Parsons School of Art and Design/ The New School.

Caper received an Honorable Mention Award in the Scholastic Arts competition for his painting. He also was a cast member in Cyrano de Bergerac, The Odyssey, Once in a Lifetime, and Hotel Paradiso. In addition to playing Ultimate where he earned a Coaches’ Award, he participated in the Magic and Chess and the Experimental Business Clubs, and also went on the Ashland Trip. He consistently earned a spot on the Honor Roll. Caper will take a gap year before college to work as an actor in Los Angeles and travel to India.



ATHLETICS At SAAS, the athletic program is an integral part of the school community and student experience. Our program is built on a balanced commitment to Participation and Excellence, which means we have a “No-Cut� Policy while also offering a range of competitive levels within the Middle and Upper School programs. We work hard to place student athletes in the appropriate competitive level. Athletics is an excellent means of creating community while contributing to the personal growth and education of students.


Athletics Offerings Basketball Cross Country Fitness (Middle School) Golf Lacrosse Soccer Strength and Conditioning (Upper School) Tennis Track and Field Ultimate Frisbee Volleyball




































Participation and Excellence

ATHLETICS Student Profiles We encourage students to take a risk and try new things on their way to discovering new talents. The following graduates were selected for awards based on the contributions they made to the SAAS Athletics Department.


Griffin Orser ’17 Griffin was a member of the Ultimate team, winning league all-star honors and a Coaches’ Award, and the league champion, state-qualifying boys’ soccer team, which also were named Academic State Champions. He was the co-recipient of the Male Contribution Award in athletics. He earned spots on the Honor Roll, the High Honor Roll, and the All A’s List. He joined the Film and Tea Clubs, was a cast member of The Museum and the Improv team, and served as an Upper School student facilitator as well as going on the Ashland and Senior Yukon trips. Griffin plans to attend Washington University in St. Louis.

Athletics Highlights • Boys’ Varsity Lacrosse Wins Second State Championship • Mireya Grey ’17 Invited to Under 18 USA Soccer Team Camp • Five SAAS Athletes Sign Division 1 Letters of Intent •

Florette Cederstrand ’20 (Basketball), Harlowe Brumett-Dunn ’20 (Track), Conner Pierce ’18 (Track) Named Michaela Smith ’17 Michaela was a member of the track and Emerald City League Rookies-of-the-Year

field team and the league champion and state qualifying basketball team, where she earned MVP and league all-star honors. She was a co-recipient of the Katherine Olson Contribution Award in athletics. She earned spots on the Honor Roll and High Girls’ Basketball Team Wins Emerald Honor Roll. She also participated in the state City League Title for Third Straight Year championship Robotics team, the Drum Harlow Brumett-Dunn ’20 (track), Line, and served as an Upper School student facilitator. She went on the Ashland, Vietnam, Olivia Forslund ’19 (volleyball), Mireya Grey ’17 (soccer), Sara and Senior Yukon trips, and supported numerous theater productions as a member Gustafson ’17 (volleyball), Lake Lewis ’18 of the tech crew. Michaela was accepted at (track), and Grant Sorensen ’18 (lacrosse) Occidental College.

• Mireya Grey ’17 Named to Star Times All- Area Team by Seattle Times and Named to All-State Team •

• Set School Records

• Anders Gibbons ’19 Finishes Fourth at National Tennis Competition • Erin Aitchison ’98 Named League Coach-of- the-Year in Girls’ Track • Girls’ Varsity Tennis Team Named Academic State Champions for Highest GPA

Olivia Miller ’17 Olivia was a member of the cross country team (earning an MVP Award), lacrosse team, and league champion track and field team (earning league all-star honors) as well as being a co-recipient of the Katherine Olson Contribution Award in athletics. In addition, she was a cast member in the production of The Museum. She participated in the Cardinal, the Interesting, Well-Rounded Individuals Club, and the Senior Yukon trip. She also served as an ASB officer and won a Scholastic Arts Gold Key Award in painting. She also earned spots on the High Honors Roll and the All A’s List. Olivia chose Barnard College.

Jordan Feinstein ’17 Jordan was a member of the league champion and state qualifying basketball team, the state champion lacrosse team, the state championship Speech and Debate team as well as the Interesting, Well-Rounded Individuals Club. Jordan was named one of the co-winners of the Male Contribution Award in athletics. In addition he went on the SAAS New Orleans and Senior Yukon trips and earned spots on the Honor Roll, High Honor Roll, and All A’s List. Jordan will attend the University of Southern California. 57

Beyond the classroom



The Seattle Academy Outdoor / Trips Program promotes trips that can lead to significant growth for the individual, growth that often comes when one is challenged to be in an environment where one cannot rely on existing coping mechanisms. The program seeks to provide opportunities for students to deepen relationships with other members of the community and develop a responsible understanding about the cultures and the lands through which they travel. Here are some additional goals of the program: The Outdoor/Trips Program teaches students essential skills that enable them to function in the natural, foreign, or servicerelated environments. We do not regard these skills as ends unto themselves, however. We provide students with experiences that physically and emotionally challenge them because we believe these intense moments lead to personal transformation. Students take risks, confront challenges, and perform under difficult conditions; they learn to balance self-reliance and cooperation, leadership and teamwork, self-reflection and action, choice and consequences. 58

The Outdoor/Trips Program provides a unique opportunity for students and faculty to develop relationships that cultivate the core values of the school: trust, respect, responsibility, and integrity. Personal relationships form the basis of our community, and the experience of sharing, working together to solve problems, and accomplishing group goals helps build these relationships. These experiences naturally carry back into school and enrich our larger community.

The Outdoor/Trips Program broadens the global perspective and service orientation of students and adults. Students learn environmental stewardship and develop a greater awareness and understanding of the different perspectives that exist among people as they travel through various cultures and environments.

The Outdoor/Trips Program strives to encourage an understanding of and empathy towards others through purposeful experiences that emphasize service work.

Trip Profile: Costa Rica The Costa Rica Trip, originally offered in the Spring of 2011, is an eleven-day cultural trip with a service component. The trip, open to students enrolled in Spanish 1 or above, has three main goals. First, students experience Costa Rican culture through activities such as visiting a native village, touring a coffee plantation, and completing a two-night homestay. Next, students have the opportunity to use Spanish with native speakers during their homestay, with Costa Rican guides, and with other people encountered during the trip. Finally, the trip has a community service component in which students monitor populations of sea turtles and work on a mangrove restoration project. The 2017 trip, led by Spanish and English teacher James Watson, took place at the beginning of April and included eighteen SAAS students. The kids hiked in the La Fortuna/Arenal Volcano area of northern Costa Rica, where they also ziplined through the forest canopy and had time to enjoy the pools and hot springs in Volcano National Park. Then they went into the rainforest near Sarapiqui, where they rafted along the Sarapiqui River, connected with a local school, and visited a butterfly farm. After leaving the rain forest, the group spent a day in the small town of Providencia getting to know the town and the surrounding cloud forest. The trip ended with a visit to an indigenous Boruca community known for mask making and painting and the Osa Peninsula. While at Osa, the group went out in boats to look for dolphin and sea turtles as well as worked on mangrove reforestation.


Travel by the Numbers








Recent Outdoor & Travel Offerings Alaska (6th and 12th Grade) Ashland (10th Grade) Costa Rica (Upper School) France (Upper School) Greece and Italy (7th and 8th Grade) India (Upper School) New Orleans (Upper School) Odyssey Trip (9th Grade) Local and Regional Retreats

(10th, 11th and 12th Grade)

Seattle Challenge (8th Grade)

Erin Devereux ’17

Erin went on the Ashland, New Orleans, Zambia, and Senior Yukon trips. She earned spots on the Honor 6th Grade SEE Trip Roll and the High Honor Roll and was A science trip studying watersheds a cast member in Cyrano de Bergerac, on the Olympic Peninsula Fiddler on the Roof, Hotel Paradiso, 7th Grade SEE Trip The Odyssey, Hair, Once in a Lifetime, A history trip exploring Pacific The Wedding Singer, The Museum, Northwest History at Fort Clatsop and The Crucible. She was also Southwest Adventure (Upper School) a member of the Tea, Outdoors, Experimental Business, and QSA White Clouds (Upper School) Clubs, the Improv and state Yukon (7th and 8th Grade) championship Speech and Debates Zambia (Upper School) teams, and served as a senior class representative. She will attend Northeastern University. A three-day homeless experience


OUTDOOR/TRAVEL Student Profiles We encourage students to take a risk and try new things on their way to discovering new talents. Here are graduates from the Class of 2017 who took advantage of the many trip opportunities offered at SAAS.

Audrey Kenefick ’17 Audrey went on the Ashland, Vietnam, and Senior Yukon trips and earned spots on the Honor Roll and the High Honor Roll. She was a cast member in the productions of Cyrano de Bergerac, The Odyssey, Hotel Paradiso, The Museum, and The Crucible. In addition, she was a member of the varsity volleyball team, the Tea, QSA, and Film Clubs, and served as an Upper School student facilitator. Audrey will be attending Chapman College.

Henry Lohman ’17 Henry went on the SAAS China, New Orleans, and Senior Yukon trips and consistently earned spots on the Honor Roll, the High Honor Roll, and the All A’s List. He participated in the Middle School theatre and basketball programs and was a member of the Upper School league championship Track and Field team. Henry has chosen the University of Denver.

Matthew Dwight ’17 Matthew went on the Southwest Adventures, New Orleans, and the Senior Yukon trips and earned spots on the Honor Roll. He was a member of the instrumental program and the Ultimate team and participated in the Climbing Club. He has been accepted at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona.

COMMUNITY SERVICE We ask all of our students to contribute to our community in a way that is meaningful for them. Middle and Upper School divisions both hold organized community service days, and various groups hold targeted collection drives throughout the year. In the Upper School, each student must complete 160 hours of community service hours in order to graduate. These service activities not only prepare our students to be active members of the communities they will be a part of in the future but also help to create a strong sense of responsibility, respect, and integrity. 62

Service by the Numbers 26,500

Service hours completed by the Class of 2017 in their seven years at SAAS


Service hours completed to date by the Class of 2018


Service hours completed to date by the Class of 2019

57,760 834

Total service hours completed by the Upper School classes through June 2017 Service hours the 10th grade class donated to the City of Poulsbo to clean up the Poulsbo Fish Park


Service hours each student on the Zambia trip completes teaching computer skills and programs at our sister schools


Service hours each student on the New Orleans trip completes rebuilding houses and wetland restoration


Service hours each student on the Vietnam trip completes in working with the deaf


Agencies helped by our 8th grade students during this year’s Seattle Challenge

Profile: The Community Service Organization Club The Community Service Organization Club (CSO) is a student-led service club that focuses on providing service opportunities for Upper School students. CSO student leadership organizes numerous service outings, communicates these opportunities to students, and serve, as the point of contact for Upper School students. CSO has created relationships with organizations like Survive the Streets (Thanksgiving sleeping bag drive and homeless feeding) and Northwest Harvest (canned food drives). The CSO leadership meets monthly and all students are welcome and encouraged to share service ideas and participate in service outings.



List of City Resources Over the past few years, Seattle Academy has partnered with the following agencies: The Baby Boutique Cathedral Kitchen Chicken Soup Brigade Chief Seattle Club Childhaven Compass Center Emergency Family Shelter/ Mary’s Place Food Lifeline Green Plate Special Hope Place UGM Women Family Shelter Jubilee House Lambert House Lifelong Aids Alliance Matt Talbot Center Millionaire Club Noel House Northwest Harvest Operation Sack Lunch Phinney Ridge Shelter/ Emmanuel Church Peace on the Streets for Kids on the Street (LSKS) Pike Place Food Bank Queen Anne Food Bank Poulsbo Fish Farm Puget Sound Keepers Real Change Recovery Café Seattle Community Farm St. Francis House St. Martin’s at Westlake St. Martin De Porres Solid Ground Tent City 3 Third Ave Center/ Harborview Clinic Tiny House Village Treehouse University District Food Bank Urban Rest Stop Wellspring Family Services Westside Baby Women’s Referral Center YWCA Opportunity Place (Angeline’s)

SERVICE | Student Profiles Here is a list of the seniors from the Class of 2017 who earned the most service hours.

Robert Winton ’17

Elodie Geltzer ’17

752 Service Hours

624 Service Hours

Robert’s service hours were earned at a variety of locations included Survive the Street, Woodland Park Zoo, Burn Design Lab, Northwest Harvest, the SAAS Zambia Trip, and through his leadership role as an Upper School facilitator. Robert will attend Columbia University

Elodie earned her service hours as an intern and counselor at the YMCA Camp Orkila and as a summer camp counselor for the French American School. Elodie will attend Northeastern University

Samantha McGraw ’17

Connor Lamey ’17

Samantha donated her time at the Pacific Science Center and the Laser Childcare summer camps. Samantha will attend Brown University

Connor’s service hours were earned at Children’s Hospital summer camps. Connor will attend California Lutheran University.

600 Service Hours

501 Service Hours

A Commitment to Community

STUDENT LIFE Clubs allow students and teachers to interact outside of the classroom based on common interests. New clubs arise based on student interest and leadership. Students who would like to start a club are charged with creating an overall plan to implement the club including a detailed proposal and securing a faculty advisor. A Club Fair is held at the beginning of each year, letting students know what clubs are available, where and when they meet, and how they can join. 66

Profile: Ethics Bowl The National High School Ethics Bowl began in 2012 and was developed as a way to get students engaging in conversation over complex ideas and current events. Unlike debate, teams are not assigned a side to an issue, and more often than not they take a similar stance. Students are judged on how they deliberate over different perspectives and how they engage with the ideas of their opponent. Ethics Bowl cases tend to focus on issues that are currently pertinent to our country, the world, and especially young people. Cases are released in October, and SAAS’ two teams of four-five students each began researching and discussing the cases with each other after school in November and December. Coach Gerald Elliott does not help students write cases because “this is about young people learning from each other, within teams, and between schools.” In January the two teams begin scrimmaging against each other. Gerald fills in as a judge and is often joined by teachers such as Joel Underwood, Steve Retz, Alison Ray, Rob Phillips, and more.   Washington State joined into the National Bowl and created a regional tournament in 2013, and SAAS went on to win the state tournament and travel to the National Championship in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. SAAS lost to Lakeside the following year in the semifinals but went on to win backto-back state championships in 2016 and 2017. SAAS has now won the WA State Ethics Bowl three of its four years. This last year SAAS’ Ethics Bowl team once again moved on into the playoffs during the National High School Ethics Bowl and left Chapel Hill with its best performance ever—fifth in the USA out of twenty— four state winning teams at the National Bowl.

Top, left to right: Gerald Elliott, Upper School History teacher, Tatum McConnell ’17, Simon Kessel ’17, Gillian Gibson ’17, Molly Sanderson ’18, Golda Glasser ’18, Grace Vidger ’18, Esme DeCoster ’18, Avi Shapiro ’18. Bottom, left to right: Grace Vidger ’18, Golda Glasser ’18, Avi Shapiro ’18, Molly Sanderson ’18, Gillian Gibson ’17.

Clubs by the Numbers 38 12 26 675













Profile: Makers Club “The ‘maker movement’ leads to a new pedagogy- ‘Tinkquiry’ - Tinkering + Inquiry.” –Peter Skillen, recently recognized by Microsoft as a global hero in education.

Maker Club came into being in 2014 when an intrepid Middle Schooler had a great idea and asked if we could have a programming club. The first year was focused on programming, strongly led by that smart and talented student. It was a small-but-lively group. The following year it was decided that it should be expanded to include all kinds of making, growing into Maker Club. The Maker Movement has been gaining prestige in education for encouraging innovation, problem solving, and sparking creativity in students across the world. Because Seattle Academy has a strong belief in project-based learning, Maker Club is a perfect fit. The club is strongly student driven—originally choosing projects to focus on as a group based on interest, and now following a “hack-a-thon” model of students submitting a proposal for an idea they have to the teacher sponsor(s) and Upper School mentors, who then help find supplies, resources, and subject matter mentors to help. The sky’s the limit on what they may decide they want to work on or learn about, from 3-D modeling and printing, to programming, to sewing, to learning how to create visual art with digital tools, to things that might combine a number of skills, like programming a microprocessor to serve as a portable gaming device while modifying X-Box controllers and 3-D printing the case. Anyone walking into the Middle School computer lab after school during Maker Club will feel the creativity and fun in the air. The new Middle School Building will offer a full robotics lab and maker space, which can only make things even better. Although explaining what we do in Maker Club is sometimes difficult, due to the open possibilities, it has continued to grow from an average of three-four students in 201415 to an average of fifteen or so in 2016-17. This quote sums it up quite well: “There are no rules here—we’re trying to accomplish something” – Thomas Edison


SAAS Middle School Clubs Bouldering Club Dr. Who-sday Club Harry Potter Club Maker’s Club Math Club Robotics Club Queer/Straight Alliance The Red Bird (Online Literary Magazine) Science Club Seattle Academy Leadership Team Zambia Club Visual Art Club



SAAS Upper School Clubs

STUDENT LIFE | Student Profiles We encourage students to take a risk and try new things on their way to discovering new talents. Here are graduates from the Class of 2017 who sampled a little bit of everything that SAAS has to offer.

Associated Student Body Bee Club Bird Club Bouldering Club The Cardinals (online student newspaper) Community Service Organization Climbing Club Dead Poet’s Society Ethics Bowl Girls Coding Club Girls Rising Club High School Democrats of America Improv Team Interesting, Well-Rounded Individuals Mock Trial Model United Nations

Wilson Rawlings ’17

Stella Esensten-Cicon ’17

Emma Lam ’17

Simon Kessel ’17

Wilson was a member of the world championship qualifying Robotics team and state champion lacrosse team as well as participated in the Climbing, Photography, Tea, and Outdoors Club, went on the Senior Yukon trip, and performed with Jazz Choir II and in the Upper School production of Hair. He also earned spots on the Honor Roll, High Honor Roll, and All A’s List. Wilson will be attending the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Stella was a member of the QSA, High School Democrats of America, and Zambia Clubs as well as the track and field team. She also served as the yearbook editor, and participated in the Mock Trial, Model UN, Youth Legislature, and state championship Speech and Debate programs. In addition she went on the Ashland and Senior Yukon trips and consistently earned spots on the Honor Roll. Stella plans to attend American University.

Music Production Club Outdoor Club Photography Club Robotics Club Speech and Debate Tea Club Underwater Robotics Club Upper School Student Facilitators (Student Leadership) Youth Legislature Zambia Club Visual Art Club

Discover New Talents

Emma was a member of the lacrosse team and state championship Speech and Debate team. She served as an ASB officer, went on the Turkey and Senior Yukon trips, and participated in the Health and Nutrition, Global Health, Outdoors, Tea, Bee, Zambia, and Interesting, Well-Rounded Individuals Clubs. In addition, she earned spots on the High Honor Roll and All A’s list, and achieved the class high GPA twice. She won several awards in the Scholastic Arts competition including a Silver Key for drawing and printmaking and an Honorable Mention for painting. Emma will attend the University of Southern California.

Simon served as an ASB officer, was a member of the Model UN, Speech and Debate team, and the state champion Ethics Bowl, participated in the Film and Interesting, Well-Rounded Individuals Clubs, and went on the Senior Yukon trip. He earned spots on the Honor Roll, High Honor Roll, and All A’s List, earned the high GPA in 9th grade, and was a National Merit Commended Scholar. He was a member of the soccer, Ultimate, and tennis teams, earning the MVP Award in tennis. Simon has been accepted at Williams College. 69

The Class of 2017

COLLEGE ADVISING College Advising at Seattle Academy is comprehensive. College Advisors make college suggestions, develop testing strategies, review application materials, discuss college financing, and more. Throughout, College Advisors see their partnership with students and families as a concluding event in the Culture of Performance, where students take meaningful and supported risks in moments of action. With College Advising’s help, applying to college is a culminating moment, approached with sound information, good health, and pride. Our College Advisors are also self-described “geeks of the industry,” carefully tracking and applying trends in college counseling through their networks established during long careers in college admission and college counseling. They know firsthand how college admission works and how to describe Seattle Academy’s offerings to students’ advantage. One hundred percent of Seattle Academy’s college applicants gain admission to colleges and universities, among them the nation’s most selective. Of paramount importance, however, is knowing students well and helping them identify great next-step options where they can continue to thrive. “We’re the luckiest college counselors,” says Director of College Advising, Melanie Reed. “Seattle Academy is such a great place to do this work.”


























Our seniors at a glance



MEAN SAT MATH 550-690 (MIDDLE 50%)








2017-2018 Officers Donna Bellew, President (Evie ’15, John ’18, and Helen ’21) Tom Barton, Vice President (Kirstie ’12, Bryce ‘15, and Tess ’19) Mark Callaghan, Treasurer (Sid ’15 and Greg ’17) Mary Pembroke Perlin, Secretary (Adam ’18 and Theo ’20)

2017-2018 Trustees

“The Seattle Academy Board of Trustees is honored to work in partnership with the exceptional leadership of SAAS. The work of the Board is largely focused on the strategic future of the school, the long term institutional stability and growth of Seattle Academy.”

—Donna Bellew (Evie ’15, John ’18, and Helen ’21) Board of Trustees President

The Board is comprised of twenty-two board

members including alumni, current and alumni parents, and members of the broader community. As a group they bring diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and expertise to serve our school. Trustees fulfill their roles and responsibilities largely through committee work with each trustee engaged in one or more areas. Standing committees include: Capital Campaign, Development, Executive, Facilities, Finance and Audit, Innovations, and Investment, as well as the Alumni and Parent Associations. Additionally, the Board added an Equity and Inclusion Task Force, which includes trustees, faculty, and staff. Since May 2015, Donna Bellew (Evie ’15, John ’18, and Helen ’21) has led the work of the trustees as the Board President. New trustees joining the SAAS Board this fall are Matt Culberson, Lynn Hubbard, Jim Hughes, Marian Joh, Brian Langstraat, Tiesa McElroy, Mike Myint, and Sharon Perlin. 72

Matt Culberson Ronnie Cunningham (Alex Stirgus ’11 and Serena Cunningham’20) Leslie Hanauer (Cole ’18 and Lauren ’20) Peter Heymann (Nick ’18 and Ben ’20) Lynn Hubbard (Sam Turshman ’21) Jim Hughes (Peter ’22) Marian Joh (Ellis Andrews ’20) Brian Langstraat (Beck ’23) Ryan McDevitt ’03 (Oci Tresemer ’18) Tiesa McElroy ’09 Mike Myint (Emily ’22 and Sophia ’24) Brian Oseran ’96 Sharon Perlin (Liat ’13, Amit ’15 and Maital ’23) Rob Phillips (Garrett ’23) Joe Puggelli Bard Richmond (Eli ’19, Maxwell ’19, and Owen ’21) Kayley Runstad Swan (Kate Swan ’16, Savannah Westra ’19, and Anders Westra ’22) Matthew Sweeney (Caroline ’14 and Drummond ’17)

Honorary Trustees Mary Dunnam (Patrick ’99 and Tom ’02) Mary Ellen Hudgins (Jonah Sterling ’90 and Alex Bush ’02) Ron Hosogi (Renee ’07 and Michelle ’10) Lex Lindsey (Elisabeth ’99) Tom Markl (Matt ’97, Christina ’00, and Peter ’04) Jean Orvis (Lauren ’05) Bill Oseran (David ’94 and Brian ’96) Craig Tall (Lyssa ’87 and Kristina ’89) Maggie Walker (Kina ’06) Martha M. Wyckoff (Jacob Byrne ’03, Conor Byrne ‘ 05, and Paul Byrne ’07)


The Seattle Academy Parent Association (PA) The Parent Association (PA) builds community among parents and families, supports school programs, and facilitates communication between parents, faculty, and administration. In 2016-17, 78 class representatives and lead volunteers supported a variety of school events including: Open Houses, Prospective Student Visit Days, Admitted Family Receptions and New Family Welcomes, Fall Sports Mania, Basketball Mania, Spring Sports Mania, 8th grade Moving Up ceremony, and Summer Mentor phone calls to new families. The PA also spearheads Logo Wear sales and the Ski Bus program. Class reps organized parent events including: grade-level coffees, brown bag lunches, class potlucks, and evening socials. Faculty appreciation remained a highpoint of PA activities with “Friday Treats” delivered weekly, and 185 holiday gift baskets created for faculty and staff including an Amazon Echo Dot in each basket along with donated wine, chocolate, coffee, gift cards and other treats. The PA also sponsored one day of Faculty Appreciation Week in May, and hosted an end of year faculty/staff luncheon. The Parent Education Committee (PEC) organizes events to build and support the SAAS community. In September 2016, acclaimed author Julie Metzger, RN MN, drew from her book “One More Thing… Changing Up Conversations to Stay Connected with Your Teen” speaking on strategies to strengthen family communications. In April 2017, a Teen Wellness Forum addressed ways to help teens reduce stress and improve sleep, diet, and exercise. Speakers were: Brian Saelens, Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Behavioral Science at the University of Washington; Maida Chen, MD, Director of the Sleep Disorders Program at Seattle Children’s Hospital and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at UW’s School of Medicine; and mindfulness instructor, Ann Hollar, M.Ed. Parent Peer Group (PPG) discussions continued twice annually for each grade. These lively, informative, gradelevel conversations, focused on parenting issues, are facilitated by professional parent educators. All SAAS parents are invited to the annual PA meetings in the fall, winter, and spring. Meetings cover general PA business and often feature guest speakers. Last fall, Alana Bell ’03 introduced her role as Director of Equity and Inclusion. In June, Associate Head of School Rob Phillips reflected on the past school year, thanked parent volunteers, and looked ahead to the

Volunteerism is key to the success of Seattle Academy. The school could not serve the needs of our community without dedicated parent volunteers to help us with key initiatives, events, and a multitude of essential tasks that support the mission of the school. It is also a great way for parents to connect to the school, faculty and staff, and other parents.

2017-18 school year. The Parent Association is guided by an exceptional executive team. Our thanks and gratitude go to Kay Rawlings (Wilson ’17) (above, left) who completed her term as PA President, and Kristine Sweeney (Caroline ’14 and Drummond ’17) who finished her term as Secretary. Welcome to incoming President, Sharon Perlin and Secretary, Teresa Spellman Gamble, and to the newly expanded PA executive team.

2017-2018 Parent Association Executive Team

Sharon Perlin, President (Liat ’13, Amit ’15, and Maital ’23) Bob Steedman, Vice President, Admissions Support (Zach ’19 and Eli ’21) Amy Bryant, Vice President, Faculty/Staff Student Support (Spencer ’22 and Brody ’24) Fiona Lennard, Vice President, Faculty/Staff Student Support (Hudson ’22 and Sydney ’24) Pamela Lopez , Vice President, Class Representative Support (Maxwell ’21) Teresa Spellman Gamble, Secretary (Patrick ’22) Laurie Breidenbach-Forslund , Treasurer (Olivia ’19 and Grace ’21) Arden Hellmann, Parent Education Committee Chair (Max ’19 and Jake ’22)




Left to right: Rich and Nancy Senseney (Van Senseney ’19), Cindy Lee and Mike Lock (Ian Lock ’19)

Seattle Academy’s Annual Fund is our primary

campaign for program support. The Annual Fund fuels curricular innovations, resources, and opportunities across the four pillars of a SAAS education—Academics, the Arts, Athletics, and Outdoor and Travel programs. These gifts also support financial aid, technology, and student initiated clubs and activities. Each year our community’s philanthropic spirit and generosity shine as donors make gifts of every size to help prepare students for college and life. Tuition funds a solid college preparatory education rooted in innovation and excellence. The Annual Fund provides additional funds to elevate the SAAS education to something extraordinary. These gifts have an impact on students’ experiences every day—experiences that lead to memorable moments of discovery, transformation, and accomplishment. The Donor Appreciation Dinner, on October 27, 2016, celebrated our donor community for their shared belief in SAAS and their commitment to support our programs, students, and faculty. Guests enjoyed time to mingle with friends over a casual buffet and a program featuring student performances by Jazz Ensemble I and Jazz Choir II. Remarks came from Head of School Joe Puggelli and Associate Head of School Rob Phillips, Co-Heads of Middle School Julia Kassissieh and Nick Creach, and Head of Upper School Lauri Conner.


Tara Moss ’99

The evening’s theme was volunteerism and community service both richly exemplified by SAAS alumna and keynote speaker, Tara Moss ’99. Tara’s passion for social justice and service was ignited in her days as a student on the 8th grade Seattle Challenge. This three-day urban excursion takes students and teachers on an exploration of Seattle teaching lessons about homelessness and engaging students in community service with local food banks, shelters, and other social service organizations. On the Seattle Challenge Tara met a man who made his home under the viaduct. In their interaction he asked only to be acknowledged —a simple act with profound significance. The Seattle Challenge, and this moment, left a lasting impression that propelled Tara toward her influential career in the nonprofit sector with organizations including Street Outreach Services, Real Change, and The Defender’s Association. The Seattle Challenge has been an integral part of the 8th grade program for over twenty years and is just one of many distinctive learning opportunities supported by the Annual Fund. When donors give to Seattle Academy their choice to donate is significant. Collectively our community contributes one million dollars annually to support the people and programs at SAAS. Every gift matters and every donor is appreciated!

On Saturday, January 28, 2017, Seattle Academy welcomed over 530 guests to SAAS in the City, our annual celebration to benefit students and



faculty. This special evening drew a lively audience including SAAS parents and grandparents, alumni and alumni parents, faculty, staff, and friends. Guests arrived at Fremont Studios to a groovy, 1970’s inspired theme complete with disco ball and a vintage Volkswagen Beetle on display! Guests mingled during the cocktail hour, purchased over 100 bottles of exceptional wine at the Wine Grab, and entered the SAAS in the City Raffle for the chance to win one of two amazing packages. The Best of Seattle package included fabulous sports, arts, food and wine experiences, while the New York package included airfare, 4-star hotel, tickets to a Broadway show and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Both winners also received a oneyear  CLEAR  family membership to breeze through airport security on any of their travels. Over dinner, guests enjoyed exuberant student performances by the Advanced Jazz Ensemble, the Middle School cast of  James and the Giant Peach,  Jazz Choir II and the Advanced and Intermediate Dance Ensembles. The debut of The Cardinal Choir—a remarkable collaboration of Middle School vocal students, alongside current and alumni members of the Onions, as well as soloists Nicole Matthews ’05, Sydnee Matthews ’05, and Marcus Petitt ’09—brought the house down with its rendition of U2’s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” These stellar performances were complemented by a video of faculty members describing their daily interactions with students as well as impassioned remarks from Head of School, Joe Puggelli, Associate Head of School Rob Phillips, Board Chair Donna Bellew, and alumni Nate Abbott ’16, Sherika (née Brooks) Shnider ’08, Ryan McDevitt ’03, and Kina Walker ’06. Near the close of the evening SAAS in the City includes an ask for support to fund a need that benefits our school and community. This year’s ask launched the final phase of our  SAAS Rising Campaign for Campus Transformation.  An ambitious $1 million goal for the night was bolstered by a match pool of $500,000 donated by thirteen families to help our community succeed, and succeed we did!  Guests gave generously through a “Raise the Paddle,” and blew past the goal raising a total of $1.4 million! Incredible!! We remain dazzled and grateful for this robust response. Special thanks go to our SAAS in the City 2017 Event Chairs, Erika Grayson (Sydney ’20) and Sarah Miller (Zoe ’19); Creative Coordinator, Julie Eitel (George ’16); the SAAS in the City Committee; and the countless dedicated parent volunteers, faculty, staff, alumni, and students who helped make this event possible.

Save the date for the next SAAS in the City on March 24, 2018!

Top: Sheri (née Brooks) Shnider ’08. Middle: Nicole Matthews ’05, Sydnee Matthews ’05, and Marcus Petitt ’09 performing with the Onions and Middle School vocal students.


FACULTY | ANNOUNCEMENTS 1 Erin Aitchison ’97, Assistant Athletic Director and coach, was named

the Emerald City League Coach-of- the-Year in Girls’ Track and Field.

2 Visual Artist and Teacher, Amanda Amsel, had her work chosen as

part of the Seattle Storefronts art displays in South Lake Union. The installment, entitled Tiny Human Moments, was a collaborative work with fellow artist Elizabeth Arzani and was on view in the Amazon windows. ERIN AITCHISON ’97

3 KC Helmeid, Vocal Teacher, performed several concerts with the

Seattle Symphony Chorale at Benaroya Hall, from Beethoven’s 9th to a Harry Potter movie soundtrack.

Mark Hoover, Vocal Music Director, received the Teacher-of- the-Year Award from the Arts Schools Network. (see Profile at right) 4 Melinda Mueller, Upper School Science Teacher and poet,


published her first book since her Washington State Book Award for What the Ice Gets. The book-length poem, The After, is a sorrowing for the world we will alter and leave unseen. A meditation on extinction and the Anthropocene, it blends science and poetry with the urgency of heartbreak. 5 Mike Park, Middle School Math Teacher who recently retired after



over twenty years at SAAS, had several of his poems published in a children’s book, Fun Animal Facts for Kids. The book was a collaboration between Angela Blemker, Sharonne Park (Mike’s daughter), and Locklan Winzenried. Proceeds from the sale of the book benefit animal rescue organizations. 6 Rebekah Rocha, Photography Teacher, had two photographs selected

for a juried competition with the Washington Art Education Association “Teachers as Artists” exhibit. The exhibit was held in March and April of 2017 at Maryhill Museum of Art. Her piece, American Robin #2, a Dry Plate tintype, was awarded a second place in show. 7 NyRee Ausler, SAAS Payroll and Human Resources Officer, is a



published author with two books to her credit. She was invited to appear at this year’s Seattle Urban Book Expo Author Showcase along with three other authors. The showcase was held at the Seattle Public Library a few days prior to the expo, which took place at Washington Hall.


Profile: Mark Hoover Mark Hoover, SAAS Vocal Music Director, received the 2016 Teacher of the Year Award from the Arts Schools Network (ASN). This annual award recognizes a teacher whose dedication, talent, and achievement are exemplary. The award was presented at ASN’s annual conference October 25-28, 2016, in Dallas, Texas. An ASN represented said, “With a Ph.D. in music composition from the University of Washington, Mark brings sophisticated technique to his teaching. But his love of music and his ability to touch the hearts of his students sets him apart.  It is a testament to his compassion and dedication to excellence that over thirty percent of the [SAAS] Upper School student body auditions for places in his Vocal Program.” Mark began teaching in 1986 with the Northwest Boy choir. Since being hired as the head of the vocal program at Seattle Academy in 1988, Mark has led and studied vocal jazz with some of the great vocal jazz artists in the U.S. Seattle Academy’s vocal jazz choir, The Onions, has won first prize at the Reno Jazz Festival and the Pacific Jazz Vocal Festival. Under Mark’s program direction, SAAS is now considered one of the top high school Vocal Jazz programs on the West Coast.



FACULTY | PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Faculty Professional Development at Seattle Academy is the fuel that drives curricular innovation. Professional Development is an integral component in the creation of project-based learning, and is critical to providing an innovative and engaging educational experience for all of our students. The Faculty Professional Development fund provides the resources to send faculty to conferences and workshops, to support faculty as they develop new programs, and feeds the Culture of Performance at the faculty level.


Amanda Amsel

National Arts Education Conference

Alana Bell ’03

National People of Color Conference

Achijah Berry ’10

Mean Girls Conference

Hilary Bowen

Mean Girls Conference

Martin Brakke

Project-Based Learning World Conference Washington Education Association National Board Certification

Experimental Biology Meeting

Hannah Chapin

Lauri Conner National Association of Independent Schools Annual Conference Northwest Association of Independent Schools Leadership Conference


Nick Creach

Solution Tree Leadership Conference

Gabe Cronin

Project-Based Learning World Conference

Long Dam

International Society for Technology in Education Conference National Council for Computer Education Conference

Sandy Dawson

Project-Based Learning World Conference

Rick DuPree

National Association of Independent Schools

People of Color Leadership Conference MARTIN BRAKKE




Meredith Hale

International Society for Technology in Education Conference

Sheila Hanrahan

Social Media Conference

Tyler Hartanov

Project-Based Learning World Conference

KC Helmeid

Theatre Communication Group National Conference National Association for Music Education Conference

Theatre Communication Group National Conference

Ed Hofmann

Lily Hotchkiss

Gage Academy of Art Visual Arts Workshop Greermandy Tuft Weaving Workshop National Basketry Workshop National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts Conference Seattle Art Museum Fiber Arts Workshop

Gary Houk

Essential Non-Business Administration Workshop

Aimee Kanemori

Learning and the Brain Conference

Julia Kassissieh

INDEX Conference

Shelley Kunasek

Project-Based Learning World Conference

Lewis Maday-Travis National Science Teachers Association Conference

Jennifer Nelson

Preventing Sexualized Trauma Stressed Teens Workshop

Kathi Petrotta

International Dyslexia Association, WA Branch Conference
















Rob Phillips

National Association of Independent Schools Annual Conference

David Pynchon

Learn to Tinker Workshop Northwest Association of Independent Schools Beginning Teacher Workshop Project-Based Learning World Conference

Alison Ray

Independent School Management Webinar

Rebekah Rocha

Society for Photography Education Conference

Megan Roberts

Learning and the Brain Conference

Elin Rummel

Project-Based Learning World Conference

Cathy Schick

National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Conference

Andrew Spitzer

National Council for Computer Education Conference

Fred Strong

Independent School Management Webinar

Lysie Taylor

Hybrid Learning Consortium Conference

Christine Tschirgi

Theatre Communication Group National Conference

Joey Walker

Confertel Webinar

Kina Walker ’06

National Association of Independent Schools Annual Conference

James Watson

Washington Journalism Education Association Workshop

Mindy Watson

Independent School Management Webinar

Mark Wensnahan

Project-Based Learning World Conference

Mark Zavala

National Council for Computer Education Conference


NWAIS Fall Educators Conference: Fifteen faculty members Landmark College Institute for Research and Training: English and History Departments Wilderness First Aid Training: Twenty faculty who lead trips



FACULTY | ALUMNI FACULTY INTERVIEWS As our mission states, Seattle Academy prepares students for college and life. This is exemplified by the success of our students who have continued on to some of the country’s most prestigious colleges, universities, conservatories, and art schools in the world. We are fortunate when some of our alumni return to teach at SAAS, bringing with them not only the culture of the school, but the benefit of their experience as a student who has gone through the program. They are uniquely qualified to help current students achieve success as well. This year we interviewed four alumni faculty and staff members to better understand what they valued about their SAAS education as well as why they enjoy teaching here.




Upper School Coordinator and History Teacher, Girls’ Varsity Soccer Coach

Middle School Learning Support Teacher, Middle School Basketball, Lacrosse, and Soccer Coach

Campaign Coordinator and Alumni Director

What do you remember most from when you were a student at SAAS? BROOKS: What I remember most from my time at SAAS is being surprised at how close of a community it was. It was unlike any other school I had been to or heard of. RACHEL: I remember the trips that I went on (Alaska summer, Senior Alaska and New Mexico Habitat), the sports that I played and being apart of Youth Legislature. KINA: American Studies was the most dynamic and impactful academic experience I’ve had. By blending literature, history, politics, and ethics it gave me a much more sophisticated view of the world and inspired me to study Political Science at Colorado College. The Horton River trip in the summer of 2003 was a month-long trip led by Rob Phillips and Jen Bandy Phillips. There were around fifteen high school students on the trip, and we river kayaked down the Horton River and finished the trip at the Arctic Ocean. It was a magical experience and probably the 80

most remote wilderness experience I have been on. We only saw two other people during our month-long trip that mostly included grizzly bears, mindblowing hikes through unusual terrain, and many fish dinners. Which programs, teams, extracurricular activities were you involved in as a student? BROOKS: My senior year I participated on the Track and Field team and was the manager for the girls’ soccer team. RACHEL: I was on the basketball, soccer, and ultimate Frisbee teams. I was also a part of CSO club and Youth Legislature. KINA: I was a founding member of the SAAS Outdoor Club and played four years of SAAS Varsity Girls’ Soccer. I also went on the SAAS Horton River Trip, a month-long, river kayaking trip in the Northwest Territories in 2003. Which teacher(s) influenced you the most and why? BROOKS: Looking back on my time at

SAAS there are certainly a few teachers who stand out and with whom I am still close today but what really made a big impact on me was that every single one of my teachers showed incredible patience and had faith in me as a student. All the teachers I had genuinely cared and that has always stuck with me. RACHEL: Conner had the most influence on me as a student. I had her for 10th grade English and I was terrified of her.  I had her again senior year.  I wanted to have her as a teacher so badly again I took two English classes throughout my whole year. She is the kind of teacher and person that I look up to now. I still go into her office and talk with her. I would consider myself a successful teacher if I am half as good as she is. KINA: Rob Phillips and Joe Puggelli taught the American Studies course while I was at SAAS. They were incredible teachers and both had a big impact on my interest in American history. Rob was also my soccer coach for 4 years.

What was the most important lesson/advice that SAAS taught you? BROOKS: What I’ve taken from my time as a student at SAAS is the confidence to try new things. RACHEL: SAAS taught me to love to try new things and be okay with failing. My adviser in high school was Steve Retz, he urged me to join Youth Legislature. Because of him and his encouragement I went on to have many leadership positions within the program as well as being selected to participate in the national version of the program my junior and senior year. I would never have thought about participating in that club without the help and guidance of Steve and the “Leave your comfort zone” mindset that SAAS provides. KINA: I remember Joe giving me some very important advice during an especially rough time for me my senior year that I still think about today. Joe said, “I have made every mistake in the book. You can make mistakes; that is ok. You will be fine.” It was an incredibly open, honest thing to say to a teenager. Why did you apply for a job at SAAS? BROOKS: I applied to work at SAAS because my time at the school was so positive and I wanted to work somewhere that I could help others have positive experiences. RACHEL: I applied for a job at SAAS because I love that students are able to excel in athletics, academics and the arts. I also was so excited to learn and work with the teachers that shaped me and helped mold me into who I am today. KINA: I stayed in touch with both Rob and Joe during and after college. My first job after graduating from Colorado College was working in political fundraising, then I moved to the east coast where I worked as Development Assistant at the Wilderness Society and helped managed their national Board meetings and Advisory board meetings. I was looking for opportunities to move back to the Pacific Northwest in 2013

right around when the SAAS Rising Capital Campaign was about to get started. Rob got in touch with me about applying for a new development position at Seattle Academy. The rest is history! Describe your current job here. BROOKS: Depending on what hat I am wearing—coach, teacher or coordinator—it varies slightly. The common thread between them is that I am here to get to know students and build the kind of relationships with them that are so fundamental to the culture and learning environment here at SAAS.

What is the main difference between being a student and working at SAAS? BROOKS: I guess the big difference for me is that coming to SAAS as a junior I spent most of my time here trying to figure out what this community was all about and now as a faculty member I feel like I am more a part of it. RACHEL: The biggest difference I have noticed from being a student and teaching are the new buildings. The STREAM is an amazing addition to the school and the new middle school (which I am personally very excited about) is going to be so fantastic.

RACHEL: I am the 7th/8th grade Study Skills teacher and Middle School girls’ soccer, basketball, and lacrosse coach.

KINA: The surroundings! Capitol Hill has changed drastically since I was a student at SAAS.

KINA: My primary responsibility at SAAS is supporting the success of the SAAS Rising campaign and to help build a Major Gift program at Seattle Academy. I work closely with the school’s Development Volunteers to help drive the fundraising. In addition, I manage the Alumni program for SAAS.

What advice would you give to seniors?

What do you like about working at SAAS? What could use improvement? BROOKS: There are many things that I like about working at SAAS, but if I had to pick one it would be the community here and our commitment to the mission. If I had to make one improvement to the school it would be a soccer field near campus! RACHEL: I love the community that SAAS has with the teachers as well as students and families. It is a very welcoming community. I love that I can teach during the day, but also coach after school and hang out and work with the students on something completely different. KINA: It is great to work for an organization that you believe in, and that you know so well. I’ve lived the experience, I know how awesome it is, and it is great to get to work to support a place that you love.

BROOKS: My advice to seniors would be to find people who you disagree with on important issues and have meaningful conversations with them. RACHEL: I would encourage seniors and any student for that matter to find at least one teacher that you can always go to.  The relationships that I had had with Conner, Steve, Rob, Mindy and many others have lasted more than ten years. I guarantee that SAAS has a teacher and mentor for each student, sometimes its just about finding the right person. KINA: College gives you the opportunity to study things that interest you academically, but it is also a time when you get to be independent, try new things, travel, and be creative. Be sure to take advantage of how unique that is!



MERCY ROME ’95 Mercy Rome graduated from Seattle Academy in 1995

and attended Colorado College where she completed her B.A. in Theatre and met her husband and former SAAS faculty member, Canuche Terranella. After graduating from college, Mercy co-managed her family’s real estate development and property management firm. Mercy went on to work as a Housing Developer at Beacon Development Group where she managed projects for affordable housing around Washington State. Mercy & Canuche spent a year traveling the world in 20072008. Upon returning to Seattle they both completed their MBAs in Sustainable Business at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute and started their family. Mercy raised the kids while working on residential remodel and construction projects. Canuche worked at SAAS as a science teacher, coach and trip leader from 2000 to 2007. After completing his MBA he helped launch Green Canopy Homes from 2009 until 2015. In 2015 Canuche and Mercy decided to take a break from urban Seattle and moved to Samara, Costa Rica where they run an eco-conscious family focused vacation destination called Villas Espavel. The piece below is a description of life in Samara as told by Mercy. Our days start like most parents; hurry-hurry, get the kids up and into uniforms, feed the dogs, stir the oatmeal, don’t dawdle kids. Then woosh-crack and a small body falls through the branches. Breakfast is forgotten as we all tumble out onto the patio to see the invasion. Small black forms are dropping from the towering espavel tree into the papaturro tree. The tree writhes as though alive as we stare, mesmerized, at 82

the troop of howler monkeys feasting on pink strands of beach grapes dangling in the dense green foliage. There are seven in total, one with a tiny baby clinging to its back. The hurry is forgotten. Our daughter’s school braid hangs half-finished down her back. The fruiting of the Papaturro and its accompanying fauna have given me pause to appreciate the depth of our changed life. This week we sit at our desks working and instead of lifting our gaze to the rush of traffic on the highway, we see the bright yellow breasts of Trogons and the improbable tail feathers of the Turquoise-browed Motmot as they flit in for grapes. At our wedding we read the poem by Edward Abbey: “Benedicto: May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you -- beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.” Our crooked trail took us on a four-month sabbatical to Playa Sámara, Costa Rica where we fell in love with the slower pace of life, the novelty around every corner, the hammock time with our two kids and the adventurous play in Sámara Bay. Our desire for Spanish fluency, to integrate into an international community and share beauty with others led us to settle here in Playa Sámara and create Villas Espavel. Opened in December 2016, Villas Espavel is a collection of six small villas clustered on a seasonal river fronting a hillside of verdant jungle. The five guest villas and our home share a tree-top yoga space and glorious pool. Villas Espavel is a magical place, when you are here you feel wrapped in nature but when you step outside our gate you are a 2-minute bike ride from town and the beach. We love giving guests the opportunity to shed the tension of city-life, dig their toes into the soft warm sand and dive down into the turquoise waters. Our

daily work is the creation of beautiful and tranquil spaces so that guests from all over the world can share this paradise with us. Since we opened we have been overjoyed to share Sámara and Villas Espavel with six present and past SAAS faculty members. Peter Clark, Heidi Neff, Melinda Mueller, Gayle Pearl, April Ferry & Nick Lew have come to relish the beauty of Samara. I hope your own crooked trail will lead you here, staring mouth agape at the howler monkeys dangling by their tails as I stand alongside hair brush in hand, school braid forgotten, in the rapture of the monkey’s howl. Learn more about Mercy & Canuche’s new life and adventures through their website and blog at Photo, previous page: Mercy Rome, class of ’95, and Canuche Terranella, faculty alum 2000-2007, with their family.

BRIAN OSERAN ’96 Brian Oseran graduated from SAAS in 1996 and went on to attend Occidental College, where he majored in Economics. After college, he completed his Certificate in Commercial Real Estate from the University of Washington and worked as a Property Manager and Financial Analyst at Martin Smith Inc. He went on to work in Northern Mexico developing a high-rise resort development and then subsequently worked at Investco Financial Corporation developing multi-family projects in the Seattle area. Brian is currently Principal of Meriwether Partners LLC, where he is responsible for managing acquisitions, dispositions and asset management, as well as providing day-to- day oversight of multi-family development activities, with an emphasis on the Seattle metropolitan area. Meriwether Partners invests in office and industrial properties, as well as the ground up development of multi-family and mixed-use projects. This summer, his team will break ground on a mixed-use project on the Seattle waterfront. “I enjoy the multi- disciplinary and problem solving nature of development, and really appreciate that I get to be involved in the creation of something that will be there for decades to come,” says Brian of his work. This past year, Brian has lent his real estate expertise to his alma mater by chairing the Facilities Committee at SAAS, and in the 2016-17 year, joining the Board of

Trustees. Brian’s father, Bill Oseran, is a former SAAS Trustee and current Honorary Trustee and Brian’s brother is also a SAAS alumnus who graduated in 1994. “SAAS is a pretty unique school, one that I benefited from greatly as a student. I feel that it is important for me to give back to this place that has given me so much, and this was the right time in my life to do it. I have a background in real estate development and, given all that is going on with the campus transformation, I feel like I can contribute in a productive and lasting manner.” When Brian looks back on his experiences at SAAS, he says that the Outdoor and Travel program and the SAAS faculty have remained his most powerful memories. Brian recounts “sleeping on the deck of a ferry for several days waiting to see a whale (we did), sitting for hours in a tent hoping the rain would stop (it did), or watching the sun set over the canyons are all vivid memories I have from (the Alaska and Canyonlands Trips).” Apart from trips, Brian says it was the SAAS faculty that made the school so memorable, “Even back then, in the early days of the school, when it was still finding its way, it was so clear that the staff and faculty were so dedicated to making the school a world class institution. That dedication and willingness to ‘make it work’ even with a campus that was really cobbled together, translated into a wonderful and unique experience.”

Brian Oseran ’96 83



SAMANTHA CASNE ’01 It was a paper in Steve Retz’ history class that sparked Samantha’s interest in women’s studies. It was an interest that inspired her to graduate from Agnes Scott College with a double major in Women’s Studies and Music. During undergrad, Samantha spent a year abroad in Croatia. While she was conducting research about the barriers to women serving in the Croatian Government, Samantha discovered that more Croatian women “were serving in their national Parliament than the United States had serving in Congress.” From that moment on, Samantha knew she wanted to spend the rest of her life “working to elect more women to office” and that has been her “guiding principal ever since.”

Samantha Casne ’06

She went on to earn her Master of Arts Degree in Women’s Studies from the University of Cincinnati in 2007. After finishing her graduate studies, Samantha began work as a Field Organizer for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign in Iowa, working across eight-states to recruit and maintain volunteers. Later that year, she worked as the Campaign Manager for the People for Rob Cerqui, partnering closely with 84

the House Democratic Campaign Committee to develop winning strategies for this top legislative race. Later that year, Samantha became a Legislative Aid for the Washington State House of Representatives, providing support to the administration on communications, research, and public relations for the (then) Majority Leader Rep. Lynn Kessler and Speaker Frank Chopp. In 2011, she was hired as the Statewide Outreach Director for the Jay Inslee for Washington campaign. She worked across the state to help build relationships and community partnerships in the midst of the top gubernatorial race in the nation. Her hard work paid off as Jay Inslee was elected as the 23rd Governor of Washington State. After the gubernatorial race, Samantha worked as the State Legislative Affairs Specialist for King County before assuming her current role with the Washington Education Association as a Legislative and Political Action Aide. With the WEA, Samantha is responsible for supporting the government relations team, coordinating events, legislative work and managing daily office operations in Olympia. While Samantha has had success with local campaigns, she has been enjoying success on a national level. In fall 2015, Samantha began working for the National Education Association (NEA) to work on the campaign for Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. She was stationed in New Hampshire, Nevada, Washington, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and California, working to help “turn out members” of the NEA for Hillary during the primary. Her daily activities included “phone banking, volunteer recruitment, going door-todoor, and attending rallies and events supporting” the candidate. Hillary subsequently earned the Democratic Presidential Nomination, but lost to Donald Trump in the November Election. Since then, Samantha is working once again at the Washington Education Association as a Public Policy Associate. She recently became engaged to a fellow SAAS graduate, alumnus Aaron Strauss ’03.

DAVID LIPSON ’05 While David Lipson ’05 is now writing the first feature film he intends to direct, it was during his time as a student at Seattle Academy that he began to pursue his passion for filmmaking. “For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to make movies,” David said

in an interview with City Arts Magazine. “I attended Seattle Academy for high school where the digital video program really enabled me to take my writing and directing more seriously.” SAAS Video Teacher Cheryll Hidalgo helped David tap into the Seattle filmmaking community through her own work in independent film, introducing David to local artists like cinematographer Ben Kasulke and director Lynn Shelton. In 2008 while attending the University of Washington, David worked with Lynn to help develop the script for “Humpday.” The film premiered at Sundance and went on to win awards at international film festivals, including the 2009 USA National Review Board Top Independent Film Award, in addition to being remade in France. Following the release and success of “Humpday,” David says “the consulting and writing opportunities just kept trickling in.”

David Lipson ’05

In 2010 David partnered with Shelton again on MTV’s “$5 Cover: Seattle” as a Story Consultant before consulting for filmmaker Megan Griffiths on her script “Sadie”, which was selected for the 2011 Sundance Creative Producing Lab. After working with Megan to restructure her 2012 SXSW hit “Eden,” David and Megan co-wrote a feature-length screenplay together. This last winter “Sadie” finally came to fruition. The film stars Melanie Lynskey and John Gallagher Jr. “Working closely with Megan to develop ‘Sadie,’ I brought a lot of personal experience to the material and I couldn’t be more excited to see the film realized,” said David. When asked in an interview about any up-and-coming people in the Seattle film scene that excite her, director Megan Griffiths said “the first person who jumps to mind is a writer David Lipson, who I think is really,

really talented...If people don’t already know who he is, they will soon know.” In 2014 David was a finalist for the prestigious Nantucket Screenwriters Colony, making it to the top ten among a pool of industry-nominated applicants. David also worked as a consultant for Oscar-winning director Jeffrey D. Brown on his 2016 film “Sold” which featured actors Gillian Anderson and David Arquette. As a writer/director, David’s short films “Tell Me Who” and “Our Time Together” have been featured at such festivals as Indie Memphis opening night, Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, Oxford Film Festival, and the Atlanta International Film Festival as well as on Comcast On Demand. Writing about “Our Time Together” The Stranger writer Charles Mudede described David’s work: “The film sets the harsh realities of loneliness and longing against the blurred background of the city. The city almost never comes into focus; its merry/magic lights are, for the urban loner, as cold as all the distant and wandering stars.” David recently taught a one-night seminar at the Northwest Film Forum, a Seattle non-profit dedicated to supporting and educating film artists. David’s workshop “Writing Character for the Screen” explored the theory and practice of character writing. He’s currently indevelopment on a new film, “Instruction.” “I’m eager to step beyond the screenwriting stage and direct my own work again,” David told us. “I can’t wait.”

DHANI MAU ’06 Dhani Mau ’06 is the West Coast Editor of Fashionista. com, the website that is “one of the most influential voices covering fashion” and has a monthly readership of over 2.5 million. But Dhani had a different plan when she first arrived in the Big Apple. Dha n i was a tte nd i ng New Yor k Un iver s ity, studying journalism and interning for fashion PR and communications firms such as Tractenberg & Co. and Maguire Steele. “My first couple of internships were with fashion PR companies, where I did things like pull clothes for magazine shoots for the brands we represented and work fashion week events,” but Dhani said “PR wasn’t for me and I wanted to try writing.” In 2009, she transferred to the Fashion Institute of Technology where she earned her degree in Fashion Merchandising and Management and began her first internship at 85


ALUMNI | PROFILES AND INTERVIEWS “My boss at the PR Company connected me with the then-EIC of” Dhani spent 6 months interning with Fashionista before moving to as an Editorial Intern. However, not long after starting at, Fashionista offered Dhani a full-time position. Dhani says, “I started as an assistant editor and then, five years later, I became the Editorial Director, and now the West Coast Editor.”

how models are creating a dialogue to make fashion more inclusive, and exploring why top designer Michael Kors is downsizing his department store collections. And that’s just a sampling of her work. Dhani’s work at Fashionista has taken her to such fashion capitals as New York, London, Milan, and Paris to cover events in the fashion world. Most recently, it has taken her to Los Angeles, where in February 2017, she moved to take on a new job within Fashionista as the West Coast Editor, where she writes with a stronger focus on the growing LA fashion industry. According to Dhani, work at Fashionista is “really fast-paced and requires that I be able to write things quickly and well, and to think critically, analytically, and creatively...” and “I think SAAS helped me to think that way, to be a good writer and to have the discipline to get things done.”


Dhani Mau ’06

Cody has certainly kept busy since graduating from SAAS. In 2011, while attending Carleton College, Cody was nationally recognized as one of a handful of exceptional undergraduate students studying science and named a Barry M. Goldwater Scholar for Excellence in Education. He was elected to the Phi Beta Cappa Chapter of Minnesota, the Sigma Xi Academic Research Society, and he graduated with his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, with Distinction. Since 2014, Cody has been attending the California I nsti tu te of Te ch nol ogy ea r n i ng h is P h . D. in Environmental Science and Engineering and working on groundbreaking technologies. Cody is part of a research group working on energy storage with solar fuels and wastewater treatment for applications in the developing world. His research has been focused on two projects that Cody describes below.

Dhani’s body of work at Fashionista is extensive, varied, and impressive. She writes, edits, and publishes several articles each week, covering topics like designer interviews, collection reviews, features on industry trends, and emerging trends. While the focus is on fashion as a whole, the website offers editorial pieces focused through multiple lenses: business, style, news, beauty, careers, shopping, fashion week and editor’s picks. In the last year, Dhani has written reviews for designer Valentino’s 2017 resort collection, a piece about

Project 1 Global warming caused climate change (GWCC) is driven by human greenhouse gas emissions which mostly comes from natural gas, coal, and biofuel (carbon fuel) power plants. These power plants provide us with all the electricity we need both at home and at work. To slow GWCC and protect against the likelihood of the negative consequences of GWCC it is important to replace carbon fuel powerplants with solar, wind, hydroelectric, nuclear, and other non-carbon sources.


Of these options, solar is the safest and most attractive choice. Unfortunately solar power only works while the sun is out (i.e. not at night, and barely at all in a Seattle Winter due to short days rather than cloud cover as most assume). Therefore to completely transition into a solar based economy we must produce excess solar energy during the day and store that solar energy for use at night and in the winter such that we may heat our homes, our water, and turn on our lights etc. Without storage only 25% of our energy could be produced by solar. Currently when storage is taken into account the price of solar energy is approximately 5X the price of natural gas energy. The two most attractive ways to store energy are 1) by batteries and 2) by splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen fuel. Both strategies are far too expensive. One large component of the high price of energy storage is the price of the special materials needed to convert solar energy to stored energy. Recently in my lab, I have developed a novel method to turn materials for water splitting including publishing a patent and a forthcoming research article which demonstrates the most efficient energy storage material to date. This represents a cost savings of 5% for the energy storage industry. This research is very exciting and also very early stage (i.e. we have only tried this technique on 1 material). With further research we believe that we may be able to make significant progress in bringing solar to true cost parity with carbon fuels. Project 2 According to the UN predictions, by 2050, water scarcity will affect two thirds (6.5 billion) of the world’s population (10 billion). Currently one third (2.5 billion) of the world’s population (7.5 billion) is affected by water scarcity (i.e. they do not have access to enough water to perform basic human functions like cooking, drinking, and washing). Approximately half of this water scarcity is caused by human waste pollution of natural waters. Therefore if a wastewater treatment technology that was both effective and affordable enough to be bought and used in the developing world could be developed, literally billions of people could live longer and healthier lives. In 2012 our research group developed a technology that won the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge” which sought to find such a wastewater treatment technology. The technology that we developed can take human waste, toilet paper, and wastewater and convert it into

sterile, clear, odorless water that is suitable for sanitary reuse and environmental discharge. The technology works by using solar energy to convert chloride, which is naturally found in human waste, to hypochlorous acid, which is the active ingredient in bleach. The bleach can then chemically treat the water just like we do in modern wastewater treatment plants. While this technology is about half the price of retrofitting a city with a sewer system and a modern water treatment facility, it is still about four times the cost of a pit latrine (which are generally affordable but do not work). The same technique that I developed to reduce the cost of energy storage has also reduced the cost of wastewater treatment. My recent advances demonstrate a twentyfive percent cost reduction in this treatment technology, which again is not enough, but given the age of my new technology, we are hopeful that the cost can be brought down more. Despite the cost, for certain emerging economies (China, South Africa, parts of India), these treatment systems are affordable today. In these countries, we have deployed field units for wastewater treatment that are currently in operation.

Cody Finke ’08 87


ALUMNI | PROFILES AND INTERVIEWS Finally, while this wastewater treatment system is great, extensive field testing has proved that it is not without its challenges. Like all high tech solutions in the developing world, when this technology breaks it is problematic. This is because many communities in the developing world often lack sufficient access to the educational resources required to diagnose and fix the system. In response to this challenge, I developed a mobile phone based technology that can “tell a local engineer who has almost no formal education how the system broke, why it broke, and then pictorially show that engineer how to fix it.” Conclusion For his work on water recycling and energy storage, Cody was awarded the Resnick Institute Fellowship which recognized his research in sustainability science; earned the second place prize by the Dow Chemical Company SISCA Challenge for his development of a “UV + electrochemical water treatment technology that allows on-site, infrastructure free human wastewater recycling for flushing, hand washing, and ecosystem services;” and earned first place in the Vodafone Wireless Innovations Project for his mobile maintenance guide and self-diagnosis technology. Cody still has two more years until he completes his Doctorate studies. Considering his impressive track record, you can predict big things will continue to happen for Cody.

fabrication estimates. In fall of 2015, she moved to the Supplier Management Finance Department working as a Procurement Financial Analyst, managing over $1.5 billion in supplier pricing and contracts, building relationships, and collaborating across organizations. In her current role, she has had the opportunity work with suppliers in various parts of the world, such as, the Middle East, Asia, and the United States. Tiesa says, “What makes my job unique and what I love most about it is the opportunity to work with different cultures and in different environments. I love having the opportunity to develop strategic methods for supplier negotiations and finding ways to leverage opportunities.” She credits some of her professional success to experiences at SAAS, particularly in the way faculty, “encourage students to go outside of their comfort zone, take risks, and explore new possibilities.” Tiesa says she uses skills she learned at SAAS on a daily basis. “I always try to look at various perspectives when making decisions. It’s not only how much you know, but also about how you think about problem solving.”

TIESA McELROY ’09 Tiesa McElroy joined the SAAS community in 7th grade, graduating in 2009. She was in the first graduating class of Rainier Scholars, and the first Rainier Scholar to graduate from SAAS. Tiesa went on to attend Knox College in Illinois where she majored in Economics and Minored in Business Management. While attending Knox, she worked as a Finance Intern at Microsoft and an Accounting Intern for Starbucks. The summer before her senior year, she worked as an intern in the Finance Department at Boeing in Everett, where she was a Core Estimating Intern, providing analysis for reconfiguration changes to the 787 Dreamliner Program. After graduating from college, Tiesa began working full time at Boeing as a 787 Estimating and Pricing Specialist, where she focused on developing engineering and manufacturing labor rates, as well as 88

Tiesa McElroy ’06

In addition to her responsibilities at Boeing, Tiesa has found time to volunteer her time at SAAS. Tiesa

says, “SAAS was always a great support system for me and my family. SAAS truly cares about its students, and I wanted to be a part of that.” She joined the Alumni Board in fall 2014 and has volunteered her expertise on the Finance Committee. In Spring 2017, Tiesa stepped down from the Alumni Board to join the SAAS Board of Trustees. “I would like to help engage other alumni to stay engaged and involved. Also, the innovation and technology used within the classroom and curriculum is exciting and something I want to continue to be a part of.” Tiesa credits both Seattle Academy and Rainier Scholars with helping shape the person she is today, and the person she aspires to be. Tiesa plans to pursue her MBA and continue to travel the world.

JAKE RUBIN ’09 When Jake Rubin was growing up, he was an avid reader of sci-fi novels and was “captivated by the idea of a technology that could open up a potentially infinite array of possibilities and experiences.” In addition to his burgeoning interest in virtual reality, Jake regularly visited his grandfather in Boston who ran the National Magnet Laboratory at MIT, home of the most powerful magnets of that time. His grandfather took Jake on tours of the lab and spent countless hours teaching Jake physics at a very young age. Jake was struck by the visceral feeling and physical pull that he experienced during magnetic law demonstrations and credits his grandfather with helping to ignite his passion for science and technology. Jake graduated from Seattle Academy in 2009, started his first company, Krmit, and attended Washington University in St. Louis. After six months at Washington University, Jake left college to focus on Krmit. Jake says, “Once I got a taste of entrepreneurship, I was hooked. I knew I couldn’t wait four years to pursue my passion full-time.” While Krmit was unable to sustain itself, the experience taught Jake that vision and innovation alone cannot create a successful company. Jake says, “The failure of Krmit taught me to focus on building a scalable, sustainable business, not just chasing exciting ideas. It’s a difficult balancing act to master; one that I’m still working on today.” The year after Krmit dissolved, Jake founded his current company, AxonVR. AxonVR is a virtual reality startup with a big vision that Jake describes as “virtual reality that is indistinguishable

from real life. Right now, we are preparing to launch our first product, the first step toward this larger vision. We’ve had enormous interest from three broad industries: Training & Simulation, Location-Based Entertainment, and Design & Manufacturing. As of July 2017, we have signed contracts for our forthcoming product with defense contractors, Hollywood studios, AAA game developers, VR arcade operators, enterprise software companies, and more.” In December 2016, Jake a nd A xon V R we re fea tu re d i n G e e kWire af t er successfully raising $5.8M from investors for his product. AxonVR’s core technologies include “a microfluidic smart textile and a unique suite of human-machine interface IP,” says Jake. This textile, HaptX™, simulates lifelike touch of texture, shape, motion, vibration and virtual objects. “In May of 2017, we secured U.S. patent # 9,652,037 for these innovations, and have five additional patents pending,” says Jake. Eight years after graduating from Seattle Academy, Jake credits the school with preparing him for his current career. “SAAS does an incredible job of helping students find their passions, and more importantly, encourages them to pursue these passions even if it’s not the “safe” or “typical” path. I can’t count the number of times I was encouraged by a teacher or friend to take a risk and step outside my comfort zone, whether on stage, on the field, or in the classroom. This environment was very helpful in preparing me for the startup world.”

Jake Rubin ’09




BRE WEIDER ’09 Bre Weider ’09 knew she wanted a career in politics and she “was fortunate enough to figure out what [she] wanted to do pretty early on. As a student at Western Washington University, Bre kept busy, and “spent most of college working and doing internships.” To start, she served as the secretary for the WWU Political Science Organization and worked as a Research Coordinator for the Center of International Studies Leadership Council for 3 years. She spent a year at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee where she served as the Vice President for the Political Science Association and interned for the campaign for (then) Tennessee State Senator Tim Barnes. And that’s not all! Bre “also interned for two Senators and worked on city council race in Bellingham.”

Bre Weider ’09

In 2012, she served as a Deputy Field Organizer for “Organizing for America,” a national campaign to reelect President Obama, Senator Maria Cantwell, and Governor Jay Inslee. The next year, she worked as Office 90

Manager charged with maintaining the campaign headquarters for Bellingham City Councilwoman Pinky Vargas. During her senior year at Western, Bre was selected for a coveted internship position through the Washington State Legislative Internship program and served as a Legislative Intern to Washington State Senator Adam Kline during the 2014 Legislative Session. After she graduated from Western with her B.A. in Political Science and Government, Bre was hired as the Coordinated Campaign Manager for the Whatcom County Democrats where she worked on implementation strategies for hiring progressive candidates during the 2014 mid-term election. In 2015, Bre was hired as a Session Aide to Senator Pramila Jayapal in Olympia for the 2015 Legislative Session. She spent four months supporting the senator for the 37th legislative district, which includes Seattle, Renton, Tukwila, and unincorporated King County. Later that year, she worked for the Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest Campaign as the South Puget Sound Regional Field Organizer, where she worked to cultivate an active base of volunteers and engage the community on issues of reproductive rights and health. Bre organized across 11 Legislative Districts, 2 Congressional Districts, and 8 counties in Washington State for Planned Parenthood. Last September, Bre was selected to be the Executive Legislative Assistant to the Washington State House of Representatives Speaker of the House, Frank Chopp. From his offices in Olympia, Bre assisted the Speaker with his day-to- day business, handling constituents and attending meetings on his behalf. In fall of 2016, Bre changed jobs and began working as a Partner Engagement Specialist at Win/Win Network. Win/Win was founded on the fundamental belief that organizations are stronger and more effective when they work across issues and silos. By cultivating a network, the company is building a shared vision to increase civic participation and create greater access and representation in our democracy, especially for those living at the intersections of race, class, and gender. Win/Win focuses on the long-term power building and structural changes needed to ensure everyone has a voice in the decisions that impact their lives. They do this by providing data & technical assistance, planning support, and best practices to over 30 organizations fighting for social and economic fairness.

What’s next for Bre? “In ten years I hope to still be working for the government in some capacity,” she says, “either at the Legislature or doing non- profit work.”

EMMA KAHLE ’10 The South Pole is the southernmost point on the surface of the Earth. It is also where alumna Emma Kahle ’10 lived for three months while studying ice cores. Emma graduated from Columbia University in 2014 with a B.A. in Astrophysics and Earth Sciences. While at school, she interned at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, worked as a Math/Spanish Tutor, and was the captain of her Ultimate Frisbee team. Over the course of two summers in 2010 and 2011, she was a Scholar-in-Residence at Seattle Pacific University where she observed physics courses and studied how students learn complex subject matter. In September 2014, she began her graduate studies in Paleoclimate at the University of Washington. As part of her studies, Emma was offered an opportunity to go to the South Pole to conduct research. In November 2015, she headed south to study climate change as part of a two-year deep drilling project. Before reaching her final destination at the South Pole, Emma stopped in Christchurch, New Zealand for her official orientation and to be assigned her cold weather gear. Her next stop was McMurdo Station, the U.S. Antarctic research station on the south tip of Ross Island. On November 24, 2015, Emma arrived at the South Pole and got to work. Emma’s research is focused on temperature and “the amount of snow falling through time, and how the ice sheet itself has flowed, stretched, or thinned through time.” Drilling an ice core reveals “layers of ice that can tell you about many different aspects of climate going back in time,” such as temperature, atmospheric gas content, and dust content. The goal was to drill to a depth of 1500 meters, which “corresponds to about forty thousand years of climate history,” reaching back into the last Ice Age. “You can actually count the annual layers of ice” on a two-meter sample of ice pulled from fifteen hundred meters. Her first lab results from the South Pole ice core are helping scientists understand how climate models relate to ice core data. She and her team use global climate

models alongside ice core data to estimate how much colder it was in Antarctica during the last ice age. When not processing the ice core samples, Emma played Ultimate Frisbee, disc golf, and even went crosscountry skiing with members of her research group. She participated in events such as the annual “Race around the World,” a 2.2 mile foot-race that traverses all longitudes and even celebrated the Holidays at the Pole. She was present for the official “Pole Moving Ceremony,” where the pole marker indicating the geographic South Pole must be readjusted to make up for the moving ice sheet on which it sits. And after 11 weeks of research, Emma left the South Pole. After leaving the Pole, Emma took a holiday and backpacked around New Zealand before going to Tasmania to present a poster for a conference. She resumed her studies at the University of Washington in spring 2016 but spent another month at the South Pole in winter 2016-17 to finish the project and shut down the drilling campsite. In the summer of 2017, she will be in Greenland to work on another ice core project on the northeast part of the ice sheet.

Emma Kahle ’10



1 Pearl Klein ’84 graduated from SAAS in the first, scrappy, please-let’sjust-get-them-out-the-door class of 1984. She attended the University of Chicago and the University of Washington alternately until ultimately graduating from the University of Chicago. After temping in Chicago and a publishing internship in NYC, Pearl returned to Seattle. Though she got in on the ground floor of desktop publishing, doing well enough that she was able to work 7/12 time (measured monthly), she craved further education. Accepted into the UW’s Creative Writing program, she earned an MFA in writing poetry while working as a Teaching Assistant. On-the-job training and low wages p re p a re d h e r to g o d i re c t l y i n to te a c h i n g a s a n a s s o c i a te co l l e g e instructor. That idyll was brought to a standstill in 2007 when she was laid off. She promptly entered a new creative phase of her life, earning a certificate in Writing and Directing for the Camera from Shoreline Community College (plus another certificate in Directing for Stage and Screen at the UW). Pearl has worked all over Seattle as an actor and director on both stage and screen. She runs her own business as a writing coach at www., where she helps women with their own businesses transform their meaningful message from thoughts into words. Pearl recently celebrated her 50th birthday by performing burlesque for the first time. She is currently developing The Uncastable Project, a collaboratively devised play utilizing actors who are creating characters they aren’t typically cast as because they are “too” something: fat, old, female, queer, disabled, or ethnic.


1 2 Morgan Smith ’90 graduated from Whittier College in 1994 with his B.A. in History. At school, he was a member of the Whittier College Choir and was a member of the Lancer Society. After undergrad, he began working at CBS Radio and Inland Empire Broadcasting before going back to school to earn his Teaching Credentials from the California State University at Long Beach. Morgan taught at in the Little Lake City School District in Seattle for 10 years before returning again to school. In 2013, he earned his Certificate in Project Management from the University of Washington and is now working as a Project Manager for local logistics and supply chain company, Expeditors International. Outside of work, Morgan is an active volunteer. He was a member of the SAAS Alumni Board, sat on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Literacy Foundation, was a Teacher Consultant for the UCLA Mathematics Project, and continues to serve the Lancer Society of Whittier College as a member of the Alumni Scholarship Committee. Kirk Gunnar Stensvig ’91 graduated from the University of Washington with degrees in English and Comparative Literature. He went on to complete

2 a certificate program at the UW in Genealogy and Family History. Shortly afterwards, he discovered his great uncle’s Masonic ring and applied to the Sons of the American Revolution. He is now a 32nd degree Mason, and this fall, was installed as a Junior Warden of Queen Anne Lodge #242. In two years he will serve as the Master of that Lodge. Kirk currently works in the Accounting Department of Sound Mental Health. He works to help citizens of Puget Sound maintain their health and dignity in an increasingly difficult world to navigate. Kirk also serves on the SAAS Alumni Board. 3 Matt Ready ’97 graduated from SAAS in 1997 and attended school at College of Wooster in Ohio. Matt is finishing up his 11th year as a firefighter/ EMT in Burien/Normandy Park. He loves his work and has also added Rescue Technician to his resume. As a Rescue Technician, he works on a team that is dispatched to respond to local rescues and regional disasters in the area. Since 2013, Matt has taught at the regional Truck Academy, where he helps train firefighters how to improve safety for firefighters and civilians inside of burning buildings by breaking and cutting doors, walls,


3 roofs, and getting inside of buildings for rescues. Matt is married to his wife of 13 years, Kelly and they have a daughter, Maya, who is finishing up 2nd grade. Matt loves being involved with his daughter’s activities, including Girl Scouts, soccer, karate, and gymnastics. He never imagined being a dad would be so much fun! 4 Tara Moss ‘99 has worked in the nonprofit field for over ten years and has long been passionate about social justice. As an undergrad at Smith College she participated in an internship doing HIV prevention outreach with the Seattle nonprofit Street Outreach Services (SOS). After graduating with a B.A. in Psychology, Tara continued work with SOS where she advanced from the position of outreach worker to Executive Director over the course of four years. During her career Tara has also collaborated with organizations focused on social justice work and drug policy reform, including the Racial Disparity Project and Class Action. Tara has also volunteered with The Defender’s Association as a member on their Board of Directors and on their Racial Equity Advisory Board. In 2009 Tara began working for Real Change, an award-winning weekly

newspaper that provides immediate employment opportunity and takes action for economic, social, and racial justice. She was the Vendor Services Manager, a program that serves over three hundred homeless and lowincome vendors per month. After successfully managing Real Change’s vendor program for five years, Tara expressed interest in operations. She started working in human resources in 2012 and took on increasing responsibility in finance, facilities, and information technology. She ultimately took the role of Operations Director at Real Change. As of Spring 2017, Tara accepted a new position at the Public Defender Association (PDA) as project director of their Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program. 5 Adrien Miller ’02 After finishing middle school at SAAS, Adrien attended high school at Roosevelt, and then graduated from Garfield High School. Having developed a strong love for visual art, he received a merit based scholarship to study at California College of Arts and Crafts in the Bay Area. Shortly after, he took a year off to travel Europe and independently study the works of the old masters while working

5 on his first few solo shows. Returning to college with a heavy influence of classical sculpture, he started studying figure sculpture in the ceramics department, and earned a B.F.A. with an individualized major, combining sculpture, painting, and photography. Upon graduating, he returned to Seattle and began teaching art and ceramics through Artscorps, and at various community centers. He joined Florentina Clayworks, a ceramics coop, where he has worked for the past 8 years producing a prolific array of art and pottery that he exhibits regularly, and sells online through his etsy shop. He currently specializes in custom portrait sculpture and has made busts for an unusual array of clients and collectors the world over. He’s made busts of CEO’s of major companies, bronze portraits of Nigerian politicians, memorials for families, gag gifts, sincere gifts, celebrity statues for zealous fans, classical replicas for history buffs and mythological interpretations for the poetic. He runs the ceramics program at Montlake Community Center, offering evening pottery classes twice a week. To see more of his work, visit



6 Morgan Harris ’04 graduated Cum Laude from Emerson College in 2008 with his B.A. in Theatre Performance, and minors in directing and marketing. Morgan moved immediately to NYC to pursue a career in acting and found relative success, earning his SAG card, performing in off-off-off Broadway Theatre, as well as small appearances in advertisements. To pay the bills, Morgan worked as a bartender primarily in wine bars, discovering a new professional calling. After a making wine at a 3-month harvest internship in Walla Walla, WA, he decided to pursue a career in wine full-time. Since 2011, Morgan has competed five times in multiple national-level sommelier competitions and was voted by his peers as a Wine and Spirits Magazine Best New Sommelier in 2012. He has also been featured in the Esquire Network’s reality series “Uncorked,” which follows the lives of 6 sommeliers as they prepare for the Masters Sommelier exam. Currently, Morgan is working as the senior sommelier at Michelinstarred Aureole Restaurant in NYC’s Time Square. In addition to sales and service for a 1500+ reference wine list, leadership of the front-of-house team is a key facet of his day-to-day work. He also writes and edits for Seattlebased wine blog, WineFolly, as well as other wine-related publications. He hopes to spend his career advocating for wine as one of the planet’s finest agricultural products. 7 Ross Peizer ’04 got married last summer to Rachel Laing in New York City where Rachel is from. They met in New Orleans in 2010 while working at nonprofits through Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps. From New Orleans, Ross moved to Oregon to get a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning with a focus 94

6 on sustainable transportation. Rachel joined Ross in Oregon a year later to get her Master’s degree in Education. Upon graduating, Ross landed a job in Portland at a transportation management association and Rachel as an elementary school teacher. After two years in Portland, Ross and Rachel and their newly adopted dog, Beignet, moved to Seattle this July where Ross is working as a Transportation Demand Management and Outreach Specialist with Community Transit in Snohomish County. They are living in Northgate and are happy to be close to family and friends in the Puget Sound region. Kathy Altman ’05 graduated from Stanford University in 2009 with her Bachelor of Science in Biology. While at Stanford, she was a member of the women’s crew team and was named captain her senior year when her team won the NCAA Division I National Championship. After graduation, she moved back to Seattle and worked as a Clinical Research Assistant at Asthma Inc. and Research Study Assistant at the University of Washington. In 2010 Kathy returned to school, attending the Boston University School of Medicine and is now working as a Resident Physician in Internal Medicine at the University of Washington Medical Center. Max Barrett ’06 and Celeste Willis Chalett ’07 Max graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2010 with his B.A.S. in International Affairs. After college, worked in Business Development and Account Management with marketing and

7 advertising firm, BAMKO. He then worked as the Director of Sales for Gratafy, an experiential marketing platform “that brings brands, merchants, and consumers together inside of restaurants and bars.” In February 2015, Max co-founded FUNBOY, a company that creates luxury inflatable pool toys. For each FUNBOY float that is purchased, the charity partner RainCatcher provides one person in the developing world with one year of access to clean drinking water. Max married SAAS alumna Celeste WillisChalet ’07 this past summer. Celeste graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2011 with her B.A. in Media Studies and Fine Art. While at Boulder, she spent a summer studying photography in the picturesque Italian city, Florence, and a semester abroad studying Fashion, Photography, and Art History at the CEA: Global Education in Paris. Celeste worked for Los Angeles-based global lifestyle interior design brand, Kelly Wearstler, before becoming a fulltime FUNBOY employee and member of the company’s management team alongside her husband. Celeste is also pursuing her Master’s Degree in Interior Architecture at the UCLA Extension Architecture and Interior Design program. 8 L i z D o n a h u e ’ 0 6 g ra d u a te d from SAAS in 2006 and relocated to Olympia to attend The Evergreen State College. During her time in college, she studied creative writing and the political economy of the

8 media. She graduated in 2010 and moved to Minneapolis where she began dabbling in stand-up comedy. After less than a year on stage, she was a finalist in the Funniest Person in the Twin Cities Contest at Acme Comedy Club and started traveling throughout the Midwest to exercise her sharp and percipient humor. In 2015, Liz returned to Seattle to continue her comedy ventures closer to family and her Pacific Northwest roots. She’s held numerous government jobs since she’s returned, such as documenting the state results for the March 2016 caucus, ballot processing for the 2016 general election, and t r y i n g t o d i s m a n t l e t h e Tr u m p administration through an ongoing series of feminist tweets. When Liz isn’t taking these things semi-seriously, she’s focused on her sobriety of over two years. She currently hosts and produces a comedy show called “One Laugh at a Time,” a showcase which features local and nationwide sober comics. While it’s somewhat difficult to find comedians who are both talented and qualified for the theme of the show, every event has sold out and is a great chance for the recovery community to experience fellowship without the stress and pressure of an alcoholic environment. Liz currently lives in West Seattle and can be seen on stage throughout the Seattle area.

9 9 Mike Sellinger ’06 After graduating from SAAS in 2006, Mike moved to Massachusetts to study economics and politics at Brandeis University. After college, he moved back to Seattle and worked in the planning department at Seattle Parks. In 2012, he moved to Portland to earn a Master of Urban and Regional Planning at Portland State University and he stayed in Portland after completing his Masters. Mike currently works as a transportation planner at Alta Planning + Design. His company specializes in bicycle and pedestrian planning, and work on a wide range of projects that make it easier, safer, and more enjoyable for people to get around without a car. Mike spent six months working on launching Portland’s new bike share system, BIKETOWN. He led the planning team that determined the service area for the system and the locations for the 100 stations throughout the city. The system recently launched ago with 1,000 smart bikes. Unlike most bike share systems where you have to return the bikes to stations (like Pronto in Seattle), BIKETOWN gives you the option of parking the bikes anywhere within the service area. 10 Kayla Harvey ’07 graduated from SAAS in 2007 and moved to New York to study journalism at The New School where she focused on creating multimedia pieces focused on adolescent nutrition and women’s health. She

10 spent her last semester abroad in Paris where she created a study uncovering how the French were combatting the rising obesity epidemic. After graduation and a few months of solo travel, she returned to Seattle to freelance in film and intercultural business communications. After a stint in Los Angeles helping rebrand a women’s wellness company, Kayla moved back to New York to work for a London-based Executive Search Firm where she focused on placing senior leadership in healthcare technology and biotechnology. Kayla currently works as the Director of Recruitment at Safari Energy, a commercial solar energy company based in Manhattan that specializes in the Real Estate Investment Trust market.



11 Raleigh Holmes ’07 After graduating from SAAS, Raleigh immediately began pursuing her multiple passions for theatre, music, and visual art. Based in Los Angeles, Raleigh is a working actress and has appeared in films such as thriller “Crawlspace,” and the indie-festival award-winning film noir comedy “Kill Me, Deadly!” She is an A2 member of Los Angeles’ premier classical theatre company, the Antaeus Company, and has appeared in multiple stage productions including the U.S. premiere of “Peace in our Time.” In addition to acting, she is a singer/songwriter. Raleigh has toured regionally, composed soundtracks for video games and released two albums of music with the alternative-folk band The Scarlet Furies, opening for such acts as Leon Russell and The Zombies. Her new solo album, “River’s Mouth,” is due for release later this year. When she isn’t performing, Raleigh works as a visual artist and sells her paintings though private commission and Etsy. She is a cancer survivor; grateful for a new lease on life and a beautiful future together with her fiance, Graham. You

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12 can check out her work and other activities at 12 Connor Fallon ’08 After SAAS, Connor attended Carnegie Mellon University where he majored in Creative Writing, but took many classes in art, computer science, and theater in order to pursue his goal of becoming a game designer. In school, Connor managed the Game Creation Society Club where he worked with artists, programmers, and other designers to create short games. After graduating, Connor was recruited by Schell Games where he worked on a diverse set of projects, collaborating with Fred Rodger’s Company and Daniel Tiger’;s Neighborhood and working at the forefront of VR development with the award-winning “I Expect You To Die”. He recently moved back to Seattle and started a new job at ArenaNet, where is he is a designer on the multiplayer game Guild Wars 2. In addition to his day job, Connor and a group of his closest friends from GCS work on a number of independent projects, which have been very successful. These games have included Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher, a free riff on the popular Ace Attorney series which pits you in a semi-comical debate against several classic philosophers. Connor and his GSC team also worked on Elsinore, a game where you play Ophelia from Hamlet and you are trapped in a Groundhog Day style loop

as you desperately try to find a way to escape the play’s tragic fate. Elsinore is planning for a release early next year, has completed a successful Kickstarter, and has been featured at multiple festivals such as IndieCade and the Level Up Awards. In ten years, Connor hopes to be doing more of the same, continuing to use games to tell odd interactive stories, though hopefully with more skill and in a more diverse industry. 13 Toma Kraft ’08 and 14 Sam Stelle ’08 both graduated from SAAS in 2008 and now work together on a generalized analytical platform at Stratifyd that specializes in understanding text. Sam works as a Sr. Data Engineer and Toma is the VP of Engineering. After their families moved onto the same block back in 2005, Sam and Toma formed a strong friendship that began in 9th grade at SAAS. Toma was a top tier squash player in high school and went on to study Computer Science at St. Lawrence University in upstate New York Sam attended University of British Columbia Okanagan, outside Kelowna British Columbia. After a year there, he took a year off in Seattle and transferred to Western Washington University to study Computer Science. While Sam finished up his BS degree, Toma was working towards his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of North Carolina Charlotte where he, his



14 advisor Derek Wang, and a fellow postdoc in the same lab decided to found a company around their textual categorization and visualization research, which became Stratifyd’s precursor, Taste Analytics. Three days after graduating from Western Washington University in spring 2015, Sam flew to Charlotte, North Carolina to work at Taste Analytics, now Stratifyd with his old classmate. Today, the company is changing the way people can interpret large amounts of information. The company focuses on collecting data from a variety of sources and providing customizable visualizations to best match the client’s understanding. Stratifyd merges structured and unstructured data sources across every feedback channel to leverage internal information along with every chat, survey, review and news feed for a complete view of data. Its programs collect and organize the most relevant


information through an Artificial Intelligence platform they created. 15 Karlin Krishnaswami ’08 Since leaving SAAS, Karlin has lived a fairly nomadic life, living in several different States and a couple countries and traveling as much as she could. She completed her Master of Science in Outdoor Education in 2015 at The University of Edinburgh after receiving her BA in Sociology/Anthropology with minors in Religious Studies and Educational Studies from Principia College. She is now living in the Los Angeles area and working in movie and television production and as a substitute teacher at a local private school.

16 Alex Smith ’09 graduated with honors in 2013 from the University of Arizona - Eller College of Management, triple majoring in Management Information Systems, Operations Management and Business Management. While at school, Alex played for the Men’s Ultimate Frisbee Club Team and worked as an Advertising Representative and Systems Administrator for the university. After graduation, he began working for Epic Systems in Wisconsin. He quickly went from an Operations Analyst to a Team Lead to his current position as Implementation Project Manager. Alex was offered the opportunity to transfer to the company’s office in Hertogenbosch, Netherlands and moved there 97


in September 2015. Shortly after his transfer, he tried out and was selected to represent the Dutch Men’s National Ultimate Frisbee Team at the 2016 World Championships this summer in London. Like the Olympics, the World Championships occur every 4 years. 17 Sydney Swonigan ’09 Sydney graduated from SAAS in 2009 and attended Scripps College. She currently works in Marketing at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, where she works on various projects that help build awareness of the great work that happens at SCCA, a cancer treatment center that brings together the leading research teams and cancer specialists of Fred Hutch, Seattle Children’s and UW Medicine. She and Adama, her “high school sweetheart” of 9 years are raising a vibrant, creative, and bold 2-year-old named Diór who enjoys riding his red tricycle at social justice marches such as the MLK Day March and Women’s March. When she is not at SCCA or spending time with her family, she is serving on the Seattle Girls’ School Advancement Board Committee, and running around Seward Park. 18 Simon Wenet ’09 graduated from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan in 2013 with a B.A. in Public Policy and Economic Development. While at 18


17 school, he was a member of the Men’s Track & Field Team and participated in the javelin. After graduation, he worked for several investment firms in Seattle and San Francisco. In 2014, Simon moved to Tel Aviv where he worked as a Business Development Associate for iAngels, an equity crowdfunding platform for early stage Israeli startups. Currently, Simon lives in San Francisco and works as a Product Manager with OpenDNS where he is responsible for driving product development for service provider customers. OpenDNS, which was acquired by Cisco in 2015, provides a cloud-delivered network security service that blocks advanced attacks, as well as malware, botnets, and phishing threats. 19 Simone Barley-Greenfield ’10 received two degrees from Stanford University; B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and M.S. in Conservation and Sustainability Strategies. She is now a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Management Fellow. The Coastal Management Fellowship was established in 1996 to provide on-the-job education and training opportunities in coastal resource management and policy for postgraduate students and to provide project assistance to state coastal zone management programs. The program matches postgraduate students with state coastal zone programs to work on projects proposed

19 by the state and selected by the fellowship sponsor, the NOAA Office for Coastal Management. This two-year opportunity offers a competitive salary, medical benefits, and travel and relocation expense reimbursement. Simone has been placed in the New Hampshire Coastal Program to systematically integrate social science into ecosystem management for New Hampshire’s estuaries. 20 Mycole Brown ’11 After graduating from SAAS in 2011, Mycole Brown attended UW Bothell where he completed his B.S. in Biology and served as President of the Chess Club. In his final year at UW, Mycole participated in a wide variety of events with the Seattle Vietnamese community including aiding the construction of the Vietnamese Seafair float (2015-16), and two charity auctions. He also volunteered with environmental organizations and a benefit for Camp Korey (a camp for disabled kids). Upon graduating, a neuroscience professor from his final class hired him to work on a computational neuroscience project where he continues to work. In his final year at UW he commuted up to 5 hours a day by bus and train and used his time spent commuting writing a book called Humans of Seattle where he interviewed random people to assemble a book the represents a microcosm of humanity.


21 Margaret Garrison ’14 graduated from SAAS in 2014, and since then has pursued her love for the visual arts at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. She is a Junior Fibers and Textiles major, with an emphasis on Apparel Design and Graphic Design. In summer 2016, Margaret worked for Under Armor as a technical design intern developing Men’s Training apparel for fall/winter 2017, and spring/summer 2018. She assisted in the development process from design meetings, material briefs, and prototype fittings on live models. She also had the opportunity to create the annual Summer Intern Give Back in partnership with the Living Classrooms Foundation collaborating


with fellow interns to create a field day for over 300 kids. Since finishing her internship, she has assisted professors with freelance work and commissions. Margaret just finished her collection for MICA’s Annual Benefit Fashion show, Hueman. Her line explored material tactility and textures that compliment structure and shadows. Usually people are more likely to buy ready-to-wear fashion, but are more inspired by runway fashion. Her line, PIQUE, blurs those boundaries by incorporating both elements into geometric garments t h a t c h a l l e n g e h ow t ra d i t i o n a l garments are built around the body. Margaret hopes to pursue her interest in digital fabrication, apparel design, 21

and graphic design in her Senior collection. You can see Margaret’s full portfolio of work here: https://www. 22 Meghan Hanrahan ’14 recently finished her junior year at Carroll College, a private Catholic school in Helena, MT. She is majoring in Anthrozoology, the study of the human and animal bond. As part of her program, Meghan trained a service dog and has also worked with horses. Her extracurricular work includes the college choir, theater productions, and participating in human rights and mental health awareness. Meghan’s college choir focuses on religious works and sings at mass once a month. In her school musical productions, she has starred as title character Toad in A Year with Frog and Toad and Leaf Coneybear in the school’s production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Meghan has been a part of the school’s GSA since her sophomore year and has participated in raising awareness about police brutality, both at school and in the larger community. Meghan has also participated in multiple walks raising awareness about mental health and suicide prevention. 99



2 1



Chanelle Astrof ’11 married Jarell Betton

2 Ally Compatore ’08 married Bennett Sprugel ’08 3 Mira Patrick ’07 married Kael Melanson 4 Ross Peizer ’04 married Rachel Laing 5 Geneva Shaunette ’05 married Laura Idema 6 Sydney Townes-Witzel ’04 married Chris Harasym

4 10

7 Sherika Brooks ’08 married Ben Shnider

ENGAGEMENTS 8 Kina Walker ’06 engaged to Alexander Nisbet


9 Gracie Truex ’12 engaged to Adam Breunig ’12 10 Rachel Godbe ’07 engaged to Josh Havekost 11 Blaire Piha ’07 engaged to Sam Shainsky 12 Quinne Hanrahan ’10 engaged to Mark Brazinski

BABIES 13 Mikhail Davidov ’05, Echo Alexandra Narciso-Davidov 14 Helen Dailey-Fallat ’02, Piper Mae Dailey-Fallat 15 Matthew Knowles ’05, Madeira Knowles 16 Jillian Muscatel ’04, Frances “Frankie” Kulp Muscatel 17 Daniil Nikifrov ’05, Sofia Monroe Zaika 18 Larkin Seiple ’03 and Emma Libby ’02, August “Gus” Ford Seiple 19 Lauren Rowley-Shields ’08, Conrad Alan Rowley-Shields 20 Amelia (née Wates) Villada ’04, Isla Renée Villada 21 Claire (née Wright) McShane ’07, Baird Elliott McShane





3 15




















1 Joel Hobbs ’04 2 Samantha Casne ’01, Alex Bush ’02, Lisa Feiertag ’02 3 Loretta Douglas ’08, Kerrick Knowles ’08, Rachel Leavitt-Baron ’08 4 Bre Weider ’09, Tiesa McElroy ’09, Achijah Berry ’10 5 Nathaniel Hudson ’03, Nate Tepp ’03, Drake Townes-Witzel ’03, Aaron Strauss ’03 6 Emily Helming ’91, Max Ralph ’92, Anna MacInness ’91, Morgan Smith ’90, Julie Vanderveen ’88, Kirk Stensvig ’91 7 Carly MacConnell ’08, Bailey Zahniser ’08, Kiera Hayes ’07 8 Daniel Stewart ’11, Joe Stewart ’13 9 Sydney Woolston ’09, Bre Weider ’09, Kina Walker ’06


CLASS OF 2006 10-YEAR REUNION Over forty members of the Class of 2006 met to celebrate their ten-year reunion last September at Optimism Brewery. The class has scattered all over the country and some members of the class traveled as far as Boston for the reunion!

LOS ANGELES ALUMNI HAPPY HOUR Over twenty local LA-area alumni gathered at Petit Ermitage in West Hollywood to reconnect! Class years ranged from 2000 to 2008, and event planning was led by volunteers Austen Holman ’04 and Blaire Piha ’07. SAAS plans more regional alumni events in the near future!



ALL ALUMNI REUNION AT STUDENT ART SHOW SPRING 2017 1 Nate Tepp ’03 2 Ryan McDevitt ’03, Aaron Strauss ’03, Samantha Casne ’01 3 Samantha Casne ’01 with April Ferry 4 Li and Mike Haykin, Celeste Jalbert ’04



5 Anita Erskine ’15 6 Amanda Eller ’09, Nikki Eller ’06, Alaina Scherer ’08,


Bailey Zahniser ’08, Mycole Brown ’11



Highlights from the 2016-2017 School Year • Sixty-Five Seniors Earn Washington State Honors Awards (place in top ten percent in Class of 2017 state-wide) • Boys’ Varsity Lacrosse Wins Second State Championship • Mark Hoover Named Teacher-of-the-Year by Arts Schools Network • Tess Barton ’19 Selected to Competitive Summer Engineering Program at Cal Poly • Angus Willows ’18 Exhibits at the Seattle Mini Maker Faire • Ezra Conklin ’17 Artwork Featured at Wing Luke Museum • Miles Macklin ’18 Provides Feedback to Amazon Executives • Melinda Mueller Publishes Book-Length Poem The After • Josh Jaffe ’18 Wins the American Road and Transportation Builders Association National Student Video Contest

• Middle School Robotics Teams Earn Strategy and Innovation Award and Teamwork Award at the FIRST Washington Competition; Qualified for Semifinals • Five SAAS Athletes Sign Division 1 Letters of Intent • Seven SAAS Students Win Gold Key Awards in Scholastic Arts Competition • Ethics Bowl Team Wins State Title, Places Fifth at Nationals • Girls’ Basketball Team Wins Emerald City League Title for Third Straight Year • Matilde Monti ’17 and Emily Rubin ’17 Ceramic Work Selected for National Exhibition • Adam Gold ’17, Nolan Parks ’17, Sydney Kaplan ’18, and Ben Riley ’19 Compete at US Rowing Youth Nationals

• Sam Schimmel ’18 Interns at Smithsonian and Named as CNAY Champions for Change

• Dance Program Brings Home High Gold and Platinum Awards and Wins Best Performance Overall at National Dance Competition

• Matt Kelsey ’18 and Jesse Walling ’18 Present at Seattle GNU/Linux Conference

• Army Olsen ’17 Selected as Semifinalist and Lewis Greenstein ’17 Wins National Future Engineers Competition

• PJ Colino ’20 Appears as Guest DJ for KNKX

• Anders Gibbons ’19 Finishes Fourth at National Tennis Competition

• Mireya Grey ’17 Named Star Times All-Area Team by Seattle Times

Members of the Class of 2017 on the Senior Yukon Trip

• SAAS Robotics Team Wins State and Competes at Worlds • Jaidyn Lam ’18 Named Outstanding High School Vocalist at International Reno Jazz Festival • Lily Staton ’18 Wins State Humorous Interpretation Title; Speech Team Finishes Third Overall in State • SAAS eSports Team Competes at National Level • Owen Cobb ’19 Named to Rawlings-Perfect Game All-American List • Amanda Amsel’s Work Displayed in South Lake Union • Delphine Campbell ’17, Peter Marshall ’17, and Adelaide Smith ’17 Biology Poster Selected to be Displayed at Professional Symposium • 6th Graders Found Anti-Bullying Program Recognized by State of Washington and Take Message to Washington DC • Harlow Brumett-Dunn ’20 (track), Olivia Forslund ’19 (volleyball), Mireya Grey ’17 (soccer), Sarah Gustafson ’17 (volleyball), Lake Lewis ’18 (track), and Grant Sorensen ’18 (lacrosse) Set School Records

• Zoe Bishop ’22 Stars on Food Network’s Kids’ BBQ Championship • Max Shethar ’20 Named Best Teen Lifter in Washington State • Upper School Robotics Team Finished in Top 20 at Worlds • Zach Cohen ’20, PJ Colino ’20, Axel Hejlsberg ’19, and Zach Santos Ufkes ’18 Earn Outstanding Musicianship Awards at International Reno Jazz Festival • Van Senseney ’19 Undefeated in Last Four Northwest Interscholastic Sailing Association District Regattas • Avi Shapiro ’18 Selected for The Bronfman Fellowship • Nolan Parks ’17 Selected to USRowing Under 19 National Team • SAAS Places Third in Washington State Photography Competition • Mireya Grey ’17 Invited to Under 18 USA Soccer Team Camp • Advanced Jazz Choir (The Onions) Win Fourth Straight Title at International Reno Jazz Festival • Thirteen Members of the Class of 2016 Recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program

• Rebekah Rocha’s Photography Accepted to WAEA “Teachers ad Artists” Exhibit


In Loving Memory

Frank Poletti ’87 Reid Rogers ’17 Shelby Withington ’15




















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2017-2018 Best of SAAS Volume 17  

Seattle Academy's Magazine

2017-2018 Best of SAAS Volume 17  

Seattle Academy's Magazine