Cross Sections (Winter 2015)

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One With Nature: Environmental and Outdoor Education

Active Learning

The last thing I want any student to do at Crossroads is to receive a great education.

to simply learn it. To truly understand a subject, students must also experience it, embody it and live it.

Let me explain.

BY bob riddle head of school

“Receiving a great education” suggests a passive act, a simple acceptance of something handed to you. Yet the Crossroads experience is anything but passive. At our School, education is claimed, embraced, questioned, challenged and most of all, cherished. It is an impassioned and thoroughly active quest

for knowledge, the kind that comes not only from what can be learned in books—which is plenty—but through dynamic, lived experience. This concept of experiential learning is a hallmark of a Crossroads education. Even the briefest visit to our School reveals our students to be doers. Our classrooms, hallways and outdoor spaces are a boisterous whirl of activity, an exciting blend of classroom study and real-world application. Students bring scientific principles to life through 3-D printing and stop-motion animation. They energetically demonstrate music theory in our performance halls and on our outdoor stage. They study injustice and combat it through community service and student-run activism clubs. It is not enough

We believe that students learn best when they can dive in and get their hands dirty—sometimes quite literally. Our Environmental and Outdoor Education (EOE) program provides students with an unparalleled opportunity to explore and care for our planet. (See story on page 12.) These expeditions are designed to complement

each grade level and its curriculum. Through camping, backpacking, climbing, whitewater rafting and countless other outdoor activities, students develop self-confidence and an appreciation of the importance of caring for our environment. They expand on their classroom knowledge of subjects such as biology and ecology by studying plants, insects, marine life and ecosystems out in the field. EOE’s community service trips enable students to make a positive impact on our planet as they pitch in to help clean up our oceans and remove litter like bowling balls—yes, bowling balls that had been shot from cannons and left as debris—from our wildlife preserves. Through this hands-on experience, Crossroads students learn that it is both our responsibility and our privilege to be stewards for our planet.

Inside This Issue

In Crossroads’ Herbert Zipper Archives, students can hold history—again, quite literally—in their hands. (See story on page 10.) The archives consist of thousands of documents related to the life of the late Crossroads music teacher Herbert Zipper, a survivor of both Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps, and a passionate advocate for music education. Students have the rare opportunity to handle archival documents, including original letters Herbert wrote to his friends and family

02 In the Community 03 Around the School 08 Trustee News 09 Parent Association 10 From the Archives 12 Environmental and Outdoor Education

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Employee Service Anniversaries Alumni News Class Notes

Cross Sections News Magazine is published twice a year. Send subscription requests to: Communications | Crossroads School 1714 21st St., Santa Monica, Calif. 90404 Or call: 310-829-7391, ext. 564 Or email:

(CCOF) has been offering its program P.S. Science to local Title I schools, which have a high number of disadvantaged students. P.S. Science instructors provide weekly handson science instruction to 765 first- through third-grade students, including classroom experiments and field trips. (See story on page 2.) This is the only exposure to science education for many of these young children. The donor-supported P.S. Science program prepares students early on by sharing with them the excitement of scientific discovery. on official camp stationary, censored by his captors. The archives illuminate coursework on a multitude of subjects, most notably the horrors of the Holocaust, through the eyes of one extraordinarily resilient and talented man. A junior who visited the archives for class described her experience this way: “The archives really helped make [World War II] more personalized and helped us create a deeper connection. Before, it was just words on a page, but now I really understand it. I’ve even kind of lived it, through Zipper’s experiences.” As a school committed to serving the greater community, it is our distinct pleasure to bring experiential learning to our underserved neighbors. Since 2006, Crossroads Community Outreach Foundation

Back at Crossroads, our dedicated teachers continue to develop innovative curricula that interweave academic scholarship with handson experience. I’m proud of our inquisitive and fearless students, who understand that learning extends beyond the pages of a book or the walls of a classroom. Their eagerness to test out theories, creatively apply their knowledge and positively engage with the greater community not only prepares them to be lifelong learners, but also—and most importantly—gives them the skills and confidence they need to be active, engaged citizens of our world.

We have made every attempt to have all names and information in this publication correct. If any errors or omissions are noted, we offer our sincere apologies and hope you will notify the Communications Office. Content Contributors Sara Ring Editor & Manager, Communications Mery Grace Castelo Manager, Constituent Relations Amie Mack Archivist Patrick Mahany Director, Advancement Jessica Schuster Former Communications Assistant Liz Trowler Manager, Alumni Relations Designer Warren Group | Studio Deluxe Contributing Photographers Andreas Branch Sasha Moore Vince Bucci Sara Ring Dan Eldridge Carla Roley ’87 Alex Frye ‘17 Morgan Schwartz Mark Gold Tina Turbeville Mikel Healy Stephen Zeigler North Moench Special thanks to: Rebecca Smith Hurd, Jeryldine Saville and Teresa Verbeck

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in THE community

Tar Pits and Time Machines Two sisters thrive in Crossroads’ P.S. Science program.

P.S. Science is a hands-on science program developed by the Crossroads Community Outreach Foundation, serving local Title I schools. Currently, P.S. Science is offered to 765 students in first through third grade at McKinley Elementary School and Saint Anne School in Santa Monica and William Green Elementary School in Lawndale. There are also afterschool programs for fourth- and fifth-graders. The weekly classes are taught by P.S. Science instructors to students who have had little to no science education. Sisters Megan and Phoebe—sixth- and ninth-graders, respectively—are two such students. They both enjoyed weekly P.S. Science instruction at Saint Anne School with the program’s director, Julie Olds. Here, Megan and Phoebe talk about their time in the program. Q. How did you feel about science before the program started?

Megan: I kind of thought it was boring. But it turned out to be really fun and taught me to enjoy science. When we

learned about tar pits, we had little containers and we mixed black paint into glue. We put little toy animals and fake leaves and rocks inside the container. And when the glue dried, it became like a tar pit. Doing experiments and testing things out helped me learn better than only reading it or hearing about it. Phoebe: I was always interested in science. I think P.S. Science helped bring that out in me even more. I remember Miss Julie saying, “Think of something that you would like to invent.” I thought, “I want to make a time machine!” And I remember drawing pictures of it and trying to figure out how it would work. Q. Megan, what has it been like for you to volunteer in the after-school program with the younger kids?

Megan: It’s nice because I want to help people learn it. When I was in P.S. Science I had people helping me, so I know how it feels. Q. What’s been your most satisfying experience in P.S. Science?

Phoebe: Once we broke into groups and built solar ovens. There were different materials we could pick, but we had to design it ourselves to see how to get the most sunlight into the box and trap the heat. And it worked! It was slow, but it worked. The thought that I helped build a contraption that actually worked was mind-blowing. I was so thrilled. Q. Phoebe, have you kept up your interest in science now that you’ve aged out of the program?

Megan, left, and Phoebe at Saint Anne School.

Phoebe: Absolutely. I’m a member of the Women in Math and Science Club at my high school and take an after-school rocketry class. I want to be a scientist and inventor when I grow up, to build something that will help people. Either design a mechanical product you could purchase, or be a researcher and help find a cure for a disease, such as cancer.

CCOF Board of Trustees

Learn more at

Roger Weaver, President Joan Abrahamson Leslie Aronzon Sharyar Baradaran Eric Borstein

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Jean Campbell Mary Farrell Martha Goldstein Marc E. Hankin, Esq. J. Lloyd “Bud” Jacobs

Alex Klyce Michael Levin Patrick Mahany Mary Anna Noveck Julie Olds

Rachel Roth Corinne Schulman Melissa Unger Gennifer Yoshimaru

around the school



Senior Sol Fagenson plays both volleyball and upright bass.


Crossroads Athletics has seen success in many forms, thanks to the talented student-athletes who make up the more than 50 teams on campus. The entrance to the Grisanti Gym showcases the brandnew Athletics Hall of Fame, where seven individuals and one team are honored for outstanding accomplishments in athletics. Walk inside and you will see banners for state champion teams, gleaming trophies, jerseys of alumni who went on to notable careers as professional players, CIF Academic Championships, and CIF team and individual championships. And you will feel the echo of great moments created by countless individuals and teams. These accomplishments are made all the more remarkable when one considers how the athletic skills of Crossroads students are equally matched by their artistic gifts.

The multitalented student body can be a surprise to newcomers. Athletic Director Ira Smith remembers seeing this versatility in action at the 2013 Sports Extravaganza, soon after he joined the School. The junior varsity boys basketball game was winding down to its final seconds, and Crossroads was down by one point. As the time expired, Mackenzie Cregan, then a sophomore, rushed the net with a perfect layup to end the game; the Roadrunners won by a single point. The stands went wild, and the junior varsity team celebrated. Mackenzie rushed off to the locker room. To Ira’s surprise, within moments Mackenzie was back on the court in his street clothes, expertly playing guitar with a band for the varsity squad’s warm-up.

qualifier and team captain, the pianist an avid golfer, the bass player a volleyball player and swimmer, the singer a runner. Check out the stunning art hanging from walls throughout Crossroads and you will find the signatures of student-athletes. Attend a play, and Extravaganza winners will be in it. EMMI has its fair share of sports superstars, as does the dance department. And that’s not even mentioning the number of student-athletes who excel in the sciences, humanities and a variety of other disciplines. Athletic success at Crossroads is measured in personal performance. What sets a Roadrunner student-athlete apart is how frequently physical prowess is complemented by artistic excellence. No student-athlete can be judged by sport alone; it is but one aspect of a multitude of noteworthy talents.

Go to a concert and find the drummer is a three-sport athlete, the trumpeter a CIF

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around the school

Elementary School Director to Retire After 28 years as the director of the Elementary School, Joanie Martin will retire at the end of the 2014-15 school year. Prior to joining Crossroads in 1987, Joanie was the director of the lower school at Far Hills Country Day School in Far Hills, New Jersey. During her tenure at Crossroads, the Elementary School doubled in size and moved campuses. Some of her former students now have children attending Crossroads.

First-Graders Engineer Apple Containers In the fall, Julia Gonzales and David Reed challenged their first-grade class to design and construct containers that could carry at least three apples. There were some constraints, including that the containers had to have handles and hold at least three apples while being carried 10 steps. Over the course of two weeks, students individually investigated the materials and tools available to them, such as paper plates, foil, string and scissors. After studying the properties of apples and brainstorming individually, the students shared their ideas as a group. They were then split up into teams of three and four to design and build their contraptions, writing out a list of the supplies they would need. The project culminated in a presentation for parents on Oct. 30. Before testing the durability of their containers, members of each team were asked to talk about the collaboration process and what materials they had selected. Then their container was filled with three apples, and one team member carefully walked 10 steps with it across the room. A fourth apple was added, and another 10-step walk was taken. This pattern was repeated—with mounting excitement from the students—up to nine apples, which most containers withstood. During the building process, David and Julia had explained to the students that testing the containers to their limits was part of the project. Accordingly, the students cheered and applauded each group’s efforts, whether or not the container could hold nine apples. Before the presentation, David explained to the gathered parents the interdisciplinary nature of the project. “It involves science, math, engineering, art and teamwork,” he noted. “It covers nearly every subject we emphasize here in the Elementary School.”

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“For more than 27 years, the Crossroads Elementary School and Joanie Martin have been synonymous,” Bob Riddle wrote in his announcement of  Joanie’s  retirement. “Virtually everything about our Elementary School—from our teachers to our curriculum to our events and even our facilities—has been influenced by Joanie. Indeed, we have an incredibly strong, vibrant and joyful school due in no small part to Joanie and all she has done on behalf of our students, faculty, staff and parents.” In order to create a smooth transition with her successor, Joanie will stay on part time in some capacity after the school year has ended. As the spring progresses, there will be multiple celebrations of the legacy Joanie leaves behind and opportunities for the community to thank her for her years of outstanding caring and leadership.

Science Building Inspires Middle School Course A new Middle School Options course, Construction, was offered in the fall to use the development of the Science Education & Research Facility as a tool for learning. The course gave students an in-depth understanding of the architecture, planning, construction, interior design and landscaping of the facility and provided a forum for students to design their own structures. The class was taught by new Middle School math teacher Sebastian Hann. Elaine Nesbit, project manager for the science building, visited the class to have students test out an experimental chair that was being considered for the building’s classrooms. After students listed the criteria by which they would judge the chair, they took turns sitting on it, ultimately determining that it did not provide enough support and would be uncomfortable for smaller students, among other concerns. Students then discussed how they would redesign the chair to be a better fit for classroom use.

Construction students also took part in the production of a unique aspect of the science building’s Special Projects Pavilion, whose concrete walls are now embedded with rocks, fossils and petrified wood. They took a trip to the Crossroads Facilities building, where they learned how the rocks and fossils would be embedded within the pavilion walls and selected and designed the placement of some of the materials. “I made a design using shark teeth,” a sixth-grader in the Construction class reported. “It’s so cool to know that what I created will always be a part of the science building.” The students used what they learned about the construction of the science building to develop their own architecture projects. Students designed their dream homes by attaching furniture and architectural symbol stickers to a floor plan grid, and then constructed 3-D models of their designs using foam board.

The Science Education & Research Facility: Meet the Architect It’s hardly a surprise that Lincoln Logs, erector sets and construction projects played more than a small part in Frederick Fisher’s childhood. “My dad and I built a soapbox derby race car,” he recalls. “It was really exciting to build something life-size that moved.” Born and raised in Cleveland, Frederick developed an early love of building and design, thanks in part to the influence of his father, also an architect. Frederick also had a keen interest in fine art; he took art courses and regularly accompanied his mother to museums. This clever balance of fine and practical arts continued at Oberlin College, where he double-majored in art and art history. He spent his summers working on construction sites, pouring concrete into molds. Later, Frederick earned a master’s in architecture at UCLA and worked for architect Frank Gehry. He formed Frederick Fisher and Associates in 1980 and today is the principal architect at Frederick Fisher and Partners, which designed the Science Education & Research Facility, now under construction at the southwest end of the Alley. The firm has designed a number of interdisciplinary academic buildings for schools and universities, including Princeton and Caltech. Frederick sees parallels between his firm’s interest in the merging of art and science and Crossroads’ integrated approach to learning. One of the goals of the new science building is for the facility itself to be a teaching tool by making science visible. This is evident in numerous details, such as the Ned Kahn kinetic sculpture that reveals the interplay of the sun, wind and gravity, and the shells, fossils and rocks selected by students for placement into the walls of the Special Projects Pavilion to mimic earth strata. The design of the pavilion was inspired in part by Frederick’s visit to the Ojai Foundation, at Bob Riddle’s urging, particularly its circular stone kiva structures. “We’re thrilled to be doing this building,” says Frederick. “It’s a very important project for us.” When designing the 25,000-footfacility, the firm was particularly conscious of maintaining the distinct look and feel of the Alley. “We know that Crossroads’ students and faculty feel strongly about the culture of the Alley,” he says. “We like that kind of tough, gritty Alley feeling, so we created kind of a tough building to live in it.” cross sections magazine  / winter 2015  5

around the school

Drama Conservatory Presents Three Plays The Upper School Drama Conservatory put on three plays in repertory over the course of three weeks in November. All 40 Drama Conservatory students were involved in the productions, either onstage as actors or offstage as members of the production team. The plays were selected for the interesting contrasts among them. “A Murder Is Announced,” directed by Scott Weintraub, is a shrewd whodunit based on a 1950 Agatha Christie novel. Neil Simon’s comedy “The Good Doctor,” directed by Brian Mulligan, takes its inspiration from the short stories of Anton Chekhov. “The Anastasia Trials in the Court of Women,” directed by Peggy O’Brien, is a satirical, interactive play-within-a-play centered on a feminist theater company. That these very different shows were staged for three weeks over three nights in succession posed a challenge for the show’s set designers and stage crew. There was no time to set up and take down an entire set between performances. “‘The Anastasia Trials’ is contemporary and takes place on a stage, which is not too difficult to create,” notes Drama Department Chair Davida Wills Hurwin. “But then, ‘A Murder Is Announced’ takes place in 1950, in a Victorian house, and ‘The Good Doctor’ travels from a Russian dentist’s office to a pier to a park and beyond.” The same scenic elements and furniture were creatively used by designers Bekah Bryant and Nick Santiago to conjure a multitude of theatrical settings. These diverse, at times genre-bending offerings showcased the versatility of Crossroads’ Conservatory students, who proved equally adept at serious drama, broad farce, slapstick, agitprop and melodrama.

Upper School Engages in Cross-Curricular Collaboration Crossroads has always emphasized interdisciplinary learning. In the fall, Upper School Director Roxanne Zazzaro paired every high school teacher with an instructor in another subject to co-create a lesson, trip or project that incorporated both areas of study. Below are some examples of these collaborations: >  Pam Posey’s CAS Art class and Armelle Courcelle-Labrousse’s CAS French class took a special tour of the Getty’s decorative arts galleries. Brian Considine, the Getty’s conservator of decorative arts and objects and Pam’s husband, led the tour in French while Armelle’s students translated for the art students. The visit was a blend of art, culture, history and the French language. >  Life Skills instructor and musician Tom Nolan and Spanish teacher Ana Maria Floyd put together a program to introduce students to Afro-Cuban jazz. The salsa and Latin-jazz quartet Conganas played a rousing concert in the Alley and then gave a master class—partly in Spanish—to two CAS Spanish classes, one Spanish 2 class and the Jazz “A” Band, which recently performed for the second year in a row at the Panama Jazz Festival. >  Classical Languages Chair Jamie Meyer and English teacher Cole Godvin created a project to help students explore the concept of hubris, a central theme in both classical and modern literature. Jamie’s CAS Latin Poetry and Prose class and Cole’s American Literature class attended the SITI company’s performance of Aeschylus’ “Persians” at the Getty Villa. They were then challenged to record and share six-second videos in which the action pivots on the protagonist’s hubris via the online platform Vine.

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“Moonlighting” Exhibit Features Work of Teaching Artists The work of 11 teachers from the K-12 Visual Arts Department was on display at the Sam Francis Gallery from Sept. 17 through Oct. 17. The contemporary art pieces included installation, video, performance art, painting and sculpture. An opening reception for “Moonlighting” was held on Sept. 17. Participating teachers also provided talks about their artwork to students.

John Climaco, left, with Craig Calfee.

Upper School Physical Education Chair Receives Award In the summer of 2014, John Climaco traveled to his native Philippines to lead a workshop teaching locals how to build bamboo bicycle frames. The trip was financed through Crossroads’ Faculty Personal and Professional Growth Award program. John was one of two recipients of the award in the 2013-14 school year. Bicycles have played a huge role in John’s life. As a sixth-grader in Davao City, on the island of Mindanao, his parents gave him a second-hand bike that was too large for him. John figured out how to customize the bike to make it a better fit. “The bike was freedom for me,” he says. “It let me get around to school and sports practice.” John used to compete in the amateur cycling circuit and still enjoys mountain biking on the weekends. Ten craftspeople were invited to participate in the summer workshop. John gave lectures and taught them how to harvest and treat bamboo—plentiful in the Philippines—to build durable, sustainable bicycle frames. John’s hope is that low-wage workers can be taught to build and sell these bicycles internationally in order to augment their incomes. He says, “There’s something very exciting about going back home and doing something for your fellow countrymen.” This is John’s second Personal and Professional Growth Award. In 2007, he used the funds to take a bicycle mechanics course. It was through that program that he met Craig Calfee, a pioneer in the field of carbon fiber bicycle frames who taught him how to make frames out of bamboo.

One of the works was Jesse Robinson’s untitled piece that uses painted wood, tinted glass and a tree branch bolted directly to the wall to examine the role of frames in art. “Historically, frames as physical things reside near art, but are not themselves art,” Jesse wrote in his artist’s statement. “This work addresses the relationships between the pictorial and the sculptural, art and presentation, image and object. Nudging the familiar toward the foreign, I play with the frame as both a physical boundary and a conceptual structure.” The Sam Francis Gallery hosts a show of work by Art Department faculty every other year.

“Moonlighting” artists:

Susan Arena

Melissa Bouwman

Janice Gomez

Kate Johnson

Peter Melville

Rich Mudge

Pam Posey

Jesse Robinson

Jean Robison

Leslie Rosdol

Vernon Salyers

“Untitled” by Jesse Robinson

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trustee news

New Trustees Elected, Longtime Members Honored In September 2014, the board of trustees welcomed three new members: Christopher Chee, Emilio Diez Barroso and Tracy Seretean. We also honored trustees Lois Reinis and Nat Trives for their decades of service and leadership.


Tracy Seretean is an independent producer and holds a bachelor’s from Smith College. She spent six years at the local NPR station KCRW where she created and produced “The Treatment,” a pop culture critique show with Elvis Mitchell, and produced the station’s premier music and arts show, “Morning Becomes Eclectic.” Tracy won the 2000 Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject as director/producer of the film “Big Mama.” Her twins, Farol and Arden, are fourth-graders at Crossroads. Emilio Diez Barroso is chairman and CEO of NALA Investments LLC, a private investment holding company with operations across various industries including energy, transportation, real estate, technology and media. Emilio studied economics and finance at Harvard College and Boston University and holds a master’s in spiritual psychology from the University of Santa Monica. He is the father of three Crossroads students, third-grader Mila, first-grader Emilio and kindergartner Sienna.

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Christopher Chee moved from New York to Los Angeles in 2005 to establish and run the West Coast real estate office for Blackstone, a global investment and advisory firm. Prior to joining Blackstone, Christopher was a vice president and one of the original employees at Fortress Investment Group LLC. Christopher holds a bachelor’s in history from the University of Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Beate Jochemczyk Chee, are the parents of two Crossroads students, fourth-grader Mathilda and second-grader Felix. >>>>>

On Sept. 6, we held a board retreat in Ojai, during which we recognized the immense contributions of two longtime board members. Nat Trives has been a trustee for 40 years. He has played a crucial role in establishing Crossroads as an exceptional institution of progressive learning. Nat and his wife, Ida, have been enthusiastic and dependable supporters, establishing the Nat Trives Minority Financial Aid Fund in the 1980s. Nat served as board chair for 11 years and has utilized his vast knowledge of politics and community relations to give Crossroads a strong presence in the larger community. Nat has been an extraordinary champion of Crossroads and has helped to shape the School’s development over his decades of service on the board of trustees. Nat and Ida are the grandparents of two Crossroads students, first-grader Tanner and fourthgrader Tristan.

Lois Reinis has been a trustee for 30 years. She and her husband, Richard, joined the Crossroads community in 1985 and are outstanding supporters of the School’s fundraising and community-building efforts. Lois has been an active parent and grandparent, serving as Elementary and Upper School Parent Association president and volunteering at countless Parent Association activities. As a board of trustees member, Lois helped to strengthen the board by refining the criteria for membership and identifying talented candidates to serve. She has advised and counseled three heads of school and served on multiple committees, making an indelible imprint on the School. Lois and Richard are the parents of five Crossroads graduates, Wendy Reinis Glickman ’85, Joanna Port ’87, Michael Reinis ’89, Robert Reinis ’92 and Hilary Sherman ’01. They are the grandparents of Crossroads graduate Elliot Glickman ’14 and junior Amanda, freshman Zoe, seventh-grader Levi and fourth-grader Henry. On behalf of the board of trustees and the entire Crossroads community, I’d like to extend my deepest appreciation to Nat and Lois for their unwavering dedication to the School. We are a stronger institution for it.

parent association

K-12 Parent Association Fundraiser

The Parent Association is excited to announce the 2015 spring event and fundraiser, Crossroads Casino Royale, which will take place on Saturday, April 25. Get ready for a night of feasting, gaming, dancing and mingling, all while helping to raise funds for our financial aid fund. Casino games, raffles, and silent and live auctions with incredible prizes ensure this will be a night to remember.

Revelers at Alchemy, last year’s spring event and fundraiser.

This is our only K-12 Parent Association Fundraiser for the 2014-15 school year, so don’t miss out.

Association? There’s lots of fun to be had and important work to do. Step right up and volunteer!♥ ♣ Call the action: Help us get the word

out about the event at our annual “information-a-thon.” ♦ Up the ante: Donate or solicit exciting

items for the silent and live auctions, the raffle and the Party Book. ♠ Community card: Volunteer to lend a hand

at any number of fun jobs on the night of the event. Sign up with a friend to make it extra-fun! To sign up or learn more about these opportunities, visit

Want to help support Crossroads Casino Royale or get more involved in the Parent

Why Get Involved in the Parent Association?

All in: The Parent Association (PA) makes every parent feel welcome and included. A sure bet: Every parent at Crossroads is automatically a member of the Parent Association. There are no dues, no mandatory hours and no enrollment forms. Take a chance: The PA leadership-nominating process is open to the whole community; parents are welcome to nominate themselves or a friend. Full house: The PA strives for diversity of all kinds, in all jobs, large and small. Moms, dads, working parents, new parents—everyone is encouraged to try their hand at something.

Everyone’s a winner: Volunteering isn’t just good for the School—it’s good for your children, for your community and, most of all, for you. Beginner’s luck: Haven’t volunteered yet? There’s a huge selection of volunteer opportunities at Check them out! Here’s to another winning year at Crossroads.

Did you know?

“Altruism in all its forms—kindness, generosity, compassion, volunteering, and donating money— has the potential to reward the giver as much or more than the recipient.”

—“This Emotional Life,” PBS

cross sections magazine  / winter 2015  9


Unlocking the Past Crossroads’ Herbert Zipper Archives chronicle an extraordinary life.


Clustered around tables in small groups, the Crossroads sophomores carefully investigated the artifacts before them. A postcard sent from a Nazi death camp in Dachau. A program from 1945 for the Manila Symphony Orchestra. A 1947 press release about the Brooklyn Orchestral Association. The students studied dozens of documents and photographs and then shared what they’d learned with each other. By doing so, Tom Laichas’ World Civilizations II class began to reconstruct the remarkable life of the late Crossroads music teacher Herbert Zipper.


Before Herbert passed away in 1997, he bequeathed to the School an astoundingly generous gift: personal papers and artifacts chronicling his life. An Austrian of Jewish descent who survived two Nazi concentration camps and internment by the Japanese, Herbert dedicated the rest of his life to bringing music education to children around the world. An Examined Life


The Herbert Zipper Archives include: > Herbert’s letters written from Dachau and Buchenwald. > Manuscript of Herbert’s anti-Nazi anthem “Dachau Song.” > Trudl Zipper’s letters, photographs, watercolor paintings and drawings. > Herbert’s sheet music and conducting scores. > Photographs, programs and other materials from Herbert’s historic 1945 Manila concert. > Books including Third Reich propaganda and “The Red Series,” a collection of evidence prepared by American and British prosecutors for the Nuremberg Trials.

The archives are housed in a cozy room on the first floor of the Paul Cummins Library. It’s a fitting home; Paul befriended Herbert in the ’70s and wrote his 1992 biography, “Dachau Song: The Twentieth-Century Odyssey of Herbert Zipper.” The archives contain not only Herbert’s own possessions, including letters, sheet music and photographs, but also a reference library of 2,000 works related to his life and travels. “I don’t know of any other high school in the country that has a personal, historical archive of this nature,” says Crossroads archivist Amie Mack. “It’s an extraordinarily unique opportunity for students to engage in history hands-on.” When junior Hannah Nasseri visited the archives for class, she discovered parallels between her life and that of Zipper and his wife, Trudl. “She was a dancer, like I am,” Hannah notes. “Music was always an outlet

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for Zipper, the way dance is for me. The archives really helped make [World War II] more personalized and helped us create a deeper connection.” The Will to Survive

Herbert was born in 1904 to a Jewish family in Vienna and began studying music at an early age. When the Nazis rose to power in the 1930s, Herbert composed music for anti-fascist political theater. He and his brother Walter were sent to the Dachau concentration camp where Herbert and fellow musicians formed an orchestra using makeshift instruments, performing secret concerts for other prisoners. Poet Jura Soyfer wrote the lyrics and Herbert the music to “Dachau Song,” a stirring anthem of resistance and humanity that made its way through other camps. In 1939, Herbert and Walter were transferred to Buchenwald; five months later, their family was able to secure their release. Herbert traveled to Manila to join his fiancee, Trudl, and become director of the Manila Symphony Orchestra. The Japanese occupied Manila in 1942 and imprisoned Herbert for refusing to have the orchestra play for occupying forces. Upon his release four months later, he promptly began working for the underground resistance. After the 1945 defeat of Japan, Herbert conducted the orchestra in a celebratory performance for the city’s Allied liberators, even as gunfire and combat could still be heard in the distance. A Life of Service

After the war, Herbert embraced life with zest. Having experienced firsthand how music could be a salve during tumultuous times, he made it his life’s mission to share this gift with others.



and dance performances. They moved to Los Angeles in 1972, where Herbert continued to bring music to schools and the broader community. After meeting Crossroads music theory teacher Mary Ann Cummins, Herbert was invited to join the School’s board of trustees in 1976. He helped develop Crossroads’ music and arts curricula and taught music theory. In the ’80s and ’90s, Herbert frequently visited China to teach, conduct and recruit promising young musicians, including Dong-Yi ’93, now director of the Elizabeth Mandell Music Institute. Herbert taught at Crossroads until 1997, the year of his passing. A Lesson in Humanity

In studying the legacy of Herbert Zipper, students survey the full range of human experience, from the horrific to the sublime. Ultimately, they discover a man whose essential goodness and creativity gave his life hope and meaning even in the darkest times. Dong-Yi recalls Herbert once telling his students, “If everyone picked up an instrument instead of a weapon, there would be no wars.” He adds, “Dr. Zipper, as we called him, instilled in us a sense of duty to promote the arts and education, without which humanity cannot survive.”

1. Students examine the bookplate etchings of Herbert’s uncle, Viennese artist Arthur Paunzen. 2. Herbert in Paris soon after his release from Buchenwald in 1939. 3. After 12 years together, Herbert and Trudl marry in Manila at the Archbishop’s Palace, Oct. 1, 1939. 4. Herbert provides hands-on instruction to Manila schoolchildren during a school concert, circa 1940. 5. Herbert conducts students in China in the 1990s.

The Zippers moved to the U.S.—first to New York and then Chicago—where they spent decades developing educational music programs and collaborating on music

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cover story



> Grand Gulch, Utah

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Learning by Doing


Not long after the School’s founding, a couple of Crossroads Middle School teachers started a tradition. The goal was simple: take their students out of urban Santa Monica and expose them to the mountains. Students spent a week camping and hiking around Yosemite National Park. This wasn’t something that was graded or assessed; there was no specific curriculum presented or delivered. In fact, as the teachers headed to Yosemite with a small busload of students, they had little planned. What they soon realized was that not much needed to be planned, and not much needed to be “taught.” They saw how this experience kindled a significant spark in the eyes of each student. They watched the students’ curiosity peak as they explored the natural world, their playfulness erupt with the freedom of the outdoors, and their joy with one another create a group cohesion that went beyond a typical classroom experience. This was the beginning of what today is known as the Environmental and Outdoor Education program, or EOE. Today, three full-time EOE faculty members plan and run trips for the fourth through 12th grades. Yet at its core, EOE seeks to achieve those same small victories that it did back then: to connect students to one another and the natural world through meaningful outdoor experiences. This mission gives the program a wide palette of options to build educational outings. EOE is woven into the fabric of the School; the trips are tailored for each division according to age group and classroom curriculum. Each excursion is a distinct experience, a chance for students to grow as individuals and as a cohesive group.

Outdoor science is learned through hands-on experience. Students dip their fingers into tide pools to learn about the ocean, seek shade beneath a boulder to learn about deserts, and hoist on backpacks to walk deeper into the mountains. California has so much to offer within a bus ride; students can stay local to study environments that are reflected around the globe. For many students, the technical skills taught and practiced are the highlights. Hiking is a part of each trip, with a goal of reaching a peak, a challenging rock section or a massive sequoia tree. Students engage in activities including hiking, rock climbing, sea kayaking, backpacking, whitewater rafting and whitewater kayaking through an approach that we call “challenge by choice.” Students are given the opportunity to take risks, to push themselves and to go beyond what they believed were their physical or mental limitations. Freshman Austin Astrup recalls his EOE trip last year to Sequoia National Forest. “Being brave, I signed up for backpacking,” he recalls. “The first day, my group walked nine miles. It was physically one of the hardest things I have ever done. But the reason that none of us gave up was because we all knew that we were struggling together.” Sometimes on these trips, students are unable to accomplish all of the goals they set for themselves. EOE considers challenge and even failure to be an inevitable and positive life experience. It is how we learn what works and what doesn’t. In the EOE setting, students can have a “successful failure,” one that helps them develop their coping skills, their resilience and their grit. In these experiences, there is no academic grade that the student is under pressure to reach, nor teammates and coaches relying on their success. It is simply students finding their own growth edge, under their own motivation, with the support and risk management of a skilled adult. The risk of failure is real, and for the students it is a profound teacher. We tend to remember special overnight trips we take when we’re young: the places we visited, the friends we were with, the adults who took us there. We enjoy vivid recollections of smells or images, specific feelings

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and moments of challenge and laughter. I’ve found that the trips that we experience outside of our day-to-day lives as children and young adults tend to stick with us, forming memories we can recall years later with remarkable clarity. With this in mind, EOE strives to deliver memories and lessons that can last a lifetime. Elementary School

Elementary School teachers lay the groundwork for EOE from the moment students enter kindergarten. Students learn about the importance of caring for the earth through classroom lessons and by tending the school garden. EOE begins in earnest in the fourth grade, with a trip south to the hills of San Juan Capistrano and the coastal Pacific near Dana Point. Three days are spent sleeping in cabins, exploring a stream riparian zone and re-enacting parts of the California gold rush. The adventure culminates in a boat ride, during which it’s not unusual to spot sea lions, harbor seals, dolphins and even a blue whale. The fifth-grade class heads to Toyon Bay in Catalina Island. The five-day trip often challenges students to build independence from their parents. Homesickness usually strikes a couple of students, and there are a few tears shed, but through the warmth and love of the faculty, those students are able to overcome it. The trip is spent at the historic Catalina Island Marine Institute campus and dorms, where students are immersed in the watery beauty of the island. The highlight for many students is the night snorkel: hands clasped with a best friend, tightly gripping a dive light, following a teacher and watching the magic of green-blue bio-luminescence dance before their eyes. On the final day, they are rewarded with the successful completion of the trip and the welcoming arms of parents waiting at the school bus. Middle School

At the Middle School level, a scope and sequence for the program is in place. Each trip builds upon the last and exposes students to a different local biome. In the sixth grade, students travel to Joshua Tree National Park to explore the desert. Seventh-graders visit Morro Bay and Montaña de Oro state parks to learn about the marine environment, and eighth-graders head to the

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southern Sierra Nevada to face the challenges of the mountains and the Kern River. These tent-based, fourto five-day trips have the common curricular themes of human development, outdoor science and technical skills. The different themes and locations help to challenge each student in different ways, pushing them out of their comfort zone and into their learning zone. To enhance the human development element of EOE, we have recently adopted curriculum focusing on the character strengths highlighted in Paul Tough’s book “How Children Succeed.” The strengths of grit, curiosity, optimism, gratitude, self-control, social intelligence and zest all are readily taught in the experiential and group environment of the outdoors. The learning ties directly back to one of Crossroads’ founding commitments: to the development of each student’s physical well-being and full human potential. Upper School

As students move into the Upper School at Crossroads, they have the opportunity to dig deeply into an area of passion for them. For some, this is independent study in science, a dedication to the drama or music programs, participation in student council, community service, visual arts or the demands of an athletic team. There are many homes that an Upper School student can find within the fabric of the community. EOE is one of these homes, one with a continually open door for other students who are interested in particular trips. All of the Upper School EOE outings are optional. This shifts the dynamics away from a “school trip” and toward students electing to explore the outdoors. The groups are smaller and spread across grade levels, offering a more intimate and communal experience and allowing students to connect with those with whom they might not have otherwise spent any time. “I loved getting to know people in the context of needing to work together,” says senior and student council copresident Maisie Lynton. “There are certain bonds that you form with your peers on EOE—like trusting them to safely belay you down a rock face—that just aren’t possible in city life.” There are three types of courses offered in the Upper School, which may vary in location and duration from



The most memorable and impactful series of moments happened on my last EOE trip as a senior. We were in Joshua Tree on a climbing trip, sitting in a circle after dinner, when a freshman started asking the seniors questions about high school, college, EOE and life. Inspired by Council, as a group we decided to find a talking piece—a branch from a juniper tree—and then the younger students would share their questions and/or excitement and fears about high school for the seniors to respond to. As the talking piece went around to each student, the conversation transformed from a handing down of wisdom to everyone sharing their own maturing and transformation that grew from going on EOE trips. The best part of the circle was when the instructors noticed what was happening and joined us, sharing their thoughts on working with students on EOE trips.” –Stephany Subdiaz ’12

3 1. Whitewater rafting on the San Juan River. 2. Studying at USC’s Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island. 3. Enjoying some solitude during a backpacking trip in Mammoth.

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EOE stands out as the most important and influential component of my Crossroads experience, one that has influenced almost all of my academic, extracurricular and recreational choices thus far. At college, I major in ecology, am a voting member of the Stanford Outdoors Council, president of the Stanford Outdoor Outreach Program, and make every possible excuse to spend time outdoors because of the appreciation that I developed in EOE. I spent the summer in the Panamanian jungle conducting ecology research and took a threemonth field biology course in Australia. I am sure that I would not be at this place in my life without this relationship with the outdoors fostered through my EOE experiences.” –Brendan Palmieri ’12


1. Dune-jumping at Morro Bay. 2. Hiking Devils Postpile National Monument in Mammoth. 3. Cutting loose at Morro Bay.

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year to year: environmental service, field study and outdoor leadership. Environmental Service Trips

The environmental service trips—or eco-service trips, as they are sometimes called—take students to places that campers don’t usually visit, for the purpose of protecting the environment. On one recent trip, students traveled into a remote region of Death Valley National Park, where they collected 30-year-old pieces of a crashed fighter jet and removed them from the wilderness area. The $550 recycling refund for the 2,500 pounds of aluminum collected benefited the wilderness area conservation efforts. Other projects have included trail-building, fence maintenance, invasive species removal and native plant restoration. Students on these trips work directly with land managers, learning from them about public lands and conservation. They also learn about tool use and manual labor. Although digging holes, removing plants and collecting garbage can seem tedious, the rewards are always apparent to the students when a project is completed. The confidence they gain from contributing to a healthy environment is palpable when they return to school, dirty from the work site, sweaty from their labor and grinning from ear-to-ear while sharing tales of their accomplishments. Field Study


Field study courses are essentially extended field trips for on-campus classes in a variety of subjects. The goal is to enhance classroom learning through experience, exploration and endurance. Together, EOE faculty and classroom teachers design and implement these trips, keeping academic and outdoor experiences equally prominent. Recent excursions have included an art

field study at El Capitan State Beach, marine biology at the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center and geology in Death Valley. Because these trips are part of the academic curriculum, they include students who don’t typically participate in the EOE program. This allows students who don’t naturally gravitate to the outdoors to experience the richness of environmental education. Outdoor Leadership Program

Students who are deeply involved in EOE can apply for the Outdoor Leadership program. The program focuses on technical and leadership skills and can be taken over the course of four years. To complete the program, students must engage in a culminating experience. This might involve creating a senior project designed around the outdoors; serving as an intern leader on a Middle School trip; or participating on an EOE Culminating Expedition. Completion of the program is reflected on students’ transcripts as a focus of their studies. These advanced trips get students into the wild and willing to face some hardship. In the end, what the students gain are not only technical and leadership skills, but the community-building, risk-taking and character development that come from taking on challenges as a team. >>>>>

EOE has come a long way from that first trip to Yosemite, yet it continues to inspire that same spark in the eyes of its students. It challenges learners to step into a place of risk and adversity, to join hands with their peers and teachers in small communities and to fall in love with the mystery and beauty of the natural world.

Semester-Away Programs Crossroads is a member school of the High Mountain Institute in Colorado, and sends three to four juniors each year to spend one semester in the Rocky Mountains and the canyons of Utah. Students live in offthe-grid cabins on a boarding school campus and engage in both rigorous academics and backpacking and skiing expeditions. Juniors can also attend the Chewonki Semester School on a 400-acre peninsula in Maine. These and other semester-away programs enable students to immerse themselves in environmental studies and outdoor adventures while fulfilling their academic requirements.

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honoring employees*

20-Year Employees


Corinne Schulman

Of all the words one could use to describe Corinne Schulman—gracious, calm and kind quickly come to mind—perhaps the most accurate is generous. Crossroads’ director of capital giving is someone who gives herself fully to each new venture, with a warmth that sets everyone at ease. She is deeply invested in the health of the School, which has benefited immensely from her caring, passionate spirit. It’s no wonder, then, that Corinne has been so successful inspiring generosity in others. In her 20-year tenure at Crossroads, Corinne’s fundraising efforts have impacted every aspect of the School, securing support for financial aid, salaries, academic and extracurricular programming and beyond. She has been part of capital campaign projects ranging from the “Building the Dream” campaign to purchase and develop the Elementary School campus and sports center in the late ’90s to the current Science Education & Research Facility now taking shape on 21st Street. Over the years, Corinne has created a culture of philanthropy at Crossroads that has enabled the School to expand both its campuses and its offerings in

In her 20-year tenure at Crossroads, Corinne’s fundraising efforts have impacted every aspect of the School, securing support for financial aid, salaries, academic and extra­ curricular programming and beyond.

order to provide students with an exceptional educational experience. Corinne and her husband, Jory, are the parents of two Crossroads students— Matthew, who graduated in 2011, and Alec, a sophomore—and appreciate the value of a Crossroads education. She’s able to communicate that value to others with a genuine and infectious enthusiasm, garnering the kind of support that has enabled Crossroads to thrive.

“Corinne has been instrumental in the growth and the health of Crossroads,” says Celia Lee, director of admissions. “She creates this wonderful sense of community. She knows how to bring people together for the common cause of strengthening the School. She makes everybody feel like they have an important part to play and always makes them feel welcome.” Those qualities were evident to former headmaster Paul Cummins when he sat down with Corinne 20 years ago for an informational interview. At the time, Corinne was the associate director of development at the Los Angeles Philharmonic but was interested in exploring other opportunities within the nonprofit sector. Corinne recalls feeling that her conservative interview outfit—a pleated wool skirt, silk blouse, pantyhose and pumps—was somewhat outof-sync with Crossroads’ laid-back, eclectic vibe. No matter; the School had an opening in the Development Department, and it was soon clear that Corinne was a perfect fit. Corinne was hired as the associate director of development and promoted in 2002 to director of development and constituent

* This

section honors employees whose 20- and 30-year anniversaries occurred in 2014.

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relations. In the summer of 2014, she took on the new position director of capital giving to focus on building support for specific projects, including the endowment and the continuing development of the campuses. Colleagues admire Corinne as much for her grace and good humor as they do for her formidable talent. For parents, grandparents, alumni and others who support the School, she is a partner, an educator and a friend. In her tireless work on behalf of the School and her deep affection for the people who make Crossroads what it is, Corinne embodies the values she inspires in others: community, integrity and, of course, generosity.

Frankie leads his team by example, tackling challenges head-on and creating a friendly and supportive work environment.

Frankie Gladden

Before he’s even been asked for assistance, Events Coordinator Frankie Gladden is thinking about how he can be of service. From setting up chairs for weekly Gatherings to putting out equipment for athletic competitions, Frankie and his team can be counted on to seamlessly prepare for every manner of event on the Norton Campus with care, speed and agility. Physical Education teacher Daryl Roper says, “Frankie is one step ahead of everything you need. I think that’s the key to his success at what he does.”

“Frankie checks and double-checks with you about every event,” says Elementary School Director Joanie Martin. “He wants to make sure things are set up right and that he’s in the right place at the right time. He does it all, sometimes double-double overtime, without ever complaining about how hard his work is.” This admirable work ethic became apparent soon after Frankie began working at Crossroads. He was promoted to full-time security guard and, in 2000, named full-time events coordinator for the sports center on the Norton Campus. Since then, he’s become a familiar and adored figure for Crossroads’ youngest students, who see him as a jovial big brother.

positive Frankie first arrived at Crossroads in 1994 as a part-time security guard on the 21st Street Campus. He was surprised to find that Crossroads didn’t look like a traditional school and recalls thinking, “This is going to be fun.” That prediction has been borne out over the last 20 years, due in no small part to Frankie’s wicked sense of humor and inherent ability to make others smile. Frankie and his colleagues have countless in-jokes and never fail to crack one another up. After Frankie had hip replacement surgery, Daryl teasingly accused him of having other body parts replaced, too, which would explain how quickly and efficiently he completes his work.

Frankie leads his team by example, tackling challenges head-on and creating a friendly and supportive work environment. He

ensures that working at Crossroads is a joyful and fulfilling experience for them. Although Frankie works behind the scenes and out of the spotlight, his immense contributions to the smooth running of the School are never lost on the Crossroads community. It’s not uncommon for events to begin or end with a hearty public thank you to Frankie and his team for making it all possible. In many ways, Frankie serves as an excellent role model for Crossroads students. He demonstrates hard work, leadership, positivity and a deep concern for the wellbeing of others. “Every teacher and every student knows Frankie,” says Daryl. “They love him for his kindness and his ability to make people feel good and take care of business. Crossroads is definitely a happier place with him around.”

“It’s why he can move so well,” Daryl jokes. “When we think of Frankie, we think of someone who is 60 percent metal and 40 percent human flesh. He is the bionic man.” Frankie’s physical strength is well-matched by the thoughtful manner in which he approaches his work.

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honoring employees

20-Year Employees

Grainne O’Malley-Ramirez

Week, she taught her students how to embed QR codes within math-based board games they created. The project allowed students to apply their math skills in a tangible and kid-friendly way. Grainne makes it a point to relate lessons to real life to illustrate math’s practical applications.

the test. Middle School Director Morgan Schwartz has been a particularly close champion of Grainne’s. When she finally turned in her green card in 2002, Morgan and his wife, Kristina, were in the stands of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, watching Grainne become a United States citizen.

Not surprisingly, Grainne has developed a number of deep personal friendships throughout the years with a close-knit set of colleagues she jokingly calls “a strong group of old fogies.” Middle School science teacher Jana Wiener is one of these close friends; the women have been colleagues at Crossroads for 15 years.

While each of these life-changing events holds a special place in her heart, there are some simple moments that have made an impact on her, too. She loves welcoming alumni back to campus for a visit. She was delighted to reconnect with the students she taught in her first year at Crossroads, nearly all of whom returned for their 10-year reunion.

supportive After Grainne finished teaching her first math class at Crossroads 20 years ago, every single one of her students thanked her before leaving her classroom. It was a simple gesture that the students likely made to all of their teachers, but it floored Grainne. It was in this instant that she knew she was embarking on what would be a very special chapter in her life.

Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Grainne has taught eighth-grade algebra at Crossroads for the past 20 years. She also had a six-year stint as the Middle School math coordinator and taught the Options class Paper to Celluloid, in which she shared with students the journey that books take to become films. Throughout the years, Grainne has seen the approach to teaching math change. She and her colleagues have helped one another grow professionally, exploring new and exciting ways to use technology in the classroom. During the most recent Math

“Grainne has a great sense of humor and wonderful European manners, which I really like,” says Jana, a native of Prague. “I admire her work ethic and the way she approaches life. She always does her duty and supports everyone around her. She’s a wonderful person to work with.”

Grainne has shared some of her biggest life moments with her group of Crossroads friends, including her 2006 wedding, which was held on the 21st Street Campus. Seventh-grade math teacher Jim Fraser officiated Grainne’s marriage to her husband, Louis, in front of Cadena: a true Crossroads collaboration. The same is true of her journey to become a U.S. citizen. Colleagues gave her American history books and helped her study for


Grainne says that Crossroads’ intimate school environment allows her to be more than simply an instructor; she serves as a mother, a detective and a counselor to all of her students. Her own daughter, Emma, entered kindergarten at Crossroads in the fall. Grainne feels a tremendous sense of pride in the success of her former students; they in turn are grateful for the education they received in her classroom. Despite the evolution of math instruction and the major life changes that Grainne has experienced over the past two decades, one thing remains constant: Every day, the students who leave Grainne’s classes feeling challenged and inspired are still saying “thank you.”

Grainne feels a tremendous sense of pride in the success of her former students; they in turn are grateful for the education they received in her classroom.

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Over her 20-year career at Crossroads, Zerita has proven herself to be indispensable to the School.

Zerita Coleman

Zerita Coleman has worn many hats at Crossroads. Her versatility, friendliness and deep commitment to the School have made her an asset across multiple departments and on both campuses. Zerita is a much-beloved fixture at Crossroads for the enthusiasm she brings to every task and interaction. She currently works in the Middle and Upper School Testing Center, but began her Crossroads career 20 years ago as a parttime crossing guard stationed at 20th Street. Although the schedule worked well for her as a single mother of two sons, eventually she felt ready to take on a new challenge at the School. At the same time that Zerita was looking for new opportunities, the Middle School was in search of a teacher’s assistant. Zerita’s helpful disposition and bond with the students made her an ideal fit. For five years, Zerita served as a Middle School teacher’s assistant, helping sixthgraders study everything from European geography to spelling. She taught a history lesson on the civil rights movement and accompanied class trips; she still has a collection of stuffed animals that students proudly won for her at the Santa Monica Pier. She’s been there during tough times too, taking notes for an ill child who could no longer write and comforting students who broke down at the Museum of Tolerance, wrapping her oversized sweater around them.

“One of the things that’s amazing about Zerita is the amount of energy she has,” says Director of Learning Resources Jenny Cashman, who hired Zerita in her current position at the library. “Zerita really loves being here. She loves the kids and the kids love her. She just throws herself into everything that she does, 150 percent.” When the teacher’s assistant position was phased out in 2006, Zerita’s tenacity and devotion to Crossroads once again paid off. She was hired as a Hang Out teacher in the Elementary School, followed by stints in Auxiliary Services and various administrative offices. No matter where she works, Zerita brings the same competency and sense of humor to the job.

Center, where she helps facilitate the makeup test process, coordinating with teachers and providing a stress-free, supportive environment for students. Over her 20-year career at Crossroads, Zerita has proven herself to be indispensable to the School. She has worked with students of every age and in every grade, a constant and comforting presence upon whom students have come to depend. “There are kids who have known her since they were in grade school and now they’re in Upper School,” says Jenny. “There’s a sense of continuity. She has a loyalty to and enthusiasm about Crossroads, and she transmits that to everyone. She’s a great member of the team.”


In 2012, Zerita was hired to work part time in the Middle and Upper School Testing

It is this deep sense of caring that one recognizes in Zerita almost instantly. It’s evident in her huge smile and dependable hugs, and in the way she always seems to know when a child needs a little extra attention.

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honoring employees

30-Year Employees


Rafael Caceres

Rafa, as he is affectionately known, was barely older than Crossroads’ seniors when he began working at the School in 1984. It was summer, and he was hired as a technical theater assistant, building sets. That job ended when school began, but Rafa’s threedecade-long relationship with Crossroads was only just beginning. Although he had limited carpentry experience at the time, Rafa had proven himself to be a quick learner who easily picked up new skills. He was hired as a carpenter’s assistant with the Facilities Department and has never looked back. Thirty years later, Rafa is now a maintenance engineer who has been instrumental to the development and upkeep of the School.

for the Middle School and for the Upper School JV team. Like many people from his native El Salvador, he’d played the sport since childhood. Rafa had an instant rapport with students, creating a fun and welcoming environment that felt more supportive than competitive. He specialized in approaching students who didn’t have much experience playing soccer but were eager to join any team that Rafa coached. He had a unique way of making every player feel like an equally valued member of the team. When Federico Bianchi was hired seven years ago to coach the varsity team, he was pleased to see how Rafa had been able to grow the JV team and make a varsity team possible.

Building and repair aren’t Rafa’s only talents. Beginning in the late ’80s and up until 2013, Rafa coached boys soccer, both

“The soccer program is in a better place because of Rafa,” Federico says. “Seven or eight years ago, we didn’t have the numbers that we have now. It was a struggle to create a JV team, but when Rafa would go talk to the kids, they would jump at the opportunity to play for him. We’ve built off of that.” Rafa has become a constant and reliable presence on the Elementary School campus, where he has worked mostly independently for the last three years. The faculty and staff there have come to rely on him for his quick and

efficient work doing everything from changing light bulbs to building shelving units, ensuring a safe and comfortable environment for Crossroads’ youngest students.

“Rafa is currently the go-to guy for the Norton Campus, someone they can depend on,” says Facilities Director Gayle Taylor. “He’s very well-liked by the Elementary School faculty, coaches, parents and children. His personality makes him well-suited to that kind of energetic environment.” Despite his busy schedule, Rafa manages to strike a healthy balance between work life and family. He and his wife, Margarita, are proud parents to Crossroads alumni Margie ’01, Rafael Jr. ’08 and Rolando ’09, and are also grandparents. Upper School English teacher Hya Young is a longtime friend of Rafa’s. She admires the dedication he brings to all aspects of his life. “Rafa is passionate about the things he loves,” Hya says. “He’s passionate about soccer. He’s passionate about his family. He’s passionate about his culture. And he’s passionate about the things he does to make a living.”

Rafa has become a constant and reliable presence on the Elementary School campus, where he has worked mostly independently for the last three years.

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Bob has upheld the philosophy and goals of the School while guiding it through exciting changes.

Bob Riddle

In 1984, Bob Riddle was an East Coast transplant newly arrived in Los Angeles, a public school math teacher ready to make a fresh start. He saw an ad in a local paper for a math teacher at an independent school in Santa Monica. He knew little about the school but applied for the job anyway. And the rest is Crossroads history. Paul Cummins was headmaster of Crossroads when Bob was hired. “Bob started out as a superb math teacher,” Paul says. “He’s followed a pattern; if you do what you do really well, then it will lead to the next thing. And then if you do the next thing really well, it will lead to the next thing.”

trailblazing Sure enough, Bob’s ideas about progressive education and his commitment to academic excellence were quickly recognized. Two years after he was hired, Bob began teaching Upper School math. Two years after that, he was promoted to Upper School academic dean. In the ’90s, he served the Upper School as assistant director and academic dean and then as its director. In 2003, he was named assistant headmaster and dean of faculty. When Headmaster Roger Weaver announced his retirement in 2009, the board of trustees began the process of finding Roger’s successor. Ultimately, the board realized the next head of school should be an educator and administrator who had helped the School flourish for 25 years: Bob Riddle.

As head of school (a title the board changed from the more traditional “headmaster”), Bob has upheld the philosophy and goals of the School while guiding it through exciting changes, such as the creation of the Science Education & Research Facility, now under construction. Bob’s devotion to Crossroads is apparent in the impossibly long hours he puts in at work, his reliably smiling presence at

events big and small and his concern for student well-being inside and outside the classroom.

This dedication has long been evident. For example, Bob worked with other faculty and staff in the late ’80s to help Crossroads better support its LGBT students, staff and families through student workshops, staff trainings and, ultimately, the formation of one of the nation’s first gay/straight alliances. For this work, he received a prestigious Klingenstein Fellowship to Teachers College, Columbia University in 1993. While there, he developed a resource manual to help other independent schools address LGBT issues, and, after returning to Crossroads in 1994, led workshops around the country for other schools and school leaders, sharing with them Crossroads’ groundbreaking efforts in this area. Ann Colburn, former Upper School director and current Crossroads trustee, remains

impressed with how Bob, himself an openly gay man, created a safe space for Crossroads’ LGBT students and allies at a time when such efforts were far from the norm. “That was tremendously thoughtful and giving,” says Ann, mother of Beth Thompson ’82 and Cait Thompson ’85. “He put himself on the line. He said, ‘This is who I am, and it’s OK for other people.’ He was a trailblazer.” Despite the immense responsibilities of his position, Bob’s easygoing nature and sense of fun make him approachable to students and staff alike. He is deeply engaged with students, parents and alumni, including those he used to teach. He’s also a gifted public speaker who can encourage, educate and enlighten with just a few well-chosen words. For 30 years, Bob has provided the School with exceptional leadership and dedication; in many ways, he represents the very heart and soul of Crossroads.

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alumni News




Upcoming Reunions

Saturday, May 2 Classes of 1985 and 1995

Time to save the date and come back to the Alley, Classes of 1985 and 1995. New this year: two reunions, one night!



Please make sure that we have your correct mailing address and email on file. You can submit changes at alumniprofile or send an email to


If you would like to be a part of the planning committee for your reunion, contact Alumni Relations Manager Liz Trowler at


Share Your Success Please consider sharing your successes, accomplishments and life events with us by submitting a class note online. If you have written a book, made a film or have Crossroads archival materials, consider donating a copy to the School. For details, go to

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Crossroads Celebrates 40 Years of Athletics On June 7, we kicked off the 40th anniversary celebration of Crossroads Athletics by naming the first inductees into our newly established Athletics Hall of Fame. The festivities continued the next day at the All-Class Sports Reunion Barbecue, held on the 21st Street Campus. Over 100 former athletes, coaches and guests from as recently as 2013 to as far back as 1979 came together to celebrate four decades of Roadrunner Athletics.


1. Honorees Yasmeen Yamini-Benjamin ’95 and Jamila Banks ’90 2. The Hall of Fame display is unveiled. 3. Honorees Baron Davis ’97, Steve Solomon ’88 and Austin Croshere ’93 4. Hall of Fame honorees 5. 1997 varsity boys basketball team honorees 6. Michelle Brookman ’82, Rich Makoff and Michelle Greene ’82 7. Current and former coaches 8. Kristina Jones ’91, Bob Riddle and Faye Stapleton ’91 9. Mari Jo Deutschman and John Skinner ’95 10. Rich Makoff, Chuck Ice and Ira Smith

Alumni Soccer vs. Brentwood Last January, our alumni soccer team kept its winning streak alive with a 3-0 victory at the Welcome Back Week matchup against Brentwood alumni. The Crossroads alumni included Todd Beck ’90, Hill Cheuk ’92, Justin Commins ’04, Danilo Crestejo ’93, Russell Fager ’05, Brent Forrester ’85, David Tannenbaum ’89 and Carlos Villalobos ’06.


Dave Green ’01, Tom Kemper, Jim Hosney and Billy Robertson

>>> Bob Riddle and Jesse Zwick ’04

Alumni Baseball

Crossroads Presents Two Alumni-Directed Films

On May 3, 12 former Crossroads baseball players faced the current Crossroads team at Clover Park. It was the perfect sunny afternoon to reconnect over a game of baseball. The alumni who came out to play were Jake Berg-Rosenblatt ’11, Ruben Camacho ’00, Danny Cosgrove ’87, Andrew De Niese ’99, Cooper Halpern ’13, Adam Klein ’01, Anthony Kohrs ’01, Michael Laiken ’95, Dustin Michel ’01, Michael Rosenfeld ’79, Jason Weiner ’96 and David Weiner ’99. In the end, our alumni pulled out the win, but it was a fun day for everyone. We look forward to making this a regular tradition!

From the Crossroads screening room to the big screen: Last summer, we welcomed back Dave Green ’01 and Jesse Zwick ’04 in celebration of their feature film releases. “Earth to Echo”

On June 21, Dave Green ’01 joined us for a private advance screening of “Earth to Echo” at Real D Screening Room in Beverly Hills. Alumni and their families— along with students, former film teacher Jim Hosney and a few current faculty members—were in attendance. Dave followed the screening with a Q&A, inspiring many of our young filmmakers. “Earth to Echo” was released in theaters on July 2. “About Alex”

Jesse Zwick ’04 debuted as a director last summer with “About Alex,” which features an all-star ensemble cast including Jason Ritter ’98. Jesse joined us on July 23 at the Young Alumni Summer Bash for an outdoor screening of the film. After the movie, Jesse sat Council-style with our young alumni for a Q&A. Zack Sekoff ’14 also joined in the fun, providing music for the pre-show festivities in the Alley. “About Alex” was featured at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 17 and hit theaters on Aug. 8.

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alumni News

1. T revor Bezdek ’95 and fellow alumni in the sciences helped judge our Middle School science fair last February. Trevor was joined by Jesse Bendetson ’08, Danny Cosgrove ’87, Bobby Fardin ’92, Charles Haspel ’86, Jeff Nosanov ’00 and Kurt Spaeter ’79.




2. In April, Matt Negrin ’92 served as a judge in Hya Young’s mock trials. 3. Breana Jackson ’10 and Brett Marks ’10 visited campus in May to catch up with faculty and friends. 4. Alissa Dresie ’13 and Clara Liao ’13 dropped by at the start of summer break, just after completing their first year in college.





5. Cameron Burg ’95 visited Tom Laichas’ class to discuss the book he is writing on world power structures and control methods. 6. Charlie McDowell ’02 paid a visit to Billy Robertson’s class to screen his feature film “The One I Love” and discuss the making of the film.



Alumni on Campus Whether it’s to speak to a class, visit with faculty, attend an event or just walk down the Alley, we love having alumni back on campus. We hope they enjoy seeing how their Crossroads has changed and, at its core, how much it has stayed the same.


7. At this year’s community service assembly in September, Rick Nahmias ’83 shared his memories of service hours as a student and the path that led him to founding the nonprofit Food Forward. 8. M ichael Larson ’06 and James Larson ’09 discussed the release of their short film “Fat Zombie” during Billy Robertson’s class. Paul Perez ’07 was the film’s production designer. 9. Aras Baskauskas ’99 shared his experience winning the TV competition show “Survivor” with the Middle School Options class Survivor.

Alumni Giving Please join your classmates in supporting Crossroads by making a gift to the Annual Fund this year. The Annual Fund enables us to achieve a socio-economically diverse student population and attract and retain the most talented faculty and staff. It also supports all student and alumni programming, enabling us to continually strengthen the Crossroads community. To make a gift, visit

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10.  Caroline Kanner ’13, Matthew Libby ’13, Jackson Roach ’13 and Josh Moody ’13 stopped by the Alumni Office for a visit. It was a nice surprise to find Caroline’s 2013 Purchase Award-winning work on display!

Upcoming Events

For more information or to register for any of our upcoming events, visit or contact us at Wednesday, Feb. 25 Boston Alumni Reception Private residence

Saturday, March 14

Alumni Movie Night With Jim Hosney Jim Hosney returned to 21st Street in October for our Alumni Movie Night. In the spirit of the Halloween season, Jim selected the Alfred Hitchcock film “Psycho.” Alumni and their guests, as well as faculty and staff, joined us on the Upper School basketball court for an outdoor screening of the film. Jim shed new light on this classic thriller during a postscreening Q&A, sharing fun facts and his insight on the film.

Alumni Men’s Volleyball Tournament Norton Campus Join fellow alumni to play in a roundrobin volleyball tournament and enjoy lunch after the game.

Saturday, April 18 Alumni Day of Service TBD Work with a local charity for the day and help make an impact in Santa Monica. Families welcome!

Saturday, April 25 K-12 Parent Association Spring Event Our biggest event of the year! This year’s theme is Crossroads Casino Royale. Proceeds support our financial aid fund.

Saturday, May 2 20- and 30-Year Class Reunions 21st Street Campus

Alumni Day of Service On May 3, alumni volunteers ranging from the classes of ’82 to ’11 spent their Saturday morning giving back to two organizations: the Ocean Park Community Center (OPCC) and Food Forward. For the second year in a row, volunteers (including Maria Prieto ’11 and Emma Cohen ’11, pictured above, left) met on campus to prepare 200 lunches and decorate lunch bags for OPCC, the largest provider of housing and social services in West Los Angeles.

It’s time for the Classes of 1985 and 1995 to return to the Alley. New this year: two reunions, two locations on campus, one night! Contact us if you’re interested in being a part of your reunion planning committee.

New this year, a second group (pictured above, right) harvested oranges at Franklin Canyon for Food Forward, a nonprofit founded in 2009 by alumnus Rick Nahmias ’83. The organization rescues fresh local produce that would otherwise go to waste. Our alumni group helped harvest over 3,500 pounds of oranges, all going to those most in need. Mark your calendars for this year’s Alumni Day of Service, which will be held on the morning of Saturday, April 18. If you’re interested in helping to organize the event, please email the Alumni Office at cross sections magazine  / winter 2015  27

alumni News

Class Reunions In April, the Classes of ’84 and ’94 returned to the Alley. The Class of ’04 reunited in October. Alumni Online Community

There are many ways to connect with Crossroads and stay in touch with your fellow alumni.

We are always excited to welcome back our alumni and we are especially grateful to the reunion committees for making their evenings special. Traci Caplan Chorna, Dale Greenblatt and Lizz Speed Trattner planned a great event for the Class of ’84. Emily Cummins Polk led the charge for ’94.

Alumni Portal Click on Login, then enter your user ID and password.


> Update your contact information.



> Access the Alumni Directory.

Crossroads School Alumni Group


Over 2,000 group members > Post, view, like or comment on recent or upcoming events.



> View alumni event photos.

Crossroads School Alumni Network > Look for or post a job or an internship.


> Find Crossroads alumni in your industry. > Connect or collaborate with someone in another industry.


Crossroads School Alumni @xrdsalumni

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’84 8

1. Chris Eber, Liz Eber (guest) and Scott Marshall 2. Karen Adler, Lizz Speed Trattner, Jay Sures and Traci Caplan Chorna 3. Nicole Newman, Dale Greenblatt, Scott Marshall and David Umansky 4. Matthew Klein and Karen Goldenberg Horowitz 5. Reunion committee: Dale Greenblatt, Traci Caplan Chorna and Lizz Speed Trattner 6. Kristin Worthe and Jennifer Kattler Trilling 7. Michelle Atlas O’Brien and David Offer 8. Class photo





’94 6

>>> 1. Aaron Suzar, Alexis Swain (guest) and Justin


’04 1

Bick-Forrester 2. Jasmine Ingram, Maia Campbell and Davida Wills Hurwin 3. Timothy Williams, Davida Mitchell, Jenny Machida and Hedwig Aerts (guest) 4. Class photo 5. Emily Deschanel 6. Emily Cummins Polk and dad, Paul Cummins



5 4


>>> 1. Adam Weil, Melissa Gilbert, Hilary Williams and Jon Hill 2. Crossroads “Lifers” 3. Njambi Gibson, Adam Weil and Zach Zalben 4. Hya Young and Jordan Berkus 5. Ian Martyn and Naomi Digby 6. Class photo


cross sections magazine  / winter 2015  29

1971 Club In 1971, what was then called “The” Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences opened in Santa Monica with 15 seventh-grade and 15 eighth-grade students. The founding of Crossroads was a game-changing shift in the educational landscape of Los Angeles that continues to be felt to this day. This year, we are excited to announce the 1971 Club for alumni who want to make a contribution to Crossroads while honoring our 43-year legacy. An Annual Fund gift of $1,971 or higher will have a meaningful impact on the well-being of the School, helping to close the gap between what tuition covers and the full cost of educating one student. To make a gift online, go to For questions, please contact the Alumni Office at 310-582-4433.


1. Jeremy Fassler ’08 and Niraali Pandiri ’10 2. Bob Riddle and Liz Milch ’02 3. Beryl Liebowitz ’05 and Nicole Campoy Jackson ’03 4. Group photo



3 4 New York Alumni Reunion Outside of California, there are more Crossroads alumni in New York than anywhere else. On Jan. 30, 2014, alumni ranging from the classes of ’83 to ’13 joined a select group of faculty who made the trip and gathered at Goldbar in New York City for an all-class mixer. It was great connecting with everyone, and we can’t wait to do it again soon.

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class Notes

Crossroads alumni follow their passions into a multitude of different fields. Within these class notes you’ll find profiles of five alumni (similar to the Alumni Voices section in past issues) who represent the rich and varied paths that our students take after graduation. Class of 1976 Devik Wiener writes: “My second career has become administrating my late father’s photo archive. Please Web search Leigh Wiener.” Class of 1979 Brian King, Cal Arts, bachelor’s degree in art and design, wrote and directed the feature film “Redlands,” which is available on Vimeo On Demand and Amazon Instant Video. Class of 1980 Jil Markman Wexler, UC San Diego, bachelor’s degree; UC Irvine, master’s

degree and Ph.D. in social relations; Phillips Graduate Institute, master’s degree in marriage, child and family therapy, writes: “I am enjoying being an empty nester, although missing my daughter who is freezing at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Having a blast volunteering for Planned Parenthood, the Epilepsy Therapy Project and on a local congressional campaign. Thinking very fondly of my Crossroads friends and the memories we created.”

Crossroads family, with love from Aaron, Rona, Leila, 12 and Lena, 7.”

Class of 1981 Aaron Brenner, Columbia University, bachelor’s degree in economics and Ph.D. in U.S. history, spent three wonderful weeks in the south of France last summer. He writes: “We swapped our home in New York City for homes in Aix-en-Provence and Toulouse, with a side trip to Biarritz. It was our fifth house swap, after Venice (California), Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro and Sicily. All the best to

Class of 1983 Bill Shapiro, Wesleyan College, bachelor’s degree in psychology, writes: “I’ve lived in New York since 1994, and let me tell you this: Going to school in a sketchy Alley was mighty fine training for life here. I’ve got two curious, curlyheaded kids who are about the same age

Class of 1982 KK Jackson attended Santa Monica City College and San Jose State University. He writes: “Last summer, I moved my grandson and son to Las Vegas and traveled the whole summer in my motor home with my wife and son! We did a lot of fishing, Boogie boarding and camping. Late-night fires and s’mores!”

>>> Alexa Junge ’81

Alexa Junge is an Emmy-nominated writer and producer of television shows including “The United States of Tara,” “The West Wing,” “Sex and the City” and “Friends.” Before she was penning dialogue for Carrie and Samantha or serving as co-executive producer for an upcoming Netflix series starring Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, Alexa was the teenage scribe behind a play performed by her classmates in the Crossroads Theater Department. “The play was called ‘Hocus Pocus and Goodbye,’ which still makes me cringe,” admits Alexa, who entered Crossroads as a sophomore. “But it was treated seriously and the actors were all really good. It was so lovely, such a gift to get to do that and have that process.”

After high school, Alexa moved to New York, earning a bachelor’s degree in theater from Barnard College and a master’s in playwriting from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She moved to LA after a friend she met while interning at an offBroadway theater recommended her for a job on the Nickelodeon show “Clarissa Explains It All.” Alexa loved the collaborative nature of television writing, which drew on the skills she’d learned in the theater. She secured an agent, and more writing work followed. “I had kind of been interested in being a playwright before attending Crossroads, but my experience there really solidified it for me,” she says. “It completely changed my life. The

way the curriculum was integrated across subjects helped me develop as a writer; the way meaning was made out of what we were learning has had a huge impact on how I think. There was a really high standard that was expected of us. It was thrilling to be treated that way.” In addition to her television work, Alexa wrote lyrics for Disney’s “Mulan 2” and “Lilo & Stitch 2” (for which she also wrote the screenplay) and is a contributor to NPR’s “This American Life.” Her play “Fingersmith,” an adaptation of Sarah Waters’ Victorian crime novel, has its world premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in February.

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class Notes

>>> Brian Ascalon Roley ’85

Crossroads encourages its students to be well-rounded, a trait exemplified by Brian Ascalon Roley. An author and associate professor of English at Miami University of Ohio, his educational and career choices reveal an individual of seemingly endless talents and interests. “I came to Crossroads in ninth grade with a math and science orientation and developed a new interest in literature and the arts,” he says. “Crossroads planted a lot of seeds. As a liberal arts teacher, I believe in a balanced education. Crossroads laid the foundation for that.” At Crossroads, Brian played on the tennis and golf teams, discovered a passion for history and acquired a love of writing. He was a philosophy major at Wesleyan University and considered becoming a philosophy professor. After graduating, he spent a year in London working as a psychology research assistant and at one point taught skiing in Austria, writing creatively on his own time. Thinking he’d enter the nonprofit sector, Brian earned a law degree from UCLA. Despite the many career paths he could have pursued, Brian committed to his passion for words when he entered Cornell University’s MFA program on a Sage Fellowship. He taught writing, film and literature to undergraduates, first as a graduate student and later as a lecturer. “As an instructor, you’re influenced by the teachers that you had, and there were some really excellent teachers at Crossroads,” he says. “You think your students forget completely about you, but I remember classes and techniques that still influence how I approach my work decades later.” In 2001, W.W. Norton published Brian’s award-winning first novel, “American Son,” about two half-Filipino brothers struggling with issues of racial identity in Southern California. Brian, who is himself of multiracial Filipino descent, recently finished “The Blood of Jose Rizal” while a visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge. The collection of stories centers on the reallife 19th-century Filipino doctor, author and activist and his (fictional) descendants, who are part of the extended family that Brian depicts in “American Son” and other works. The book will be published in 2016 by Curbstone, an imprint of Northwestern University Press. 32 crossroads school for arts & sciences

as I was when I met you all. Work-wise, I was the editor-in-chief of LIFE magazine and then of I’ve published a couple of books, one called ‘Other People’s Love Letters’ and in September, ‘Gus & Me,’ a children’s book written in collaboration with Keith Richards. If you’re ever in New York...” Class of 1985 Brent Forrester, Columbia University, bachelor’s degree in English, writes: “I still play fullback for the Crossroads alumni soccer team, and we still keep beating Brentwood!” Class of 1986 Charles Haspel, Brown University, bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, co-founded a new social media startup,, along with Joshua Namm ’86. He writes: “We already have some of our classmates on the site, but would love to have all the support from Crossroads alumni and staff we can get.” Michael Morris, NYU, bachelor’s degree in film and television, welcomed baby Violet Josephine Morris, born Aug. 20, 2013. He writes: “I wrote and directed the short film ‘The Boy Who Wouldn’t Turn Right,’ starring Steve Railsback and Crossroads teacher Scott Weintraub.” Class of 1987

Cary Johnson, UC Irvine, bachelor’s degree in social sciences; UCLA, certificate in the business and management of entertainment, business and legal affairs; Western State University College of Law, JD, writes: “Julie and I got married on Oct. 20, 2013, at Kalani Honua in the Puna District of the Big Island of Hawaii. At Kalani, you will find 120 acres of organic agriculture surrounded by lava, the ocean, tropical rainforest and the spirit of aloha. Think Ojai in Hawaii. Kalani Honua means

harmony of heaven and earth; this is why Julie and I love the Big Island and the Puna District.” Joanna Reinis Port, University of Michigan, bachelor’s degree in psychology; USC, M.S.W. in child and family; Pepperdine University, master’s degree in education, writes: ”I recently got a new job as a director of Crestwood Hills Nursery School.” Class of 1988 Trianda Keramidas, Swarthmore College, bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology; NYU, master’s degree in elementary education, moved to the Bay Area in 2012 after spending 17 years in New York City. She writes: “Best decision I’ve made in a long time!”

Holly Rachelefsky Lerner, Wheaton College, bachelor’s degree in sociology; Pepperdine University, master’s degree in early childhood education, writes: ”My family moved to Colorado. We are loving it here. All of my children have enjoyed their new schools.” Greg Schell, UC Santa Barbara; San Francisco State University, has transitioned from directing documentaries to travel photography for magazines and private clients. He writes: “Greetings, alums! The past decade has been a nonstop travel adventure. I’ve been shooting in far-flung destinations such as India, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Central America, Mexico

and all over the U.S. For those who still use the now ancient (according to my little niece) site Facebook, you can see my photos at” Class of 1989 Jennifer Cohen, UC Berkeley, bachelor’s degree in psychology; UCLA, M.D., psychology, completed a hospice and palliative medicine fellowship at UC Davis this year. She writes: “I have had a complete career change, from inpatient pediatrics to outpatient palliative medicine. I’m very excited to have this new challenge in a rapidly developing field, and welcome calls and emails from alums who are interested in palliative care personally or professionally.”

>>> Maura Pally ’94

Maura Pally has always been a gogetter. She graduated magna cum laude from Brown University, holds a law degree from USC and is the executive director for the Office of Hillary Rodham Clinton at the Clinton Foundation. When she transferred to Crossroads in 10th grade, her expectations were high. Feeling that her schedule wasn’t challenging enough, Maura shared her concerns with Bob Riddle, then Upper School academic dean. Bob advised Maura on which advanced courses would provide the type of rigorous academics that she craved. “That experience taught me that I can’t just sit by and expect things to happen for me,” she says. “The onus is on me to step up and take some action.”

She was soon taking Jim Hosney’s film and literature classes and other challenging coursework. “Crossroads, Jim’s classes in particular, is where I learned to think critically and to write persuasively in support of an argument,” she says. “When I got to college, I had a strong foundation to build on.”

at Bloomberg Philanthropies before becoming an executive director at the Clinton Foundation. She is proud to oversee Secretary Clinton’s foundation work, including programs promoting the equal participation of women and girls across the globe and national efforts around early childhood learning and youth employment.

While at Brown, Maura interned for then-First Lady Hillary Clinton. She later worked on Clinton’s Senate re-election campaign and served as deputy counsel for her 2008 presidential campaign. When Clinton became secretary of state, she appointed Maura deputy assistant secretary of state for education and cultural affairs. Wanting to transition into charitable work, Maura left Washington for New York to work

This same drive and interest in public service guided her at Crossroads, where she started a debate team and wrote for Crossfire. She still remembers the encouragement she received from former faculty member and student publications adviser Tina Turbeville: “You might not feel like it now, but what you’re into is actually cool, and you’re going to go out and do good things in the world.”

cross sections magazine  / winter 2015  33

class Notes

Alicia Kalvin, UCLA, bachelor’s degree in sociology; Pepperdine University, master’s degree in education, is a studio teacher with over 15 years of experience working with kids on sets of music videos, films, television series, commercials, photo shoots, and live shows. She writes: “I would love to work with other Crossroads alumni who work in the industry. Please check out my website, Thank you!” Shaan Kokin received the Golden Halo Award for Creative Design in 2013 by the Southern California Motion Picture Council. He writes: “I would like to help future graduates or alumni interested in photography, boxing and how to become an auctioneer. I have experience in all of these subjects and would like to share.” Jennifer Gordon Nagel, University of Arizona, bachelor’s degree in media and film, writes: “I moved to Seattle five years ago for my husband’s job. The craziest part about it is that my next-door neighbor is a Crossroads alum, too!” Jen Wallin Penrod, University of Denver, bachelor’s degree in art history, writes: “We have just moved to San Anselmo. Great to be back in California!” Class of 1991 Nell Cross Beckerman, Middlebury College, bachelor’s degree in French, art and art history, writes: “After 16 years in New York City, I finally moved back to LA and am enjoying life in Venice!”

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Class of 1992 Alison Ritz, Columbia University, bachelor’s degree in urban studies and anthropology; Hunter College, master’s degree in secondary education, is now in her 15th year of secondary education. She writes: “This is my sixth year as the college adviser and senior sequence social studies teacher in a small, theater-based high school in the Bronx. Crossroads continues to be an integral part of my daily pedagogical existence!” Class of 1993 Travon Muhammad, UC Davis, bachelor’s degree in psychology, cofounded a 501(c)(3) nonprofit called Sole Brothers with Rich Singer. The nonprofit was inspired by current Crossroads seniors and provides lightly worn shoes to the less fortunate. Class of 1995

Jenny Ross Zipkin, UC Berkeley, bachelor’s degree in psychology; UC Irvine, M.D., has three children: Talia, 7, Maya, 5 and Eli, 4.

Josh Chesler, USC, bachelor’s degree in film production, produced his first feature film, “Chasing Ghosts,” starring Tim Meadows, Frances Conroy, Toby Nichols and Robyn Lively. The film just received distribution and will soon be available on video-on-demand platforms across the U.S. Class of 1997

Nicha Douglas, Florida International University, bachelor’s degree in biology and health service administration; SUNY Downstate Medical Center, physician assistant certificate program, writes: ”I moved to New York, became a physician assistant and got that order!”

Alexis Earkman, University of Chicago, bachelor’s degree in psychology; University of Wisconsin—Madison, M.S.W., lived in Tokyo for two years. She writes: “I traveled throughout Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore before returning to Los Angeles on Dec. 25, 2013.” Henry Jacobson, Hampshire College, bachelor’s degree in philosophy and film; Oxford School of Drama, master’s degree in theater, curated the exhibition ”The Space Between: Redefining Public and Personal in Smartphone Photography” at the Center for Photography at Woodstock in 2014. Daylight Books published his first book of photographs, “Postcards Home,” in 2013. In 2012, he launched Mind Hive Films in New York with partner Emma Tammi. Class of 1998 Roberto Cisneros studied at Cal State University Long Beach. He writes: “I want to thank Crossroads faculty and alumni for all the support you gave me when I was deployed downrange in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2013. I have been proudly serving since 2000. Class of ’98, I love you!” Class of 1999 Arielle Reinstein Jackson, Stanford University, bachelor’s degree in human biology and master’s degree in psychology, welcomed a new baby boy, Dylan, who recently turned one! She left her job at Square to work at her husband’s startup and is now helping other early-stage startups with marketing and communications. Class of 2000 Andy Strauss, UC San Diego, bachelor’s degree in computer science, completed the 2014 Ironman Boulder race.

Class of 2002 Courtney Cross, Cal State University, East Bay, bachelor’s degree in human development, writes: “I completed my bachelor’s degree and got engaged! I also started a new job in the commercial real estate field after having a four-year career in residential real estate. Lastly, I started my own small business, a consulting company.”

Jennifer Rosenberg Davine, Pitzer College, bachelor’s degree in sociology; Cal State University Northridge, master’s degree in social work, got married to Ari Davine on Nov. 30, 2013.

Jessica Rand, UC Santa Cruz, bachelor’s degree in theater arts, writes: “I am currently employed as the late morning/ afternoon host for NPR-affiliated KMHD Jazz Radio in Portland, Oregon. I am also the executive producer for an in-house produced storytelling project called ‘A Jazz Life.’ The rest of my time is spent Argentine tango dancing and backpacking around the Pacific Northwest.”

Alex Muchnick, Oberlin Conservatory, bachelor of music degree in jazz performance; Oberlin College, bachelor’s degree in politics; USC, J.D., writes: ”I was so happy and excited to get married to my beautiful, hilarious and intelligent wife, Kelly, last April in Topanga Canyon. Crossroads alumni David Crist ’02, Henry Kaplan ’02, Ben Warner ’02, Michael Kaplan ’02, Duncan Ende ’02 and Spencer Goldberg ’03 were in attendance.”

Class of 2004 Megan Daalder, UC Santa Cruz; UCLA, bachelor’s degree in design and media arts, writes: “I did a TEDx talk in 2013 about my Mirrorbox Project, which was featured in the Crossroads Alchemy fundraiser. I’m currently working on a scifi one-act performance with an 8-foottall synthetic organism puppet, called ‘Eureka and the Biomass.’”

Ian Martyn, UCLA, bachelor’s degree in linguistics and anthropology; Claremont Graduate University, master’s degree in music; UC Davis, master’s degree in ethnomusicology, writes: ”I moved to Santa Barbara to focus on mobile app development. I recently became a player and archivist for Gamelan Sinar Surya, an Indonesian orchestra specializing in the music of the Cirebon region of Java. I’m the guitarist and singer in a hardcore punk band and play keyboard in a psych band. I also write reviews for the Smithsonian Folkways blog.”

>>> Paola Moraga Aguilera ’00

“When you think about Crossroads, the last thing you think of is ‘corporate,’” acknowledges Paola Moraga Aguilera. Yet the School helped prepare her for a successful career in finance, thanks in part to what may seem like its touchyfeeliest offering. “Life Skills taught me so much about group work, how you interact with others, dealing with different points of view,” she explains. “Crossroads had people of all types of personalities and backgrounds. That diversity of ideas helped prepare me for college and those next steps in my life.” Although Paola was interested in the world of business at an early age, like most Crossroads students, she had other passions, as well. In fact, it was

her love of music that compelled her to leave the large public high school she’d attended and transfer to Crossroads. The transition was a smooth one, but there were some cultural differences to adjust to. “I came from a school that was 86 percent Hispanic with 800 students per grade, and suddenly I’m in these small classes and getting the day off for Rosh Hashanah,” she laughs. Paola relished the chance to engross herself in the violin—an instrument she still plays—and appreciated the personal attention she received from teachers. After graduation, she attended Ventura County Community College and then transferred on a half scholarship to Cal Lutheran, where she

majored in business administration and minored in music. She earned her MBA at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management in 2010. Paola was recruited out of UCLA by Bank of America to join a two-year leadership development program and has steadily risen in the ranks since then. Since April 2014, she has served as vice president, portfolio reporting and analytics. She reports on Bank of America’s mortgage loan portfolio to the Federal Reserve Board and to the company’s executives to assist with their strategic planning, initiative execution and marketing campaigns.

cross sections magazine  / winter 2015  35

class Notes

>>> Justin Silverman ’07

Justin Silverman is an M.D.-Ph.D. candidate at Duke University with an out-of-the-box approach to life. As a junior at Johns Hopkins University, he applied for—and received—the Barry Goldwater Scholarship in part through an essay about his lifelong love of Star Trek. His application to Johns Hopkins, where he would major in biophysics and physics, included a photo portfolio of sculptures he’d welded from scrap metal. He attributes this intellectual risk-taking to the influence of Crossroads, which he entered in the third grade. “I think that Crossroads fosters a good deal of rebelliousness and a good deal of creativity,” he says. “It encourages students to go out and do something different.” At Crossroads, Justin got his science fix in some unexpected places. He believes that the School’s “excellent” math program helped prepare him for a science career. He also recalls a world history class that delved into physics to explore compression-based European technology versus tension-based South American technology during the pre-Columbian era. While at Johns Hopkins, Justin worked in a physics lab to adapt cylindrical carbon structures called nanotubes for applications including biomedical and electronics. He also developed algorithms to automate evaluation and identification of nanotubes in microscopy images. Justin is currently at Duke on a Medical Scientist Training Program grant from the National Institutes of Health. He has completed most of the medical school component and is now starting his Ph.D. work in computational biology related to infectious disease. His dual degree will enable him to engage in both clinical work treating patients and computational research. Justin believes that Crossroads’ emphasis on independent thought will serve him well in his career. “That’s a prized commodity in research and in clinical work,” he says. “You need to be able to call things into question and ask, ‘Why is this?’ If you’re seeing a patient, don’t just accept what the attending physician is suggesting is the best diagnosis, but really think for yourself. That’s something I definitely learned to do at Crossroads.” 36 crossroads school for arts & sciences

Class of 2008 Julien Isaacs, Art Institute of Chicago, associate’s degree in studio art; Georgetown University, bachelor’s degree in East Asian studies; Beijing University, Chinese certification program, is busy hopping back and forth between Asia and the U.S., working in both the fine arts and technology. Class of 2009

Bryson Lochte, Dartmouth College, bachelor’s degree in neuroscience, is currently applying to medical school for the fall of 2015.

Class of 2011 Seth Biagini, the Juilliard School, bachelor of music degree in cello performance, attended the Kneisel Hall Music Festival in Blue Hill, Maine, during the summer of 2014. Phillip Golub is currently majoring in English at Harvard College and studies jazz performance at the New England Conservatory. He writes: “Nov. 15 was the New York City premiere of my music, which was very exciting for me! The New York Virtuoso Singers performed a piece with text by Anne Carson at Merkin Hall.”

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