Cross Sections (Winter 2016)

Page 1



The Science Education & Research Facility

Improve it, but don’t change it.”

BY bob riddle head of school

This challenge was issued by a Middle School student several years ago as we solicited student feedback on enhancing our 21st Street Campus. As we’ve sought to update our Middle and Upper School learning spaces to enable even more innovative and flexible curriculum, that student’s seemingly impossible mandate for the Alley has stayed with me. How do you tear down a building but preserve the magic that went on inside of it? How do you build new structures but maintain continuity? How do you keep the studentcentered culture of the Alley vibrant, while creating new spaces around it? How do you improve it without changing it? The Science Education & Research Facility is the first new building on the 21st Street Campus in nearly two decades. (See story on page 18.) In only a few short months, this 25,000-square-foot facility has already vastly improved the science education that we provide for our students. In spacious, light-filled classrooms, our exceptional science teachers engage students in more ongoing, hands-on investigations. Chemistry students conduct more ambitious experiments within the safety of the fume hood laboratory (named after Sally Ride, a native of Los Angeles

Fourth-graders present their research on racial representation to Upper Schoolers in Roth Hall.

who is buried just three blocks from Crossroads). And engineering students create the next “big thing” in a new Design & Engineering course in a classroom named after Leonardo Da Vinci. The teaching experience has vastly improved as well, thanks to the invaluable input our faculty provided during the building’s planning stages. Movable partitions allow Middle School teachers to alter the size of their classrooms. There is now ample preparation and storage space in faculty rooms adjacent and connecting to each classroom on every floor. Outdoor learning and teaching spaces allow for the integration of the natural world into the science curricula. And classrooms are now outfitted with the latest technological and scientific instrumentation and materials, enough to rival some college campuses! There is no question that our School has been improved by the addition of this remarkable building. But has it changed? While we could certainly make the case that Crossroads has evolved, I can also say that the School has fundamentally not changed. Perhaps one could say that our beloved Alley is the same,

Inside This Issue 02

Around the School

10 Trustee News 10

Parent Association

12 Design & Engineering 14

STEM Sisters

18 Science Education & Research Facility 24 Retiring Employees 26 Employee Service

but more so. That’s due in no small part to the essential role that students as well as alumni in architecture and the sciences played throughout the design and construction process. Their vision for the building as a natural extension of the Alley informed the gritty, industrial aesthetic that architecture firm Frederick Fisher and Partners employed. Students’ proclivity for hanging out on staircases is reflected in the many wide stairways the building offers. Even the Projects Pavilion is inspired by a Crossroads experience; after visiting the Ojai Foundation, Fred modeled its exterior after the kivas where our students gather for Council or conversation on their Ojai trips. The result of this input from current and former students is a building that is both dazzlingly new yet warmly familiar. The building and what it says about our School is not a departure, but a reaffirmation of our commitment to outstanding science education. I am excited beyond measure to see how our learning community makes it their own. In much the same way, Crossroads is improving but not changing its commitment to equity and justice. Over the summer, 14 faculty, staff and administrators participated in a weeklong in-house workshop to further the dialogue about identity and equity at Crossroads. For those participants, it was an incredibly powerful and empowering week; our plan is to hold this workshop annually and have every member of our professional community eventually participate.

Some of the most important work on equity and justice is being done by our students. Last spring, Heather Castrone and Matt Lintner’s fourthgrade class presented its research into how different races are represented in the government, on book covers and, quite pointedly, among Crossroads leadership. (See story on page 3.) Their findings demonstrate the need for more inclusivity both in the world at large and right here on our campus. I am proud of these young students, who fearlessly questioned the diversity among School administrators and challenged us to do better. As so often happens at Crossroads, the bravest, most insightful voices are often those of our students. Whether it’s to take a stand for inclusivity or to envision a new learning facility, I am always impressed by the ingenuity, candor and wisdom that our students demonstrate, continually moving us forward to be the best school that we can be. And, as has been the case since the School was founded in 1971, by listening deeply and thoughtfully to them, we the educators become the students. As we consider other ways to rejuvenate the 21st Street Campus, and to enhance our commitment to and embodiment of equity and justice, we will continue to seek the input of our students. With their help, Crossroads will remain a place that will never radically change, yet will continually improve for the betterment of our students. They deserve no less.



Student poem: “Cosmic Latte”


Alumni News


Class Notes

Cross Sections News Magazine

is published twice a year.


Call: 310-829-7391, ext. 564 Or email:

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, Director of Communications Ashley Ratcliff Communications Manager Mery Grace Castelo Constituent Relations Manager Kristen Forbes Contributing writer Patrick Mahany Director of Advancement Kathy O’Brien Campaign Communications Manager Candace Pearson Contributing writer Designer Warren Group | Studio Deluxe Contributing Photographers Andreas Branch Sara Ring Tina Turbeville Stephen Zeigler Warren Group | Studio Deluxe Special thanks to

Dori Friedman, Rebecca Smith Hurd, Janeen Jackson and the Alumni Office On the cover

Hyperbolic paraboloid sculpture by environmental artist Ned Kahn, part of the Science Education & Research Facility. Photo by Stephen Zeigler.

2 crossroads school for arts & sciences

cross sections magazine  / winter 2016  3

around the school

Fourth-Graders Examine Racial Inclusivity It’s not uncommon for schools to evaluate how well they support diversity. Crossroads undertook a school-wide Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) beginning in 2012, and established the Supporting a Diverse Community Committee to help implement many of the AIM report’s recommendations. What’s unusual is for this important work to be conducted by 10-year-olds. For the Elementary School’s Social Justice and Race Week last spring, students in Heather Castrone and Matt Lintner’s fourth-grade class researched racial inclusivity in a number of areas, including within their own friendship circles and among Crossroads faculty and staff. They presented their findings in separate Gatherings with the Elementary School, sixth-graders and 10th-graders. Armed with a PowerPoint presentation titled “How Are People of Different Races Represented in Our Lives?” the fourthgraders began with the assertion that race

itself is not a biologically proven fact, but that ongoing discrimination keeps the concept alive. As a result, the only racial categorization that matters is how individuals choose to self-identify. Their research began with examining their own friendships, which they’d been pleasantly surprised to find were split evenly among children of their own race and children of different races. They attributed this to the diversity represented among Crossroads students. Less encouraging were their findings after polling Crossroads’ highest-level administrators on how they self-identified and researching who had served in these top roles in the past. Without exception, all current and past school leaders were white. “We didn’t think it was fair,” Jordana Goldstein reflected later. “It’s not just white people who deserve to have positions of power.” Students found this same representational imbalance when they looked at the number of people of color in government and adver-

tising, and among Disney characters and children’s book protagonists. They found this last fact particularly confounding, noting that 95 percent of the books in the Elementary School library feature white characters on the cover, even though white children are actually a minority in California. Tyler Dean attended the sixth-grade Gathering with his class. “I was stunned,” he admitted. “I learned a lot, like that the School’s administration is all white. I doubt that they did it on purpose, but it happened. There are so many issues going on now, everywhere. Anywhere you look, you’re going to find inequality. That’s not right.” The Gatherings concluded with students presenting ways to promote racial inclusivity, such as buying books that feature characters of color and shopping at companies that embrace diversity. Later, the fourth-graders discussed what they had learned from the project.

Portraits by Kindergarten–West students.

We didn’t think it was fair. It’s not just white people who deserve to have positions of power.” “I was really surprised by the data,” shared Eli Horwitch. “I feel like I have a whole new perspective. Before, I didn’t realize how race affects people. Now, I’m going to try to observe more.” Meazi Light-Orr, who was adopted from Ethiopia at age 3, appeared undaunted by the realities of prejudice and under­ representation. “I’m happy about my race. I feel good about it and I like it,” she asserted. “Yes, bad things have happened to people of my race. But we can try to change it. And we can change it.”

4 crossroads school for arts & sciences

around the school

Elementary School Celebrates Dia de los Muertos

elijah solow-ohashi, ninth grade

In October, Crossroads was named one of the 41 Most Innovative K-12 Schools in America by the online educational resource Noodle.

First-graders Daryush Fakki and Phoebe Hansen.

In the fall, the Elementary School continued its tradition of celebrating Dia de los Muertos, the traditional Latin American Day of the Dead. It was a collaborative effort between art and Spanish teachers and parents, who came in to talk about Latino culture with the students. Several parents from Mexico set up the Dia de los Muertos altar,

a tradition originating with the Aztecs to honor those who have passed and entice their spirits to visit through flowers, figurines and festive decorations. Students throughout the Elementary School helped adorn the altar, trimming marigolds, decorating sugar skulls and contributing photos in remembrance of family members, friends and pets.

All Good Things… 2015-16 will mark Joanie Martin’s last school year as the director of the Elementary School, a position she’s held for 29 years. Although Joanie had planned to retire last June, she generously postponed her departure until the School could identify the best possible candidate to take on this hugely important role. Head of School Bob Riddle announced the news to the community in March and thanked Joanie “for once again demonstrating her deep commitment to and love of Crossroads.”

First-grader Phoebe Hansen brought in a photo of her cat, Tommy, who died several years ago. When asked how it felt to see his image on the Dia de los Muertos altar, she expressed the bittersweet experience of remembering a loved one who is no longer with us. After thinking for a moment, she finally concluded, “It feels a little sad but a little good.”

cross sections magazine  / winter 2016  5

The Twitterverse Last spring, Middle School teacher Ella Moench gave her students a truly 21st-century assignment: Create Twitter accounts for the planets and other celestial bodies and give them a voice. Throughout this issue, keep an eye out for these interstellar tweets: the brags, the beefs and the deep cosmic connections.

Saturn@Saturn 17 Apr 2015 Gas Planet Convention 2015! @Jupiter @Uranus @Neptune #reunion @jovianagain

6 crossroads school for arts & sciences

around the school

Middle School Adds Maker Space The new Science Education & Research Facility isn’t the only place for Middle Schoolers to delve into science and technology. Just across the Alley, the Stephen Morgan Middle School building recently converted its computer lab into an interdisciplinary STEAM Lab for students to integrate science, technology, engineering, arts and math. And over the summer, that space was doubled as an adjacent classroom was turned into a Maker Space where students can innovate and invent.

Two new Options courses—both taught by Middle School Technology Coordinator Dori Friedman—give students even more opportunities to flex their creative muscles. Students in the class Invention are learning how to take an idea from concept to prototype and have their inventions patented, trademarked, manufactured and marketed. Students in the Alley Games class are brainstorming and building entertaining

I repurposed a classroom, reused furniture and reinvented the space. I love how it turned out. It is very Crossroads because it feels very organic.”

Felix Heller , eighth grade

Dori Friedman and educational outdoor activities for their classmates, which will ultimately include a giant foot-controlled labyrinth that utilizes motion sensors. Students in these and other technology courses—as well as those interested in using the Maker Space independently or for a class project—have access to a laser cutter, 3-D printers, sewing machines, electronics, soldering irons and many other tools to turn their visions into reality.

cross sections magazine  / winter 2016  7

Middle School Teams Score Big Middle School athletics teams triumphed during the 2014-15 sports season. Six teams made it to the championship game and five scored victories. Here’s a look back at their accomplishments:



Girls Basketball Royal Team: League Champions

Boys Basketball Red Team: League Champions

Boys Soccer Royal Team: League Champions

The team beat Archer 44-12 to advance to the Championships and beat Westside Neighborhood School 52-8 for the finals. The Roadrunners maintained an undefeated season record and walked away with the Pacific Basin League championship title.

Crossroads Red defeated Brentwood by a score of 37-19 for their first game of the playoffs. The team went on to win the semifinal matchup against Willows, securing their place in the championship game against Calvary Christian. The Roadrunners took the championship title with a 46-44 win.

The Roadrunners won their first playoff game against Paul Revere 5-2, placing them in the finals against Harvard Westlake, which had served up Team Red’s only regular season defeat less than one month prior. The entire team excelled, earning the win and the Pacific Basin League champ­ ionship title with a 2-0 victory.

Boys Basketball White Team: League Champions

Boys Basketball Royal Team: League Champions

Girls Soccer Royal Team: League Runners-Up

Team White won against Turning Point 44-31 for their first playoff game and beat Westchester Lutheran 52-42. They played the Division C Championship Game against the very formidable Willows team, winning 49-35. It was an amazing season for Crossroads’ first-ever sixth-grade undefeated, 11-0, Pacific Basin League Champions.

Team Royal won the playoffs against Willows 65-40 and defeated Westchester Lutheran Middle School in the semifinals 72-50. The Roadrunners controlled the momentum throughout the championship game against Pacific Hills, winning the game 55-42 for a perfect finale to a perfect season for this Royal squad.

The girls soccer team started the playoff week for Crossroads with a game against New Roads, blasting forward with a 7-0 win. The team played St. Matthews in the semifinal round of the playoffs and pulled off a 5-3 win. In the championship matchup against Brentwood, Crossroads was up by two for most of the game. Ultimately, Brentwood scored two quick goals to tie it up and put one more in the back of the net to win the game.

8 crossroads school for arts & sciences

around the school

Students Earn Spots in LA Philharmonic Composer Programs

Focus on Social Justice Last spring, the Upper School devoted two days to exploring issues related to equity and community engagement. These events expanded upon the work that students regularly take part in through their classes, student-run clubs, special projects and required service hours. On Feb. 27, 2015, students examined hunger in America, AIDS, bullying, animal rights and more than 20 other topics spotlighted at the first Upper School Day of Service, organized by Upper School Community Service Director Hali Morell. Robert Kennedy Jr. delivered opening remarks about the importance of protecting America’s waterways from pollution. From there, students joined peer-led workshops to consider a variety of equity and justice issues in depth.

From left: Isaac Pross, Luca Mendoza and Ethan Treiman.

Eleventh-graders Luca Mendoza and Ethan Treiman earned two of the four spots in the prestigious LA Philharmonic Composer Fellowship Program, which provides composition training through regular master classes and the chance to compose two pieces for the LA Philharmonic to perform at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Tenth-grader Isaac Pross was accepted into the one-year Associate Composer Program, which includes eight master classes and the opportunity to have his chamber music compositions recorded and performed live by professional musicians. “Since the start of the program, we have written a woodwind trio and heard it performed, and also met several LA Philharmonic instrumentalists,” reports Ethan. “I still have so much to learn and am excited for the rest of the two-year program.” Adds Luca, “We have weekly seminars with world-class composers and players, and—my favorite part—frequently get to go to amazing concerts at Walt Disney Concert Hall.” Ethan has taken music theory courses with Mary Ann Cummins and Richard Grayson and is a Drama Conservatory major who’s performed in Crossroads productions including “The Laramie Project” and “Once on This Island.” Luca plays piano in the Jazz “A” Band; recent musical honors include the Outstanding Solo Award at the 2015 Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival. Isaac is a member of the Elizabeth Mandell Music Institute (EMMI), takes music theory with Mary Ann and plays violin in the EMMI Chamber Orchestra. A longtime Crossroads music instructor and former EMMI director, Mary Ann believes that the musical training the students received at Crossroads has prepared them well for the rigors of the LA Philharmonic programs. “To be a composer, you have to own the knowledge of the language of music,” she says. “And that’s what we teach here.”

Students also had the opportunity to go on field trips for activities as varied as cleaning the beach, performing at the Ocean Park Community Center homeless shelter and gardening at Palms Elementary School. The day wrapped up with a panel of parents speaking about their own service experiences. On April 8, students explored issues surrounding youth incarceration during Juvenile Justice Forum Day, organized by English teacher Nika Cavat. The day featured 44 presenters and 26 workshops on topics including drug and alcohol rehabilitation, women and domestic violence, teens and cops, and street poetry. Richard Ross’ art exhibit “Juvenile in Justice”—curated by Jack Kennerly, now a senior—was displayed in the Sam Francis Gallery from April 6 to 10, and depicted the harsh conditions faced by minors in prison. “Curating the photo exhibit and interacting with Richard Ross’ work was a very profound experience for me,” Jack says. “Because the inmates and I are the same age, I was able to empathize with them in a unique way. I know many other Crossroads students had a similar experience when seeing the show.” Junior Grace Attanasio at a Day of Service workshop hosted by the Animal Rights Club.

cross sections magazine  / winter 2016  9

around the school Athletics

Reflections on Extravaganza by Tara Shima, Athletics Communications Coordinator

“It was the most exciting and scary night of my life,” shares varsity soccer starting centerback Nate Merchant ’14 of his first Extravaganza. “My freshman year, we tied, but it was still the best experience.” Nate now plays offensive winger, outside forward and midfielder at Bates College, where he earned team Freshman of the Year honors. Nate appreciates how the Crossroads community comes out in full force to cheer on our student-athletes. “Extravaganzas seemed to have more fans than at most—if not all— college games,” he notes. There have been similarities, too. At his first Extravaganza and first college games, “the field seemed huge and my adrenaline was pumping.” Every winter for the last 13 years, Roadrunner fans have lined the field and packed the gym to cheer on their home team for the most spirited athletics event of the year. Extravaganza is our annual soccer and basketball competition against Brentwood School. Painted faces and homemade signs adorn the sports facility as the Crossroads community comes together for an evening of camaraderie and sportsmanship. This highly anticipated event draws crowds of students, families and staff; welcomes home alumni; and hosts members of the Board and longtime supporters such as Paul Cummins, Crossroads’ co-founder and former headmaster. Being a fan on this evening is exhilarating. For the students who compete, it is an experience of a lifetime.

>> Middle School Sports Spectacular

In both cases, experience made the playing field shrink down to normal size and allowed Nate to focus on the task at hand. At Crossroads and Bates, he has taken on new athletic challenges, swiftly adapting to the excitement of playing in front of big crowds and against big competition.

>> Upper School Extravaganza

>> Elementary School Sports Extraordinaire

December 11, 2015

January 8, 2016

May 2, 2016

3:30-7 p.m.

4-9:30 p.m.

3-5 p.m.

Saturn@Saturn 17 Apr 2015 @Jupiter I am taking it ever slower! My orbit is 29 years on @Earth #lifeintheslowlane

10 crossroads school for arts & sciences

trustee news

parent association

New Trustee Joins the Board

Good Things Come in Threes!

In December 2014, the Board of Trustees welcomed parent and Capital Campaign Committee member Andy Baum.

Andy Baum is a partner at the law firm Glaser Weil. He has successfully litigated and resolved multimillion-dollar claims in a wide variety of business and litigation matters. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, San Diego, and his law degree from Loyola Law School. Andy is a member of the Capital Campaign Committee in support of the School’s Worlds Unimagined campaign. He and his wife, Tasha, are the parents of three Crossroads students, sixth--grader Rowan and second-grader Holden.

written by Crossroads parents and performed by our students, parents, alumni, employees, alumni parents and even grandparents. Surprise guests are the cherry on top. The show is appropriate for the whole family—you won’t want to miss this! 2016 will be an extra-special Cabaret; for the first time ever, it will be held at the historic Wiltern in the heart of Los Angeles. As with every spring fundraiser, the community is invited to donate or solicit auction and raffle items or to host Party Book events. Special underwriting opportunities for the show will also be available. Proceeds from the spring fundraiser benefit the School’s Financial Aid Fund. It’s always a fun and meaningful way to support Crossroads. From left: Casino Royale co-chairs Jill Rosenfeld, Kevin Neustadt, Samantha Sackler, Lisa Boren, Melanie Handelsman and Gabby Banatao.

What do Casino Royale, Cabaret and XRDSARTS have in common? They are all Parent Association spring fundraisers. We rotate between three different events to keep things fun and fresh for our community. For the 2015 spring fundraiser, we held our first Casino Royale, which took place at Hangar 8 at the Santa Monica Airport. Gambling-style tables, a tantalizing full-dinner feast and hosted bars by Patron provided our parents with a memorable night out.

Other highlights included alumna Maiya Sykes ’96 delivering a powerful vocal performance, and Crossroads dads Don Was and Ben Harper dishing up a dynamic duet with a special guest: Ben’s mom, Ellen Chase-Verdries. An amazing live auction and raise-the-paddle helped raise money for the Financial Aid Fund. Crossroads knows how to put the “fun” in “fundraising”! 2016 is a Cabaret year! Cabaret is a musical theatrical production

Jupiter @Jupiter 17 Apr 2015 @saturn #twitting a ring was discovered on me in 1979 by the Voyager 1 mission! #doublewedding

Cabaret The Wiltern 3790 WILSHIRE BLVD.

Sunday, May 15, 2016 12 pm “Well-dressed rehearsal” 5 pm Evening performance

cross sections magazine  / winter 2016  11

Self-portraits by Stella Totino ’15, Will Pinder ’20, Mary Xia ’27, Miguel Pena ’23, Celeste Mancia ’20, Connor Gewirtz ’17

the power of community Our community makes us strong. Our Annual Fund makes us stronger. Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences Annual Fund 2015-16

Community is a cornerstone of the Crossroads experience, one that empowers our teach-

Annual Giving supports:

ers, nurtures our students and enables the School to realize its goals. In countless ways,

Financial Aid

Crossroads’ current and former students and families, employees and friends affirm their

Teacher salaries

deep commitment to our very special School. When we all work together for a common cause, there is no limit to what we can achieve for our students. By supporting the Annual Fund, we demonstrate the power of community and provide a critical piece of Crossroads’ budget, one that tuition alone does not cover.

Academic programs Field trips Performing arts Athletics Professional Development Environmental and Outdoor Education Technology and so much more…

Tyson Clark , second grade Grand prize winner, 2015 Sustainable Santa Monica Student Poster Contest, K-2 category.

12 crossroads school for arts & sciences


On Building a 21st-Century Design

& Engineering Course

by Upper School Technology Coordinator and Design & Engineering teacher Paul Way

What are the most important skills for innovators and engineers? How does design thinking shape our approach to solving problems? How is new technology reshaping how we TURN ideas into realit y?

Seeking the answers to these questions has been a unique and extraordinary experience in my career as an educator and has laid the foundation for what promises to be an exceptional design and engineering program at Crossroads. The first Design & Engineering course launched in September and has its own laboratory within the Science Education & Research Facility. The course explores four main arenas: fabrication and architecture; mechanical engineering; electrical engineering; and robotics. It is our primary goal that students leave the course with the skills and self-confidence to take on any challenge.

There is no doubt that we are living in an age of unprecedented innovation, an age where the opportunities for those with both technical skills and an eye for design are rich. As our students move closer to pursuing their dreams, having a foundational knowledge in how things are designed and built will help them follow their passions and bring their own creative ideas to fruition. While every new course will take time to fully develop, we hope that our thoughtful research will help make this course a relevant, deep and meaningful learning experience for our students.


Gathering Feedback The process of developing this new curriculum began nearly two years ago as we began to re-imagine our Science program in anticipation of our new facilities. Assistant Head of School and Dean of Faculty Jeff Guckert arranged meetings with students, alumni and parents in the fields of engineering, science and technology. We explored questions such as “What are the most important skills and concepts for students going into engineering?” “What gets students interested in science?” and “How does design influence engineering?” Over the course of several meetings, it became clear that we valued hands-on experience over book knowledge, and wanted our students to focus on solving real problems. Crossroads parents provided a wealth of helpful guiding ideas, reminding us to focus on student empowerment, to eschew pre-made kits whenever possible and to explicitly teach design thinking.


A Visit to the To continue our research, Jeff and I and a select group of educators traveled to the San Francisco Bay Area to look at best practices in other schools. This diverse group included: Joy Watt Elementary School Technology Coordinator Dori Friedman Middle School Technology Coordinator Pam Posey Upper School art teacher Kelly Castaneda Upper School Math Department Co-Chair Grace Hayek Upper School Science Department Co-Chair We were excited to study how design and engineering are taught in one of the most innovative places in the world. Our first stop was to learn about design thinking at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, better known as the We toured school facilities; spoke with educators and students; and witnessed how rapid prototyping, collaboration and creative thinking were built into the very space of the school itself. We also toured Stanford’s Product Realization Lab, a space for fabrication that includes tools for injection molding, metalworking and woodworking. When I asked Lab Director Craig Milroy how to best prepare students for work in engineering, his simple answer surprised me: “Confidence.” He stated that the most important thing for a student to have is the confidence to begin a project, knowing that they may fail, but holding onto their faith in its successful completion. During this journey, we also visited the Nueva School, known for its integrated design thinking approach; Lick-Wilmerding High School, home to magnificent fabrication and architecture programs; and Crystal Springs Upland School, which teaches high-level, advanced physics. Each visit conveyed a wealth of lessons for every member of our visiting team. While our journey was focused and intensive, our last evening was spent at the San Francisco Exploratorium, a hands-on science museum. The museum boasts exhibits that brilliantly convey complicated concepts in seconds—concepts that a college lecturer might take an hour to explain. These exhibits were inspiring examples of how powerful hands-on learning can be.

3 Developing Skills

After returning to Crossroads brimming with inspiration from our trip north, we began putting our ideas into practice. Our Upper School students, eager to engage in experiential projects, helped us explore these ideas in depth. A few of our juniors volunteered their time as “beta testers” of our proposed curriculum. Embodying the practice of rapid iteration, we tested some of our most ambitious plans. These projects included creating a clap-activated lamp; building a working speaker; practicing engineer sketching; disassembling a hair dryer; and constructing wind-powered, walking “Strandbeest” creatures inspired by artist Theo Jansen. The process of beta testing these projects brought to light the best methods for making learning experiences most relevant to all students. This beta testing also helped us build student excitement for the course and determine ways to challenge different learners through interesting projects. “I look forward to the freedom of creativity to solve any of the given tasks in Design & Engineering,” says senior Jackson Stogel, one of the beta testers. “The course accepts students of all experience levels, so while some students might come as absolute beginners, others of us can make our projects as challenging and creative as we want.” In order to home in on our design thinking skills, we brought Matt Manos of the global design firm Very Nice to share with us. Matt hosted an exceptional workshop on design thinking, drawing from his years of experience working in the industry. His lessons conveyed how important it is to define a problem, even if it involves reframing your viewpoint.

4 Looking Ahead

We have been pleased to see that the student response to this new course was even greater than we’d hoped. Due to high demand, the Upper School offers three sections of Design & Engineering to seniors in our new science facility, taught by me, Kelly Castaneda and Grace Hayek. This Upper School Design & Engineering curriculum builds on the already strong and growing Elementary and Middle School programs in innovation and making. Our Elementary School students inaugurated their new STEAM Lab last year with projects in robotics, making and fabrication. In the Middle School, students explore 3-D printing, work with “Minecraft,” learn programming and engage in hands-on science. This foundation of experiential learning in the other divisions will prepare students to go farther and higher as they move through their time at Crossroads. Now that the science building is open, we are thrilled to watch our students bring the Design & Engineering curriculum to life. We hope these programmatic enhancements will give our students the tools, knowledge and inspiration to follow their dreams, take on the challenges of the 21st century and make our world a better place.

From left: Jeff Guckert, Kelly Castaneda and Paul Way learn about electromagnetism projects at Crystal Springs Upland School.

14 crossroads school for arts & sciences



cross sections magazine  / winter 2016  15


Closing the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math.

Crossroads encourages all children to follow their passions and work to their fullest potential. Students are taught to think critically, question conventional wisdom and believe in their own capabilities. So it’s no surprise that our female students embrace the historically male-dominated subjects of science, technology, engineering and math with gusto. Recent alumna Caroline Spiegel, senior Alexa James-Cardenas and junior Emma Kirby are three such visionary students who are developing their skills in these highly important fields.

Caroline Spiegel What does it take for a robot to appear empathetic? In the summer of 2013, Caroline Spiegel ’15 set out to answer that question as a researcher in USC’s Human Robot Interaction Lab. She conducted a pilot study assessing how participants perceived an Aldebaran Nao robot programmed to tell a story. Her conclusion: Robots that demonstrate an understanding of people’s emotions appear empathetic, a key trait in socially assistive robots used in health care. “You want to create something that seems not necessarily human, but sentient,” Caroline explains. “Patients find it more comforting.” Caroline returned to USC the next summer, writing code to control the Nao’s expressions. She brought to this task both her technical savvy and her theater experience. In two

Caroline teaches local elementary school students about robot facial recognition programs.

productions last year, the Drama Conservatory alumna transformed herself into a scheming actress and a cheerfully menacing college administrator. “There’s no real scientific way to make a robot look sad,” she notes. “That gave me some artistic license, and my acting background definitely helped.” For Caroline’s senior project, she used the Nao as a teaching tool at local elementary schools (including Crossroads), giving circuitry workshops and demonstrating coding. Although she often reminded students that the robot was just a machine, some children inevitably related to it as a thinking, feeling entity, illustrating how well she had programmed it to appear alive. Now a freshman at Stanford, Caroline plans to continue studying robotics while also exploring other interests, including English, art, politics and music. She credits Crossroads for preparing her to succeed as a researcher at USC and now as a college student. “Crossroads has helped me feel confident, even in new situations where I’m still learning,” she explains. “There’s so much respect for the individuality of each student; we were allowed the freedom to figure out who we are. Opportunities for discovery were everywhere.”

16 crossroads school for arts & sciences

Alexa James-Cardenas “I love organic chemistry” is not a phrase one often hears, particularly from a high school student. But it’s just one of the many interests of senior Alexa James-Cardenas. In addition to her love of this notoriously difficult subject, Alexa can expound on a dizzying array of talents and pursuits, from advanced trigonometry (“I can just lose myself in a problem; it’s pretty cool”) to theater (“We do it for the audience”) to viola (“It took up a lot of my time, but now it’s more of a hobby”). Still, her heart belongs to science, an interest since childhood, when her mother would buy her crystal kits for her birthday. While she found organic chemistry to be challenging at times, she says the passion of her teacher, Miranda Guenther, made the course exhilarating. So too with

Design & Engineering teacher Paul Way measures a structure built by Alexa and her classmates.

Paul Way’s Computer Science course, where she learned to create code in order to replicate vintage video games. This year, Alexa is looking forward to developing a senior project that will feature both science and her newest passion: costume design. “I want to do a fantasy fashion show,” she says with unabashed excitement. “And I want to incorporate chemistry. I have this idea for a costume in the style of steampunk that generates actual steam. Another costume might use LED lighting. I want to find new ways of incorporating technology into costumes.” Alexa is currently enrolled in the Design & Engineering course and is thrilled to be learning in the new Science Education & Research Facility. “For a long time, Crossroads has been known for its arts programs, which are really good,” she says. “But the school is called ‘Arts and Sciences,’ so they’re trying to boost up that science portion. I’m really happy that we’re growing and expanding and giving students who love science opportunities that we didn’t really have before.”

Education is important. Science is important. And Crossroads is an important contributor to our city of Santa Monica.” Santa Monica Mayor Kevin McKeown, speaking at the Oct. 4, 2015 dedication ceremony for the Science Education & Research Facility.

cross sections magazine  / winter 2016  17

age of 4, she also counts dance and languages among her top interests. Emma is the president of the Crossroads Architecture, Design and Engineering Club, which joined forces with the Construction Club and other students to earn a prestigious Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams grant. The grant funds student-created technological solutions to real-world problems.

Emma Kirby Remember the name Emma Kirby. She may well join the ranks of Crossroads students who are revolutionizing the tech industry, such as Whisper co-founder Michael Heyward ’06 and Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel ’08 (brother of Caroline, also featured in this article). “I started getting interested in engineering around Middle School,” says Emma, a junior. “I’ve always been good at math; I like the challenge of building new things and working with computers.”

Easy Being Green: Crossroads earned a 2015 Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, recognizing our commitment and contribution to helping advance the development of the nation’s voluntary green power market.

In the summer of 2013, Emma attended iD Tech Camp at Stanford, where she conceived of a utility app that she is currently working to develop and put on the market. (Like any good entrepreneur, she’s reluctant to share the details of her invention.) This past summer, she spent four weeks interning at Snapchat, working with the production team to develop and create original content for the Snap Channel on the Discover platform. Now back at Crossroads, she is currently honing her engineering skills in courses including Computer Science and CAS Calculus. A classically trained ballet dancer since the

“We wanted to address a problem in our own community, so we chose the drought,” Emma explains. “We came up with the idea to digitize water meters so that workers don’t need be sent out to read them. The information could be sent digitally

to the water company and the user, to help them manage their water consumption.” Emma and her teammates will spend the next five months developing their invention and will travel to EurekaFest at MIT in June to share their prototype with other young inventors. She finds the prospect of inventing something beneficial to society exciting, noting, “I would love to use my skills to help people.” Emma and other members of the Architecture, Design and Engineering Club teach fourth-graders about construction.

18 crossroads school for arts & sciences


New Science Building Reinvigorates 21st Street Campus

cross sections magazine  / winter 2016  19

It was an ordinary Thursday afternoon on Crossroads’ 21st Street Campus, but something quite remarkable was happening on the second floor of the new Science Education & Research Facility. Curiosity abounded in the classroom named after the chemist Marie Curie as juniors in Miranda Guenther’s Crossroads Advanced Studies (CAS) Organic Chemistry class were engrossed in extracting caffeine from tea bags, using the concept of polarity that they had just learned.

Caffeine in its purest form is white, the students discovered, but their extracted matter would be slightly yellow due to the tea’s color. To harness the substance, the young scientists separated caffeine from water, isolated it into isopropanol (rubbing alcohol) and then evaporated it, leaving behind a solid crystal of caffeine. Nothing to it, right? “We boiled it a little too hot, so it’s kind of powdery now instead of crystallized. But that’s OK,” said 11th-grader Jake Praglin. “Once you make a mistake in your experiment, you write about it in the report, so you give the reader an idea of what went wrong and why,” added fellow 11th-grader Leo Yablans. “It’s kind of like self-evaluation. It’s a setback, but you learn to live with it.

Last year in regular chemistry, many mistakes were made.” Even with a few hiccups, these 16and 17-year-olds are excelling in the most advanced science class offered at the School—the equivalent of a sophomore college course in a notoriously difficult subject. Challenging, invigorating courses like these are now the norm in the 25,000-squarefoot facility that has housed the Middle and Upper School science programs since September.

“Now I’m open to the whole playbook of organic chemistry,” teacher Miranda reports. “I can do whatever labs I think can demonstrate the concept best, that would be the most fun, that would give students an experience to really help them connect the textbook with something they could actually see and do.” The addition of a fume hood room, equipped with safety devices that increase ventilation, has prompted Miranda to explore advanced

Q. What do estrogen, testosterone, caffeine and Monarch butterfly pheromone have in common? A. Their molecular structures are all depicted in the restroom tiles of the Science Education & Research Facility.

20 crossroads school for arts & sciences


experiments that require the use of this new amenity. One of her hopes for this school year is to have students create, isolate and purify sulfonamide, an antibiotic-like drug. Ideally, her CAS Organic Chemistry class would collaborate with the CAS Biology class to test the drug on bacterial plates. The Projects Pavilion walls are embedded with fossils, some of which students designed. Oldest embedded fossil: the tooth of a megalodon—the largest prehistoric shark—which dates from between 4 and 30 million years ago. Funniest embedded fossil: coprolite— otherwise known as dinosaur dung!

HANDS-ON LEARNING One floor below in Franklin, sixth-graders were digging into their geology unit in Morgan Bailey’s class. Using Play-Doh of varying hues and a baking soda-vinegar mixture, the students modeled constructive forces by recreating different years of a volcanic eruption. As the “lava” fizzed and overflowed onto their land, the students became enchanted with the mess it created. Mimicking the various lava flow patterns, the students covered each eruption with a different level of

“soil” and later mapped on computers the new land that was formed. This was a dynamic way of illuminating the science of stratigraphy, which examines the different layers of earth. “Even though they’re little and they’re beginning their science journey, I want them to find it fun,” Morgan says. “They need to be able to play so that as they get older, all those concepts make sense and they’re not hard.” Crossroads lifer Daiela Simon-Seay said she’s grown to love science, thanks to captivating experiments like this one. “You’re interacting with all this cool stuff,” she says. “It’s not boring, but you’re learning. I like how we do the experiments after we do the research. It helps me understand better.” To promote this kind of understanding for young learners, the facility itself was designed to inspire curiosity. By exploring different elements,

Time to Celebrate On Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, Crossroads held a special dedication ceremony for the Science Education & Research Facility, attended by members of the Crossroads community; Santa Monica Mayor Kevin McKeown and other representatives of the City of Santa Monica; as well as the designers and builders who helped create the 25,000square-foot facility. In his remarks, Head of School Bob Riddle noted that the vision and design of the building were a collaborative effort that included “dozens of students, alumni, teachers, artists, administrators, staff, trustees, donors and so many others. ... The end result is a building, a space, a teaching and learning center that is a true reflection of our mission, our ethos and our values.” Mayor McKeown also addressed the crowd, noting, “[The Science Education & Research Facility] is an asset for the city. ... We are proud, as you are proud.” The ceremony concluded with a K-12 choir honoring the more than 100 men and women on the project’s construction team with a performance of the song “Something to Point To” from the musical “Working.” The celebration was followed by the annual back-toschool Alley Party.

cross sections magazine  / winter 2016  21

students can study a host of scientific topics, including geomagnetism (compass rose), energy conservation (photovoltaic panels), photo synthesis (Mrs. Regalado’s Garden) and geologic time (fossil lines). Throughout the building and grounds exist other elements that

encourage engagement and exemplify the School’s commitment to both arts and sciences. Atop the pavilion rests a hyperbolic paraboloid sculpture by esteemed environmental artist Ned Kahn, while a human sundial invites visitors into the building’s expansive courtyard to use their bodies to tell time.

COMMUNITY INSPIRATION The project-based exploration that these students enjoy today was something that the architecture firm Frederick Fisher and Partners prioritized in the planning phase.

The science building contains 86 photovoltaic panels on its southand west-facing walls. (See photo, bottom right.) The panels transfer the sun’s energy into usable electricity, which is then delivered to the building’s electrical system to help power the building.

22 crossroads school for arts & sciences

Stella Totino ’15


Did You Know? Only Monarch butterflies born in late summer or early fall migrate the 3,000 miles from east of the Rocky Mountains to California and Mexico. These butterflies have a lifespan of six to eight months, so they’ll only make that roundtrip once.

“[Students] were constantly on our minds as we designed the building,” Frederick Fisher said during the building dedication ceremony. (See sidebar on page 20.) “It was something that Bob [Riddle] said very early in the project, which was a constant inspiration and direction: ‘We want to reinvent the way that science is taught.’” Because this building directly impacts the students, they were included every step of the way. Middle Schoolers lent a hand by testing out furniture in the Alley, Upper Schoolers helped shape the curriculum of the new Design & Engineering course and 11th-grader Annie Myron designed the compass rose engraved on the Projects Pavilion’s rooftop living laboratory. (See sidebar at right.) Even Elementary Schoolers got involved last year by designing some of the fossil lines—which include a megalodon tooth (from the largest prehistoric shark) that dates as far back as 30 million years ago—along the walls of the pavilion. “Our teacher Ashley [Garcia] took a picture of our fossil designs so we

Art Meets Science At the top of the Projects Pavilion is the open-air living laboratory for outdoor experimentation. Engraved in its center is a compass rose depicting the cardinal directions. Last year, Crossroads art students were invited to submit designs that represented the scientific principles behind the compass rose in an artistically compelling way. The winning entry came from Annie Myron, now a junior, whose design depicts a grid of the world with curved lines to represent the magnetic fields used to calculate magnetic north. “I used an image of the sun in the center to reflect how people used to use celestial bodies before compasses,” she explains. Annie researched the history of compass roses to tackle this interdisciplinary puzzle of “how to put the information into a design that worked and still looked like a piece of art.” After settling on a design, she used Adobe Illustrator to create the image; months later, she got to watch as it was stenciled and then sandblasted into the concrete. “It feels amazing,” she says of having her work on permanent display. “I’m so proud to be part of such a great project. And I can go visit my design whenever I want.”

cross sections magazine  / winter 2016  23

could remember them in five years,” says Emme Ross, now in third grade. “So when I visit the science building, I can be like, ‘Oh, that’s so cool! That’s mine!’ I think it’s pretty cool that my design will always be part of the building.”

ALUMNI ADVICE The architects also received valuable input from alumni in the fields of architecture and science. Jeff Nosanov is a former NASA project manager and three-time NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Fellow. He attended Crossroads for seventh through 10th grades and was eager to partake in the unique opportunity to brainstorm ideas for design features. “When I found out where they were going to build the building, I thought, ‘You can do all kinds of stuff there,’” he says. “You could learn about traffic waves by looking down at the [10] freeway, so there should be open windows. There’s lots of sunlight in Santa Monica.

The Science Education & Research Facility


Upper School science classrooms

There could be a roof garden.” Both ideas made in into the facility’s final design. As a Crossroads student, Joshua Friedman ’11 and two other students sat on the Architect Selection Committee. Like many students past and present, Joshua said it was paramount that the architects maintained the character of the Alley, as well as reflected the essence of the School. Joshua shares, “The most important aspect for me was making sure the architect really understood what Crossroads is all about: its commitment to developing students’ ability to think critically, creating a community that fosters an environment where each individual student can grow, giving back to the community and stewarding the environment.”

Hyperbolic paraboloid sculpture by Ned Kahn.


Middle School science classrooms


faculty prep rooms


student study area

Projects Pavilion


project rooms


outdoor living laboratory

The facility’s Monarch Butterfly Plaza is a feeding garden for adult Monarch butterflies. It includes a graph mapping the Monarch population as recorded in Mexico from 1993 to 2015, with a final, undesignated bar for students to continue to record butterfly activity. The rooftop habitat serves as a way station for migrating butterflies and contains more than 50 plants of six varieties to attract and nourish the Monarch through its larval and butterfly stages. Pamela Burton and Company designed the landscape architecture. The hyperbolic paraboloid sculpture atop the Projects Pavilion was commissioned from environmental artist Ned Kahn. The movement of the responsive metal flaps reveals the hidden interplay between wind and gravity and illuminates an often unrecognized natural phenomenon. The project’s designers worked diligently to make the building as green as possible. Sustainable elements include energy-generating photovoltaic panels embedded into the glass curtain wall; recycled denim insulation used throughout the building; an efficient mechanical system that can be shut down to provide natural ventilation; LED light fixtures and ample natural light; no interior hallways requiring light and ventilation; a stormwater filtration system; and energyefficient plumbing.

24 crossroads school for arts & sciences

Retiring employees

Over the last

Joan Ashworth-Ward

Jim Fraser

Robbie Trombetta

Joan taught first grade at Crossroads for 23 years. She possesses an uncanny ability to genuinely know her students, to understand who they are and, most importantly, how each of them learns. As a result, she created magic in her classroom, providing a safe and nurturing environment in which children could explore and play, grow and create, and ultimately become more confident in themselves as learners. She planted seeds that will grow throughout her students’ lives, providing a strong educational foundation that will continue to serve them well. Crossroads is grateful for all that she has so graciously shared with the School. She is looking forward to spending time with her son Sam Biederwell ’03 and her grandchildren.

Jim was a Middle School math teacher for 13 years. Teaching Middle School students is a special skill unto itself, and Jim committed his career to teaching mathematics with creativity and enthusiasm and an unmistakable love for both the subject and his students. His passion for the teaching profession and for Crossroads was apparent both in and out of the classroom. It has been our good fortune to have had him as part of our community and we are grateful for all that he gave to his students and to the School. Jim and his husband, Hans, are looking forward to many years of sharing their love of travel, music and tennis.

Robbie didn’t just teach music for 22 years—she embodied it. She was instrumental in working with teachers and students to build music into a class project or presentation. Her contributions to Gatherings, Monday morning meetings, Moving Up ceremonies, project weeks and class activities were invaluable, infusing the Elementary School with the joy of music. She also taught every grade level in the Elementary School and directed the Elementary Chorus, which grew to be the largest in the School’s history. Generations of students have benefited from Robbie’s passion for music and love of children. We are all better for having known her and appreciate all she has contributed throughout her time at Crossroads.

First-Grade Teacher

Middle School Math Teacher

two years, seven

Elementary School Music Teacher

beloved and talented educators have retired from Crossroads. Their combined experience, effort and expertise have left us a remarkable legacy, and we are a better school thanks to their individual and collective contributions. As we bid them a fond farewell, we also hope that they will remain a part of our community for years to come.

cross sections magazine  / winter 2016  25

Heidi Wong

Sara Elwood

Margie Macias

Jana Wiener

Hang Out Director

Fourth-Grade Teacher

Middle/Upper School P.E. Teacher and Coach

Middle School Science Teacher

Heidi was Crossroads’ Hang Out director for 25 years. At the end of the school day when many of our employees were leaving, Heidi was just beginning a whole program providing classes, activities, food and play for our students. She created an amazingly nimble program that could adapt to inevitable last-minute changes, and provided a safe, nurturing, caring and fun environment that made students actually excited to stay after school for several hours. She holds a special place in the hearts of the countless children who have passed through Hang Out. In her retirement, she looks forward to spending more time with her adult children, Alex ’95 and Andrea ’98, and her grandchildren.

Sara came to teaching later in life, and we have benefited from all of the life experiences that she brought to the classroom. She first served as a second-grade and then as a fourth-grade teacher, and introduced Junior Great Books to the Elementary School. Parents often remarked on her ability to see the uniqueness of each child and the extraordinary measures she took to nurture and support each of them. She was a trusted colleague, always open and available to lend an ear or a helping hand whenever asked. Sara will be remembered for her meticulous nature and attention to detail and how she touched so many hearts through her compassion and empathy.

It’s hard to imagine Crossroads without Margie. When she arrived in the early ’80s, the School was just 10 years old, with a young and fledgling athletic program, no PE spaces and a lot of growing pains. But Margie found a way to teach PE anywhere and everywhere, making the most out of what others might find overwhelmingly challenging. She also brought warmth, joy, a little mischief, a great sense of humor and a love of life to all of her interactions with fellow teachers. Margie has been a quiet, steady and constant source of support, always available to listen and to remind us that it’s not about winning, but about the journey.

For 16 years, Jana has shared with her colleagues and Middle School students her educational wisdom; her rich perspective on her incredible life; her infectious love of all things science; and her biting wit and keen observations. In addition to her years of dedicated teaching, we are grateful for the indelible mark Jana has left on the new Science Education & Research Facility. While she won’t have the opportunity to teach in it, her invaluable input during the programming phase of the project ensures that she remains forever a part of our campus. She is looking forward to this next chapter in her life as she devotes herself to her beloved grandchildren.

26 crossroads school for arts & sciences

honoring employees Year

20 E


Todd Baron For poet and Middle School Core teacher Todd Baron, inspiring students to make deep connections, observe more carefully and think more deeply makes his work truly meaningful. “Todd has the heart of a father, the mind of a philosopher and the soul of a poet,” says Josh Adler, also a Middle School Core teacher. “That makes a really phenomenal combination for being an incredible teacher and an amazing colleague.” Todd has had 10 volumes of poetry published, has edited and published in poetry journals and has written art criticism. His early career path was radically different. Born in Hollywood, Todd was a child actor for 12 years, appearing in movies, TV and voice-overs. Then the siren call of language took over. Todd studied English and American Literature at Immaculate Heart College and earned his master’s in poetics at New College in San Francisco. Back in LA, Todd found a job fit for a poet, teaching English and creative writing in Crossroads’ summer program. That morphed into substitute teaching at Crossroads, a role

pl e oye

Dianne Maydew as “poet in residence” at the Upper School and, soon after, his current Core position. Middle School Core teacher Tracey Porter calls Todd “a truly progressive educator.” She recalls him developing an idea to work with the Los Angeles Conservancy to take students through landmark buildings in downtown LA’s historic center. “He’s inspired a new generation of conservationists,” she says. Todd, whose daughter, Sophie, is a 10th-grader at Crossroads, has taught at the college level, but he prefers the eloquence and inquisitive nature of Crossroads kids. “Todd treats students as though they have boundless intellectual capability,” says Middle School Director Morgan Schwartz. “They love that respect and intellectual stimulation.”

Kindergarten teacher Dianne Maydew has been called “the child whisperer,” a nickname inspired by her natural rapport with her young charges. “When kids get dysregulated, as kids sometimes do, Dianne keeps her calm and is able to help them recalibrate,” says Elementary School Assistant Director Cat Ramos. “She is a wonderful, calming influence on all of us.” Armed with an innate understanding, Dianne can “find the gold in every child,” notes second-grade teacher Ashley Garcia. “Dianne loves the hardest of hard kids. She never gives up on them.” Her students— whether still in kindergarten or now in high school—love her in return. “They’ll scream her name: ‘Dianne!’ I mean, it’s hard not to love her,” adds Ashley. Dianne enjoys nurturing students as young children and

watching them leave the School as young adults. A generous colleague and embracer of new ideas, she’s always willing to put in extra time to get a job done right. Her first position at Crossroads was as an assistant art teacher. She subsequently has served as a mini-camp program coordinator and leader, yearbook coordinator, tutor and assistant teacher in the third and fourth grades. Beyond finding a career at Crossroads, Dianne found love. She and physical education teacher Daryl Roper have been partners since 2001. “She anticipates needs. She’s always a step ahead of the kids,” says Daryl. “She’s generally one step ahead of me—more like five steps ahead,” he admits with a smile. Dianne has seen her stepdaughters, Bree’An Roper ’07 and senior Lauren Roper, grow up at Crossroads. She used to take Lauren to school in the morning. Now it’s Lauren who picks Dianne up at the end of another day of child whispering.

20 Years

* This section honors employees whose 20- and 30-year anniversaries occurred in 2015.

cross sections magazine  / winter 2016  27

Mery Grace Castelo Mery Grace Castelo started her Crossroads career two decades ago as a dance teacher. She was performing with a classical Persian dance company whose artistic director taught at Crossroads. She recommended Mery Grace for a part-time position teaching Upper School ballet and jazz. Mery Grace loved it from the first day, and wound up teaching community service, as well. In 2000, she started taking on various administrative roles at Crossroads. Although reluctant to give up teaching, she proved herself a superb organizer and gradually segued into project management, eventually taking on the role of constituent relations manager. In this capacity, she serves as the School liaison to the Crossroads Parent Association and organizes major events including the annual spring fundraiser and the Alley Party. Adored by parents and colleagues alike, she juggles countless moving

parts and people, all with a sense of tact and aplomb. “Mery Grace is the most aptly named person I have ever known,” says Kathy O’Brien, campaign communications and prospect research manager. “She carries herself with the grace of a dancer and conducts herself with grace through a variety of delicate, sometimes difficult situations. Fortunately, this near-perfection is balanced out by her utterly wicked sense of humor.” What helps Mery Grace to multitask so well? A strong dose of dedication to the School, coupled with “an incredible amount of personal and professional balance,” says Director of Capital Giving Corinne Schulman. “Working with Mery Grace is a pleasure— she has a lot of integrity. She’s been an inspiration to me.” Events Coordinator Veronica Ulloa works closely with Mery Grace and admires both her vast knowledge and Zen outlook. “She’s amazing,” says Veronica. “She’s calm, she’s collected. And she’s got the right answer for any question that comes up.”

Barbara Bennett Barbara Bennett—or “B.B.,” as she’s sometimes known—is a natural with numbers. But her accounting talent did not initially reveal itself when she joined Crossroads 20 years ago. Her first job was as a security guard, helping to keep the campus safe and fluid. She then became a summer receptionist at the Elementary School and, thanks to her natural warmth and organizational skills, was soon hired as a full-time receptionist, splitting her days between both campuses. When her skill with numbers became evident, Barbara was hired as the bookstore purchasing and payroll liaison and then accounts payable liaison before landing her current position as an accounting specialist. In her early days in the Business Office, online bookstore sales didn’t exist. Barbara had to manage all of the physical books each student needed, “and she knew every student’s face and name,” recalls Director of Finance and Operations Barbara Whitney. “She always brought a great sense of equa-

20 Years

nimity to everything, plus a wonderful sense of humor.” Accounts Payable Specialist Sharon Aubert had to step in occasionally when Barbara wasn’t available for bookstore duties. “When the kids would see Barbara wasn’t there, they’d say, ‘Oh no, where’s Barbara? We miss her; when is she coming back?’” Sharon laughs. “Students love her. And she loves her kids, too.” Within the often-hectic Business Office, “Barbara is someone you can rely on to do her job and do it well,” says Accounting Manager Cheryl Martir. “She’s also one of the calmest people I’ve ever worked with.” Barbara balances that poise with exacting diligence. Among other tasks, she ensures that all tuition payments are received, posted and deposited. And she still takes care of the textbook requirements of teachers and students—only now she doesn’t have to do the heavy lifting.

28 crossroads school for arts & sciences

honoring employees

20 Year


Ricka Glucksman As a Middle School dance teacher and choreographer, Ricka Glucksman subscribes to a philosophy of collaboration, to keep students thinking and in the present. The results can be purely magical. Visit her dance studio and you will experience pulsing music and the exuberant movements of young dancers. Attend a performance and you will see that energy focused into choreography that is both technically impressive and emotionally resonant. A positive, energetic risktaker and idea generator, Ricka started at Crossroads as an after-school dance teacher. Within two years, she joined the faculty as a part-time dance instructor. She cares deeply for all her students, keeping an eye out for those who stand in the back of the room, who may be shy or insecure. Her goal: to teach both self-expression and confidence through dance.

Lorraine Christensen “She really wants kids to be autonomous and free and to learn to love their bodies and respect themselves,” says Middle School Assistant Director Michelle Merson. Ricka began her dance, choreography and teaching career while a student at UCLA. She has choreographed professional Equity productions, musical theater and commercials. She brings that experience to everything she does at Crossroads, including choreographing and dancing in the annual faculty/ staff Halloween flash mob. She also choreographs numbers for the Cabaret spring fundraiser. “I’ve never seen faculty move like that!” says Middle School Academic Dean David Stewart of the latest performance. “It was amazing to watch.” One of Ricka’s proudest achievements is her annual Dance and Dialogue series. The community outreach program brings together middle school students from across the city for a day of dance workshops and life skills courses. It’s grown from 80 to an anticipated 400 students in just three years, helping them explore how dance can be a means to empower themselves and give back to their communities.

Two decades ago, Lorraine Christensen heard about an opening for a Classical Languages Department chair at a progressive school in Santa Monica, which offered Latin and Ancient Greek. She signed on wholeheartedly. “Lorraine is a superb scholar,” says Upper School World Languages Chair Jamie Meyer, her colleague from day one. “If I ever have questions about literature, grammar or syntax, Lorraine will generously answer them. I often find myself telling the students, ‘We should ask Lorraine, she will know.’” A passionate teacher, Lorraine cares about both academic rigor and the success of each individual student, addressing different learning styles in her teaching. She supports her students outside the classroom by attending their plays, athletic games and other activities. And she makes a point of praising the work of her colleagues, too.

She’s been department chair twice—call it “dux exemplo” (leader by example)—bringing energy and enthusiasm to staff meetings. Before Greek was phased out at the School, Lorraine created the Crossroads Greek Anthology, and she takes her enthusiasm to the broader community, regularly supervising classical languages events. At one time, Lorraine balanced the roles of scholar and leader with ultimate soccer mom. Her kids, Erin ’03 and Chris ’05, were both players, and Lorraine served on the Friends of Athletics Committee for years. “That’s the cheerleader in her, rooting on her kids,” says Middle School Latin teacher Marisa Alimento. “She’s always giving 100 percent.” Lorraine also possesses “a wonderful, quirky sense of humor,” says Jamie. For Halloween, she often dresses in costumes that have a mythological or ancient culture theme or concept, which she turns into another learning opportunity for her students. After all, as she might tell her class, “scientia est potentia”— knowledge is power.


20 E




Cosmic Latte The woman will be sighing all night, blowing softly on her cosmic latte. She keeps discarded stars in a bin to the right and unused planets on the left. Her sculpting tools are lain haphazardly on a side table, unused and collecting dust. She removes her apron. The Earth was her masterpiece. What a disappointment. Leila Barnes , ninth grade

Jupiter@Jupiter 17 Apr 2015 @Saturn I would totally be there! Gas Planet Convention 2015! #reunion #jovianagain Can I bring my homies? @Io @Europa @Gamede @other64moons

Raegan Mitchell , first grade

cross sections magazine  / winter 2015  29

30 crossroads school for arts & sciences

honoring employees

30 Years

LARRY SHEFFIELD Often the first person students see in the morning and the last person they see at the end of the day, Security Officer Larry Sheffield is one of the most beloved figures at Crossroads. When alumni return to campus, they often seek him out. Known for his warm greetings, mile-wide grins and friendly hugs, Larry’s the type of person who can transform a day from gloomy to bright for anyone who encounters him. “I just felt immediately like we were family,” says Elementary School Technology Coordinator Joy Watt of her first meeting with Larry a decade ago. “He just has that very caring quality in everything he does and says.” Larry came to Crossroads in the summer of 1985 as a crossing guard at 20th and Olympic. When he began doing evening and weekend security patrols for the School, he had the bright

LILIAN MEJIA idea to eschew the traditional foot patrol and instead ride his bike, which allowed him to cover more ground in less time. This move may have revolutionized the School’s security team: Today, the entire security force makes rounds via bike. Larry’s friendly, open nature are all the more commendable in light of his past. Larry grew up in segregated Alabama, an experience he talked about on film several years ago. Students who watch Larry’s candid and thoughtful take on this dark time in American history cultivate a more personal understanding of prejudice and injustice. Over three decades, Larry has been a dependable and reassuring presence on campus, taking care of the students he affectionately refers to as his “babies.” “Larry loves protecting everyone,” says Middle School Director Morgan Schwartz. “He takes it so seriously. He doesn’t seem intense, but he’s got your back.”

Lilian Mejia began working as a custodian at the Elementary School six months after emigrating from her native El Salvador. At the time, the School was just a small collection of rooms rented out from Saint Augustine by-the-Sea Episcopal Church. Lilian has watched the Elementary School grow over the last 30 years and has grown with it, a steadfast and loyal caretaker for what is now the Norton Campus. The staff members who work with her and students who encounter her are charmed by Lilian’s gentle humor and grace. Her special sparkle was evident early on: Former Elementary School Director Mimi Baer offered her the job on the spot the day Lilian came in for her interview. “Lilian is meticulous, she is full of good humor, she is mischievous and naughty,

and she is there for each and every person,” notes Elementary School Director Joanie Martin. “She has been the wind under everyone’s wings, helping all of us look better than we usually look because she takes such good care of us.” The custodial staff at Crossroads is like a family. They greet each other with warm hugs, check in on each other and support each other in their duties. Like her colleagues, Lilian takes exceptional pride in her work. She is responsible for cleaning the Elementary School offices, downstairs classrooms and the employee lounge, and enjoys knowing that teachers and students will start their day in a fresh, clean building. Although Joanie has been at Crossroads for nearly three decades herself, she remains in awe of Lilian’s stamina, stating, “I can’t believe it’s been that long, because she has the same energy she had 30 years ago when she first came to the School.”

cross sections magazine  / winter 2016  31

30 Years

Scott Weintraub Wild. Wonderful. Intelligent. Inventive. Joyous. Loud. These are the words Elementary School Director Joanie Martin uses to describe K-12 Drama Teacher Scott Weintraub’s approach to his work. Now in his 30th year at Crossroads, Scott is one of the rare teachers who works in all three divisions, helping students of all ages go beyond their expectations and find selfexpression. In return, says Joanie, “The kids adore him.” “Scott’s teaching and directing style are as unique as he is,” says former Crossroads theater teacher Ginny Russell. “Scott is so passionate about theater, about children, and about imparting his love of story and music and dance to children.” “The children’s first experience of Shakespeare is so wonderful,” says Joanie of the ambitious productions Scott directs every year. “They bring their own creativity to their roles. It is so wonderfully collaborative, but filled with the circus that is Scott Weintraub.” That circus includes a wicked sense of humor, skyhigh energy and seemingly boundless imagination. Scott has performed, directed and/

MARCOS BUSTOS or written for every Crossroads Cabaret since 1985. As a teacher in all three divisions, Scott has directed more than 70 student productions. He has emceed, sung and performed at Alley parties, school fundraisers and Elementary School Halloween Parades. For 10 years beginning in 1994, Scott took a Crossroads musical theater production on tour across the Southland, performing at senior centers, hospitals, camps for the blind and Camp Ronald McDonald. Students performed songs from such shows as “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” “The Sound of Music,” “Once Upon a Mattress” and “Bye Bye Birdie.” Crossroads has become a family affair; his son, Michael, graduated in ’04, and his granddaughter, Sydney, is a second-grader. After 30 years, Scott “never ceases to amaze or surprise or delight,” says Ginny. “He’s just an enchanting, magical person.”

Custodian Assistant Supervisor Marcos Bustos began his career at Crossroads as painter in what was supposed to be simply a summer job. He was such a talented and efficient worker that he was hired to join Crossroads part time. Thirty years later, he continues to be a friendly and familiar face on campus. Marcos has worked a variety of jobs at Crossroads—especially in the early years, when employees did a little bit of everything. Marcos was entrusted with diverse responsibilities including event setup, carpentry and serving as a crossing guard and custodian. Today he is the full-time custodian assistant supervisor and has formed deep bonds with his colleagues in the Facilities Department. “He prides himself in his work,” says Maintenance Engineer John Koonz. “Everybody loves him. He’s just the greatest guy to be around.” Marcos’ can-do spirit is recognized and appreciated by his supervisors, as well. “He will literally do anything we ask

30 Years

him to do. ‘No problem,’ that’s what he says,” shares Director of Facilities Gayle Taylor of Marcos’ willingness to tackle new assignments. Marcos is also a hero on campus. In a story that has become Crossroads legend, one night in the ’90s, a teacher left a futon over a heating vent in the Cadena building. Marcos noticed smoke coming from the building and sprang into action. When he was unable to put out the fire himself, he called the fire department, saving the Crossroads landmark. His affable nature also makes Marcos a natural to train new employees. He is uniquely equipped to share three decades’ worth of experience with new hires, conveyed with his signature warmth. Marcos is valued at Crossroads as much for his kindness and camaraderie as he is for his dedicated service.

32 crossroads school for arts & sciences

honoring employees

30 Years

MARK GOVATOS We all have that one teacher. The one we find ourselves still thinking about years after graduation, the one who inspired and influenced our lives in ways that extend far beyond the classroom. For many Crossroads alumni, Mark Govatos is that teacher. With his trademark quiet focus, Mark made Upper School math accessible to students who may not otherwise have grasped or enjoyed the subject. Mark spent 16 years as a fulltime math teacher and served as department chair for 10. He went on to take on more leadership roles, including Upper School technology coordinator and senior database administrator, ultimately landing in his current position as director of technology for the entire School. Assistant Head of School and Dean of Faculty Jeff Guckert credits Mark with transforming this crucial department.

FIDEL RAMIREZ When Jeff arrived at Crossroads six years ago, the School’s approach to technology was due for an update. “Mark has bolstered our infrastructure to such a point that now the conversation is about how we can most effectively use it in the classroom and in administration,” Jeff says. Another colleague, Upper School math teacher Barbara Kahn, says what sets Mark apart is “his strong leadership.” When she reflects on his tenure in the math department, she recalls the way Mark made work a joyful place. “He was a phenomenal chair,” she recalls. “During the 10 years he held his position, he built a cohesive team of excellent math teachers who were both friends and colleagues. We shared ideas, worked hard and laughed a lot.” When he’s not working, Mark can be found performing in Cabaret, practicing his skills as a singer and guitarist and cheering on his beloved Philadelphia Eagles.

Fidel Ramirez is largely responsible for the beautiful grounds and inviting atmosphere of the Elementary School Campus. As a landscaper, he takes exceptional care of the trees and flowers that beautify the School; as a carpool facilitator in the mornings, he cheerfully greets parents and keeps the flow of traffic moving. Because of his dedication, students and families feel welcome the moment they step onto campus. Fidel began his career at Crossroads three decades ago working in the Facilities Department on the 21st Street Campus, moving furniture and helping with setup for events. When he started taking care of the Cadena garden in 2000, everyone realized that this charming man had not only a heart of gold, but a very green thumb. That’s when Fidel moved to the Norton Campus and took over the landscaping responsibilities while continuing to provide event support.

30 Years

Fidel, who spends only a few weeks with his family in Mexico each year, spends the rest of his time working hard to make their lives better. While away from his family, he treats the students he encounters the same way he would treat his own loved ones. “Maybe in one child he sees his grandson,” notes Maintenance Engineer Rafael Caceres. “Perhaps in another boy he sees his son. I have seen him sharing photos like a proud father, feeling that he’s still part of everything he has in Mexico and sharing it with us.” Proud is a word that describes not only the way Fidel feels about his own family and the students at Crossroads, but also the grounds he so carefully tends. Fidel can nearly always be found outside, taking care of the grass, shrubs and flowers so that our youngest students have a lovely, inspiring place to learn.

cross sections magazine  / winter 2016  33


30 E


pl e oye

ROSARIO NOYOLA For a custodian, keeping a clean house (or a clean campus) is only part of the job. Beyond cleanliness, it’s always appreciated when someone is kind, friendly, helpful and willing to go above and beyond to get the job done. Rosario Noyola, a custodian at Crossroads for the last 30 years, embodies all of this and more. “Rosario, for me, is a diamond,” says Middle School Administrative Assistant Elva Ephriam. “Her personality when she comes to work every day is always cheerful and happy to see us all. When she arrives, I’m on my way out. But always, without fail, we get together to see how we’re both doing.” Rosario began working at Crossroads a year after emigrating from Mexico. Her sister Maria Luisa joined her in the U.S.—and at Crossroads—soon after. Although their lives are inextricably intertwined, don’t

MARIA LUISA LEON-RODRIGUEZ expect any sibling rivalry between them. These sisters are supportive, not competitive, assisting each other in both their professional and personal lives. In typical big-sister fashion, Rosario is more extroverted and authoritative. As a senior member of the custodial crew, she can be counted on to speak up for colleagues when something is needed. At the same time, she is incredibly giving of her own time and talents. “If someone needs something, she always says, ‘Yes! Of course! I will do it now,’” shares Elva. Rosario’s helpful— and often playful—attitude makes her an invaluable asset to the School. Maria Luisa is not the only member of Rosario’s family that she has brought into the Crossroads community. Rosario’s granddaughter Laura Vasquez-Noyola graduated from the School in 2010 and went on to attend Whittier College.

You know an employee is loyal when she’s still working the very first job she ever had 30 years later. For the past three decades, custodian Maria Luisa LeonRodriguez (who also goes by Luisa) has worked side by side with her best friend, housemate and big sister, Rosario Noyola. In fact, it was Rosario—already a Crossroads employee—who trained Luisa when she was first hired. The two are inseparable fixtures on campus. “I don’t know how to look at one without seeing the other,” admits Middle School Administrative Assistant Elva Ephriam. Maria Luisa is a diligent worker who takes pride in keeping the classrooms and offices sparkling. In many ways, the Crossroads community has become a second family. Maintenance Engineer Rafa Caceres appreciates how the sisters treat him almost like a little brother. They’re protective of him and affectionately address him with the diminutive “Rafita.”

Although Maria Luisa and Rosario share the same raven hair and twinkling eyes, Luisa is known around campus as the quieter, shier sister. “Maria Luisa’s a little bit introverted,” says former Crossroads Headmaster Roger Weaver, who has known the sisters for decades. “She is somebody whom you discover in layers.” Yet when Maria Luisa is with Rosario, her vibrant warmth is on full display. While making the cleaning rounds together on the 21st Street Campus, the sisters enjoy reminiscing about their childhoods in Mexico, giggling at inside jokes and singing along to Spanish-language radio. Ask either sister who is a better singer and they’ll agree: Maria Luisa. Her love of music echoes her love of life: She is a joyful, gracious person who arrives at work happy every day and shares that happiness with everyone she encounters.

34 crossroads school for arts & sciences


Welcome Our New Dean of Alumni, Tom Nolan In July, 2015, Tom Nolan took on the newly created role of dean of alumni. Tom was previously the Upper School assistant director since 2009 and dean of student life since 1994. He Tom Nolan

has worked with roughly 2,500 alumni who have graduated over those years, in addition to the 506 currently enrolled Upper School students. Over his nearly 30-year career at Crossroads, Tom has developed a deep bond with our alumni and alumni families.

addition, Tom will continue to teach Life Skills in the Upper School so that he can remain engaged with our students before they join our alumni community. The next time you’re on campus, stop by the Alumni Office to visit Tom and welcome him to his new role!

Upper School Dean of Curricular Life Jeff Ranes ’95 now also serves as the assistant director of the Upper School.

In his new position within the Alumni Office, Tom will support programs, activities and communications that deepen the School’s relations with alumni and parents of alumni, and promote volunteerism and other areas of support. In

Two alumni have taken over Tom’s previous administrative duties: Anthony Locke ’01, who had been the Middle School community service director and taught Life Skills in both Middle and Upper School, was appointed dean of student life.

Anthony Locke

Jack Black Event Kicks Off Alumni Speaker Series More than 100 alumni convened in the Crossroads Theater on Nov. 18, 2015 for a special evening with one of their own. Actor-musician Jack Black ’87 reminisced fondly and amusingly on his days at Crossroads during the School’s first Alumni Speaker Series, moderated by Brett Morgen ’87. Jack recounted how he honed his love for heavy metal and musical theater at Crossroads, benefitting from the community and the direction of Davida Wills Hurwin and his mentor, Scott Weintraub. Created by Stephen Leeds ’88 and Delphine Robertson ’88, the next Alumni Speaker Series is scheduled for the spring.

Jeff Ranes

Crossroads Celebrates Documentary by Brett Morgen In May 2015, we celebrated the HBO documentary written and directed by Brett Morgen ’87, “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck.” Other members of our Crossroads family also contributed to the making of the film, including producer Danielle Renfrew Behrens ’90, co-director of photography Nicole Hirsch-Whitaker ’85 and title designer Andy Goldman ’87. We screened the film at Soho House West Hollywood for 50 alumni and guests. After the screening, former Crossroads film teacher Jim Hosney moderated a Q&A with Brett. Thanks to Brett, Jim and everyone who attended for a memorable night! Brett Morgen, left, and Jim Hosney.

Jack Black, left, and Brett Morgen.

Share your Success Please consider sharing your successes, accomplishments and life events with us. Donate your book, film or Crossroads archival materials to the School or submit a class note online. For details, go to

Saturn@Saturn 17 Apr 2015 If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it! Mine are dust, rock and ice from my 62 moons. Love ya @Titan @Dione @Cassini #comet

cross sections magazine  / winter 2016  35

Alumni on Campus Whether it’s to speak to a class, visit with faculty, attend an event or just stroll down the Alley, we love having alumni back on campus. Here are some of the familiar faces we saw around campus in 2015:

1. Caleb Waugh ’03 visited Tom Laichas’ class via Skype from Mitrovica, a town in Kosovo, where he has worked for the past three years as a project manager for the nongovernmental organization Aktiv. 2. A lden Ehrenreich ’08 spoke to Billy Robertson’s video production class in May to discuss his career acting in feature films.




3. In March, Betsy Rosenfeld ’93 stopped to snap a picture with security officer and 30-year staff member Larry Sheffield on her way to Crossroads’ first Day of Service. Betsy participated in a panel which also included Travon Muhammad ’91 and Adam Slutske ’93. 4. Danielle Stokdyk ’89 and Anya Colloff ’89 spent an afternoon in January guest-teaching Davida Wills Hurwin’s theater class to talk about auditions and casting.



5. A handful of alumni in the sciences returned in February to help us judge our Middle School science fair. The judges ended their day with a tour of the science building construction site. The alumni judges (pictured with Head of School Bob Riddle at right) were Phil Abramowitz ’87, Charles Haspel ’86, Danny Cosgrove ’87, Trevor Bezdek ’95, Michael Laiken ’95 and Bobby Fardin ’92. 6. Clay Thompson ’10 dropped of a signed Babolat racket to auction off at the 2015 spring fundraiser, Casino Royale. 7. E mily Greenberg ’13 popped by the Alumni Office over her spring break before visiting some of her favorite Crossroads teachers. 8. In June, we caught up with Nick Santhiago ’14, who visited campus to see the Class of 2015 graduate.





9. In April, Amanda Werner ’06 and Paige Port ’05 took a walk down the Alley and reconnected with counselor Leslie King and teacher Carole Winter. 10. A ndrew De Niese ’99 paid a visit to Bob Riddle and took a tour of campus in June. 11. In July, Roberto Cisneros ’98 dropped by campus and reconnected with Leslie King.




12. Tom Resnick ’79 and his son Haden took a tour of campus over the summer while visiting from Las Vegas. 13. Zack Sekoff ’14 caught up with Tom Nolan over the summer.



14. G abe Aviera ’14, Christa Elder ’14, Owen Thiele ’14 and Lilla Brody ’14—plus Cooper Halpern ’13, Livy Porter ’14, Robbie Rogers ’14, Myles Stephens ’13, DaMonique Ballou ’13 and Elena Yu ’12—returned during their winter breaks to take part in an alumni college panel to share with our seniors what they’d learned about life after Crossroads.

36 crossroads school for arts & sciences


Regional Alumni Receptions

Boston Alumni Reception



On Feb. 25, 2015, we made our way to Boston, where more than 40 alumni, current grandparents and faculty joined us for an alumni reception. The evening was hosted by Board of Trustees member Tom Werner and daughter Amanda Werner ’06. A highlight was Roberto Cisneros ’98 presenting the faculty with an American flag to show his appreciation for the support he received during his tour of duty in Afghanistan. To view more pictures from the event, check out the album on our alumni Facebook page. It was so great to reunite with our Boston-area alumni. 1. Bob Riddle, Roberto Cisneros ’98 and Tom Nolan 2. Steve Wise, Amanda Werner ’06 and Trustee Tom Werner


3. Reception photo

New York City Alumni Reception On Oct. 7, 2015, alumni ranging from the classes of 1985 to 2015, as well as current and former faculty, dropped by Berg’n in Brooklyn for a Crossroads Alumni Reception. 1. Reception photo


2. Jeff Guckert, Joey Donenfeld ’10, Tom Nolan and Allison Lee ’11 3. Zack Sekoff ’14, Kelly Kagan Law ’92, Owen Thiele ’14, Jeff Guckert, Tom Nolan, Jim Hosney, Bob Riddle, Jason Hill ’97, Lily Rains ’97, Nicky Kram Rosen ’87 and Yfat Reiss Gendell ’89



Upcoming Events For more information or to register for any of our upcoming events, visit or contact us at 01/06 Young Alumni Lunch

01/08 Sports Extravaganza

01/09 Alumni Soccer vs. Brentwood

02/25 San Francisco Alumni Reception

cross sections magazine  / winter 2016  37

Top 5 Reasons to Participate in Alumni Giving in 2015-16

5. 4. 3. 2. 1.

Bridging the gap. Tuition alone does not cover the full cost of educating a student at Crossroads. The gap between tuition and the actual cost of educating one student for a year is approximately $4,500.

Alumni Online Community

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

Investing in people. Every gift counts when attracting and retaining the most talented faculty. Your gift will help us continue to provide salaries in the 90th percentile for our outstanding teachers.

Lending a hand. One in four students at Crossroads depends on need-based financial aid each year. Thanks to gifts from alumni and the community, last year we were able to award $7 million dollars in financial aid.

Join the club. Join the 1971 Club and make a meaningful contribution to Crossroads to honor its 44-year legacy. An Annual Fund gift of $1,971 or more will have a tangible impact on the well-being of the School and our students.

Every gift makes a difference! Making a gift of $10 or $10,000 is a demonstration of the impact Crossroads had, or continues to have, on your life. It’s also a meaningful way to honor all of the special faculty who made your experience at Crossroads what it was, and represents a vote of confidence in our School today.

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

› Update your contact information. › Access the Alumni Directory.

Crossroads School Alumni Group on Facebook More than 2,000 group members

› Post, view, like or comment on recent or upcoming events.

› View alumni event photos.

Crossroads School Alumni Network on LinkedIn Please join your classmates in supporting Crossroads by making a gift to the Annual Fund today at We sincerely thank you for your support.

› Look for or post a job or an internship.

› Find Crossroads alumni in your industry.

› Connect or collaborate with

someone in another industry.

The 1971 Club Want to make a meaningful contribution to Crossroads? Consider a gift of $1,971 or more to commemorate the year of Crossroads’ founding. These gifts ensure that our current students—and generations to come—will benefit from the same unique and inspiring programs that our alumni experienced during their time at Crossroads.

Crossroads School Alumni on Twitter @xrdsalumni

38 crossroads school for arts & sciences


Class of 1985 and 1995 Reunion Night On May 2, 2015, the classes of 1985 and 1995, along with some of their former teachers, reunited in the Alley for their 30- and 20-year reunions. We are especially grateful to the reunion committees for making the evening so special. 1985: Wendy Reinis Glickman, Tamar Gertler Kane and Jill Barnet Taylor. 1995: Zerline Hughes, Michael Laiken, Max Liszt and Yasmeen Yamini-Benjamin.



’85 3

>>> 1. Tim Wood, Wendy Reinis Glickman, Tamar Gertler Kane, Jill Taylor, Cheryl Marks (guest), Anthony Marks and Michael Lewis 2. Leslie-Anne Copes-Finke and Lara Stalmaster Beebower 3. Roger Glickman 4. Matthew Kane (guest) and Tamar Gertler Kane 5. Class photo 6. Melissa Clark and Tim Wood



7. P aul Cummins, Scott Weintraub, Tina Turbeville and Bob Riddle 8. W endy Reinis Glickman, Tamar Gertler Kane and Jill Taylor 9. Brent Forrester and Nicole Hirsch-Whitaker




10. Matt Sklamberg and Jordan Halverson 11. Wendy Reinis Glickman and Teri Redman 12. Michael Lewis, Mitch Brody and David Berger





cross sections magazine  / winter 2016  39







7 >>>


9 1�

1. Davida Wills Hurwin, Michael Laiken, Jenny Zipkin, Ronen Zipkin (guest) and Jamie Salka 2. Ilana Crispi and Arleen Weinstock 3. Donkokko Burnaby and Yasmeen Yamini-Benjamin 4. Michael Laiken, Michael Sommers, Tom Nolan and Brigette Laiken (guest) 5. Caroline Crittenden and Roy Danovitch 6. Class photo 7. E si Evans and Zerline Hughes 8. Vicky Moya Muhammad and Max Liszt 9. Jenna Frost, Esi Evans, Nick Cloke and Geo Rodriguez 10. Melissa Jacobson and Shira Oretzky


40 crossroads school for arts & sciences


Class of 2005 Reunion Night On Oct. 24, 2015, the Class of 2005 returned to the Alley for its 10-year reunion. Thanks to Beryl Liebowitz for helping to coordinate and to all of the alumni and faculty who joined us for this special night.




>>> 1. Max Diamond and Davida Wills Hurwin 2. Kortney Rubottom, Jessica Fishel, Heather Rally, Cami Starkman, Yael Danovitch and Kiley Wong 3. Class photo 4. Carole Winter, Kirill Taranouchtchenko and Steven Ojo



5. Tom Nolan, Laura Quicksilver, Casidy Boesch and Andrew Rogier 6. Bob gives the Class of 2005 a tour of the science building. 7. Henry Connelly and Jamie Meyer 8. Morgan Schwartz, Joshua Diamond and Frank Baele




9. Hya Young and Beryl Liebowitz 10. Max Reisman and Norm Nixon 11. Marisa Alimento and Saxon Bryce





cross sections magazine  / winter 2016  41

class Notes

Crossroads alumni follow their passions into a multitude of different fields. Within these class notes you’ll find profiles of seven alumni who represent the rich and varied paths that our students take after graduation. Class of 1976

Daniel Kleinman, Haverford College, bachelor’s degree; University of Wisconsin, master’s degree, Ph.D. Daniel writes: “I remember my parents saying, ‘Time goes by so fast.’ Now, at 55, I get it. My daughter, Flora Berklein, graduated Haverford College and is starting her adult life. My wife, Susan Bernstein, and I miss having her around but are able to do things we couldn’t otherwise. Susan taught in London last spring. I traveled to Beijing to discuss the future of higher education with Chinese colleagues. Susan and I still teach at the University of Wisconsin.” Class of 1983

Sally Patrone Brajevich, Columbia University, bachelor’s degree in political science; Loyola Marymount, J.D., writes: “I have decided to give up my bid for president to spend more time with my family.” Gary Spivack, University of Colorado, bachelor’s degree in journalism, is the co-executive producer of Rock on the Range,

>> Charles Haspel ’86 & Josh Namm ’86 For Josh Namm and Charles Haspel, their enduring friendship began when they sat next to each other on orientation day in ninth grade. That friendship has led to their latest entrepreneurial collaboration, a new social media platform: It was 1982 when Charles Haspel and Josh Namm became fast friends, even though Charles focused on science and math while Josh concentrated on visual arts and history, with a particular interest in painting. “We’re like the two sides of Crossroads,” says Charles. Both had gone through a series of schools before finding Crossroads. Josh recalls founder Paul Cummins talking to him about comics like Doonesbury and Peanuts. “He really listened to me, more than any previous teacher,” says Josh. Charles appreciated the School’s combination of “academic challenge and real heart.” At every opportunity, the pair hung out during breaks and lunch in the Alley. After Crossroads, Charles earned his bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Brown University, designed Mac

which he writes is “the number one rock/ hard rock festival in North America.” Class of 1984

Kelly Askew, Yale University, bachelor’s degree in anthropology and music; Harvard University, Ph.D. in anthropology, writes: “My award-winning documentary ‘The Chairman and the Lions’ ( has been selected for 11 international film festivals. ‘Poetry in Motion: 100 Years of Zanzibar’s Nadi Ikhwan

Charles Haspel, left, and Josh Namm.

software and apps and is now chief technology officer at Portner Medical Corp. He and his wife, Katie, have three young children, Lauren, Caroline and Will. Josh graduated from USC with a bachelor’s in political science, studied graphic design and went on to earn an MBA. He worked as a graphic designer and political consultant and was the director of marketing for the Jewish Federation of San Diego County. Through it all, they remained friends, often emailing news items about politics, a joint passion. One day, Josh said he wished there were a single website where they could post articles that they and the public could access. Charles agreed, and two years ago, they launched Moptwo, which the duo calls “social media with substance.” Moptwo (a name inspired by one of Josh’s childhood dogs) invites users to “publish your world” while organizing and sharing articles from the Internet (a la Facebook) in various categories with an indefinite shelf life. Currently, it’s home to 18,000-plus articles, which have garnered more than 4 million views—all without a staff or a marketing budget. Moptwo is one of the first social media platforms specifically designed to share articles; the site has grown enough that Josh and Charles can now search for investors. The two partners, who hold twice-daily conference calls, remain grateful for the holistic education they received at Crossroads. “Not only is Crossroads where we met,” says Josh, “it’s where we learned to set the bar high.”

42 crossroads school for arts & sciences

class Notes

Safaa,’ debuted at the Pan African Film Festival and will screen at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art. I direct the African Studies Center at U. Michigan, mentor students, teach and work on research projects. I love my life as an anthropologist/

>> Abbie Schiller ’90

ethnomusicologist and thank Crossroads for setting me on my path.” Karen Goldenberg Horowitz, Sarah Lawrence College, bachelor’s degree in music and language; Cal State University, Northridge, bilingual credential; Cal State University, Dominguez Hills, master’s degree in education and curriculum, writes: “I am working as a principal of an elementary school in Inglewood. My three girls have grown up so fast. My eldest is 21, and my twins are 17. Thanks to Facebook, I have had fun seeing old friends from Crossroads.” Jill Ruby-Wahba, Carnegie Mellon University, bachelor’s degree in graphic design; Loyola Marymount University, master’s degree in marital and family therapy, and specialization in art therapy, writes: “I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist, specializing in clinical art therapy. I work with children, teens, adults and couples at my private practice in Torrance, California.” Class of 1985

Melissa Clark, Emerson College, B.F.A in professional writing; UC Davis, master’s degree in English and creative writing, writes: “My third novel, ‘Bear Witness,’ is a young adult novel about the aftermath of a kidnapping, published in April 2015.” Lucia Choi Dalton, Occidental College, bachelor’s degree in music, writes: “I was recently appointed to be a member of USC’s new Kaufman School of Dance’s Board of Advisors. The school’s exciting curriculum and its world-class dance faculty have

Abbie Schiller loved the “human side of learning” at Crossroads. “I was especially excited about having the chance to question everything,” she says. Abbie, who is a Crossroads lifer— she attended Saint Augustine Elementary before it became Crossroads— also appreciated how difference was “embraced, not teased.” So it’s no wonder she went on to become founder and CEO of The Mother Company, which upends conventional entertainment for kids with a mission to help parents “raise good people.” The company’s children’s videos, books, music and parent resource site (themotherco. com) have won kudos from parenting and media organizations. Its multiplatform focus crystallizes several of Abbie’s interests. She graduated from Wheaton College with a bachelor’s in anthropology, then spent 18 months exploring various career options. She interned on the White House communications staff, co-wrote a screenplay and worked in a test kitchen developing recipes for Martha Stewart. Her varied skills won her a post with a PR company specializing in luxury brands, which led to being vice president of global PR for Kiehl’s skin care. But after she and husband Marc had their first child, Abbie lost interest in living out of a suitcase. Back in Los Angeles, eager for more media experience, she became vice president of media relations for ABC Daytime.

She was already formulating her big idea: independent programming that addresses children’s emotional literacy and social development. Armed with a business plan and a script for “Ruby’s Studio: The Feelings Show,” she joined forces with Crossroads classmate and filmmaker Samantha Kurtzman-Counter ’90, now president of The Mother Company. Today, they have produced four shows—following “The Feelings Show” with offerings on safety, siblings and friendship—along with 10 children’s books. The shows will air on PBS starting in January and can be seen on iTunes and Amazon as well. Abbie and Marc have since had son Charlie, who is 5. Daughter Ona is a sixth-grader at Crossroads. Abbie says the School’s “eclectic creativity” helped feed her own. A wearer of many hats, she wrote the music for the series and has been able to hear kids all over sing her songs, something she calls “an insanely wonderful experience.”

cross sections magazine  / winter 2016  43

already created a buzz. May we see some Crossroads alumni in the future?” kaufman. Class of 1986

Jennifer Fruehling Davis, University of the

>> Khaim Morton ’91

Pacific, bachelor’s degree in liberal studies; Pacific Oaks College, teaching credential, K-8, writes: “I have recently moved back to Issaquah, Washington, after living in London for the past two years with my family.” Class of 1987

Nicky Kram Rosen, Mount Holyoke College, bachelor’s degree in history/chemistry; Bank Street College, master’s degree in education; Touro College, master’s degree in school district administration, writes: “For over 20 years I’ve lived in NYC and served as a civil servant and educator with the NYC Department of Education. Daughter Bella is in ninth grade at LaGuardia High School. I am grateful and most fortunate for my partner, Leo Haviland. And just like our graduation song posited, I have found ‘you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find you get what you need.’” Class of 1988

Caleb Goddard, Georgetown University, bachelor’s degree in American government; London School of Economics, master’s degree in international political economy, writes: “I moved from TV news production to diplomacy in 2012. My first post was in Guinea (West Africa) during the Ebola epidemic. I’m headed to Bangkok next. Until then, I was in D.C. for most of 2015. How about having the next East Coast reunion in D.C.?” Heather Murdock, UC Santa Cruz, bachelor’s degree in biology; San Francisco State University, master’s degree in ecology and semantics, writes: “I love living in San Fran-

To Khaim Morton, being a chief of staff in the California Legislature is a lot like being a point guard in basketball. “You have to understand teamwork and be able to get everyone involved in the play you need to run,” he says. Khaim, who works alongside Assemblyman Sebastian RidleyThomas, 54th District, played both junior varsity and varsity ball at Crossroads. “We brought a passion to the game that spurred me on,” he says of his teams and coaches like Daryl Roper. Many of his teammates have become lifelong friends. Khaim joined Crossroads in the ninth grade, when his civic-minded parents learned about the School through the Independent School Alliance for Minority Affairs. “I liked the overall vibe—the weird style of it— right away,” he says.

He discovered he enjoyed history, exploring why something happened and how it affected people. He first attended Wesleyan University, but a family illness brought him back to the West Coast. At California State University, Los Angeles, he majored in political science and got involved in local politics. After graduation, he received a call asking him to join the LA mayoral campaign of James Hahn. “Everything started to align for me then,” says Khaim. “I was in the right place.” When Hahn won the election, Khaim became mayoral aide. He then served as field deputy for LA City Council President Alex Padilla; when Padilla became a state senator, Khaim signed on as his legislative consultant. Khaim also worked as senior assistant to Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer before joining RidleyThomas, first as legislative director and, as of October 2014, chief of staff. Many of the lessons he learned at Crossroads, on and off the court, have stuck with him, particularly this: “Never give up on people. Dig deeper and ask them to challenge themselves.” It’s a guiding principal for him as a father to his teenage sons Jelani and Sharif, and in the Legislature. Even on frustrating days, he relishes what he’s doing. “You’re out there, fighting the good fight, doing something that will mean something to people’s futures,” says Khaim. “That feels good.”

44 crossroads school for arts & sciences

class Notes

cisco with my husband and two daughters, teaching biology at SFSU, playing coed soccer and dancing. I also lead international biodiversity, cultural and conservation tours

>> Jennifer Caloyeras ’93

through EF College Study Tours during the summers. We’ve visited Costa Rica, Belize, New Zealand and Australia so far. If you have

Jennifer Caloyeras didn’t set out to be a novelist. Having come from a family of writers, she actually avoided it. Instead, after entering Crossroads in seventh grade, Jennifer got involved in musical theater, chorus and dance, and toured with the 21st Street Singers. Her previous school was the antithesis of Crossroads, with “uniforms, rote memorization, extreme competition, a lack of artistic expression,” she recalls. “At Crossroads, I felt as though I’d come home. I could breathe.” After graduation, she worked as a camp counselor, then assistant director at a farm camp while earning a bachelor’s in English from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She then earned a master’s in English literature from California State University, Los Angeles, going on to teach fifth grade and, later, collegelevel English. She recorded two CDs of her own songs and performed in indie clubs.

But something kept nagging at her. “Crossroads made me feel anything is possible. It taught me the power of creativity.” So, after the birth of her first son in 2005, she decided to see who she was as a writer. While pursuing an MFA in creative writing through the University of British Columbia, she became intrigued with the young adult (YA) genre, pulled in by “an inherent immediacy and intensity to those years: first love, identity-searching, redefined authority, emotional seesawing.” Her first YA novel, “Urban Falcon,” was published by Diversion Press in 2009. Her second, “Strays,” published by Ashland Creek Press in 2015, tells the story of a girl with anger management issues who gets sentenced to a summer rehabilitating aggressive dogs. The character of a compassionate teacher is an amalgam of several instructors that Jennifer had while at Crossroads. Jennifer, who has published short stories and written a collection of short fiction for adults, credits Crossroads with another turning point: Her husband, Basil Caloyeras ’93, was a classmate. Their sons now attend Crossroads, as well: Phoenix is a first-grader and Peter is a fourth-grader. When Jennifer’s not volunteering on campus, she’s busy embracing her writing life. Jennifer will serve as the writer in residence at the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica for six weeks beginning in January.

college-age kids or want to go on one of my tours yourself, let me know. Email me at for more info or just to say hi.” Delphine Robertson, UC Santa Cruz, bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology, writes: “My daughter started kindergarten at Crossroads in the fall! Happy to be back in town and to be reconnected with my alma mater.” Michelle Roland, Texas A&M University, bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics, writes: “Living a fabulous life on the island of Lana’i, Hawaii, and working as the director of retail for the Four Seasons Resorts Manele Bay and the Lodge at Koele.” Natasha Gregson Wagner, Emerson College, art history; USC, writes: “I have been an actress for the last two decades. Three years ago I had my daughter Clover and am now a full-time mom and stepmom.” Class of 1990

Gregg Sultan, Brandeis University, bachelor’s degree in history; Loyola Marymount University, J.D., writes: “On March 29, 2015, we welcomed our daughter Annabelle Sultan.” Class of 1992

Laura Geffner Marriott, University of Oregon, bachelor’s degree in psychology; Tufts University, certification in nutrition, writes: “I shut down my real estate company in 2012, ended a very successful and stressful career and moved with my family to Maui.”

cross sections magazine  / winter 2016  45

Ama Marston, UC Santa Cruz, bachelor’s degree in environmental studies; Columbia University, master’s degree in international affairs, writes: “I am living in London, running my own consulting business and writing a book. I just got my U.K. permanent residence

>> Marisol LeÓn ’03

but am trying to stay connected to Crossroads friends and home. Get in touch!” Class of 1994

Esther Lee, Manhattan School of Music, bachelor’s degree in music and master’s degree in operatic performance, writes: “I have been named the new director of admissions at Village Community School, NYC.” Class of 1996

Rebecca Grenell writes: “Hello, everyone! I’ve opened a new LACAUSA shop in Silver Lake at the Sunset Junction. Would love to see some of your faces if you’re in the neighborhood. Perhaps we can have a fun Crossroads event/show there in the future. LACAUSA is a clothing line that I started with Lily Harfouche ’95 in 2012.” Sarah Korda, UC Santa Cruz, bachelor’s degree in women’s studies and theater arts; California Institute of Integral Studies, master’s degree in drama therapy, counseling and psychology, writes: “Moved into a new private practice office in San Francisco’s Castro district. My stepdaughter, Dakota, is looking at colleges (I feel very old) and my daughter, Cleo, turned 2.” Margo Stern, Reed College, bachelor’s degree in Russian literature and language, writes: “Hello from San Francisco! I’m currently working at Twitter, living in nearby Hayes Valley with my husband and two cats, and would love to hear from you. Seriously! Let’s get a drink up here!”

Fueled by an intense passion for social justice, Marisol León used to write stories for Crossroads’ student newspaper, Crossfire, on issues of race, economic equality and global health. She also advocated for a nonEurocentric perspective in the School’s history curriculum. Later, as the paper’s editor-in-chief, she continued to diversify its coverage. “I felt I was coming from a different world, and I could offer that point of view,” says Marisol, now deputy attorney general with the California Department of Justice Civil Rights Enforcement Section. Marisol arrived at Crossroads in the ninth grade through A Better Chance, a nonprofit that refers academically talented low-income students of color to private middle and high schools nationwide. Marisol remains grateful for the financial aid she received from Crossroads, which helped make her enrollment possible. “All kids are entitled to an education that will hone their critical thinking skills so they can engage with the world in a meaningful way,” she says. Initially planning a journalism career, Marisol earned her bachelor’s from Yale, double majoring in ethnicity, race and migration and Latin American studies. While in Brazil to research social movements, she had an epiphany: She wanted to teach. After spending a year in Chiapas,

Mexico, as a community energy and climate change organizer, she received a teaching credential and master’s in urban education at Loyola Marymount University. She taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District, but was a casualty of layoffs. Then an unexpected position opened up—at Crossroads. She returned in 2009 as an English teacher and newspaper adviser. “It was a teacher’s dream,” she recalls, “a gift on so many levels.” She based her curriculum in part on her own conversations as a Crossroads student. Then, after two years, she decided to seek a bigger stage on which to change lives for the better. In 2014, Marisol earned her law degree at the University of California, Berkeley, and joined the Attorney General’s Honors Program, where she is immersed in such hot-button issues as anti-human trafficking, police misconduct and immigration fraud. “The mission and values of Crossroads inform my work and relationships even now,” she says.

46 crossroads school for arts & sciences

class Notes

Class of 2000

Julia Cherlow, Stanford University, bachelor’s degree in American studies, Stanford University, J.D., writes: “In 2015, I married the love of my life, Matthew B. Wells. Had it not been for Julie Rubenstein ’00 and Rachel

Jordan Passman ’04

Brook ’00, I never would have met Matt. Thanks, guys! We love you.”

“17 Young Innovators Shaking Up the Music Industry.” After joining Crossroads in seventh grade (“A natural fit for me,” he

Class of 2001

Lauren Fonda, NYU, bachelor’s degree in journalism, writes: “After 14 years in New York City, I have moved back to Los Angeles to open the West Coast office of BeccaPR, a media relations firm specializing in hospitality, lifestyle and design.” Peter Marks, Pomona College, bachelor’s degree in psychology; University of Minnesota, master’s degree in child psychology, writes: “I’m working as a professor in north Texas, living with my wife and 1-year-old daughter.” Heather Mercer, University of Arizona, bachelor’s degree in family studies and human development; USC 2016 master’s candidate in social work, writes: “2015 came with a lot of changes. I enrolled in USC to pursue my master’s in social work, my husband accepted a new position which moved our family to Spokane, Washington, and we welcomed our second baby last summer.” Chloe S. Peterson, Sarah Lawrence College, bachelor’s degree; London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, master’s degree, writes: “I got married in September of 2014 to my love, Jeremy. It’s been 12 years of adventure together and it felt wonderful to make it official! We took a belated honeymoon to Iceland, Italy and France in September 2015. I currently work as a Pilates instructor at

For Jordan Passman, “standing around in circles, socializing in the Alley” at Crossroads nurtured a skill set instrumental in his success as an entrepreneur. . “School is like a small city. When you’re navigating that world, you’re learning how to network, whether you realize it or not,” says Jordan, who founded SCORE A SCORE in 2009 at the age of 22. The marketplace connects music composers with clients searching for the perfect soundtrack for multiple platforms, from film, TV and advertising to Web, video games, apps and podcasts. Two years after launching SCORE A SCORE, Jordan was named among the “best young entrepreneurs under 25” by Bloomberg Businessweek. In 2014, Forbes included him in “30 Under 30” brightest stars for music, alongside Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. In 2015, he made it into Rolling Stone’s

recalls), Jordan learned teamwork playing volleyball and accumulated “lasting memories of laughter and growth” in Life Skills. He majored in sociology at Pitzer College, then moved to New York City. His goal was to become a talent agent for film composers, but the agency he joined only represented writers and actors, and so he gave his two weeks’ notice after just two weeks. Unsure of his next step, he volunteered for the Obama presidential campaign, which honed his coldcalling skills. While in New York, “stressing out about my life,” he saw a need for a one-stop music platform. “I’ve always loved to connect people,” he says. Suddenly, his talent for networking and his passion for music came together. In five years, SCORE A SCORE has expanded in revenue, office space, employees and services. In addition to custom and original music, it now offers sound design, voice-overs, music supervision and clearance. “I love that my clients are more and more comfortable collaborating with an artist who lives on the other side of the world,” Jordan says. Clearly, it’s working: Recent SCORE A SCORE clients include Netflix, Google, Nintendo, Subaru, Verizon, Microsoft and many more.

cross sections magazine  / winter 2016  47

Pilates Place on Montana Ave. and I’ve still got

frequently and would love to see Crossroads

putational social science, writes: “I’m research-

the acting bug. Come by the studio and say hi.”

people on either coast. Hope everyone is well.”

ing intersections of agent-based simulation and

Class of 2002

Class of 2004

and games. I write for a defense publication and

Mir Harris, UC San Diego, bachelor’s degree

Riley J. Gibbs, USC, bachelor’s degree in math-

two government technology publications. I’ve

in political science, writes: “Since my reunion, I

ematics; Bard College, master’s degree in edu-

participated and spoken on war, technology and

transitioned from A&R to associate director of

cation, writes: “After completing my fellowship

strategy in discussions held by U.S. and foreign

urban talent at ASCAP for the West Coast. If

with Math for America in New York and New

command and staff colleges, government

you’re ever on Sunset, come say hi!”

Haven, I moved back to LA with my then-

technology organizations and public policy think

fiancee (now wife). I have changed careers to

tanks. In my rare free time, I watch Japanese

modeling, artificial intelligence, military strategy

Class of 2003

work at a social media ad tech startup in Culver

Claire Mittleman, UC Berkeley, bachelor’s

anime, repost photos of cats from Reddit and

City. I still play D&D every week with some of

hack the UNIX command line to automate said

degree in English literature; UC Irvine, master’s

my best friends from Crossroads.”

cat picture-reposting.”

degree in English literature, writes: “As Claire Alys, I released my EP ‘Creature’ in August. It

Class of 2005

Class of 2013

was truly a Crossroads alumni effort. Produced

Micah Levin, Emerson College, bachelor’s

Cherokee Washington, Whitman College,

by Ian Sloane ’06 and recorded at Shadow

degree in media, writes: “My short film ‘Grow’

2017 bachelor’s degree candidate in psychol-

Canyon Recording, run by Terrance Goldberg

had its world premiere at the 2015 Tribeca Film

ogy, race and ethnic studies, writes: “In spring

’06, the EP also features Chris Nordlinger ’04

Festival in New York City and was nominated

2015, I transferred from Wingate University to

on guitar. Multimedia support was provided by

for Best Narrative Short Film. I currently run

Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington.

James Larson ’09 and Michael Larson ’06 at

a creative content studio in Culver City called

I’ve been appointed the Black Student Union

MMM studio, run by Micah Levin ’05. Photog-

MMM with fellow alumni Michael Larson ’06,

president for 2015-16 and was selected as

raphy credits include Nikko La Mere ’07 and JP

James Larson ’09 and Ian Sloane ’06.”

a co-student intern leader for the Whitman

Bleibtreu ’03. Find ‘Creature’ on iTunes, Spotify and”

Teaches the Movement program, a partnership Class of 2006

Adam Elkus, Occidental College, bachelor’s

between the college, the Southern Poverty Law Center and Walla Walla public schools. I will

Tanya Paperny, Columbia University, master’s

degree in diplomacy and world affairs; George-

train Whitman students in civil rights issues and

degree in writing and literary translation; Uni-

town University, School of Foreign Service,

social justice, preparing them to teach lessons

versity of California, Santa Barbara, bachelor’s

master’s degree in security studies; George

in local public schools in February.”

degree in women’s studies, writes: “I complet-

Mason University, 2017 Ph.D. candidate in com-

ed graduate school for nonfiction writing and literary translation at Columbia University in 2011. I’m now living in Washington, D.C., with a cute black-and-white dog. I’m working as a writer, editor, translator and writing coach. My Post, Washington City Paper, Pacific Standard and elsewhere.” James Unger, Georgetown University, bachelor’s degree in government, writes: “After graduating from law school in the Bay, spending the summer in Austin and then traveling through Europe, I’ve settled in New York. I’m back in LA

Claire Sures, seventh grade

recent work has appeared in the Washington

48 crossroads school for arts & sciences

P.S. Science is a yearlong, hands-on, in-the-school-day science program created and funded by the Crossroads Community Outreach Foundation. Since 2006, the P.S. Science program has worked with clasroom teachers to bring memorable, engaging science lessons to children living at or below the poverty line in Title I schools in the local area. Your partnership with P.S. Science can make a profound difference in the lives of underserved children. Donations to P.S. Science provide critical funding for the program, enriching the lives of more than 700 young students in local public schools. To donate or learn more, visit

“P.S. Science instilled a love of science in me. I’m a member of the Women in Math and Science Club at my high school and take an after-school rocketry class. … P.S. Science is hands-on; you get to actually do the experiments, figure out what’s going on and why it’s going on. I loved that about the program.” -Phoebe, former P.S. Science student

Annie Myron, 11th grade Compass rose engraved in the center of the living laboratory atop the new science building’s Projects Pavilion. The two arrows indicate magnetic north’s gradual shift from 1971, the year of Crossroads’ founding, to 2015, when its Science Education & Research Facility opened.

Nonprofit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Santa Monica, CA Permit No. 351

1714 21st St. Santa Monica, CA 90404

Spencer Flores , 11th grade

Change Service Requested

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.