Cross Sections (Summer 2022)

Page 1

More than 230 students presented at the Middle School Family Science Night in April.

French-American artist and activist Niki de Saint Phalle, to the powerful 50th anniversary alumni and faculty art exhibit this spring, showcasing the depth of the visual arts program through generations of talented Crossroads artists. The new Center for the Performing Arts, breaking ground in the upcoming school year, will offer thrilling new opportunities in innovation and performance both to our own students and to the greater community.

Finally, our Athletics program continues to excel, with more students than ever participating in team and individual sports. While we were deeply saddened by the loss of former Athletics Director Chuck Ice in May, we know that his 32-year legacy will live on through the dedication and camaraderie of the more than 40 teams we now field in grades five through 12.

Our 50th anniversary year gave us ample opportunity to celebrate the many accomplishments of our School and to honor the visionaries who conceived and shepherded Crossroads in its early years. Reflecting on our remarkable history makes clear how the School’s unwavering adherence to our founding commitments—echoed

throughout the pages of this magazine—will continue to move us “50 years forward” for decades to come.

As Crossroads begins its next halfcentury with Mariama Richards at the helm, I feel confident that our School will continue to grow and thrive while remaining true to our founding commitments. I’m looking forward to seeing how those commitments are realized under Mariama’s leadership.

So how do I feel? Above all, I feel tremendously excited for the future of Crossroads School and deeply grateful to this community, past and present, for all that you have done for me and for our School.

Bob in 1989, when he was the academic dean for grades nine and 10

Inside This Issue







Story: Bob Riddle Retires

Story: Cheers to 50 Years

Story: Get to Know


is published once a year by the Crossroads Advancement Office:

Sara Ring , Editor, Director of Communications & Community Engagement

Jessi McDonald, Communications Manager

Colleen Bartlett , Director of Advancement Ginette Buffone, Web Manager

Mery Grace Castelo, Director of Parent Relations & Special Events

Jennifer Gerber ’97, Director of Alumni Relations

Rachael Golding , Alumni Relations Associate

Carly House, Director of Development

Jennifer Manley, Communications Assistant

Carlos Ortiz-Ramos, Advancement & Prospect Operations Associate

Kristina Reyes, Major Gifts & Donor Relations Associate

Sanam Khamneipur Smith, Leadership Annual Giving Officer

Veronica Ulloa , Advancement Events Coordinator

Sonoma Van Brunt-Leyhe, 50th Anniversary Coordinator

Emily Wolff, Archivist

Paul Howiler, Sara Ojediran, Allison Schaub, Advancement Services

Contributing Writers

Elena Bonomo, Joanie Martin


Warren Group | Studio Deluxe

Contributing Photographers

Chris Flynn, Elijah Hurwitz, Janeen Jackson, Marena Lin, Andres Lerner, Jennifer Manley, CheyMillz, Farol Seretean, Farah Sosa, Richard Stark


Photograph by David Hume Kennerly Turn the page to read more!

Contact us at

02 About the
04 Around the
22 Strategic
Update 27 Donor
28 Parent
30 Trustee
32 Cover
42 Feature
44 Feature
Mariama Richards 47 Honoring Employees 52 Retiring Employees 56 Alumni News 65 Class Notes 71 In Memoriam


It’s become a tradition that every departing head of Crossroads receives something of an “official portrait.” In keeping with the School’s eclectic aesthetic and embrace of diversity in all its forms, every portrait has been created by a different artist, each with its own distinct look and feel.

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Hume Kennerly P’16 P’13 was generous enough to photograph Bob in June for his official portrait. On hand to assist and document the shoot were photography students and rising seniors Arden and Farol Seretean.

Bob’s portrait now hangs alongside those of his predecessors in the newly named Roger Weaver Administration Building on the 21st Street Campus.

Learn more about David’s remarkable career at


David Hume Kennerly’s Pulitzer-winning portfolio includes photographs of the wars in Vietnam, Cambodia and East Pakistan, as well as “The Fight of the Century” between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in New York City.

David served as President Gerald R. Ford’s personal White House photographer and has documented history in over 100 countries. His work has been exhibited widely, and he maintains a busy publishing, appearance and lecture schedule.

From left: Farol, David, Bob and Arden


Elementary Schoolers Express Themselves Through Art

On the bridge that connects the two wings of the Elementary School building, an array of mosaic-like paper mobiles of fanciful creatures hung from the rafters. A winged lion with a dragon’s tail, a one-eyed flying cat, a hamburger-dog and more creations by fourth and fifth graders twirled overhead. Nearby, poster-sized tarot cards by second and third graders decorated the wall. Each pencil-and-watercolor work conveyed an adjective or emotion, from ecstatic

and calm to glorious and stressed. Elsewhere on the Norton Campus, bejeweled cardboard maquettes served as inspiration for the clay sculptures of kindergartners and first graders.

Students produced these imaginative works after learning about the art of French-American sculptor, painter and activist Niki de Saint Phalle, one of this year’s “signpost” artists who serve as inspiration for students’ work in all grade levels.


Past signpost artists have included such innovative and accessible creators as Noah Purifoy, Alexander Calder, Yayoi Kusama and Betye Saar.

“We picked Niki de Saint Phalle partly because of the formal art qualities that her work displays—bright colors, exuberant shapes, funny and charming creatures,” explained K-5 Art Specialist Susan Arena. “Her work is so joyful and expresses such an emotional openness. The work that the children made echoes the way Niki’s work is simple yet psychologically profound at the same time.”

As Susan and co-teacher Elyse Jung-Vrymoed ’06 anticipated, de Saint Phalle’s work resonated with the students. Fourth grader Kohl Pennings noted, “It inspired me that all of her work was based on creativity, not actual, real-life things.”

And the students embraced the opportunity to express their emotions and interests.

“I did a demon because I was feeling upset that day because my dog had been snowed in in Chicago,” remembered fellow fourth grader Kaleo Litvin.

Their classmate Jacob Zeidenfeld shared, “I did snakes, mostly because I like snakes. I think they are kind of cute, and also I think they are misunderstood. I drew one that looks very creepy on the outside but inside is very soft, so it’s like a home.”

Reflecting on what she loves about art class, first grader Sachi Machida added, “We get to explore. We get to be happy. We get messy. And it’s really fun!”

SACHIMACHIDA, first grade
DMITRIHOLINER, fifth grade

Second Graders Celebrate Holi

Smiles abounded at the Santa Monica Beach as second graders in 2 South and their parents celebrated Holi, the Hindu festival of spring. The holiday, which took place this year on March 18, is most known for crowds of people dancing amid plumes of colorful powder.

Students Aarya Raghuvanshi, Amara Patel and Aneri Patel inspired the celebratory field trip when they shared the story of Holi with their teacher, Peter Del Giudice. “Holi is not all about throwing colored powder, but also about time, love, food and the people we play with,” explained Aarya.

Peter realized a Holi celebration would be perfect for his class. “The more experiences we have, the more empathy we have,” he noted. Peter reached out to Aarya’s mother, Gunjan Mahendra; Amara’s mother, Asha Goud; and Aneri’s mother, Chitavan Patel. They jumped at the chance to organize the event.

As Chitavan remarked, “Holi is a celebration that invites everyone to participate, regardless of religion or cultural background.”

On the day of the festival, armed with bags of powder they had made themselves,


the students met up with their parents at the beach, rushed to the four corners of a taped-off area and flung handfuls of powder at each other. Clouds of pink, green, blue and yellow billowed around them as children and parents alike shrieked with joy. Before long, everyone was covered in splotches of brilliant color.

Second grade parent Begoña Amaya (who also has children in fifth and ninth grades) had never experienced Holi. She marveled, “Seeing [everyone] smiling ear to ear, no mask, and listening to them laughing was so special. I feel so blessed to be part of this community.”

The day culminated with a delicious snack of samosas and chutney, and a dessert of gulab jamun—a sticky, syrupy

ball of dough that symbolizes wishes for a sweet new season.

“That moment on the sand truly felt like a celebration of love and inclusion,” reflected Chitavan.

Peter concurred: “It was one of the best teaching days of my life. It really is what Crossroads is all about.”

KOHNER, 12th grade


Middle School Family Science Night

It’s been two years since the Alley was filled with young scientists and their families. But the Middle School Family Science Night returned in April with a “big bang,” featuring over 230 students presenting! It was a rich and raucous evening of excited explorers sharing a multitude of projects. Middle School Science Coordinator and teacher Leanne DeCraene said, “We established Family Science Night to really create a student-driven, interactive, hands-on event that could be shared and enjoyed by all.”

A common theme was the environment, which was investigated in many creative ways. Donning lab coats, seventh graders Scarlet Grayson and Eleanor Samuel displayed their own toxinfree nail polish, giving each visitor a custom color to take home. Sixth graders Wynter Medford and Van Moczydlowsky demonstrated how corporations are getting eco-friendly and displayed a Nike running shoe fabricated out of repurposed materials, complete with a reusable bag folded neatly into the tongue of the shoe. There were also

delightful dioramas depicting scenes from the Arctic and the subarctic forests known as taigas.

Eighth graders Jett Laiken and Blake Roberts’ project, “Purity in Every Sip,” focused on water-purification technology. As Jett explained, “We really care about having access to clean water around the world. We found P&G packets, which inspired us to showcase the science behind this amazing tool.” They raised $100 by selling candy at their table, which they donated to

Seventh graders Dino Steinberg and Luka Nuo developed an eco-friendly soap using water, caustic soda and olive oil.

Many tables displayed boiling and bubbling concoctions, including a Mentos-powered rocket by eighth graders Dash Kemper, Felix Ortiz and Eamon Shiflett, and drinks that billowed smoke by their classmates Sage Rawles and Sophie Choi.

All in all, it was a hugely successful evening. The parents and guardians were thrilled to be back on campus and to see their children’s hard work in action. As Leanne noted, “The entire Science Department was proud of all of the students and incredibly happy with the event!”

Seventh graders Eleanor Samuel and Scarlet Grayson displayed their toxin-free nail polish.



Middle Schoolers Make a Difference

In 1971, when few schools encouraged students to look beyond the four walls of their classrooms, Crossroads’ founders identified serving the greater community as one of the School’s five core commitments. Now, 50 years later, Crossroads students across all three divisions continue to engage in acts of service. The Middle School service learning project is just one path for students to take action on issues they care about.

“I hope students understand that simple actions can help transform the world, and everyone has the capacity to effect change,” said then-Middle School

Core Teacher and Service Learning Coordinator Josh Adler, who introduced the program during grade-level town halls in the fall.

While Josh encouraged the students to pursue their passions, he also provided each grade with suggested areas of focus, from performing acts of kindness in sixth grade, to standing up for indigenous peoples in seventh grade, to applying the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals on the local level in the eighth grade. Completed projects included volunteer work, awarenessraising campaigns, fundraisers and peaceful protests.

Eighth graders Arya Fakki, Emily Stutsman, Jordyn Shaer and Austin Goldstein volunteered with Westside Food Bank to distribute food in Virginia Avenue Park. Seventh grader Harper Gabor collected items to donate to schools in a small town in Mexico.

“I do a lot of scuba diving, and I can really see how trash is affecting everything. … It’s sad,” said seventh grader Jake Lerner. In response, Jake drew attention to the ocean conservation nonprofit PADI Aware Foundation with a vivid classroom presentation. He also sold his handmade wood carvings on Etsy and donated 100% of the profits to the organization.

Middle School Core Teacher and Service Learning Coordinator Josh Adler

After completing their projects, the Middle Schoolers wrote reflections on their experiences. “I get a firsthand view of the amazing, awe-inspiring work that students do,” noted Josh. “I love reading the reflections and seeing how transformative service work can be for our students.”

Left: Eighth graders brought Thanksgiving-meal food items to the Westside Food Bank’s mobile unit in Virginia Avenue Park. Right: Jake Lerner held a sea urchin on a recent scuba diving trip, which inspired his support of ocean conservation.

Much of that transformation is thanks to the inspiration and encouragement that students received from Josh. After 10 years teaching at Crossroads, Josh departed the School in April to pursue a new career in educational technology. His thoughtful enhancement of the service learning program over the years will benefit students—and the wider community—for years to come.

I hope students understand that simple actions can help transform the world, and everyone has the capacity to effect change.

New Solutions in Upper School Math

“Do you have strategies to problem solve?” Upper School Math Department Chair and teacher Cherylnn Pope asked a class of ninth graders. This particular lesson was focused on the multiplication properties of exponents, but the advice she gave was applicable beyond the subject at hand: Tackle complicated problems by breaking them into more manageable “bitesized” pieces. Working in pairs to simplify algebraic expressions, the students were also building the skills to advance through increasingly complex concepts in a newly launched program of the Math Department.

After class, Cherylnn shared the department’s reasoning behind the new trajectory of courses, which began this year with the rollout of two ninth grade classes, Math 1 and Math 1 Enriched. No longer sandwiching Geometry between Algebra 1 and Algebra 2, the program integrates concepts from these standard courses and incorporates spiral review, a practice that reinforces key skills through regular exposure. This method of teaching helps students maintain and expand their understanding of algebra throughout their studies at Crossroads.

“We hope students become stronger in advanced math courses by having solid

foundational skills that are often lacking,” explained Cherylnn. With this new approach, she added, “all ninth graders will have the opportunity to reach Calculus by senior year.”

Successes of the program are already apparent. Cherylnn noted, “I’ve seen students starting to value the journey of learning, developing curiosity, thinking and not just trying to get the grade.”

Sam Pinder, one of Cherylnn’s engaged ninth graders, reflected, “It’s always nice to learn how to further my knowledge of a subject.” He also emphasized the value of having Cherylnn as a teacher: “She approaches [the subject] methodically and carefully, which is helpful if anyone, me included, doesn’t understand anything about it. She explains things very well.”

In the upcoming school year, as 10th graders, Sam and his classmates will take the first offering of Math 2, in which they will deepen their geometry skills while also beginning to learn Algebra 2 topics. After a year of Math 1 taught by Cherylnn and her colleagues, the students will certainly be equipped to solve any problem that comes their way.

12th grade



Supporting Community Members in Need

Togetherness and community are two words that have always defined Crossroads, perhaps never more so than during the COVID-19 pandemic. By the end of March 2020, it had become apparent that many Crossroads families and employees were facing financial crises as a result of household layoffs and illnesses. On March 31, 2020, the School announced the launch of the Crossroads Community Emergency Fund. The funds were available to families receiving Affordability Grants (known at the time as Financial Aid), as well as faculty and staff, who were facing economic hardship.

The Crossroads community snapped into action, generously donating to support fellow Roadrunners in need. The Parent Association also established an online Help Hub, where Crossroads community members could request and offer nonfinancial assistance, such as grocery shopping, virtual tutoring and even resume-writing help.

So far, the Crossroads community has raised over $238,000 for the Community Emergency Fund, $235,000 of which has been distributed. Eligible community members were invited to confidentially request assistance.

Funds have been used to cover funeral costs for family members; rent and utility bills; monthly grocery gift cards; and medical bills.

“It was a testament to the power of our community that so many contributed to this fund, which helped prevent numerous Crossroads employees and families from experiencing significant financial hardship or even ruin,” said Bob Riddle.

Employee assistance at Crossroads goes back almost 20 years, when Roger Weaver served as headmaster. A trustee contributed $20,000 every year to support employ-

ees encountering unforeseen financial setbacks such as car accidents or medical emergencies. The program has been ongoing and was recently formalized with the establishment of the Bob Riddle Employee Emergency Fund. (Read more on page 41.)

“The fact that our School has had an employee emergency fund for decades is something I’ve never seen at any other school,” said Associate Head of School Mariama Richards. “It’s remarkable that employees aren’t asked to pay back the funds that they receive. It’s really about them landing on their feet.”

LILAMICHAEL, ninth grade

What We Came Here To Do: Reflections on Drama Tour

I had participated in Drama Tour last year, but it was online. So, I wanted to get the full experience of traveling with a group and seeing the audiences’ reactions firsthand.

Performing the musical “Godspell” in person, I really got to feed off of the audiences’ energy. Every place we went, there was somebody clapping or dancing along. And that made the show 10 times better, getting to have that connection with the audience and with the cast on stage. Performing live, I felt like I was part of a community.

I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew we would be performing in the Bay Area for people who’d had different life experiences than we had. I came with an open mind to see what would happen and

what people would be like. When we went to the juvenile detention center, I realized the privilege, opportunities and access we have here at Crossroads. Maybe if the kids in the center had that, they wouldn’t have felt the need to commit a crime, or maybe there would’ve been more second chances available.

That was really eye-opening. I saw a girl who was just 12 years old, and I think it was her first day there. I hope our performance made her feel a little bit better.

We also performed at a women’s center for people recovering from substance abuse. That was probably my favorite performance, just because of how responsive they were to the show. You could tell they were so engaged. They

laughed at our jokes, and it really felt like we were giving something to them. One of them said, “You made my day 10 times better.” Hearing that, I thought, “We did it. We did what we came here to do.”

Afterward, it was strange going back into the rush of school and tests, and knowing that Drama Tour was over. Because we had five days

where this was all we were doing, and this was all that really mattered to us.

About Drama Tour Drama Tour was established in 1993 by Davida Wills Hurwin, Upper School Drama Department chair and teacher. Ninth and 10th graders audition to perform a musical for an array of Bay Area audiences who have little access to live theater.

Davida came up with the idea of Drama Tour after the Los Angeles riots. Her intent was to “build bridges between people that might lead to a greater understanding of the world and each other.”

Performing away from home is also an opportunity for the students to grow in a safe, independent environment. Yet, as Davida tells her students, ultimately, “‘It’s not about you. I don’t care if you had a good time. What did you give? What did you do?’ And it’s the most wonderful lesson for me to see what they saw.”

The cast of “Godspell” performed for clients of Sunny Hills Services, a private nonprofit organization serving vulnerable youth and their families. Harper (right) with castmate Alden Platt and director Davida Wills Hurwin

Accessibility and Community: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Programming Grows

It was exciting to be back at Crossroads as we commemorated the School’s founding 50 years ago. While Crossroads’ foundational commitment to diversity was notable in 1971 and remains a core strength today, it’s important that we never rest on our laurels. Thankfully, Crossroads’ culture of innovation and growth encourages us to not only continually deepen our understanding of what it means to be a diverse, inclusive and equitable school, but also to live out these values.

Read on to learn some of the ways Crossroads has deepened its commitment to DEI this year:


Language Services

The School has contracted with an outside agency to offer professional interpreters for important meetings and to translate documents for critical communications. For the first time ever, we sent translated secondtrimester narrative reports to all families in their primary home language. These translations reflected the diversity of our community: Reports were translated into Spanish, Korean, Mandarin, Japanese, Amharic and French. Teachers are increasingly using language services to support our families. We are continuously learning how to be a languageinclusive community and are committed to increased accessibility for all families.

Latinx Support and Outreach

Applicants to Crossroads who are Spanish-dominant enjoy the guidance of the School’s new K-12 Spanish Language Liaison (and Elementary Admission Coordinator) Erika Diaz. Longtime

Upper School Spanish teacher and former Middle and Upper School director of DEI Silvia Salazar is now our first-ever associate director for Latinx support & outreach. Silvia facilitates informational meetings, workshops and check-ins, accessible to both English-speaking and Spanish-dominant families. As a result, the School has been able to identify needs, create new systems of support and provide opportunities for Latinx parents/ guardians to build relationships with one another. Through these efforts, we have created a greater sense of community and deepened Latinx families’ connections to the School.


Affinity groups are a powerful way for individuals to connect with others of similar backgrounds, observe cultural traditions and educate the larger school community. The gradual lifting of pandemic restrictions combined with our community’s strong desire to connect has led to an outpouring of interest in all affinity spaces and increased participation in every group.

Student Groups

This year, Upper School student affinity groups held regular meetings and hosted events such as a screening of the film “Coco” in honor of Dia de los Muertos; an assembly for Holocaust Remembrance Day; a Black History Month display on

On April 28, members of various Upper School affinity groups beautified the shared garden space where affinity groups meet, with help from landscaper Will Garcia.

Families at the May 15 Black Family Alliance Beach Day

Tenth grader Azalia Martinez-Cruz, a member of Grupo Folklorico 7 Regiones, performed at the March 26 K-12 Latinx Family Party.

the library wall and weeklong educational c ampaign to celebrate Black excellence in various fields; and a Lunar New Year celebration complete with crafts and a special lunch. Members of multiple affinity groups worked to beautify the shared garden where affinity groups meet. Upper School affinity groups also partnered with their Middle School counterparts on several occasions, offering opportunities for crossdivisional connection and mentorship.

Parent/Guardian Groups

The Asian Family Alliance hosted e vents throughout the year, such as a virtual family game night, assembling care packages for the homeless advocacy nonprofit PATH Los Angeles, book club meetings and a Beach Day.

The Black Family Alliance hosted the “Sip & Sonder” connection event at the renowned gallery space Band of Vices and held their second annual Beach Day.

At our first-ever event for Latinx families, attendees were treated to dance and music performances by a professional dance troupe as well as Crossroads students.

A gathering for white anti-racist pa rents met online throughout the year with a facilitator from the Alliance of White Anti-Racists Everywhere, Los Angeles, to challenge racism and to work for racial justice.

In late spring, Juntos (the Latinx & Hispanic Family Alliance) held its first meeting. Also in the spring, several parents proposed the creation of an LGBTQ parent affinity group for the 2022-23 school year.

Alumni Groups

In March, the Crossroads Alumni BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) Committee hosted the fourth annual Alumni of Color Gathering at Alta Adams restaurant. Learn more on page 56.

Employee Groups

Each month, faculty and staff have the opportunity to participate in either a white anti-racist or a BIPOC affinity group. These spaces allow for colleagues across divisions and departments to build community and share perspectives on how to create a more inclusive and equitable school.

K-12 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Office

Stephanie Carrillo, Director Silvia Salazar, Associate Director for Latinx Support & Outreach Sharanya Shankar, Diversity Administrative Assistant

Diversity Coordinators: Tammy Abrahem (Elementary School) Howe Lin (Middle School) Jasmin McCloud (Upper School)

Families at the May 7 Asian Family Alliance Beach Day


Roadrunners Score Successful Seasons

Before their championship match, the Middle School girls tennis team huddled together on the court—a ritual that had become emblematic of their undefeated season. The championship game pitted Crossroads against Windward School, but the opponents were no match for Crossroads’ depth of talent. Led by Head Coach Sharona Levinson, Crossroads beat Windward 6-0 to earn the coveted title of Pacific Basin League Champions.

Sixth grader Vivienne Shiao and seventh grader Imogen Smith defeated their fellow Roadrunners, eighth graders Sofia Morovati and Shane O’Sullivan, to win the Pacific Basin League Doubles Tournament. The singles tournament similarly came down to a match-up between Crossroads athletes—champion Emily Stutsman and runner-up Gabrielle Shiao, both eighth graders.

The Middle School boys Navy tennis team brought home a championship of their own. They won the Pacific Basin League championship in a nail-bitingly close matchup, with sixth grader Boone Casady walking away as the League’s coed singles champion after an 8-set winning streak.

The tournament, which took place over the course of three consecutive weekends, “was a complete team effort,” said Sharona, also head coach of the boys team. In a dominant run, the Roadrunners beat Archer 8-3, giving Crossroads the points

lead needed to claim the title. The championship win was a true reflection of team effort. “The boys really did a great job of coming together as a team and realizing that it is an individual sport, but with the right encouragement, it feels like you’re really part of a team,” said Sharona.

In May, the Middle School girls softball team was crowned champion of the Pacific Basin League in a 5-2 victory over Westside Neighborhood School (WNS). The game was the culmination of a season of growth for this year’s Roadrunners team.

The girls were nervous heading into the championship game against WNS—a team they hadn’t yet beat. But in the first inning, the Roadrunners scored three runs after getting four hits in a row, giving them an early lead and setting the tone for the rest of the game. As the Roadrunners rushed onto the field to congratulate each other after the win, they high-fived in excitement. “They were super proud,” said Brandy Friedlander, who coached the team along with Jen Anderson ’94. “I saw them the next day and they had bigger smiles than I’d ever seen even just from the excitement of it.”

In addition, both the Middle and Upper School Track and Field teams brought home outstanding honors. 11th grader Cole Hoegl was named CIF Division 4 High Jump Champion, Gold Coast League Champion (High Jump) and Gold Coast League MVP (Boys Track and Field). Sixth grader Wynter

Medford received first place in the Pacific Basin League Finals for the Boys 60 meter relay.

The Upper School boys varsity soccer team racked up their own share of wins this winter. Following their 2021 California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Section and State Regional championship season, the team moved into a more competitive division but nevertheless proved to be fierce on the field.

“The team’s greatest strength was their unity and belief in the system and style that we played,” said Head Coach Federico Bianchi, who was named the 2021 CIF Coach of the Year.

With a 13-game undefeated streak to their name, they made it all the way to the CIF Southern Section Division 5 semifinals, where they ultimately lost to Quartz Hill High School in overtime.

“It is always tough to lose in overtime … but I am so proud of what the team accomplished,” Federico noted.

The boys varsity soccer team finished as Gold Coast League Champions with a record of nine wins, one loss and two ties. Senior Curtis Boozer was named Gold Coast League MVP. In the words of their coach, the season was “truly incredible.”

Clockwise from top left: Middle School girls tennis team; Middle School boys Navy tennis team; Middle School girls softball team; Upper School boys varsity soccer team


Introducing: Stacey Koff

After a nationwide search, Crossroads is excited to welcome Stacey Koff as the head of Elementary School. Stacey was previously the assistant head of school, grades K-4, at the Westside Neighborhood School, a role she held for 11 years. Prior to that, Stacey worked for many years within the LA Unified School District. She served as the assistant principal of Rockdale Elementary and taught in the LAUSD Tier 2 Administrative Credential Program. She is fluent in Spanish and began her career as the bilingual coordinator and a kindergarten, first and third grade teacher at the 75th Street School. In addition, Stacey has a master’s in educational administration from Cal State Los Angeles and recently completed her doctorate in educational leadership for social justice at Loyola Marymount University.

Stacey is already a part of the Crossroads community: She and her partner, Margie Gilmore, are parents to ninth graders Mason and Georgia,

who joined the School this year. Stacey’s eldest child, Anabelle, recently graduated high school and will be attending University of Wisconsin in the fall. As Stacey noted in her letter of interest, “Crossroads feels like a wonderful new home for me. The community seems dedicated to a meaningful, individualized and differentiated education with integrity and care at the core. Crossroads is a community that aligns with who I am as an educator, a leader and a person. I truly couldn’t imagine a more perfect place to

continue my lifelong educational journey.”

Stacey is committed to faculty development and to creating inclusive school environments that prioritize empathy and care. She considers the concept that education is rooted in principles of social justice and equity “a deep part of who I am at my core.”

Stacey spent several months familiarizing herself with Crossroads’ students, faculty and staff before assuming her position in June. She has also embraced the opportunity

to meet parents through two Q&A sessions, where she discussed her vision for the School’s future. “Knowing that Crossroads is historically and currently known as this incredible institution—I want to make sure that none of us rest on the name. That we’re constantly pushing forward, pushing the boundary, being a little uncomfortable and engaging in what is going to make us an incredible institution, not just historically and in the present, but well into the future.”

MAXRATNER, 12th grade
From left: Stacey, Mason, Anabelle, Georgia and Margie


Meet the 2022-23 Administrative Planning Committee

The Administrative Planning Committee (APC) brings together Crossroads’ senior leadership to collaborate, problem solve and make many of the decisions that shape our School, establishing policies and programs as well as tackling immediate issues as they arise. The educators and administrators on the committee comprise a wide range of expertise and experience and share a commitment to the School’s philosophy and values.

Mariama Richards

Interim Head of School

David Olds Interim Assistant

Stacey Koff

Michelle Merson

The 10th member of the senior leadership team is the director of the Equity & Justice Institute. A search is currently underway for the next leader of this groundbreaking program.

Mariama joined Crossroads as associate head of school in 2020. She oversaw the School’s COVID-19 response, supported employee development and built innovative curricular and community initiatives. Her previous roles include assistant head of school for academic program at Friends’ Central School outside Philadelphia and director of progressive and multicultural education at Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York. As interim head of school, Mariama provides leadership and strategic decision-making in all aspects of school life; ensures the fulfillment of the 2019 strategic plan goals; and upholds the values and mission of Crossroads. She is the parent of incoming kindergartener Aminata McLaurin Richards. Learn more about Mariama on page 44.

FUN FACT: Saw Prince live in concert 13 times.

Head of School

David has been at Crossroads for 35 years, most recently as an Upper School English teacher; track and cross country coach; and co-chair of the strategic plan committee tasked with reimagining the School’s use of time. He’s also served as a dean and interim director of the Upper School. As interim assistant head of school, David supports the three divisions, serves as a sounding board for the interim head of school and guides the operational side of school life. David is the parent of Crossroads “lifers” Cooper Olds ’16, Riley Olds ’19 and Quin Olds ’22.

FUN FACT: Met his wife, Julie, when she taught biology in the classroom next door.

Head of Elementary School

Prior to joining Crossroads this summer, Stacey spent 11 years as the assistant head of school, grades K-4, at the Westside Neighborhood School. She also worked for many years within the Los Angeles Unified School District, serving as the assistant principal of Rockdale Elementary and teaching in the Tier 2 Administrative Credential Program. Stacey is committed to faculty development, to creating inclusive school environments and to education being rooted in principles of social justice and equity. She is the parent of rising 10th graders Mason KoffGilmore and Georgia Koff-Gilmore. Learn more about Stacey on page 17.

FUN FACT: Started skateboarding as a child and still longboards at the beach.

Head of Middle School

Michelle joined Crossroads in 1995 as an eighth grade Core teacher and athletics coach. She has held roles including eighth grade Core coordinator; assistant director for Middle and Upper School summer programs; and Upper School academic dean. Michelle was appointed head of Middle School in 2017, following a year as interim head. Michelle is responsible for overseeing the teaching and learning in the Middle School; supporting student health and wellness during this critical developmental age; coordinating the day-to-day operations of the division; and developing school projects such as Geo Bee and Family Science Night.

FUN FACT: Attended Crossroads School— in St. Louis!—for middle and high school.


Anthony Locke ’01

Head of Upper School

A 2001 graduate of Crossroads, Anthony began working at the School in 2007 as a seventh grade Core instructor and varsity basketball coach. He spent four years in the Life Skills and Community Service Departments before becoming an Upper School advisor and then dean of student life. He was named head of the Upper School in 2020 and has focused on applying state-of-the-art research and best educational practices. Anthony fosters a culture of innovation and reflection among the division’s faculty, deans and students, ensuring that the Upper School curriculum remains forward thinking.

FUN FACT : Owns over 80 pairs of sneakers.

Stephanie Carrillo

Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Stephanie first joined Crossroads in 1998 and served in roles including co-chair of the Diversity and Social Justice Task Force, interim dean of students and History Department chair/ teacher. She left Crossroads in 2013 to become a teacher leader liaison for the educational organization Facing History and Ourselves and spent six years as the director of diversity, equity and inclusion at Campbell Hall in Studio City. Stephanie returned to Crossroads in 2021 when she was appointed the School’s first K-12 director of diversity, equity & inclusion.

FUN FACT: Creates Mexican folk art.

Director of Advancement

Prior to joining Crossroads in 2018, Colleen was assistant vice president at Claremont McKenna College. She has also served as associate vice president for development at Rhode Island School of Design and director of development at Colgate University. Colleen is responsible for fundraising initiatives such as the Crossroads Fund, the Endowment and the Major Gifts campaigns that established the Science Education & Research Facility and the upcoming Center for the Performing Arts. Colleen also oversees the offices of Alumni Relations, Communications, Parent Relations and Special Events. She is the parent of rising senior Maizie Bartlett.

FUN FACT: Is an avid Red Sox fan.

Director of Finance and Operations

Manuel came to Crossroads in 2021 after serving as the chief financial and operating officer at Village School in Pacific Palisades for 13 years.

Prior to that, Manuel served as director of budget, finance and information technology at the California State University’s Office of the Chancellor as well as a business manager at Windward School and Wildwood School. As the director of finance and operations at Crossroads, Manuel manages the annual budget, serves as the School’s strategic administrator and oversees the functions of Business/ Accounting, Human Resources, Facilities and Auxiliary Services.

FUN FACT: Plays in a soccer league “for old guys” every Sunday.

Chris Teran Director of Enrollment Management

Chris joined Crossroads this July after spending the past eight years as an associate dean of admissions at Pomona College. Prior to that, he spent 15 years at Texas A&M University, 10 of those as a senior management analyst for Scholarships & Financial Aid.

Throughout his career, Chris has supervised teams, created new outreach programs, overseen financial aid, conducted research and analyzed data to help institutions make decisions. As director of enrollment management, Chris is committed to serving and supporting students throughout the admission process with the goal of enrolling an impactful, diverse student body.

FUN FACT: Enjoys restoring vintage bicycles.

Colleen Bartlett Manuel Pardo


The Equity & Justice Institute Hosts Second Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® Site

Smiles, songs and serious fun filled the air on the 21st Street Campus this summer. For the second consecutive year, the Crossroads Equity & Justice Institute hosted a Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® site, offering the six-week program to 45 students of color and their families from the local Pico neighborhood.

Inspired by the Mississippi Freedom Summer project of 1964, CDF Freedom Schools aim to empower young people of color by promoting literacy, civic engagement and social action. Thanks to the generosity of donors, including lead gifts from funding partner Pacific Western Bank and the Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, the Crossroads program is free to families and scheduled to return in summer 2023. The offering is a partnership between Crossroads, Virginia Avenue Park and Santa Monica College, which many of the instructors (known as student leader interns) attend.

Each morning began with an assembly called “Harambee” (meaning “all pull together” in Swahili), encouraging the rising second through eighth grade students, known as scholars, to start the day off on a positive note. Rising fifth grade scholar Maxwell cited Harambee as one of his favorite aspects of the program and noted, “In Harambee,

they always include everyone. I loved all of the reading going on and all of the activities!” These activities included singing, a moment of meditation, the opportunity to recognize a fellow student or instructor, announcements and a special guest read-aloud of books featuring diverse identities and stories.

Throughout the program, scholars engaged in an integrated reading curriculum

featuring books by and about people of color, attended enriching field trips and learned about environmental and social justice movements throughout history. The program not only teaches literacy skills, but also empowers students to develop confidence in their reading abilities and celebrate the joy of getting lost in a story. Myra, a rising third grade scholar in the program, shared, “My favorite thing about reading on my own is that it’s very peaceful and quiet.”

In addition to the national Freedom School curriculum, scholars at the Crossroads Freedom School location explored the theme of Black history in California. Each classroom door featured images and information about influential Black figures who hail from the state, such as Santa Monicaborn Nick Gabaldon, considered the nation’s first documented Black surfer.

Mariama Richards read to students during a morning Harambee.

Other doors highlighted icons such as Vice President Kamala Harris; professional athletes Serena Williams and Kawhi Leonard; and author and poet Amanda Gorman. At the end of the program, scholars had the opportunity to research a topic of their choice and presented their learnings in a creative way.

“It is interest-driven by the student,” explained Executive Director Ayana Peters, also a fourth grade teacher at Crossroads. “Some students ended up with a poem because they really like poetry. Someone else might have a sculpture because they’re into art. They’re not bound to any one prescribed way.”

Another critical element in fostering the scholars’ growth is supporting and involving their families. Given that economic insecurity can directly impact a child’s performance in school, the Equity & Justice Institute also offers financial wellness education to the program’s parents and guardians.

In addition to Ayana, the full-time 2022 Freedom School staff comprised Crossroads Arts Administrator Janeen Jackson as project director and Advancement & Prospect Operations Associate Carlos Ortiz-Ramos as site coordinator. Rising seniors Farol and Arden Seretean volunteered this summer and Alana Cotwright ’20, a student at Wesleyan

University, interned in the program. The Institute plans to hire a Crossroads graduate as an intern each year.

“I’m really excited to participate in the Freedom School for a second time,” said Janeen. “As a resident of the Pico neighborhood for more than 13 years, I’m deeply committed to uplifting my community and am honored to be part of this program.”

Noelle Lewis’ son was a 2021 Freedom School scholar at Crossroads and returned for a second summer. As she put it, “The Freedom School is a wonderful, one-of-a-kind, unicorn type of experience.”

From left: Student leader interns J’adore Bailey, Cheyenne Banks and Jerikka Thomas; Executive Director Ayana Peters; student leader intern Djoser Ramsey; visiting Freedom School administrators Shaquité Pegues and Courtney Linsey; student leader interns Alyssa Fields and Marlon Turicios


Since it launched in 2019, Crossroads’ 15-point strategic plan has been a driving force behind the School’s evolution and growth. Each goal is overseen by a committee to steward its completion. Of course, many of the goals— such as Student Wellness and Belonging and Inclusion—will always remain ongoing School priorities. Once the committees complete their work, they will make their recommendations to the senior leadership team for implementation and continual assessment.

While the ongoing logistical challenges posed by the pandemic somewhat limited our ability to progress on certain

goals, much important work was accomplished. Below is an overview of some of the goals the School addressed during the 2021-22 academic year.

Belonging and Inclusion Led by then-Director of Secondary Admission Amy Walia-Fazio, the committee conducted extensive research and surveyed the Crossroads community. Its two major recommendations have been adopted to help the School develop a more robust and intentional system of integration and inclusion for our various constituencies. The first was for Crossroads to join the Inclusion Dashboard Consortium, empowering

the School to systematically measure inclusion on an institutional level and compare that data with the other schools in the consortium. The second was moving from a divisionbased diversity, equity and inclusion program to a more robust K-12 DEI Office. To read more about diversity, equity and inclusion at Crossroads, please turn to page 14.

Enhance Our Performing Arts Program

The School continues to fundraise for a new Center for the Performing Arts on the 21st Street Campus. This facility will offer state-of-the-art teaching, performance and rehearsal spaces, bolstering

our exceptional dance, drama, music and filmmaking programs and promoting interdisciplinary collaboration. The first phase of this project will include the 650-seat Stern Family Theater and a 100-seat recital hall named in honor of Mary Ann Cummins, as well as 16,000 square feet of parking. The facility will also house a dedicated seminar room for the School’s Equity & Justice Institute. The Santa Monica Planning Commission has approved the construction of the Mainstage Theater Building, designed by Zoltan E. Pali of SPF:a, which will break ground during the upcoming school year.

Artist rendering of the Center for the Performing Arts, breaking ground in the 2022-23 school year

Center for the Performing Arts

Crossroads has raised $49 million toward our $54 million goal to build the first phase of our stateof-the-art Center for the Performing Arts. If you are interested in making a gift to help make this transformative project a reality, please contact Director of Development Carly House at

Fortify Our Equity & Justice Program

For the last two summers, the Equity & Justice Institute has hosted the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program, offering six weeks of literacy instruction and cultural enrichment for students of color and their families from the Pico neighborhood. (Learn more on page 24.) The 2021-22 Younes and Soraya Nazarian Equity & Justice Distinguished Lecture Series invited speakers from across the political spectrum— including political strategist/ talk show host Ana Navarro, United States Ambassador Jeff Flake and Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings—to discuss ways we can address the

Middle and Upper Schoolers in the Asian Pacific Islander

Desi American affinity groups celebrated the Lunar New Year in February, one of many events throughout the year that promoted belonging and inclusion.

seemingly intractable divides in our nation today. These virtual events prompted inspiring conversations in both Middle and Upper School classrooms.

Cultivate a Consistent Culture of Learning and Continuous Improvement In her role as associate head of school, Mariama Richards spearheaded the first K-12 disciplinary review, focused on language instruction. Esteemed linguist and Crossroads grandparent Stephen Krashen, Ph.D.,

served as a consultant in the initial stages of the process, advising on pedagogical practices for language acquisition. Mariama researched language programs offered at peer schools across the country, including the scope and sequence of classes, and gathered feedback from every K-12 language faculty member. After assessing these findings, Mariama will work with the senior leadership team and K-12 language teachers to determine next steps and make recommendations.

Cultivate a New Professional Human Resources Paradigm Mariama and a team of six K-12 faculty members developed a Faculty Evaluation and Growth Program, which will launch during the 2022-23 school year. Meeting periodically, the committee measured employee well-being and engagement using data-driven tools such as a CultureAmp survey to reevaluate retention methods. Over 85% of employees participated; feedback was used to enhance employee satisfaction through health classes, well-being events and other morale-boosting initiatives. In addition, the committee is working with Mariama and Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Stephanie Carrillo to redesign the recruiting program to ensure that Crossroads attracts

Students in the 2021 Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® site at Crossroads, hosted by the Equity & Justice Institute


candidates whose values align with our philosophy.

Update Our School Philosophy and Core Commitments

Coinciding with the School’s 50th anniversary, Bob Riddle and then-Director of Enrollment Management Eric Barber held focus groups with employees, the Parent Association leadership team and students in grades five to 12 to carefully review the School’s founding philosophy and core commitments. While the overall sense was that the school philosophy remains relevant, the community identified opportunities to update or add language to more accurately reflect the School’s mission. The Board will review the feedback at its fall retreat and ultimately decide which updates may be warranted.

Plan Our Strategic Enrollment Management

Eric Barber led the committee to develop a more purposeful enrollment model for the School, working with a consultant to consider the optimal sizes for each grade level. Ultimately, they determined that while the overall K-12 enrollment of the School (roughly 1,200 students) remains ideal, adjustments should be made in various grades to add more spaces in seventh and ninth grades to accommodate interest. Plans are underway to make these changes over the next few years.

Reimagine Our Use of Time

Upper School English Teacher

David Olds, Upper School Technology Coordinator Paul Way, Middle School Technology Assistant JJ Hsu

and Upper and Middle School Visual Arts teacher Jesse Robinson spent much of this year designing iterations of the Middle and Upper School daily schedules. Based on current course sections and student requests, they coded Python simulations to test the feasibility of the finalist scenarios. This spring, the committee settled on the outline of our new school schedule and will spend the fall of 2022 refining it. The new schedule will be shared with the community during the 2022-23 school year, with the goal of a 2024-25 launch.

Beginning in the fall, Upper School students will start their school day at 8:30 a.m. to accommodate the change in sleep patterns for adolescents. The school day will continue to end at 3 p.m., and families will

receive detailed information about the new schedule. The Elementary School administration is assessing whether the current schedule aligns with best teaching and learning practices, and will inform families of any modifications.

Enhance Student Wellness

In order to identify the main challenges students face regarding mental health and overall wellness, Middle and Upper School Counselor Jasmin McCloud and Elementary School Learning Specialist Jayme Pohl are collecting data through surveys of students and faculty members. Based on initial results, the committee determined that anxiety, sleep and stress management are among the top areas of concern. The committee has been researching best practices and solutions implemented at other schools and investigating innovative ways to meet the evolving needs of our student body. After tapping into the expertise of the internal wellness team— which includes K-12 learning specialists and counselors— the committee is working to increase accessibility and aligning K-12 resources to best serve students and their families throughout their time at Crossroads.

Elementary Schoolers unwound with a dance party during Stress Less Week in March.

seventh grade
DANIEL CHEN, seventh grade


While driving down Olympic Boulevard 20 years ago, Audrey McLoghlin used to gaze at the Norton Campus athletic field and imagine that her future child would one day attend school there. Two decades after she moved to Los Angeles, Audrey’s dreams became reality when her daughter, Grayson, started her first day of kindergarten at Crossroads in the fall of 2021. When touring prospective schools in the area, Audrey knew that her earlier intuition had led her to the right place. “Each interaction with Crossroads leadership and staff left us feeling confident that this school would encourage and support Grayson in being part of the change she wants to see in the world as she grows up,” said Audrey. “It’s a dream come true having my daughter at Crossroads.”

Audrey’s excitement for the School led her to think about how she could get involved on a deeper level. Her company, Frank & Eileen—a luxury clothing brand known for reinventing the women’s button-up using menswear Italian fabrics—achieved B Corp certification in 2020, with an industry-leading impact score of 97.5. This made it the second-highest-ranking globally recognized U.S. fashion brand to complete the rigorous certification process, trailing only Patagonia. To memorialize and celebrate this achievement, the company pledged $10 million over 10 years to various organizations, including Crossroads, to support the female leaders of tomorrow. Supporting education for young girls felt like a natural expression of that priority, especially as Audrey observed Grayson’s newfound confidence flourish after she started at Crossroads.

“Frank & Eileen believes women are changing the world, and we believe in using entrepreneurship as a force for good,” said

Audrey. “It’s important to me to support this future generation of problem solvers through educational opportunities and exposure to entrepreneurship.” Audrey partnered with Crossroads to establish The Frank & Eileen Female Leaders of Tomorrow Endowed Scholarship to make a Crossroads education possible for girls whose families could not otherwise afford it.

“I’m continuously impressed by Crossroads’ commitment to affordability,” Audrey said. “This endowed scholarship gives the added benefit of exposing the young generation of girls to the power of equity and inclusion in their community and inspiring their thinking for the future.”



A Show 50 Years in the Making!

Cabaret years are always special. This year’s Parent Association Spring Event was especially meaningful, coinciding with Crossroads’ 50th anniversary celebration year and the departure of Bob Riddle, our beloved head of school. On May 22, our talented community graced the stage at the glorious Orpheum Theatre in a “Wizard of Oz”-inspired production. More than 150 students performed in various ensemble numbers as well as in featured roles. The adults did their part, too: More than 170 parents, alumni, parents of

alumni and employees participated behind the scenes and onstage.

An event this ambitious is only possible because of the hundreds of volunteers who dedicate their time and talent. Heartfelt gratitude goes to everyone who helped make Cabaret 2022 a successful community builder and fundraiser. In particular, kudos go to our truly impressive co-chairs— Deborah Dragon, Margaret Smith, Mollie Starr ’98 and Kevin Neustadt—for overseeing this amazing event and dedicating

over a year of their lives to making it happen. Congratulations also to auction and raffle co-chairs Hee Ko, Alan Rakov and Yasmin Yaghmai, who worked with many other volunteers to raise more than $748,000 to benefit Crossroads’ Affordability Program (formerly known as the Financial Aid Fund), making this the highest-grossing Cabaret in Crossroads history!

The unique alchemy that took place onstage began with the incredible imagination of head writer Marsha Myers

Clockwise from top left: The fantastic Cabaret co-chairs and their children introduced the show; Matt Groening (or is that Marge?) made a cameo; actor/athlete/school counselor James Black gave Dorothy (Harper Edgerly) some advice; accompanied by her daughter, Zooey Deschanel ’98 serenaded Bob with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”; Sam (Magnus Thompson), Lia (Anastasia Shima-Hernandez), Tim (Matthew Smith) and Dorothy followed the yellow brick road; Glinda (Ashley Thompson) and Elementary Schoolers welcomed Dorothy to Oz.

Kamer and her writing team. Their brilliance, humor and love of Crossroads shone through every scene, every song and every word of this original production. Deep gratitude and awe go to the talented faculty who took the show from page to stage: director Brian Mulligan; production coordinator David Listenberger; assistant director Claire Larsen; choreographers Bryanna Brock, Sophia Stoller and Chippy Wassung; vocal director Jarod Sheahan; music director Emily Stewart ; and orchestrators Ramsey Castaneda and Tony

Hundtoft . Former trustee and parent of alumni Darlene Chan generously reprised her invaluable role as show producer for the umpteenth time. The team’s collective expertise, vision and leadership delivered a joyful production for all to enjoy.

The myriad facets of Cabaret that fall outside of the proscenium stage—including fundraising, community building, volunteer management and logistical wrangling of this Herculean endeavor—were overseen for the eighth time by event producer and

Director of Parent Relations & Special Events Mery Grace Castelo

Whether you were dancing, singing, acting, behind the scenes, in the audience and/or supporting the event as a sponsor, underwriter, auction or raffle donor or bidder, thank you for participating in this community-wide event and showing that there’s no place like Crossroads!

Did you know? The very first Cabaret was held in 1985 at the Wadsworth Theatre!

Clockwise from top left: Middle Schoolers dazzled; Upper School dancers struck a pose; a talking tree looked an awful lot like Oscar-winning actor Helen Hunt; the wonderful wizard of Crossroads said goodbye aboard a hot air balloon; the Parent Ensemble took a break from Council to belt out a “Crossroadian Rhapsody”; the Employee Ensemble sang about “Changing Lives.”

This year, the Board took steps to acknowledge and reward the tremendous dedication and hard work of Crossroads faculty and staff, particularly after two years of pandemic-related disruption and challenges. In February, the Board

provided $500 and $1,000 bonuses to part-time and full-time employees, respectively. The Board also approved a minimum, overall salary increase of 4.5% for faculty and staff in the upcoming school year.

The Board appointed Mariama Richards as our interim head of school for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years, and has worked closely with her to establish priorities and goals for the upcoming year.


The Board appointed four new trustees during the 2021-22 school year:

Rick Barry

Rick was co-founder and CTO of the optical networking company Sycamore Networks. He advises startups and runs his foundation focused on K-12 STEM education and social issues. He is on the Board of Directors of 9Dots and the advisory boards of the J3 Foundation and MIT’s Institute for Data, Systems and Society. He is the parent of rising third grader Serena and rising seventh grader Elyse. Rick will begin serving on the Board in the 2022-23 school year.

Joe Blackstone

Joe is the president of Blackstone Consulting, Inc., which specializes in food, janitorial, security and facility maintenance services. He holds a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from USC and an MBA from Southern Methodist University. Joe sits on the board of several organizations, including J3 Foundation, which he founded with his wife, Jamie Mohn. He is the parent of rising seventh grader Jess. Joe began his tenure on the Board in December 2021.

Maisha Chappell

Maisha is the regional vice president of Three W International, which supports international students in private schools. She led a U.S. Department of Education program helping individuals from marginalized communities progress from middle school through college. Maisha holds a bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan and is the parent of rising senior Isaiah and rising sixth grader Yemaya. Maisha will begin serving on the Board in the 2022-23 school year.

Soo Hong

Soo is the Chief People Officer for Sunbit, which helps individuals navigate unexpected expenses. She has held leadership positions at National Veterinary Associates, Tinder and WeWork. Soo earned a bachelor’s in American Studies from Wellesley College and a master’s in business administration from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. She is the parent of Graham Sidman ’22. Soo will begin serving on the Board in the 2022-23 school year.



Three trustees stepped down this year:

Jeff Worthe

Jeff joined the Board in 2010. As a vice chair of the Board, Jeff served on the Executive Committee. He chaired the Real Estate Committee and also served on the Campaign Advisory, Development, Finance, Governance and Capital Campaign Committees.

Andy Baum

Andy joined the Board in 2014 and served on the Finance, Governance, Capital Campaign, Revenue, Risk Management and Development Committees.

Chris Chee

Chris joined the Board in 2014 and served on the Finance, Governance, Capital Campaign, Audit and Real Estate Committees.

2021-22 Board of Trustees


Juan Carrillo, Chair Marisol León ’03, Vice Chair Nat Trives, Vice Chair

Jeff Worthe, Vice Chair Bruce Stern, Secretary Bob Davenport, Treasurer


Andy Baum Trevor Bezdek ’95 Joe Blackstone Christopher Chee Ann Colburn Emilio Diez Barroso Bob Friedman Sarah Harden Nicole Hoegl Moujan Kazerani Jeff Lipp Marc Millman

Paul Rahimian Lois Reinis Tracy Seretean Erin Simon ’95 Lanhee Yung




We are grateful to Jeff, Andy and Chris for their years of service to the School.

Current Parents

Parents of Alumni


*Black, Indigenous and People of Color **Not current parents

14 61% Women 9 39% BIPOC
11 48% Alumni 3 13%
16 70%
** 2 9%
2 9%
KAPLAN, 12th grade



It is nearly impossible to sum up Bob Riddle’s remarkable 38-year history at Crossroads School and the indelible legacy he leaves behind. First hired as a Middle School math teacher, Bob rose through the ranks in a number of administrative roles and served as head of school for the last 13 years. As Crossroads co-founder and first headmaster Paul Cummins stated, “Bob Riddle has not only done a masterful job in preserving the institutional soul of Crossroads School, he has enlarged it by the infusion of his own uniquely imaginative and wise spirit.”

Anyone who knows Bob knows that he is an avid theater lover who typically sees upward of 40 shows a year. Here, we present his professional life in five dynamic acts, full of serendipity, a touch of adversity, hard-won success and a yet unwritten but undoubtedly very happy ending.


Bob grew up in a housing project in Chester, PA. His father never finished eighth grade, and his mother dropped out of high school. In a 2020 profile of him in Advocate magazine, Bob discussed how his passion for social justice and student well-being stemmed from his own challenging childhood, when he was bullied for being gay. It was education—and educators—that provided a glimpse of a better future.

“I remember a few teachers who took me under their wing, watched out for me, made sure I was able to go to college and found scholarship money for me,” he said. “When I went to college, I made the decision to become

an educator because I wanted to make schools better for kids— and not just for kids who identify as LGBT, but all kids.”

Bob attended Penn State and earned degrees in psychology and secondary education, math-

ematics. He taught junior high school for a few years on the East Coast but yearned to work in a more progressive school environment. He knew that it was time for a change, and a friend convinced him to give sunny Los Angeles a try.



In 1984, Bob moved to LA with $500 to his name. Initially, he slept on a friend’s floor and taught at an all-boys Orthodox Jewish school. Then he happened to see a job listing in the Los Angeles Times—one that would quite literally change the course of his life.

“A small private school in Santa Monica was looking for a math teacher,” Bob recalled. “You can imagine my surprise—and my relief—when I was interviewed by Stephen Morgan, the openly gay Middle School director at Crossroads. I thought that perhaps this place could be my professional home.”

Bob spent two years teaching Middle School math and Life Skills and another two years teaching Upper School math. One of his early students was Chrissy Gianni ’96. Chrissy has worked at Crossroads for over two decades, primarily as a Latin teacher and volleyball coach. She still remembers Bob’s tremendous talent as a math instructor.


School math and Life Skills teacher

School math teacher

1984–86 Middle
1986–88 Upper

Does anyone know what a fabulous dancer Bob is?

I remember an employee holiday party in the Community Room of the Elementary School. I was dancing alone to the tunes of the Tom Nolan Band, and suddenly Bob Riddle was dancing right along with me, not missing a beat. I should have stopped then, because he outdanced me by far… but I was having too much fun with him.”

“I first really got to know Bob when he was my Upper School trigonometry/pre-calculus teacher,” she shared. “He was an excellent teacher and brought such passion to the classroom. He had the gift of bringing even the most difficult math concepts to life and made them accessible and relatable to everyone in earshot.”

In addition to his brilliance as an educator, Bob’s keen analytical mind and problem-solving skills made him ideally suited to administrative roles. In 1988, he was promoted to Upper School academic dean for grades nine and 10, taking his career in a new direction. ACT III

In 1991, Bob helped to establish what was later known as the gay/straight alliance, one of the first high school clubs of its kind in the nation. Based largely on that work, he was offered a prestigious, yearlong Klingenstein Fellowship at Columbia University, where he earned a master’s in educational


Upper School academic dean, grades nine and 10

Thank you does not express the depths of my gratitude for the care and support you have shown me over the (dare I say) decades. You have consistently found a way to see the potential in who I could become, and have held me accountable to that standard. I have never met a human who gets more joy out of seeing others succeed than you. I am honored to have shared this place and time with you and will forever be your student.”


Klingenstein Fellowship, M.A. Educational Administration, Columbia University Teachers College

ANTHONY LOCKE ’01 Head of Upper School

Under Bob’s leadership, both as an administrator and as the head of school, Crossroads expanded its footprint in more ways than one: broadening our academic programming, including the replacement of AP classes with Crossroads Advanced Studies classes; growing the diversity of the School community while bringing a new focus on inclusion; making a difference in the greater community through our Equity & Justice Institute; and developing our campuses. It has been an honor to work alongside Bob in his last year as our head of school.”

administration. It was there that he met Kevin Jennings—now the CEO of the civil rights advocacy organization Lambda Legal— who asked Bob if Crossroads would host the first-ever conference on LGBTQ issues in schools on the West Coast.

“And he said, without missing a beat, ‘Of course we would,’” recalled Kevin. “One of the keynote speakers was California’s first out assemblywoman, Sheila Kuehl. And as a result of that conference, Sheila went back to Sacramento and proposed the Dignity for All Students Act, which made California the third state in the country to ban discrimination in schools based on sexual orientation and gender identity. That wouldn’t have happened without Bob Riddle and Crossroads School.”

The School took note of Bob’s leadership potential. In 1995, he was promoted to Upper School assistant director and academic dean for grades 11 and 12. Four years later, he succeeded Ann Colburn as Upper School director. Colleagues from this time remember Bob as a guide and mentor as well as someone who empowered faculty and staff to take ownership of their work.

“I learned so much from Bob,” said Cheryl Junod, who served as the Upper School coordinator for 30 years. “He let me run with my strengths. He included me in building the class schedule and in committee and faculty meetings, which helped me learn how

the Upper School ran. I loved my job at Crossroads, and a big part of that was because of Bob.”

Drama Department Chair Davida Wills Hurwin recalls a couple who were unhappy that their child had not gotten the lead in the Upper School play. Rather than speak to Davida, the parents called Bob to complain.

Davida shared, “I stopped by Bob’s office, and he said, ‘I’ve asked them to just talk to you directly.’ And I said, ‘Do you have any advice?’ He said, ‘No. You’ll handle it.’”

Davida was touched and encouraged by his trust in her.

I will miss a loving friend and colleague whom I can trust with my feelings, who is always supportive and yet able to guide me when I make mistakes, so I can grow as a person. I will miss my safe place....Bob.”


“And I think that’s been key to his success,” she posited. “He’d say, ‘You’ll handle it. You’ll do it.’”

Bob demonstrated the same competence and expertise that he saw in his colleagues. In 2003, then-headmaster Roger Weaver tapped Bob to serve as assistant headmaster and dean

of faculty. Bob worked closely with Roger and sat on the senior leadership team, learning about the inner workings of the School and benefiting from Roger’s generous mentorship. When Roger announced that he was stepping down, he encouraged the Board to consider Bob for the position. After a month-

I worked with Bob for more than half of my life. He was always thoroughly engaged, prepared, organized, in command, focused and tireless. His advocacy for the students, employees and the mission of the School successfully guided him during his remarkable career. It was my great pleasure to work so closely with Bob. I miss his confidence and friendly leadership style, along with his crazy-good memory and sense of humor. I wish him well in the next chapter of his life!”

MORGAN SCHWARTZ Former Middle School Director


Upper School Assistant Director and Academic Dean, grades 11 and 12


Upper School Director


“Bob and I met in 1984, when we were both starting our first year at Crossroads, and we quickly became best friends. He is a truly amazing person in every way, and I’m so very proud of him for everything he has achieved. I wish him all the happiness he so deserves in his retirement.”

long process of individual and group interviews followed by a 90-minute presentation to the Board on his vision for Crossroads, the choice was clear, and in 2009, Bob Riddle became Crossroads’ new head of school.

when considering him for the head of school position!


Under Bob’s leadership, Crossroads continued to flourish. He conceived and championed the School’s Equity & Justice Institute, providing more opportunities for students to develop as engaged citizens and to significantly bolster the School’s impact on the global community. The Institute was endowed as part of the School’s Worlds Unimagined capital campaign, which also includes the Science Education & Research Facility, the Endowment and the new Center for the Performing Arts, slated to break ground in the upcoming school year. As head of school, Bob has raised $80 million for Crossroads, ironic considering that some Board members were concerned about his lack of fundraising experience

Bob also oversaw the development of the 2019 strategic plan: “One Community. One School. One Vision.” The plan established 15 goals to enhance, inspire and sustain the School and the surrounding community in areas including teaching and learning, student wellness and environmental sustainability.

Another strategic goal aims to “enhance a sense of belonging and inclusion.” This goal took on even more urgency in the spring of 2020, when the murder of George Floyd reinvigorated the Black Lives Matter movement and compelled schools like Crossroads to reassess the experience of people of color on their campuses. In a letter to the Crossroads community from June 10, 2020, Bob wrote:

“I speak for all of Crossroads’ leadership when I say that we are determined to do better, to lead by example and to ensure that our School is safe, nurturing and supportive for all of our students of color. It’s time that we all were held accountable. And it’s time


Assistant Headmaster and Dean of Faculty


Head of School

TESS JEFF Former Administrative Assistant for the Head of School Office

Bob is the most thoughtful and steadfast friend one could wish for. He is fun, playful and bakes really good apple pies. At work, he is diligent, blessed with a creative imagination, thinks outside the box and solves even the most intransigent and difficult problems with good outcomes for all. He truly cares about the issues that trouble our world on the macro and micro levels, and works hard to educate our community on how to approach those issues with insight and regard for diverse ideas.”

we all use this moment to take the difficult but necessary steps to make change.”

In the two years since, Crossroads has significantly invested in supporting students of color (who make up 53% of the student body) and strengthening its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. To learn more, please turn to page 14.

Bob’s extraordinary leadership was perhaps never more evident

than during the recent COVID-19 crisis. He oversaw the School’s various response committees, ensuring that Crossroads continued to provide students with an exceptional education— whether remotely, in person or both—while always prioritizing the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff. Keeping the School running smoothly and the community connected was a monumental challenge that Bob continually

Bob with his former student Chrissy Gianni ’96, celebrating her 20 years of employment at Crossroads


I was always amazed by Bob showing up to all of the student activities. Not sure how he found the time to be there, but he always did: jazz concerts, athletic events, plays, art show openings, EMMI concerts, EOE trips, dances and lunch activities in the Alley. He doesn’t just talk the talk; he walks the walk.”

met, demonstrating his impressive fortitude, deep intelligence and love of the people of Crossroads.

Fortunately, the darkest days of COVID appear to be behind us, and we were able to celebrate Bob in person before he stepped down as head of school. (See story on page 54.) While he will no longer be a daily presence on campus, his impact will be felt for as long as the School exists.

“Over his 38-year tenure at Crossroads, Bob has developed into an administrator and leader of extraordinary intelligence, energy and skills,” said Roger Weaver. “His leadership in all his roles at Crossroads, particularly as head of school, stands in profound ways as a palpable emblem of the values, mission and identity of Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences.”

Thursday, June 30, marked Bob Riddle’s last day as head of Crossroads School.


Bob’s fifth act has barely even begun. (And, of course, there may be many more.) He will remain at Crossroads in a consulting capacity, supporting the development of the Center for the Performing Arts. While he hasn’t announced any plans beyond that, it’s a safe bet that he and his husband will continue to travel and see as much theater as they can. Bob has hinted that he is not necessarily retiring and may be up for one more professional adventure. In a 2009 interview, Bob mused that in another life, he’d be a theater producer: Don’t be surprised if someday soon, you see his name in lights (or at least on a show poster).

Whatever Bob does, he’s sure to do it with the same commitment, genius and joy that he brought to Crossroads for 38 years, and with the Crossroads community cheering him on.

Thank you, Bob!


Bob has consistently seen himself in a supporting role, even when he became head of school. I saw it as my primary function to support Bob, but the truth is he spent at least as much time and energy supporting me. While Bob possesses many of the qualities of a strong leader, he never felt it necessary to be the focus of attention.

During the decades that I worked with, and then for, Bob, I knew one thing: He had my back. Thank you, Bob. It has been a privilege and a joy.”

To honor Bob’s legacy at Crossroads and his deep respect and care for the School’s faculty and staff, Crossroads has established the Bob Riddle Employee Emergency Fund. The initiative was inspired by the Crossroads Community Emergency Fund. (Read more about it on page 12.) While Crossroads already sets aside funds to help faculty and staff in crisis, the Bob Riddle Employee Emergency Fund will vastly expand the School’s ability to provide this financial support, which is not a loan to be paid back.

“Crossroads is truly fortunate to have such brilliant, committed employees who care so deeply about our students and about our School,” said Bob. “We know that no one is immune to financial hardship, whether due to a medical diagnosis, a partner’s lost job or any

other crisis. This new fund is a meaningful way for our community to show their gratitude for our remarkable teachers and staff and to help provide the resources to tangibly assist them in difficult times. And in some small way, this fund allows me to show my own gratitude for the multitude of colleagues over the years who mentored and supported me, helping me to become the person I am today.”

If you’d like to contribute to the Bob Riddle Employee Emergency Fund, please visit or scan this QR code.




Throughout the 2021-22 school year, Crossroads marked its golden anniversary with myriad events and activities to commemorate this milestone.


The School bade a loving farewell to the most recent iteration of the mascot and welcomed a new Roadrunner, as well as the adorable, Elementary Schoolfriendly Roadrunner Jr.



The School hosted a celebration on March 13 to honor the School’s founders, heads of school, early trustees and first students.

» Babs Rubens, wife of founding trustee Barry Rubens


Early students Anne (Rosenbloom) Schardt ’76, Sean Meyn ’76, Pablo Pereira ’76, Liesl Erman ’77, Elizabeth

“E.J.” Jerison Terry ’77, Briar (Flicker) Grossman ’77, Marta Laupa ’76, Kevin “K.K.” Jackson ’82 and Devik Wiener ’76

Former headmaster Roger Weaver at the unveiling of the Roger Weaver Administration Building

« Elementary School students met the new Crossroads mascot.

« Co-founder and first director Rhoda Makoff at the unveiling of the Makoff room in the Science Education & Research Facility



Though an all-school 50th anniversary Alley Party had to be scrapped for safety reasons, the School hosted Crossroads “birthday parties” for students on both campuses while parents enjoyed a festive evening out in the Alley.


The Elementary School hosted a 50th birthday bash featuring a magic show and dance party.


The party for Middle and Upper School students included a parade.


Parents celebrated with an evening full of dancing, delicious food and good friends.



Want to buy apparel and accessories featuring our new mascot? Visit the revamped Crossroads store at or scan this QR code.

To learn more about the School’s remarkable history and our year of celebrations, visit the 50th anniversary microsite at or scan this QR code.


« The new mascot was a favorite at the photo booth.

« Paul and Rhoda rode down the Alley, tossing candy to the crowd of students.

Take a deep dive into what keeps Crossroads moving “50 years forward” through our stunning commemorative book. Visit commemorativebook or scan this QR code.

« Bob Riddle and students led the parade.


uly, st le ked lead after th wf

In July, Mariama Richards stepped into the role of interim head of school. The Board asked her to lead Crossroads back in February, after the person originally hired withdrew for personal reasons.

As Board Chair Juan Carrillo explained, “When Bob first announced his upcoming retirement, many in our community had hoped that Mariama would throw her hat in the ring. However, at that time, overseeing the COVID-19 response for a school of Crossroads’ size and complexity remained a tremendous undertaking, and

Mariama made the decision not to apply, prioritizing the well-being of the School.”

Fortunately, the situation is no longer so dire, freeing Mariama to accept the Board’s request. “My number one response is always to say yes,” explained Mariama, who will serve as interim head for the next two years. “If my school needs me, I’m going to do it. And because I felt so embraced as associate head of school, I really felt like this was an opportunity for me to give back to Crossroads,

knowing that I had earned the trust of our community over the last two years.”

Mariama holds a B.A. in history from Spelman College and a master’s in Africana Studies from Cornell. She has served as an administrator at notable independent schools including Friends’ Central School outside Philadelphia, Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York and Georgetown Day School in her hometown of D.C. We asked Crossroads students what else they wanted to know about their new head:


Why did you choose to work in a school? Where does your passion stem from?

Jane Altschule, rising 10th grader

Initially, I wanted to be a history professor. After graduate school, I thought it would be great to go back and work at my old middle school, give back for a few years. I taught Western hemisphere geography.

I quickly realized just how hard teaching is, but I fell in love with creating something new for young people every day. I also had the opportunity to support some students who were like me as a kid—a little wonky, not fully actualized, still trying to figure out their voice. Whatever ideas I had about going back to grad school and doing something different with my life quickly fell apart, because I really only wanted to pursue this.

What will you do to improve the School?

Phoebe Paterson, rising third grader

Oh, wow. That’s a tricky question. I feel my job is not so much to improve the School as it is to ensure that we do exactly what we say we do. I’m coming in after two very difficult years due to the pandemic. I want 2022-23 to be a year when we can all reset, and hopefully there won’t be any unanticipated upheaval. I want us to lower our shoulders a little bit and get back into the groove of just being, and to feel more connected and relaxed. I’d also love to continue to push our innovation. We have all of these great opportunities, whether it be in robotics or Solve for X, the new student-driven learning project for ninth and 10th graders. My goal is to continue to support 50 years of tradition while trying to look at the School with fresh eyes alongside our faculty and my colleagues in APC.

If there was really bad drama between students, how would you handle it?

Jess Blackstone, rising seventh grader

There is a tradition in progressive education, and definitely here at Crossroads, that encourages us to sit in a room and

have a conversation. That’s the reason why I champion affinity groups as well as individual and collective counseling. I think that’s why our Council process works so well. It gets us in the habit of listening to one another and considering another point of view. The way to address drama is through open and honest communication, and that’s something we do really well here.

How has your daughter influenced your ideas about education?

Lyric King, rising sixth grader

That’s a great question. Ami is great at lots of things, but math is really her strong suit. It comes so easily to her. Whereas my brain is history, literature, humanities— how we talk about stories and context and all of that. I think something I’ve really learned from her is how to see my world from a point of view that is not my go-to.

As I’ve served in different administrative roles over the years, I’ve learned new skills and approaches that didn’t come naturally, but that really helped me. So I think Ami reminds me that where I am immediately can’t be where I stay. There’s always room to grow. I hope that as lifelong learners,

we would all embrace that. And she’s taught me a lot about patience, too!

Do you feel pressure coming in as Bob’s replacement?

Lukas Lin, rising seventh grader

Absolutely. I don’t know that people quite understand what that pressure is, though. They probably envision that I feel like I’ve got these huge shoes to fill, but I think that’s actually the wrong way to approach it. I think if I tried to fill his shoes, I would fail. I’m not Bob; I don’t have the history he has. I think the real pressure is making sure the community understands that while I may do things differently, I may come in a different package, I may approach things in a different way, my goal is to continue to amplify the gifts and the history of this institution. I may try some new things, but I want us all to feel connected to my ultimate goal, which is to keep this beautiful institution running.

Mariama and Ami, a rising Crossroads kindergartner, at the School’s Black Family Alliance Beach Day





Twenty years ago, Jorge saw a job listing for a security officer at Crossroads in the Los Angeles Times and called the School. When there was no response, he got in his car and drove from Los Feliz to Santa Monica to inquire and landed the job. When Jorge started, there were no subdivisions within the Facilities Department. The staff was skilled and flexible enough to take on a variety of tasks, from landscaping to event setup to security. Jorge became known as the “audio guy” for school events. In 2006, then-headmaster Roger Weaver created a specialized security team, and Jorge was asked to join. He was proud to be the first to wear a full uniform rather than just a security shirt.

Jorge asserts that he feels just as comfortable at

Crossroads as he does at home. He also appreciates the camaraderie and the ways in which everyone helps one another.

Outside of work, Jorge is a pastor at a small church. He takes pride in his family members, who are an integral part of the church’s music community: His wife, Claudia, sings; his son Isaac ’17 plays piano; and his daughter Rachelle plays piano, trumpet, drums, saxophone and violin.

Crossroads is important to Jorge, who is considered an “old-timer” in the Security Department. Beloved by all, Jorge has become a fixture in the community. Jorge considers the School part of who he is and says, “I am Crossroads.”

Congratulations, Jorge, and thank you for representing the very best of our School!


After years as a marine science instructor and program administrator on Catalina Island, Sasha Moore was ready for a new adventure. Twenty years ago, she was hired at Crossroads as an Elementary School science specialist, bringing magic to her work. Her lessons engendered such excitement that students couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. She watched with delight as our youngest learners discovered scientific principles through carefully sequenced, hands-on activities.

Whether wearing a costume to illustrate a scientific concept or parading down the hall followed by newly hatched ducklings, Sasha always attracted a bevy of kids. She made every child believe that they are a scientist and employed a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach, often

reaching out to other teachers to connect science to the arts and other classroom subjects.

In July, Sasha began her tenure as assistant head of Elementary School, a testament to her success in a number of administrative roles over the decades. In addition to her work as a teacher, she has served as acting K-5 dean of students; acting assistant director of the Elementary School; K-5 dean of summer programs; and K-12 assistant director of summer programs. She stepped in as interim head of Elementary School for the 2021-22 school year, leading the division with her signature humor, enthusiasm and care for the wellbeing of her staff and students. Congratulations on your new role, Sasha, and thank you for all you’ve done for Crossroads!



Hali Morell never considered herself a “school person.” An actor, writer and outstanding knitter, Hali was working with a local theater company when she was hired by the parents of Crossroads senior Eva Sweeney ’01, who has cerebral palsy. Hali attended Eva’s classes with her and assisted with her physical and communication needs.

Hali accompanied Eva on her senior trip to Ojai, which many alumni cite as a transformational experience. It was there that Hali realized what she wanted to do: facilitate meaningful conversations with teens and help them identify what they care about most. Eva went on to attend Occidental College and became a sex educator and freelance writer,

and Hali found a home at Crossroads.

Hali is currently the chair of the Upper School Community Engagement Department and a Life Skills teacher. Over the years, she has also held positions in the Admission and Advancement Offices, but her heart has always been in leading the senior trips, sharing the rich experiences with students that first drew her to the School. Students love Hali for her authenticity, warmth and ability to connect with them, wherever they are, without judgment. They know she is an ally and a trustworthy guide.

Outside of school, Hali continues to write and perform. She is also the co-founder of The Missing Peace, an organization that facilitates self-discovery through storytelling. Hali, thank you for fostering connection and generosity in our students for 20 beautiful years!

Fresh out of UCLA, Lisa initially interviewed with Paul Cummins to be an English instructor. But things changed when Paul learned about her illustrious college softball career, which would earn her a spot in the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame. Paul hired Lisa to be the varsity assistant coach for the girls softball team, where his daughter, Emily, played shortstop.

At the time, Lisa was working on her elementary multi-subject credential, and spent a year as a second grade assistant teacher. When the Elementary School physical education teacher went on maternity leave, Lisa stepped in. The teacher didn’t return, and thus began Lisa’s 30-year journey as an Elementary School P.E. specialist.

When Lisa joined Crossroads, the Elementary School was still in the former

St. Augustine campus on Fourth Street; P.E. class was held on a 20-by-30 foot asphalt lot. When the Norton Campus opened, the area that would become the soccer field was a broken-up asphalt parking lot. But nothing fazed Lisa. She loved kids and devised a developmental curriculum designed to make every child feel safe and comfortable, embracing all levels of athleticism. She created May Madness, a field day event at Clover Park featuring fun, noncompetitive games and specially designed T-shirts.

Lisa is most proud of her two “lifer” sons, Finn Hadfield ’19 and Kyle Hadfield ’22. Lisa, we are so grateful for your amazing 30 years here!



While working on a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Sheila heard about the Life Skills program at Crossroads. Developed in 1983, the program is focused on student wellness and connection, building students’ compassion, listening skills and respect for varying opinions and experiences. Sheila interned in Upper School Life Skills classes for a year, learning how to lead the signature practice of Council and support students as they shared their innermost feelings with peers. Her signature warmth and authenticity made her a natural. Now an Upper School Life Skills instructor, over the last 20 years she has also served as the Middle School Life Skills coordinator

and chair of the Upper School Life Skills Department.

Sheila is an unabashed champion of the Life Skills program, offered weekly for students K-12. She believes that working with kids to develop confidence, resilience and empathy makes a difference in their lives and, subsequently, in the lives of everyone they encounter.

Sheila’s talent as a teacher extends beyond her students. Over the years, she has hired Life Skills instructors from nonteaching backgrounds, identifying in them the skills, experiences and temperaments required to excel at the job and serving as a mentor to build them into the extraordinary teachers they are today.

Sheila is the proud mother of Chiron Bloch ’00 and a devoted grandmother, picking up her grandson from school every day. Sheila, thank you for sharing your huge heart with Crossroads for 30 wonderful years!


Like many longtime employees, Shawn has served in a variety of roles during her time at Crossroads. She’s been a varsity softball coach; a sixth grade physical education assistant teacher; and even a summer assistant to the Upper School registrar. But no matter what her title, Shawn has always brought incredible warmth, genuine care for students and an unsinkable, positive attitude to the job.

Today, Shawn is a Middle School P.E. teacher and coordinator and an Upper School P.E. teacher. She has developed a curriculum that combines traditional and nontraditional elements, as well as team, group, dual and individual activities. Shawn wants every student, regardless of skill level, to feel comfortable learning

and taking risks. Her goal is to provide opportunities for every student to experience growth and success in a movement environment.

A great example of Shawn’s approach was the sixth grade circus, which ran for many years. Few students have circus training, so the work challenged both experienced young athletes and those less athletically inclined. Students had to slow down, follow a rubric for skill development and practice building perseverance. Shawn helped them develop their technique with her typical patience and expertise, and was always thrilled when students exceeded their own expectations.

Shawn has also been known to chaperone Environmental and Outdoor Education trips, supporting students as they tackled new physical challenges out in the natural world. Shawn, thank you for sharing the joy you take in your work with the Crossroads community!


Assistant Head of Elementary School CATHERINE “CAT”

RAMOS celebrated 30 years at Crossroads—and also retired! Read about her Crossroads journey on page 53.


Mary Ann Cummins holds a singular place in the history of Crossroads, having taught here for all 50 years of the School’s existence. She is a renowned music theory teacher, a brilliant pianist, a force of nature and a second mother to many. She was hired by

Crossroads co-founder and first headmaster Paul Cummins— whom she would marry a year later—to develop an Orff Schulwerk music program at St. Augustine by-the-Sea.

Over the years, Mary Ann assembled a jug band and the beginnings of a chamber

WILLOW OWEN, seventh grade

Y E AR 50


ensemble in the Upper School. She conceived the music major program, which evolved into the Elizabeth Mandell Music Institute, which she executive directed for a time. But Mary Ann’s true passion has always been teaching and mentoring students.

As the chamber orchestra’s reputation grew, music students from Asia increasingly began to enroll at Crossroads to participate. Because few of them had family in California, and the School’s international house did not yet exist, many of these

students lived with Mary Ann and Paul—a reflection of their total commitment to and care for their students.

Mary Ann’s generosity, passion and deep bonds with current and former students over the last 50 years epitomize excellence in teaching,

impacting the culture of Crossroads both within and beyond the music program. Thank you, Mary Ann, for your indelible contributions to the School, which quite literally would not be the same without you.



When Ana Maria Floyd arrived in Los Angeles, she was looking for a change.

Ana had practiced family and civil law in her native Spain; her husband’s job transfer to Southern California provided the perfect opportunity to try something different. After interviewing to be a Spanish instructor at Crossroads and presenting a teaching demonstration, she was told, “You are a natural.” Twenty two years later, the statement still holds true.

Ana has helped transform the World Languages Department. She’s served as department chair and has taught every level, from Middle School and Spanish 1 through Crossroads Advanced Studies (CAS) classes. In her CAS courses, Ana challenged her students to practice real-world activities in Spanish, including debating current events, resume writing and job interviewing. For 16 years, Ana also took the lead role in helping to plan a cultural

exchange program with a school in Zaragoza, Spain.

“Ana has an amazing ability to really hold kids to high standards, but in a very generous, kind, thoughtful way,” said Upper School World Languages Chair Molly Cavallaro. “She’s so supportive, and she really sees the whole student that’s showing up in her classroom.”

Ana also served as an advisor, helping students navigate academic life and personal changes. Her colleagues think of her as an advisor of sorts, too. “She’s been an amazing mentor for me,” said Molly. “I think a lot of who I am as a teacher and who I am in our community at Crossroads is thanks to Ana’s mentorship.”

Ana is known for her empathy, passion, professionalism and wonderful sense of humor. She looks forward to spending more time with her husband, cats and dog and her family in Spain.

While finishing her California teaching credential at San Diego State University, Antoinette Parker interviewed to be a math teacher at Crossroads. To her surprise, one of the interview questions was whether she ever went camping. It was fortunate that she did—all Crossroads teachers at the time were expected to chaperone the School’s Environmental and Outdoor Education trips!

Antoinette taught math at Crossroads for a remarkable 45 years and is the second longest-serving faculty member in the School’s 50-year history. In the late ’80s, during a well-earned sabbatical, she worked on a long-term study on adolescent alcohol and substance abuse.

Antoinette’s favorite parts of teaching are the relationships she built with students and how a class becomes a family. She found it especially rewarding when she saw a student’s face light up as they suddenly grasped a difficult concept she’d explained.

“Antoinette is eventempered, flexible and gener-

ous,” said Upper School math teacher Barbara Kahn. “She always upheld high academic standards and spent almost all her nonteaching hours at Crossroads working with students who needed extra help and support. It’s hard for me to imagine working here without her.”

During her tenure, Antoinette taught everything from seventh grade math to advanced calculus. In addition, she created enriching learning opportunities for students, including the Geometry Fair, scheduled school service opportunities for sophomores and planned annual field trips to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and California Science Center. While honored to have served as the Math Department chair for a time, she found teaching students the most rewarding.

In her retirement, she looks forward to being active outdoors and spending time with daughters Nadine Parker ’06 and Shannon Parker ’09 and her first grandchild.


Tracey Porter loved teaching eighth grade in Hawthorne, but she disliked the tightly controlled curriculum. An ad in the paper led her to an interview with Crossroads co-founder and thenheadmaster Paul Cummins, which turned out to be, as she described it, “one of the best conversations” she’s ever had. Paul hired her within 20 minutes; they spent the rest of the hour talking about books. With a master’s degree in English literature from the University of London, Tracey never imagined herself teaching middle school for her entire career. She was sure she would pursue a Ph.D. and teach at the college level or travel the world. But Crossroads became a haven for her—a place where she could pursue her lifelong passions of reading and discussing modernism, history, politics, justice, poetry, novels and more. She loved the challenge of presenting complex material in lesson plans that engaged sixth graders.

A proud parent to Sarah Corner ’11 and Sam Corner ’15, both Crossroads “lifers,”

Tracey counts her many creative writing projects among her career accomplishments. She once used a “Tom and Jerry” cartoon to demonstrate how medieval iconography about heaven and hell remains embedded in popular consciousness.

Tracey has also written four published novels, including “Billy Creekmore,” which was named to’s Kids’ Reading List, compiled by the American Library Association.

One of Tracey’s Middle School colleagues, Todd Baron, describes Tracey as “a novelist; a visual artist; a friend of 30-plus years.” He remarked, “Tracey was a master at her craft, but so egoless as to be the proof I needed that children, Middle School children, would always be seen as brilliant lights.”

Catherine Ramos, better known as Cat, has served Crossroads Elementary School with passion, laughter and creativity for 30 years. She has been a second grade teacher, fifth grade teacher, Life Skills coordinator, assistant director, curriculum coordinator, student council coordinator and the dean of fourth and fifth grades. For the last 20 years, she’s been the assistant head of Elementary School.

While she may not have anticipated these varied roles, Cat knew from the moment she arrived in Los Angeles in 1992 that she could fully be herself. She has thrived in the respectful yet daring Crossroads community, where dissenting views are safely aired. Most importantly, Cat has been able to apply her passion for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in every role she has held at the Elementary School.

One of her proudest accomplishments was helping to develop the All School Reads program, focusing on books featuring DEI themes. During

remote learning—when students were unable to get to know new teachers in the community—Cat filmed the readings and invited new teachers to share their cultures through related literature.

“Cat pushed us to think more deeply about DEI issues before they became common in Elementary School curricula,” explained her successor, longtime teacher and administrator Sasha Moore. “She demonstrated to our young people what true advocacy looks, sounds and feels like. We will miss her wisdom, compassion and sense of humor.”

Cat was also responsible for designing fifth grade sweatshirts and Moving Up materials. Ever-inclusive, she always sought to highlight artwork from every child who submitted a design proposal.

As Cat retires after 30 magnificent years, we wish her endless hours of rest, gardening and time spent with her beloved family (including husband Ramón and daughter Arielle Ramos ’04), friends and dog.



Bob’s Farewell Party

What a celebration! Bob Riddle’s retirement party drew hundreds of Crossroads community members to the Alley on June 16 to honor his incredible 38-year legacy. Parents, guardians, faculty, staff and alumni from across the decades gathered to commemorate the retiring head of school with food, drinks and entertainment. Bob, an avid music lover,

was honored with musical performances by the Brass Monkey Band, Inara George ’92 and the Parent Band, featuring Susanna Hoffs and special guest Maiya Sykes ’96. Current and former colleagues took to the mic to give heartfelt thanks to Bob for his invaluable friendship, inspiring leadership and dedication to the Crossroads community.

1. The evening’s hosts, parent of alumni Kevin Neustadt and current parent Deborah Dragon, warmed up the crowd and toasted Bob.

2. Inara George ’92 set the mood.

3. Parent Band co-founder Susanna Hoffs gave a special performance.

4. Incoming Interim Head of School Mariama Richards honored Bob’s many accomplishments.

5. Paul Cummins and Roger Weaver welcomed Bob to the “former heads of Crossroads” club.

6. Bob’s friend and former colleague Joan TakayamaOgawa, a renowned ceramist, presented him with a custom-made gift.

7. The Parent Band and Bob, from left to right: Jarod Sheahan, Brad Babinski, Maiya Sykes ’96, Bhavna de Montebello, Elan Glasser, Vida Simon, Bob, Andrew Hoegl, Jennifer Hundtoft, Karey Kirkpatrick, Noah Lifschey, David Listenberger and Julie Silver

12 345 67

Alumni of Color Gathering Fosters Community and Highlights Progress

On March 27, the Crossroads Alumni BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) Committee hosted the fourth annual Alumni of Color Gathering. The event was held off-campus for the first time, at Alta Adams restaurant. The intention of the evening was to “re-energize and reconnect with other BIPOC alumni and faculty of the School and celebrate identity and inclusion.”

It was a warm and welcoming event. Marisol León ’03—a member of the Alumni BIPOC Advisory Planning Committee and vice chair of Crossroads’ Board of Trustees—gave a moving introduction about the change she has seen at the School. Fellow committee member and trustee Erin Simon ’95 and Associate Director for Latinx Support & Outreach Silvia Salazar also welcomed the crowd.

Mariama Richards shed light on both ongoing and recent efforts at Crossroads to create more inclusion and belonging, and invited us to share ideas for how the School can better support its diverse community. It was heartening to hear that Crossroads is so deeply committed to creating a truly inclusive space for its students, and that the School has made some real strides in diversifying its student body—over 50% of students identify as students of color. Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Stephanie Carrillo highlighted the various affinity groups for students, families and employees, which can be transformational spaces for communities of color to support each other.

The entire evening, in many ways, felt like an affinity space for the alumni present. While dining on delicious Southern comfort food, we had a chance to reflect on and share our experiences as students of color at Crossroads. The overwhelming feeling I had was that Crossroads was a positive space that always strives for inclusion and acceptance of all. It’s encouraging to see that Crossroads continues to work hard to create opportunities like this Alumni of Color Gathering to foster ongoing dialogue, and that the School is curious and open to feedback. It feels very much in line with the spirit, philosophy and values of Crossroads.

1. Cristina Orci Fernandez ’85 (center) and teacher Marisa Alimento 2. Stephen Johnson ’98, Joyce So ’15 and Miriam CortezCaceres ’13 3. Erin Simon ’95, guest Wendy Schultz and Brandon Schultz ’91 4. Marisol León ’03 and Stephanie Carrillo 5. Alexis Earkman, Yovana Perez and Maggie Pulley, Class of 1997 6. Kenya Collins ’12, Ayana Taylor ’12, Marisol León ’03 and Hassani Scott ’13 12 3 6 4 5

Thank You, Alumni Families!

Wow! Crossroads community, thank you for coming together and showing your Roadrunner pride for the virtual 50-Hour Celebration! We couldn’t be prouder of our wonderful alumni and parents of alumni, as well as current families, faculty and staff who participated in the event.

The 50-Hour Celebration, held June 13-15, raised nearly $300,000 for the Crossroads Fund, with gifts from over 200 donors. Community members offered up 18 matching gift opportunities that inspired

donations, as did virtual shout-outs, surprise guests and cameos by School leaders past and present. (Paul Cummins performing a TikTok dance was especially memorable!)

Videos showcasing the School’s history and some friendly competition between classes generated waves of school spirit. A special thank-you to the Class of 2005, which had the highest participation, followed closely by the Classes of 1997 and 1994.

The 1990s classes claimed victory in the “Decades Challenge.”

We’re so grateful for your generous support and ongoing enthusiasm—there’s no one

we’d rather celebrate with to honor our School’s 50th anniversary!

Crossroads co-founders Paul Cummins and Rhoda Makoff recorded a special video for the 50-Hour Celebration.
50 Hours Celebrating 50 Years!

“A Kaleidoscope of Great Works” Shows Off Talents of Alumni and Faculty Artists

Paintings, sculptures, photography and more were on display at Crossroads School’s Alumni and Faculty Arts Exhibition as part of the School’s yearlong 50th anniversary celebration. The curated show was held at the Charles Arnoldi Studio in Venice on April 30 and May 1.

An advisory committee was established to oversee this momentous undertaking. It included independent curator Cassandra Coblentz ’92; artist Shingo Francis ’88;

Emma Gray, current parent, artist, curator and gallerist; and Pam Posey, a curator, artist and former Crossroads visual arts teacher. More than 250 members of the Crossroads community attended the event, which was organized by Director of Alumni Relations Jennifer Gerber ’97 and 50th Anniversary Coordinator Sonoma Van Brunt-Leyhe.

At a special reception for the artists held on April 30, Crossroads co-founder and first headmaster Paul Cummins remarked on how

impressive it was that such an accomplished group of artists emerged from Crossroads over the years. Fahren Feingold ’98, a participating artist who helped to plan the event, believes it stems from how the School approaches art education. She explained, “From the first, it fostered my creativity and gave me space to explore different mediums, projects and platforms, which is crucial for building a love of art.” Shingo Francis concurred and shared that at Crossroads, “I had the freedom to explore and was entrusted with my own imagination.

Clockwise from left: Wyatt Mills ’09; “Migrant Mother” by Rebecca Mizrahi ’94; exhibition organizers Jennifer Gerber ’97, Emma Gray, Shingo Francis ’88, Pam Posey, Cassandra Coblentz ’92 and Sonoma Van Brunt-Leyhe; host Chuck Arnoldi (right), with his children, participating artists Ryland Arnoldi ’06 and Natalie Arnoldi ’08, in front of one of Natalie’s paintings; alumni and faculty artists

I got to say, ‘This is who I am, and this is how I want to express myself.’”

Pam Posey credits Crossroads’ success with the fact that “the teachers are working artists. They can communicate with the students on both a personal and professional level because they’re constantly figuring out their art the way their students are.”

The exhibit comprised a stunning collection of drawings, photographs, prints and

paintings as well as three-dimensional, mixed media and advanced technological/ digital art. “I enjoyed seeing the work of so many former students,” beamed Pam. “I’m so proud of them.”

The show’s title was inspired by the School’s 50th-anniversary logo, which reimagines the Crossroads X as light reflected through a kaleidoscope: a vivid, ever-changing interplay of art and science. Noted Sonoma, “It’s fitting to include ‘kaleidoscope’ in the title of

the exhibition, as it literally means ‘observer of beautiful forms,’ derived from the Greek words kalos (beautiful) and eidos (shape).”

To see all of the exhibited work and learn more about the artists, please visit or scan the QR code below. Keep an eye out for artwork from the exhibition on the following pages!

Clockwise from left: Brendan Murdock ’86; visual arts teachers Vernon Salyers, Susan Arena, Elyse Jung-Vrymoed ’06 and Jesse Robinson; visual arts teacher Leslie Rosdol; “Chicken Run” by visual arts teacher Max Hertz ’15; “Woman & Bird” by America Martin ’98


60 CROSSROADS SCHOOL FOR ARTS & SCIENCES ALUMNI NEWS 10-YEAR REUNIONS | June 11, 2022 | Classes of 2010, 2011 and 2012
For the last two years, Crossroads postponed holding in-person alumni reunions for the health and safety of our community. In the spring, we were thrilled to host 10-, 20- and 30-year reunions for this year’s celebrating classes alongside the alumni whose reunions were postponed. Each of the events brought together three grades for what proved to be wonderful nights of reconnection in the Alley for our graduates. >>> 1. Standing, left to right: Cheryl Junod, Shawn Gilbert, Bob Riddle, Paul Gibbs, David Listenberger, Billy Robertson, Drew Devore and Trudy Cano. Seated, left to right: Tina Turbeville, Marisa Alimento, Stephanie Carrillo, Scott Weintraub, Hya Young and David Olds 2. Julian Ortega, Devin Bhalla, Lorne Raimi, Zack Foos, Justin Blair, Cameron Fuller and Daniel Scheir, Class of 2012 3. Kyle Yoo and Josh Flyer, Class of 2010 4. Lillie Schachter, Ingrid Eskeland-Adetuyi and Adam Hakim, Class of 2011 5. Virgil Chao and Harry Wilson, Class of 2012 6. Julian Black ’11 , Thomas Berg ’10 and Cody Rosenfield ’10 7. Shannon McQueen, Megan Baer and Ali Bahrynian, Class of 2010 8. Nicky Harvey ’11 , Lili Cohen ’11 , Maya Barad ’12 , India Wilson ’12 and Daniel Brubaker ’11 9. Molly Cox ’11 , Roni Stein ’12 , Becky Belinsky ’11 and Jamie Bando ’11 78 1 345 9 2 6




CROSS SECTIONS MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2022 61 20-YEAR REUNIONS | June 4, 2022 | Classes of 2000, 2001 and 2002 12 3 6 4 57 >>> 1. Joanne Cho, Aleksandr Nazaryan, Jonah Hill and Alex Diggs, Class of 2002 2. Mara Bond,
Wolf and guest
Wolf, Class of 2001 3. David Appleton ’02 , Katy Fairfax Wright ’02 and
Wright ’00 4. Mason Donley, Caitlin Malley and Ryan Watson, Class of 2002 5. Josh Passman and Dan Tenzer, Class of 2000 6. Guest Stephen Greene and Cindy Greene ’01 7. Guest Shawn Bannon and Alix Radford Bannon ’02 8. Sarah Braun, Hayden Victor Ellison, guest Rob Ellison and Joseph Woods, Class of 2000 9. Taylor Locke, Kate Berg and Mir Harris, Class of 2002 89

Bob Riddle, Tom Nolan, Brandon Schultz ’91 and Mariama Richards

Justine Kragen, Hill Cheuk and Shawna Hogan, Class of 1992

Alex Hoerner and Shelayna Kennedy, Class of 1991

Daniel Ripoll and Craig Borstein, Class of 1992

Tom Nolan, Inara George ’92, Jessica Ruvinsky ’91 and Rachel Braude ’91

Inara George ’92 and Guild Copeland ’90

Helen Verhoeven ’92 , Nick Rozansky ’91 and Alon Asherson ’93

Kim Cooper-Plaszewski, Eden Mendel and Jessica (Saltsman) Buonocore, Class of 1992

Yelena Kompaneyets

Kim Moore-Le Noach and Susan (Choi) Hyun, Class of 1990

Tony Romain, guest Sara Adelman and Jeremy Stoller

Class of 1991

Paul Cummins, Roger Weaver, Scott Weintraub, Joe Wise and Mark Govatos

123 4 7 56 89 1011 30-YEAR REUNIONS | April 23, 2022 | Classes of 1990, 1991 and 1992 ALUMNI NEWS



10/ 02/ 2022

Alley Party

Kick off the school year with the entire Crossroads community!

Stay tuned for dates and details about the below events!

Singles Mixer

Mix and mingle with alumni from nine local independent schools.


Reconnect with classmates and favorite teachers in the Alley.

Alumni BIPOC Gathering

Join fellow alumni who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color to discuss how to support and strengthen the School’s diverse community.

Parents of Alumni Gathering

Come together for a fun night of food, drink and reminiscing with old friends.

Parent Reunion for the Class of 2022 Stay connected in your first year out!


Alumni Group on Facebook

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Parents of Alumni Group on Facebook

› Connect and keep in touch with old friends.

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Alumni Network on LinkedIn

› Look for or post a job or internship.

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Alumni on Instagram @crossroadsalumni

› Share photos both old and new!

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Alumni Business Directory

Check out the directory of Crossroads alumni-owned small businesses or submit your business to be included at

Alumni Internship Program

Looking for an internship? Or is your business looking for smart, dynamic interns? In either case, get in touch with Rachael Golding in the Alumni Office at

Alumni Online Portal

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Marilyn Moore writes: “I reside in Maine, where I own and operate a marine rigging company with my husband. Originally from England, Jim washed up on my shore after sailing around the world on an 80-foot ketch. Our one son, Kai, recently earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Stanford University. His plan is to continue with a graduate education in neurology. I live on the beautiful island of Mount Desert, so if anyone is here visiting, please look me up.”


Nechama First writes: “I enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom for many years. (It’s akin to getting a medical degree and a psychology degree simultaneously.) Then

I worked as a school librarian for about 10 years. Lately, I am working as a reading, writing and literacy specialist, primarily using the Orton-Gillingham method. My main takeaway from Crossroads is that it gave me permission to think. I hope I am able to give that gift to my own children and my pupils!”


Erica (Jacobs) Green writes: “I’m back living in Washington, D.C., after another stint overseas. (I’m married to a foreign service officer who is currently on loan to the National Security Council.)

I’ve recently partnered with two former colleagues from National Geographic to start a kids media company called WonderLab. We


giving her “a front-row seat for the fall of the Soviet empire.” Back in the U.S., she raised two sons, became a climate activist and created an energy-positive urban homestead in Boston.

When she last checked in with the Crossroads community through a class note, Andrée Collier Zaleska intriguingly mentioned that she was “living happily on 10 acres in southern Vermont, homesteading and teaching in a forest kindergarten.” When we followed up recently, she explained: “My main work is as a forest school teacher for kids ages 4-6. I came to this work after a decade of climate activism. The oppositional nature of that work wore me out, and I wanted a way to work toward harmony between humans and nature that wasn’t always a fight. Grounding little kids in their bodies, the forest and an environment of free play is just the thing.”

After graduating from Smith College and earning a master’s in Slavic languages from Harvard University, Andrée spent her 20s living in Ireland and Czechoslovakia,

Many of Andrée’s favorite memories of Crossroads involve teachers she loved, like Ann Colburn, Jeff Cooper and Jim Hosney. “Crossroads was the best educational experience in my life,” she said. “I believe my basic critical thinking skills, and much of my essential creativity, were fostered there.”

Today, when she’s not teaching, Andrée is creating gardens and orchards, foraging and communing with the chickens on her homestead. She also has side projects: the Collaborative Culture Project, which seeks to replace “cancel culture” with healthier behaviors, and Greenery, a local houseplant delivery and design service. She loves the Vermont lifestyle: hiking, river-swimming and enjoying outdoor concerts with friends. She invites anyone from the Crossroads community to look her up if they’re passing through Brattleboro.



create kids’ books, podcasts, web content and more. I’m also still running the Iceland Writers Retreat & Iceland Readers Retreat, which I co-founded nearly 10 years ago.”

Amanda Micheli writes: “My latest documentary, “Halftime,” which follows Jennifer Lopez in her 50th year, opened the Tribeca Film Festival on June 8 and premiered on Netflix a week later. I did my best to hold my own next to JLo on the red carpet—on the eve of my own 50th!”


Shelayna Kennedy writes: “After 26 years of teaching in early childhood—including five years of first grade at Crossroads— I have finally found my perfect gig at the inspiring L.A. Nature Kids. The program is in its 11th year and runs a preschool, vacation camps and afterschool program. Spending every day in California’s most beautiful spots working alongside children is a dream!”

Nell Cross Beckerman writes: “I have become a children’s picture book author. My first book, ‘Down Under the Pier,’ was inspired

assistant coach for the boys varsity team. As a Crossroads student, he was recruited to play basketball by UC Davis, where his team won a Division II National Championship. After college, Tra put his psychology degree to work as a youth development counselor.

In 2010, a group of Crossroads eighth graders held a shoe drive for the Police Athletics League, never suspecting it would inspire the founding of a nonprofit organization. Two years later, Crossroads basketball coach Travon Muhammad ’93 noticed a talented young player at a local game playing in worn-out Vans sneakers. After the game, Tra grabbed an extra pair of his own basketball shoes from the trunk of his car and gave them to the player. The young man’s face lit up. Remembering the eighth graders’ project, Tra was moved to begin the process of founding Sole Brothers, an organization that collects and redistributes shoes to young athletes in need and also provides training services and college scholarships.

Tra runs Sole Brothers in addition to working as the Crossroads boys junior varsity basketball coach and

Tra credits his experience as a Crossroads student with helping him connect with all kinds of people, something that is essential at Sole Brothers and in coaching. “Coming from the inner city to Crossroads taught me that there was a life outside of my neighborhood,” he said. “There were things and people that I could relate to, and we could have a friendship and a kinship that was deeper than just where we came from. When I got to college, I was able to relate to anyone and everyone—all cultures, all walks of life, all socioeconomic statuses—which is partially why I do the work that I do.”

Crossroads is a family affair for Tra: his wife, Vicky Moya Muhammad, graduated in 1995. Their son, TJ, graduated in 2021, and their daughter, Ayana-Monet, is a rising fourth grader.

Circling back to Crossroads has cemented Tra’s sense of the School as a family. “I have friendships going back to my days as a student here,” he said. “Now our children play together. Those deep relationships are a really incredible part of this community.”


“It’s hard to imagine that my oldest daughter is now 12, the age I was just before starting Crossroads,” shared Maggie Miller ’97, from her home in Oak Park, CA. “I think it was at Crossroads that I learned that everyone puts their pants on the same way in the morning. Sounds silly, but this has helped calm me down when running a meeting with a former president of a country or a Nobel Peace Prize recipient.”

Maggie has had these experiences as senior director of the Hilton Humanitarian Prize at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. At $2.5 million, it’s the world’s largest annual humanitarian award benefiting nonprofits. “Last year, it went to CAMFED (the Campaign for Female Education),” she said, “an organization that catalyzes the power of the most vulnerable girls and young women to create the future they imagine—for themselves, for their communities and for Africa. My work has taken me all over the world, meeting with incredible humanitarians who have so much to teach our world right now.”

After graduating from Crossroads, Maggie went to Georgetown University for one semester but quickly transferred to Kenyon College, where she was much happier. She found herself back in Los

Angeles in her 20s and spent several years working at the Milken Family Foundation before making her way to the Hilton Foundation.

“The trips I’ve taken to see nonprofit work in the field have been mind-altering,” she reported. “There is so much suffering, and yet so much incredibly courageous, creative and brilliant work taking place every day to better communities all over the world. Crossroads instilled in me the importance of building a meaningful life and giving back, and I feel very lucky to have found a career that allows me to do both. And that guided imagery in our Life Skills classes—am I the only one who loved those so much? It’s probably why I am such a big fan of the Calm App today. I am also convinced that all the hours in the Crossroads theater made presenting behind a podium at work events a bit easier.”

by the Santa Monica Pier and the sea life that lives beneath it. Proceeds support Heal the Bay, which I was first introduced to at Crossroads. My latest projects, ‘When the Sky Glows’ and ‘Caves,’ will be released this fall. It would be great to see Crossroads friends and kids at my launch parties and bookstore events. Find me on Instagram @NellCrossBeckerman or join my mailing list at”

Rachel Braude writes: “I have worked as a social worker with LAUSD for the past 22 years. My husband, Tim, and I have been together for 11 years. Our boys are Milo, 10, and Jack, 8. We live in Mar Vista with our dog, Bean, and our cat, Bitty.”

Cyril Wohrer writes: “After studying one year at Cornell, I became a monk in the Krishna Bhakti tradition. Those years of celibacy (or trying), distributing copies of the Upanishads at the airport and traveling all over India and the world were quite exotic and unique. I have almost finished a memoir chronicling that crazy decade and a half after Crossroads, which I am calling ‘Ouch, I Am a Soul: A Memoir of Medium-Good Karma.’



“Lunch in the Alley will forever hold a place in my heart,” said Court Young ’01. “The music and the laughs with faculty and my peers was a vibe. This is one of my first memories of the power of community.”

Community remains central in both Court’s life and work as a host homes coordinator at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Court explained, “I work for the world’s largest provider of programs and services for LGBT people, which offers countless opportunities to give back.“ Court is also the founder of YOUNGBLOOD MFG Co., a brand that combines their love for photography, mid-century design, basketball, typography, color and fashion.

Court, who uses the pronouns they/them, describes their journey since high school as “finding home in my body as a 6-foot tall, mixed-race,

afro-rocking, tattooed, nonbinary, queer human being. There were times in my life where it felt difficult to look at myself in the mirror, because I didn’t feel like my reflection was how I felt in my mind, body and soul. My reflection became daunting. Thankfully, that time was kind of running parallel to seeing more representation in the media and more nonbinary/trans folks being included in conversations around gender and identity. I started my own transition three years ago. Today, my reflection has never been clearer. Looking in the mirror never made as much sense as it does today. I legit have moments multiple times a day when I smile and tell myself I am proud of me.”

Court attended Crossroads for grades eight through 10 before moving to Ventura. They shared that the School was “one of the first times I experienced feeling supported, celebrated and, most importantly, encouraged to be me. I can honestly say that my three years at Crossroads laid the foundation for my journey toward self-identity and self-love.

“Our intentions should be to make this world equitable for every single person: a world in which we are not only celebrated for our unique identities, but, most importantly, celebrated for whom we choose to be and how we choose to share ourselves with our communities and the world at large.”

I would love to give you guys a free ebook. Email me at”


Aisha Wagle Oravec writes: “I’m living in Singapore with my husband, Brian, and three children, Haven, 13; Lark, 9; and Bodhi, 7. After 11 years in Mumbai, we settled here in 2017, and we’re grateful to be riding out the pandemic in relative sanity. I work with applicants to elite business schools and support my kids’ school. Come visit us!”


Esther O. Lee writes: “I am board president of the Independent Schools Admissions Association of Greater New York (ISAAGNY). ISAAGNY is the overseeing organization that supports New York member independent schools with fair and equitable admissions practices and policies. I am honored to serve as the board president and support my peer schools in the important work we do in New York.”


Jeffrey Nasonov writes: “I am excited to share with the

Crossroads community a documentary film that I am producing. The film is about the meaning of German citizenship stolen by the Nazis from 1933 to 1945 and the impact of descendants reclaiming


that citizenship today. I find this subject interesting not just because my own family is part of it, but also because it shows nation-level regret and atonement following a catastrophe. My team has produced a trailer and a 25-minute cut that I am happy to make available to anyone interested.”

Batyah (Barrie Lockitch) Mayer writes: “I live in Jerusalem with my husband, Dan, and children Leib, Emet and Bowie. I work in event planning and give my free time to various local community service projects. Since moving to Israel in 2014, I have decided to use my preferred Hebrew name and now go by ‘Batyah.’ Look me up on Instagram or Facebook and come say hi next time you’re in the Middle East!”


Arthur Gradstein writes: “I live in San Francisco and work as a director of story for a mobile gaming company. My fiancé, Alina, and I just welcomed our first child, Nico!”

Rebecca Kirsch writes: “I am a television writer and am thrilled to have recently been a co-executive producer on the new Marvel Studios series ‘Moon

Knight’ for Disney+. I am currently on the writing team for a new Freeform series that will premiere in fall 2022.”


Reagan Denius writes: “I currently find myself a creative artist running an electronic music label that doubles as a sci-fi multiverse of creative content and short stories. This year, under my sci-fi persona Robtek Reagan, I launched Void Space Institute, a multifaceted lifestyle brand geared at helping people step into the full potentialities of their existence within this insane reality we live in. Check out for all pertinent information on this larger-than-life endeavor.”

Kauan Gracie writes: “Great memories from Crossroads! Hope all are enjoying life full of health and well-being, peace and harmony, love and joy. I am in New Zealand now if anyone ever wants to go for coffee.”

Mason Donley writes: “I have worked for the LA Kings for 20 years and currently oversee ticket sales and special projects. My wife, Hope, and I live in Redondo Beach with our sons, Cameron and Austin.”

Aleksandr Nazaryan writes: “After graduating from Crossroads, I continued my educational journey at the Juilliard School, where I completed my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. I have been



working in Mexico City for the last nine years as a professional musician in the Mexico City Opera and the UNAM symphony orchestra. I have traveled to many countries along the way and have met extraordinary people from all over the world. I’m always open to contributing to nonprofit organizations by doing what I do best, performing music.”


Nick Risher ’03 and Daisy Hamilton ’07 write: “We just had twin boys! Welcome Finn and Levi Risher.”


Steph Subdiaz writes: “I am currently teaching math at the Eagle Rock School, an alternative boarding high school in Estes Park, Colorado. Before that, I was a full-time outdoor education instructor, usually spending 200+ days a year outside with students or on personal adventures. When not teaching math, I’m usually climbing, snowboarding or running in the mountains, and trying to build community.”

To submit a class note and/or update your contact information, please visit


Phillip Golub ’11 comes from a musical family; he’s pretty certain he would have become a musician no matter where he went to high school. But he might not have received such an excellent music education. “I left Crossroads with a strong foundation in classical music and jazz as well as in music theory,” Phillip said. “It’s not common in the U.S. to have a really solid musical education in high school, and I have carried that with me.”

Phillip earned a bachelor’s in English from Harvard University; a master’s of music in jazz performance from New England Conservatory; and a master’s in composition from Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London.

These days, he’s living in Brooklyn, composing and performing. He has recorded with Tropos, a group he co-founded, and as a member of Layale Chaker’s Sarafand Ensemble.

His own work centers on experimental improvised music and includes influences ranging from medieval to Arabic traditions. “It’s jazz-adjacent,” he explained. “I’m exploring the boundaries between the improvised and the notated and using an intensive rehearsal process as an integral part of creating work in conjunction with other musicians.” Phillip is also the musical dramaturg and music coordinator for “… (Iphigenia),” a new opera by musicians Wayne Shorter and esperanza spalding.

Reflecting on his time at Crossroads, Phillip said, “The Crossroads music program really shaped me. The Upper School jazz program with Evan Avery, and even Middle School jazz with Tony Hundtoft, encouraged me early on to trust my original voice and explore whatever kinds of music interested me. Though I wasn’t officially in the EMMI program (the Elizabeth Mandell Music Institute), playing with the EMMI students and learning with them at such a high level was a real benefit to have when I got to college.”

Phillip has also become an advocate for independent music artists’ labor rights as a member and organizer for Music Workers Alliance. “The pandemic made labor issues that had been around for a long time even more urgent,” he said. “Contributing to the broader musical community has become an important part of my life.”


Former longtime Crossroads teachers David and Delle Colloff passed away in 2022—David on March 11 at the age of 77, and his wife, Delle, on June 19 at the age of 74. They met as students in UCLA’s theater arts program and were married for 52 years.

David taught Upper School drama and was also an English instructor, mentoring students and helping to create and staff the School’s writing center. He developed and co-taught a 10th grade program in history and English and was known for his special expertise teaching Shakespeare. His passion left a significant impact on those around him, including his students in the summer conservatory program The Young People’s Shakespeare Company.

Ashley Eden Kessler ’96 still recalls her first interaction with David at an audition. She was painfully shy, but David patiently coaxed her onstage to dissect a passage together. Soon, Ashley found herself performing the scene, transformed by David’s ability to help students discover meaning and rhythm in the written word. He created a sense of home for students, giving Ashley a confidence that she continued to carry with her. “David was the gentle patriarch, guiding us with such tenderness and an almost invisible hand that we felt bold and accomplished and independent,” said Ashley. “What daring and vision he had. I hope David remembered the frightened, meek girl he first met and credited himself with that profound

transformation. I do. I will always remember him and hold him close in my heart with fondness and immense gratitude.”

Delle began her career at Crossroads teaching Middle School drama. She and David were professional actors and screenwriters and were instrumental in creating the School’s highly respected Drama Department. Delle then taught kindergarten and third grade at the Elementary School, where she was an assistant teacher from 1988-91 before serving as a head teacher for the next nine years. Her classroom was known as a place of magic and joy, where she ensured that

the School’s newest students felt at home. Her inventive and hands-on teaching approach gave students the opportunity to learn life lessons, sometimes unknowingly. Delle could see deeply into children and loved them with her whole heart and an insightful intuition.

Joanie Martin, who served as the director of the Elementary School for 29 years, remembers Delle as a creative, empathetic and loving teacher who was adored by her students. “I was observing a lesson,” recalled Joanie. “Delle came through the classroom door holding a huge handful of different kinds of paper—different colors, sizes,

materials. She tripped, and the papers flew everywhere. The kids were all upset, and so was I. She asked the students if they could sort them out and put the papers in order somehow. Of course, she had planned the whole thing! The lesson was about attributes and classifying. The kids dove in, loved the lesson and helped out their teacher! It was brilliant.”

Crossroads will be forever grateful for David’s and Delle’s immense contributions to the School. The couple is survived by daughters Anya Colloff ’89 and Emily Ditkovski ’97; sons-in-law Brad and Jacob; and grandchildren Sam, Isaac and Amelia.

David Colloff February 2, 1945 – March 11, 2022 Delle Colloff November 12, 1947 – June 19, 2022 David and Delle with their daughters, Anya Colloff ’89 (far left) and Emily Ditkovski ’97

Chuck Ice passed away on May 25 at the age of 75. In 1981, Chuck was recruited as a P.E. teacher and varsity baseball coach by then-Athletics Director Rich Makoff. During his 11-year tenure as coach, the team had a 211-95 overall record and won two CIF titles. Chuck became athletics director in 1982, a role he held for 29 years. He grew the Middle and Upper School athletics programs from 15 teams in just six different sports to more than 40 teams in 11 sports, and he recruited countless talented coaches. Chuck was key in helping the School develop the Sports Center on the Norton Campus, finally providing the kind of facilities needed to fully support many of its athletics and P.E. programs.

Chuck was also instrumental in creating the annual Sports Extravaganza, which now draws thousands of fans each year to cheer on the Upper School soccer and basketball teams against crosstown rival Brentwood School.

Chuck always made fair play the number one priority of the athletics program. He exuded warmth and kindness and had a great sense of humor, often playing practical jokes on his colleagues. He is remembered as a true friend to so many, a wonderful colleague, a problem solver and a great humanitarian.

Chuck retired in 2013 after 32 years at Crossroads and was inducted into the Crossroads Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017.

Athletics Director Ira Smith shared, “Chuck left an incredible legacy at Crossroads, particularly with athletics. As his successor, I knew there were some big shoes to fill, and Chuck was there for me whenever I needed him. For that I am eternally grateful.”

Chuck is survived by his wife, Penny Ice, and his brother, John L. Ice.

IN MEMORIAM Chuck Ice November 4, 1946 – May 25, 2022
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