Cross Sections (Spring 2018)

Page 1



drama, dance, etc.

Statement of Philosophy The School was built upon five basic commitments: to academic excellence; to the arts; to the greater community; to the development of a student population of social, economic and racial diversity; and to the development of each student’s physical well-being and full human potential. It is the goal of Crossroads School to provide a strong college preparatory program from which each student will develop a personal commitment to learning, a respect for independent thinking and an expanding curiosity about the world and its people. We consider certain skills to be essential for all graduates: to read well, to write clearly and coherently, to study effectively, to reason soundly and to question thoughtfully. Through the educational process, we assist students in gaining self-esteem, self-knowledge and respect for the knowledge and opinions of others. We believe that education must not be a race for the accumulation of facts, but should be an enriching end in itself. We also believe that education is a joint venture among students, parents and teachers. To be effective with young people, teachers and parents must themselves continue to learn, so that they may perceive

lif c o e Sk un i cil lls,



the young accurately and treat them wisely. We believe that the arts are an essential part of the curriculum and that it is important for students to express themselves creatively and to use their imaginations freely. Therefore, music, drama, visual arts, film, writing and dance are significant parts of student life at Crossroads. Through our academic and extracurricular programs, we seek to promote social, political and moral understanding, and to instill a respect for the humanity and ecology of the earth. We understand that there are many kinds of intelligence, and the traditional academic, cognitive area is one. Other important areas of intelligence are intuition, imagination, artistic creativity, physical expression and performance, sensitivity to others and self-understanding. To neglect any of these areas is to limit students in the development of their full human potential. We believe that the uniqueness of children is revealed in their very existence and that it is the School’s responsibility to foster their innate sense of the mystery and joy of life.



To read the entire Statement of Philosophy, turn to page 24.

I find myself thinking a lot about the School’s Statement of Philosophy. In fact, that Statement of Philosophy is still the benchmark against which we measure our success, and is always used to inform every major decision at the School. First drafted in 1971 and revised only once— with minor revisions, at that—the document remains remarkably relevant to Crossroads’ approach to teaching and learning today, particularly in its five founding commitments: • To academic excellence. • To the arts. • To the greater community. • To the development of a student body of racial, social and economic diversity. • To the development of each student’s physical well-being and full human potential. Crossroads’ co-founder and first headmaster, Paul Cummins, has always pointed out that these five commitments have equal weight; none takes precedence over the others. Our One goal in the Crossroads Statement of Philosophy is to “develop in each student a personal commitment to learning, a respect for independent thinking, and an expanding curiosity about the world and its people.”

goal as a school is to fulfill each of these commitments for every student, every day. In the fall, 15 Crossroads colleagues and I had the opportunity to explore and report on the Philosophy as part of the self-study process required to renew the School’s accreditation with both the California Association of Independent Schools and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. As committee members assigned to write the section on the School’s mission, we considered important questions such as how the Philosophy has influenced major decisionmaking over the years, and what tensions might exist between the document and day-to-day life at the School. The Philosophy also plays a key role in the creation of Crossroads’ new seven-year strategic plan, which we hope to announce at the start of the 2018-19 school year. The plan will provide a road map for the direction of the School and will be heavily informed by the ideals and values put forth in the Philosophy. In this issue of Cross Sections, we share stories that demonstrate the daily impact of the Philosophy on our curriculum, programming and community. The School’s promotion of a diverse student population is reflected in our ongoing faculty and staff conversations and trainings, including record participation in the 2017 People of Color Conference and concurrent on-campus workshops on white privilege. We celebrate academic excellence in countless ways, including a STEAM-themed Elementary School Halloween and a thought-provoking Middle School unit on human rights. Students explore the arts through a wide range of offerings, including filmmaking courses, and develop their physical well-being through a diverse range of physical education and athletics options. And our commitment to the greater good is demonstrated in Upper School students’ support of a nonprofit for underserved


Inside This Issue 02

Around the School


Trustee News


Donor Profile


Parent Association


Re-Accreditation Self-Study


Crossroads Strategic Plan


In Conversation

30 Alumni News 35

Class Notes


In Memoriam

The Alley, seen here in a photo from the early 1990s, has evolved over the years.

children and the upcoming launch of a new, signature program: the Crossroads School Equity & Justice Institute. In today’s turbulent and divisive political climate, we believe that providing this type of “education in balance,” as former Headmaster Roger Weaver often described, is more crucial than ever. Beyond the skills deemed essential for all graduates—to read well, to write clearly and coherently, to study effectively, to reason soundly and to question thoughtfully—the Philosophy promotes “social, political and moral understanding” and “a respect for the humanity and ecology of the earth.” I am heartened by how our entire School community—employees, students, families and alumni—continues to embrace this challenge, engaging in difficult conversations and meaningful community activism on a range of social and political issues. I am especially proud of how the Statement of Philosophy’s impact extends well beyond graduation day. Our alumni—over 4,000 strong—are a living embodiment of our values. In this issue, we shine the spotlight on five alumni in wildly diverse fields, each of whose life’s work exemplifies one of Crossroads’ five founding commitments. There is perhaps no greater tribute to the Philosophy than

the myriad ways that our alumni carry those ideals out into the world. By necessity, schools are constantly evolving, and Crossroads is no exception. Our two robust campuses are a far cry from the church classrooms that housed the original Crossroads School in 1971, and the Alley, while still the hub of student activity and activism, is now filled with students, picnic tables and trees, not cars. Our commitment to a student body of racial, social and economic diversity is closer than ever to that vision: 45 percent of our students identify as students of color, one in four receives financial aid (totaling almost $9 million in our current operating budget), and some 53 percent of the admissions applications we received for the 2018-19 school year represented students of color. So while we may look a little different than we did in previous decades, at our core, Crossroads remains the same nurturing and enriching place of learning that it was designed to be 47 years ago. There’s no doubt that is due in large part to the principles laid out in the Statement of Philosophy, which our dedicated and creative faculty so expertly impart to our students. And I am confident that this Philosophy will continue to guide and shape us for many years to come as we foster in all students “their innate sense of the mystery and joy of life.”


is published twice a year by the Crossroads Advancement Office: Sara Ring Editor, Interim Director of Advancement Jeff Goodman Communications Manager Patti Finkelstein Director of Major Gifts Tracy Dana Director of Annual Giving Ana Onaindia Annual Giving Manager Kathy O’Brien Major Gifts Manager Jenn Gerber Director of Alumni Relations Tom Nolan Dean of Alumni Relations Mery Grace Castelo Constituent Relations Manager Veronica Ulloa Events Coordinator Ginette Buffone Web Manager Rose Tully Advancement Coordinator Paul Howiler, Eric Jones, Allison Schaub Advancement Services Designer Warren Group | Studio Deluxe Contributing Photographers Randall Coombs, Chris Flynn, Jeff Goodman, Elijah Hurwitz ON THE COVER

The Crossroads Statement of Philosophy Contact us at

KALEO LITVIN, kindergarten




Hallow-STEAM Generates Themed Enrichment All through the Elementary School, children were stirring. In second-grade classrooms, students were getting into the Halloween spirit by making slime from scratch. In fifth-grade classrooms, they were designing catapults with the goal of launching candy as far as they possibly could. It was all part of an exciting Hallow-STEAM at Crossroads, where young learners transformed the last day of October into a celebration of science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

“STEAM deepens kids’ critical-thinking skills while encouraging curiosity,” Elementary School science teacher Sasha Moore says. “It allows students to see the blending of subjects in an engaging and approachable way.” The enriching activities materialized with the encouragement of Elementary School Director Debbie Wei, which inspired Sasha to challenge her fellow faculty members to make functional wings for paper bats using paper, tape and scissors—in just eight minutes. The exercise reinforced that STEAM projects could be quick, simple and captivating for all participants.

Teachers then devised a variety of fun STEAM lessons, which were sandwiched between the annual morning costume parade and the end-of-day “Ghostbusters” dance and joyful singalong. Fourth-graders constructed straw towers that could support the weight of pumpkins, third-graders built spiderwebs, first-graders popped white balloon “ghosts” with Rube Goldberg machines and kindergarteners made bat wings. “STEAM helps students ask questions, be innovative and think creatively,” Sasha says. “And it provides the opportunity for students to use their knowledge and skills in ways that are practical and applicable to the real world.”

STEAM helps students ask questions, be innovative and think creatively. Sasha Moore, Elementary School science teacher

First-grader KingstonMax Johnson and fourth-graders Dash Kemper and Imonie Stuno-Pervorse collaborate on a Rube Goldberg machine.



Crossroads Community Explores Zipper Archives It was only a small sampling of the entire collection, but it brought the Crossroads community together to honor the legacy of a man whose life continues to impact the direction of the School.

strive for a brighter future.” The Sept. 13 opening reception featured a reflection by Crossroads co-founder Paul Cummins, who brought the archives to the School after Herbert’s death in 1997.

“The Herbert Zipper Archives at Twenty: From Z to A” included photographs, letters, sheet music, artwork and other artifacts that Herbert—an Austrian composer who survived two concentration camps and internment in Manila, the Philippines, before revitalizing the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra and becoming a music teacher at Crossroads—bequeathed to the School.

Paul celebrated Herbert’s risk-taking, relaying a story about the time he managed a day off in the Dachau concentration camp by walking around and measuring different areas with a pencil and ruler. He figured the Nazis would assume it was an important task.

Crossroads archivist Amie Mack curated the exhibition in the Sam Francis Gallery, noting in her Archivist Statement that “this archive offers lessons to be learned and to be taught. … There is no better time than the present to teach these lessons of the past in order to

“In order to get out of the box, you have to know what the box is,” Paul explains. “In order to make improvements and innovations, you have to understand what it is you’re innovating about. That’s one of the beauties of this School. … You’re learning how to be a creative thinker and express yourself and take risks. [Herbert’s] impact on this School will last for a very, very long time.”

The opening reception also included junior EMMI student Max Hammond’s breathtaking piano performance of an unpublished musical composition that Herbert wrote for his wife, the accomplished ballet dancer Trudl Dubsky Zipper. “It was a great experience,” Max says of playing the piece. “And the context makes it an even richer experience.” Complementing the gallery exhibit was a Sept. 22 film screening of “Never Give Up” in Roth Hall and a Q&A with director Terry Sanders, whose documentary short film about Herbert’s extraordinary life was nominated for a 1996 Academy Award. Paul’s wife, Crossroads music teacher Mary Ann Cummins, persuaded him to make the movie.

In order to get out of the box, you have to know what the box is. Paul Cummins

Left: Junior Max Hammond with Paul Cummins, who read from his biography of Herbert Zipper. Right: Exhibit visitors examine sheet music, photographs, letters and ephemera from Herbert’s remarkable life.

After reading the children’s book “The Three Questions” by Jon J. Muth, the students in Kindergarten East shared what they wonder about, what they don’t know and what they want to know more about. Throughout this magazine, wherever you see the symbol , you’ll discover the questions of our youngest learners.

How are diamonds made? Why do moms and dads go out for dinner? Dax Diamandis, kindergarten

DAX DIAMANDIS, kindergarten




Options Courses Let Middle Schoolers Embrace Choices and Challenges by Jenn Sagiao, Master Calendar Coordinator

Left: Middle School Technology Coordinator Dori Friedman teaches Options classes in Invention and Game Design. Right: Holli Manzo serves as Dungeon Master for an eager group of student players.

It’s seventh period, Friday afternoon, and students in Oksana Godoy’s Spanish 1A Options class are fully engaged in a discussion of por versus para. Verb conjugations are next. “I don’t know a good way to remember usted versus ustedes,” admits seventh-grader Sebastian Stauber. The class is studying for an upcoming quiz, but the commitment Sebastian and his fellow classmates demonstrate goes beyond grades. “I really want to be fluent in Spanish,” says seventh-grader Jackson Ortiz. “My relatives are fluent, and I want to be able to communicate with them. It’s why I chose this Options class.” Choice. It’s one of the pillars of the Middle School Options program philosophy. Twice a

year, students comb through a catalog of nearly 80 course offerings. “They have to practice choosing something over something else, and then ultimately live with the decision they’ve made,” says Middle School Director Michelle Merson. Seventh-grader Levi GilbertAdler debated between Arduino Boards and Game Design, which meet on the same day. Ultimately, he chose Arduino and replaced Game Design with Invention, a decision he’s quite happy with. “I’m building a pneumatic tube transport system,” he says. “It’s great because it’s very personal to what I want to learn.” Another pillar of Options: student-motivated learning. Explains Michelle, “They learn to own their education and what

their strengths and areas of self-interest are.” By exploring their passions and curiosities, students internalize their learning.

Kim Southerland. “No one can do it for them, so they have to take responsibility for their own learning, to turn mistakes into opportunities.”

In Holli Manzo’s Debate class, students do their own research and formulate their own arguments, including how to argue both sides of a topic. “It’s entirely self-motivated,” says Holli. To follow a “campaign” in Adventures with Dungeons and Dragons, you must be all-in: Listening and group decisionmaking are key. Motivation to survive is high.

Dori Friedman’s Game Design class has taught seventh-grader Jordana Goldstein that you must be “realistic with your ideas in order to create something that’s doable in the amount of time you have.” She’s creating an ’80sinspired portable arcade-style video game complete with joystick. “It’s a trial and error, but I like the challenge of it,” she says. “You learn to do things you didn’t think you could do.” Seventhgrader Daniel James agrees. “The best part is the moment an idea becomes reality. It’s the most amazing feeling when you see your ideas come to life.”

For Goodness Cakes! is less about baking and more about individual artistic expression. “[Cake decorating] is an art form that is individual,” says teacher


CHLOE BUTLER, sixth grade

Norton and 21st Street Campuses Get Upgrades

The athletic field at Norton Campus—used by students from all three divisions—has undergone major upgrades.

Crossroads has upgraded facilities on both campuses in recent months, continuing efforts to help ensure student safety while promoting environmental responsibility and fiscal sustainability. On the 21st Street Campus, the Science Education & Research Facility has received Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, thanks in part to the recent addition of solar panels to its roof. This LEED designation, awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council, recognizes Crossroads as a leader in sustainability. The School has also installed solar panels on the Paul Cummins Library, which offers additional long-term electricity savings while demonstrating the School’s commitment to eco-stewardship. When operating at peak efficiency, the panels on the two facilities generate a combined total of more than 44 kilowatts of power. Several significant renovations have also taken place on the Norton Campus, which

is home to the Elementary School and K-12 sports facilities. The athletic field, which was expanded to meet CIF soccer regulations, now features additional runoff space; an updated playing surface of U.S.-made thermoplastic elastomers, chosen after comprehensive research for increased safety, functionality and comfort; a new infill; and additional padding below. Crossroads also improved and expanded playground spaces; reconfigured the parking and driveway layouts for increased safety; and replaced the Elementary School roof. “Crossroads is committed to providing our students with exceptional facilities, and I sincerely appreciate the patience everyone showed as we brought these upgrades to fruition,” Head of School Bob Riddle says. “The story of our School is one of frequent evolution, and I know these upgrades will bring joy and pride to our entire community.”



Eighth-Graders Study the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights by Nicole Loomis, Upper School English Teacher

Students in Scott Correll’s and Josh Adler’s eighth-grade Core classes spent the week before winter break milling about their classrooms-turned-art galleries, reflecting on posters they’d created inspired by the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights. Earlier in the year, students in pairs were tasked with creating artwork representing one of the 30 articles of the declaration. The results were thoughtprovoking and included powerful imagery that underscored the importance of the U.N. articles.

JESSE LEYVA, eighth grade

Developed 70 years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights calls for fundamental human rights to be universally protected. It has been translated into over 500 languages.

In addition to studying the articles, students identified how human rights are violated or upheld in various countries around the world and explored the work of humanitarian organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders. The research also served as preparation for classroom debates on specific articles relating to the U.S. prison system. In one robust class discussion guided by Scott Correll, students reflected on which three U.N. articles they felt were most important. Khalfani Muhammad-Coney chose Article 26, the Right to Education, among his top three.

Eighth-graders created artwork inspired by the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights.

“I think that it’s very important because there are a lot of people in the world—even adults—who [haven’t had] access to education,” Khalfani explained. He cited a statistic that 1 billion people worldwide can’t read or write due to widespread inequity.

Added Jonny Rousso, “It’s imperative for our society that people have the same opportunities, because if we don’t, it will cause protest and plunder society. It’s just humane to treat everyone equally. It’s morally right.”


Field Trip Sets the Stage for Filmmaking Students The students in Filmmaking 2-3 walked from an office building to a morgue to an old courtroom to a brownstone apartment— all in a span of five minutes. That’s because all four of those settings were found in one facility, Riverfront Stages in the Atwater Village area of Los Angeles, which Taylor Greeson’s students visited on a field trip in early December to strengthen their understanding of professional filmmaking. The field trip allowed the students to explore and work on a real set—where television shows and independent movies are made—while learning about the physical and time constraints of this kind of filmmaking. “It was cool to see a film set in person because it gets you prepared for what a set might look like in the future,” junior

Elliott Sacks says. “I learned how to film in an unknown location and make the best of my surroundings. This will help me going forward, and now I’ll be able to direct a decent movie under short notice.” Taylor organized the full-day field trip to give his students a chance to film at a location away from School and grapple with the challenges that professionals face on a daily basis. “One of the main lessons they learned is that time on set can often be limited, and it is vital to be prepared and ready to work in order to make the most of that time,” Taylor says. “They also got a chance to see how much artifice goes into filmmaking—the fact that, just beyond the frame, you’ll find that everything is essentially fake, or a construction of reality.”

Upper School filmmaking students spent a day at Riverfront Stages.

Elementary School Students Take a Stand “What would you stand up for?” Elementary School Director Debbie Wei posed that question during the Monday Morning Meeting before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and K-5 students answered with an eye-catching display that was visible to everyone who attended this year’s Upper School Sports Extravaganza. Using red and blue ink to show their Roadrunner spirit, students created tags sharing the equity and justice causes that matter most to them. The children then hung the tags on the fence near the Norton Campus athletic field, where hundreds of fans enjoyed the competitions between Crossroads and Brentwood. The result was a temporary mosaic that served as a powerful demonstration of Crossroads’ commitment to social justice—on campus, in the community and around the world. “NO WAR!” read one. “Equality for all,” read another. “I believe that there should be no more whaling,” fifth-grader Zack Belzberg wrote. “I take a stand against homelessness,” kindergartener Goldie Corwin stated.

Where are we going to get ice cream? How do birds make a nest? Blake Holiner, kindergarten

Displaying the tags at Extravaganza on Jan. 12— three days before King’s birthday—allowed the entire community to reflect on the ideals of the late civil rights leader. “The reason we celebrate is that his work gives us an example, something that we can try to follow,” Debbie says. “It’s not an easy road to stand up for justice, to stand up for what you believe in. ... Justice is really about something that affects many people and affects their rights as people.” “We want the whole world to know that we here at Crossroads stand up for justice. Our school spirit really lives in this place where we care about others.”




Supporting Children in Need

Students made blankets for underserved children who attend Camp Harmony.

Many Crossroads students already volunteer as counselors at Camp Harmony— an initiative of the nonprofit United in Harmony—which provides homeless and impoverished children with overnight camp experiences, free of charge. Last fall, members of Crossroads’ United in Harmony Club (which provides fundraising and other support to the organization) partnered with their Upper School classmates in Community Awareness and Life Skills classes to make blankets for the children who attend Camp Harmony: physical symbols of the love the campers feel from their peers and counselors. Their cozy creations featured beautiful colors and images, including one with dogs on a red background and another with white and yellow flowers splashed across a black backdrop. The project—facilitated by Community Service faculty members Hali Morell and

Ken Rosen—came to fruition with the help of Crossroads parents and alumni who work at Snap, Inc., which donated the materials. “The blankets created will be distributed to each camper and will be a warm, fuzzy reminder of their time at the camp that they get to take home with them,” explains Ken. In addition to the blanket build, students at Crossroads have supported Camp Harmony through toy drives, bake sales and other initiatives. United in Harmony club members raised more than $1,000 for the camp last year, reports senior copresident and Camp Harmony counselor Lily Alexander. “At Camp Harmony, I am the happiest, most carefree version of myself,” says Lily, who serves alongside senior co-president Perry Mayo. “I get to be a leader and have fun with amazing kids I wouldn’t be able to meet otherwise. I cherish every minute of it.”


Cross-Country Continues Successful Run By Tara Shima, Athletics Communications Coordinator

Above left: Roadrunners during league finals at Brentwood School, where they incorporated their “pack running” mentality, pacing each other throughout the race. Above right: Roya Touran at league championships. She finished second in a highly competitive race.

The names have changed in the ranks of the Crossroads cross-country team, but the results haven’t. For nine consecutive years, the Roadrunners have secured spots at the CIF Southern Section championships thanks to a collection of talented endurance athletes, many of whom have gone on to compete at the collegiate level. This year, the boys team— seniors Nico Fuchs-Lynch

and Linus Richter, juniors Taj Lalwani and Riley Olds, sophomore Aristotle Hartzell and freshman Arden Cole— competed in the Division 5 finals in Riverside. Junior teammate Roya Touran represented the School in the girls race after qualifying as an individual runner. And although she missed out on a bid to the state meet by two places, she became the first female athlete in Crossroads history to crack the

19-minute mark in crosscountry. These runners kept alive the Crossroads dynasty with outstanding performances in the postseason, and the relatively young squad is poised for a bright future. In addition to touting some of the fastest runners in the Southern Section, the team has earned several CIF academic awards. Their accumulated GPA ranked higher than teams at all other

What was the first monkey that was born? Where is China? Giselle Holiner, kindergarten

schools in the section with fewer than 1,500 students. Led by head coach and English teacher David Olds, an esteemed nationally ranked Masters runner and seasoned coach, studentathletes are guided to new levels of greatness. As 2017 Crossroads Athletics Hall of Fame inductee and 1998 cross-country state champion Jeff Tomlinson ’99 says, “David is as good as any college coach. … We are so lucky to have him.”



Equity & Justice Institute to Launch Fall 2018 By Drew Devore

Since its founding in 1971, Crossroads has been devoted to social justice education and activism. With the dawn of the 2018-19 school year, that commitment will enter a new era with the launching of the Crossroads School Equity & Justice Institute. The Institute will become a signature program of the School that will impact the lives of all students and make meaningful differences in the face of global challenges. With this transformative Institute, the School seeks to harness the knowledge and passion of students, faculty and staff to help solve pressing issues around the world. “What an incredible opportunity for Crossroads to become a true leader in the field of equity and justice,” Head of School Bob Riddle says. “The Institute will allow the leaders of tomorrow to make tangible, meaningful change in the world today and will serve as a model for other schools looking to effect change.” The Institute will deepen and expand social justice education in each division with a comprehensive K-12 curriculum, introducing students to equity and justice issues across disciplines in developmentally appropriate ways. In addition, the Institute will welcome noted social justice advocates to share ideas, mentor students and guide the School’s social justice efforts.

The Institute’s impact will be felt beyond Crossroads through its support of direct community action. Students will collaborate with social justice advocates and leading organizations to further their work, and the Institute will send students into the field both locally and abroad to improve the lives of others. These sustained partnerships will enable students to work with the same communities year after year.

“Given our current political climate, there’s a general thirst for spaces that encourage dialogue on what it takes to incite meaningful, systemic change,” says Crossroads Trustee Marisol León ’03, a civil rights attorney for the California Department of Justice. “The Equity & Justice Institute will be that space at Crossroads, providing students with concrete tools to become change agents.”

The final goal of the Institute is to provide resources to help realize and expand the vision of social justice activists. Modeled on a tech incubator, the Institute will empower Crossroads students and faculty to develop and launch new nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations while making connections between groups to strengthen existing initiatives.

Over the past few years, Director of Enrollment Management Eric Barber and I co-chaired a committee to develop the framework for the Institute. The committee comprised Marisol León; Elementary School Technology Coordinator Joy Watt; Middle School Curriculum Coordinator and Latin teacher Marisa Alimento; and Upper

A nationwide search is underway for a director of the Institute, who will join Crossroads’ senior leadership committee, putting equity and justice at the nexus of the School’s operations. As an endowed program made possible by the generosity of capital campaign donors, the Institute is ensured to live in perpetuity at the School.

Maestro James Conlon speaks at the inaugural event of the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Equity & Justice Distinguished Lecture Series.

School English teacher Alan Barstow. With the launch of the Equity & Justice Institute, Crossroads enters a new phase of its social justice work. Future alumni in all fields and industries will think and act with an equity and justice perspective. The Institute will make a powerful impact on Crossroads and beyond. Its creation marks a significant milestone in the School’s history of making the world a better place for all. Drew Devore is the chair of the Upper School history department, a grade advisor and co-chair of the Equity & Justice Institute Launch Committee. Learn more at


The Younes and Soraya Nazarian Equity & Justice Distinguished Lecture Series One of the signature offerings of the Equity & Justice Institute is the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Equity & Justice Distinguished Lecture Series. The lecture series is an initiative of the Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation, which generously supports educational causes in a broad spectrum of institutions and through a wide variety of avenues: academic, public policy, community-based, social and artistic programs in the United States and Israel. Younes and Soraya Nazarian are the parents of Sharon Nazarian, a Crossroads parent and parent of alumni who serves on the School’s Board of Trustees. The inaugural event of the lecture series was a Feb. 6 presentation by Maestro James Conlon, the music director of LA Opera, which was arranged through the Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices at the Colburn School. Conlon discussed music by composers suppressed during the years of the Nazi regime in Europe, and explained how giving this little-heard music a second life “became a mission for me. Its absence was a posthumous victory for the Nazis. ... I seek to address this loss to civilization and inspire others to revive this music.”

“My parents and grandparents are immigrants from Iran. They picked up and left their country of birth due to the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and fear of religious persecution. My family understands firsthand the dangers of anti-Semitism. That’s why teaching the lessons of genocide, such as the Holocaust, are so important to us. ... Even though we all said ‘never again’ at the end of World War II, genocide continues to be part of our history. From Rwanda to Yugoslavia to today’s Myanmar, we are still repeating the same mistakes.” Events in the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Equity & Justice Distinguished Lecture Series are free and open to members of the public as well as the greater Crossroads community.

DAIELA SIMON-SEAY, eighth grade

Before Maestro Conlon’s presentation, donors to the Equity & Justice Institute gathered to hear an update from Bob Riddle about the timing of the Institute’s launch. Layla Nazarian Baradaran ’16 spoke on behalf of her family. She shared what inspired them to create the Distinguished Lecture Series at Crossroads, explaining:



Professional Development Crossroads offers its faculty a number of different opportunities to engage in professional development, which can include travel and research, curriculum design, and workshops and conferences. These experiences enhance our teachers’ own education and enrich the instruction they provide to students. For the last few years, Upper School teacher Piya Narayen has introduced contemporary issues relevant to whatever history she is teaching, such as drawing parallels between the French Revolution and the 2011 Arab Spring. Through a Summer Innovation Grant, she developed a new course in the History, Society and Ethics series titled Contemporary Global Geopolitics, which begins with 20th-century decolonization movements leading up to the present day. Students examine the intersection between shifting national boundaries, territorial disputes, class and religious conflict, foreign policy agendas and the emergence of new global power brokers. Resources for the class include newspapers, political commentaries, journals, government documents, historical texts, documentaries, film, works of art, maps and philosophical texts.

Technical theater teacher Phil Storrs created an entirely new curriculum that no longer centers on

students learning through supporting Middle and Upper School productions, which number eight a year. Phil and technical theater colleague Nick Santiago are handling the theater department’s production needs themselves, thus allowing students to learn the disciplines of tech theater (math, physics, engineering and art) at a reasonable pace and in an environment that promotes skill development and creativity. Drawing on research and experience, Phil crafted a curriculum that focuses on storytelling. For example, students pull different scenario slips from a hat (“After escaping prison, a rookie cop meets the ghost of Ernest Hemingway”) and create props, lighting and sound elements to fit the settings.

First-grade teachers Eva Araujo, Jacquelyn Ayears, Matthew Michael and Taylor Parker met at the Norton Campus throughout August and beyond to develop the second annual “Parent University” for their students’ parents. The team collaborated on the creation of a presentation, video recordings and handouts, and ordered supplies designed to help first-grade parents support their children’s initial reading efforts. At the October event, the team demonstrated different strategies for addressing various reading challenges and showed videos of themselves working with children. Parents not only added reading strategies to their parent toolkit, but also received another gift from the team: a bag of reading supports including a child-friendly tracker to remind students to use their index finger as they read. Advises Elementary School Director Debbie

Wei, “To promote love of reading, read to your child so that reading is associated with special time with you.”


Elementary School Special Projects Coordinator Matthew Watson has incorporated new strategies for creative, cooperative and inclusive play among Elementary School students. His work builds on the lessons he learned at the California Teacher Development

Collaborative’s Teaching Foundations workshop, which he attended in late July with a professional development grant from Crossroads. At the workshop, Matthew engaged in meaningful sessions on topics such as school identity and culture; lesson design and pedagogy; communication and feedback; and student diversity, bringing back with him new strategies and approaches to learning and play. Matthew has been observing recess and early-morning care with an eye toward promoting spontaneity and inclusion, and he is developing procedures to help ensure that the Elementary School’s campus climate is safe, fun and fulfilling for all students.

Middle School sixth-grade Core teacher Tracey Porter used her Faculty Personal and Professional Growth Award on a trip to Japan. Tracey’s goal was to increase her understanding of the important similarities and differences between the culture and social structures of medieval Europe and feudal Japan for a unit she has been teaching for three years as part of the yearlong study of the Middle Ages. Tracey actually completed the arduous Kumano Kodo Trek in the Wii peninsula. This trek, on thousand-year-old stone stairways and trails, is an ancient pilgrimage route that follows the journey of a particular Japanese Zen monk who went to China and came back to Japan to bring refined Buddhist teachings. After immersing herself in Japanese culture, visiting shrines, temples, art museums and natural reserves, and participating in meditation classes in a monastery, Tracey has deepened her own understanding of feudal Japan and has imparted her new knowledge to her students.

Eager to experience the Dublin that James Joyce knew, eighth-grade Core teacher Josh Adler had the opportunity to collaborate with the education team at the James Joyce Cultural Center in Dublin. To introduce the life and legacy of James Joyce to his students as they read “Araby,” one of the stories in “Dubliners,” Josh read the 15-story collection and walked and photographed the streets that Joyce referenced in his work. To investigate Ireland’s rich literary history, Josh toured the Dublin Writers’ Museum, Trinity College and the Abbey Theatre, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Oscar Wilde House and the Little Museum of Dublin. Back in the classroom, Josh shared photos and videos with students and used Google Maps to create a digital walking tour to allow students to virtually engage with some of the sites and institutions from his experience.






Board of Trustees

Says Martin, “My hope is to make a positive contribution and to support the continued preservation of diversity across both the student body and faculty; a continued commitment to high academic standards, particularly in ever-critical STEM curriculum; and recruitment and retention of the most amazing and inspiring teachers on the planet.“ “During the short time that Martin has been a Trustee, it has become clear to me that he will play an important role on the Board for many years to come,” says Board Chair Bob Friedman. “He is very thoughtful and when subjects come


Bob Friedman, Chair Darlene Chan, Executive Vice Chair Nat Trives, Executive Vice Chair Jeff Worthe, Executive Vice Chair Jeff Lipp, Secretary Bob Davenport, Treasurer

New Trustee Martin Jacobs.

up, he asks the right strategic questions consistent with the mission of our School.” Earlier this year, Michael Levin stepped down from the Board after four years of dedicated service. During his time as a Trustee, Michael served on the Finance, Capital Campaign, Governance and Revenue committees. In particular, Michael was instrumental in helping the School manage the competing demands of keeping tuition increases as low as possible while maintaining our commitments to faculty salaries and financial aid. “I was so grateful for Michael’s voice at some of our most challenging budget meetings,” says Bob Riddle. “His wisdom and counsel helped us make the right and necessary financial decisions for the School. We will miss his voice in those meetings.”


Andy Baum Trevor Bezdek ’95 Michelle Brookman ’82 Juan Carrillo Christopher Chee Ann Colburn Emilio Diez Barroso Mary Farrell Nicole Hoegl Martin Jacobs Deborah Kanter Nada Kirkpatrick Marisol León ’03


In September, the Board of Trustees welcomed new member Martin Jacobs. Martin is an equity portfolio manager at Capital Group and previously served as an executive director and senior investment analyst at Brinson Partners, Inc. in Chicago. Martin is a member of the Capital Group Companies Los Angeles Charitable Contributions Committee, a vice chairman of the Children’s Bureau of Southern California and a director of South Central Scholars. He holds an MBA in finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Southern California. Martin and his wife, Akieva Jacobs, are parents to eighth-grader Chloe and sixth-grader Marissa.

2017-18 Board of Trustees

Ted Miller ’82 Marc Millman Sharon Nazarian David Offer ’84 Lois Reinis Ilene Resnick-Weiss Tracy Seretean Bruce Stern David Tannenbaum ’89 Tom Werner Erik Wright



Joe Blackstone and Jamie Mohn When Jamie and Joe’s daughter, Jessica, entered kindergarten at Crossroads three years ago, the family knew they had found the school and the community for them. “We wholeheartedly buy into the Crossroads philosophy,” says Jamie, who began volunteering soon after as a community service

rep, library volunteer and online parent volunteer coordinator. As a psychologist, Jamie finds Parent Education Nights to be especially valuable. “Love, love, love them,” she asserts. “They offer a place for parents to share, to learn together how to navigate the waters of new technologies and the many challenges facing families today.”

The family’s contributions to Crossroads reflect their support of the School’s mission, particularly its founding commitment to developing a diverse student body. Joe explains, “The Crossroads financial aid program appeals to me because it is one way to offer diversity and inclusion, and that diversity benefits the entire community.”

Joe and Jamie co-founded the literacy nonprofit J3 Foundation (Los Angeles), where they also serve as volunteers and mentors to students from underserved communities. They feel satisfaction knowing that Crossroads “cares about what we care about.” The School’s rich curriculum, community involvement and opportunities for students and parents to serve are deeply meaningful to their family. As Joe says, “Every time I am on campus, I find myself smiling.”

How do pumpkins get made? How did the world get made? Blake Dixon, kindergarten

SERRA KOOK, 11th grade

Growing up in Chicago, Joe attended schools where there were few other students of color. “It is important that our daughter attends a school that reflects all cultures and all kinds of diversity—racial, cultural and economic,” says Joe, who has volunteered as a docent, lunch volunteer and Alley Party co-chair. “We are blessed to have the opportunity to contribute and encourage all families to support the School in as many ways as they are able.”



The Alley Party: A Crossroads Tradition For the past 32 years, Crossroads has hosted a welcome-back-to-school event in the fall called the Alley Party. Although originally it was held in the Alley, we outgrew that space but kept the moniker. We now shut down a city street for an entire day and transform 21st Street between Olympic Boulevard and Michigan Avenue into a huge block party.

The Dream Team: Events Coordinator Veronica Ulloa, Co-Chair Joe Blackstone, Head of School Bob Riddle, Co-Chair Michelle Dean ’89, Co-Chair Andrea Slutske and Constituent Relations Manager Mery Grace Castelo.

Hallmarks of this event include free admission and attendance by over 2,000 members of the Crossroads community, including current families, grandparents, alumni and parents of alumni. Some of the yearly traditions include live performances by student musicians and bands on the Alley Party stage; carnival-style booths; rock walls; inflatable obstacle courses; a “creation station” with original arts and crafts projects; a science booth with hands-on experiences hosted by the Crossroads outreach program PS Science; Lego race car building and racetracks; a sand art booth; and a photo booth. Recently added attractions include a sports lounge live-streaming games on a big-screen TV as well as foosball, air hockey and ping-pong tables. Culinary delights are found at the complimentary “food court” with booths from

This year’s Alley Party was held on Sept. 24, 2017. Kudos to our amazing Alley Party co-chairs Michelle Dean ’89, Andrea Slutske and Joe Blackstone and their fabulous committee members:

Creation Station Coordinators: Alethea Redclay ’91 and Alisa Ratner

Food Coordinators: Karin Schaer and Mollie Starr ’98

Signage Coordination: Nate Daniel

Bludso’s Bar + Que/The Starr Family

Volunteer Coordinator: Heather Heraeus

Entertainment Coordinator: Alicia Celmer

Caffe Luxxe Designer 8/The Sackler Family

Décor Committee: Michele Hentges Celmer, Michael Angelo Stuno, Arezou Berghoff and Negin Bolour

Community Service Coordinators: Erica Greene ’92, Nell Copilow ’91 and Amanda Lebowitz

Earlez Grille

Game Booths: Jared Frandle and Dylan Brown

Photo Booth: David Oshinsky

Cookie Monsters: Parents of alumni Michael Berlin, Karen Fields, Jim Hartung and Robin Sinclair

Science Activities: Julie Olds Sand Art Booth: Jordan Greenhut

Chili and Pie Contest Coordinators: Sydney Meller and Jaimee Bush

The generosity of these in-kind donors help us offer the Alley Party for free to our community. Thank you! Bergamot Café/The Stuppler Fernandez Family

Fresh Pressed Juicery/Hedi Gores Freshlunches Krispy Kreme Doughnuts/The Reinis and Glickman Families Prova Pizza/The Gores Family Sand Art/The Greenhut Family The Water Garden

Supporting Arts and Sciences in our Neighbor Schools Every year at the Alley Party, we collect art supplies to help keep the arts program alive for another year at our neighbor school, Saint Anne. This year, we also collected supplies for PS Science, a Crossroads outreach initiative bringing weekly hands-on science lessons to students in underserved schools. Thank you to everyone who donated supplies to help support these wonderful programs!


Bludso’s Bar + Que, Bergamot Café, Earlez Grille and Prova Pizza. Caffe Luxxe and Fresh Pressed Juicery offered delicious beverages. And the unquestionable star of the street is the desserts booth, arrayed with thousands of home-baked goodies brought by our families, as well as fresh fruit kebabs and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. Every Alley Party has a theme. Past years’ themes have included sports, street art, magic, the ’60s and science, to name a few. The theme this year was “Crossroads Corral,” and a rollicking time was had by all. Many folks got into the spirit by pulling out their Western duds, which added to the ambience on 21st Street. In honor of the Western theme, a mechanical bull was added to the attractions, and it was a huge hit. The Alumni booth hosted a chili and pie cook-off, which also was extremely popular. Yee-haw!

Wanna laugh? Wanna dance? Wanna schmooze?

Have we got the event for you: the 2018 Parent Association spring fundraiser, Crossroads Night Live! This adults-only evening will bring together some of the very best comedians in the world, who also just happen to be our very own parents, alumni, parents of alumni and grandparents. While the lineup is subject to change, our current roster of performers—both live and “pre-taped”—includes:


Want to volunteer? Contact spring event co-chairs Olivia Corwin, Michele Hentges Celmer and Marissa Pianko at

This event is made possible only by hundreds of parent volunteers and our incredibly generous in-kind donors. Crossroads is tremendously grateful to the dedicated volunteers who make this event so special every year. There will also be fantastic live music and dancing to a special surprise band, as well as fun activities, fabulous international food and delightful drinks. All of the proceeds from this phenomenal event will benefit the Crossroads Financial Aid Fund, which supports our socio-economically diverse student body by providing more than $8 million annually to one in four of our incredible students. Crossroads Night Live offers plenty of ways for you to support the Financial Aid Fund at Crossroads. You can: » Bid on our silent auction! » Be an underwriter! » P urchase reserved seating/ table sponsorships!

Have a raffle or auction item to donate? Contact auction/raffle co-chairs Ann Dinner, Jennifer Michael and Delphine Robertson ’88 at CROSSROADS NIGHT LIVE Saturday, May 5, 2018 Skirball Cultural Center 6:30–10 p.m. Tickets and information at





BY NANCY SEID Sixth-grade Core teacher, Middle School Core coordinator and co-chair of the WASC self-study process

Throughout the past year, Crossroads completed a self-study to renew our accreditation with the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS). Accreditation is a required process that takes place every seven years to ensure that schools and colleges “are worthy of the trust placed in them to provide high-quality learning” and “clearly demonstrate continual self-improvement.” Although the process required many months of work, it offered a welcome opportunity for Crossroads to reflect on our mission, our practices and our hopes for the future.

The recently updated self-study process was designed by a CAIS committee that includes former Crossroads headmaster Roger Weaver as well as other progressive leaders. In this new approach, schools are asked to examine more deeply whether what they teach—and how they teach it—is in line with their mission. The mission of Crossroads, as expressed in our Statement of Philosophy, is specifically inclusive of all participants, inviting reflection

Upper School math teacher Cherylnn Pope.

and the opportunity to “question thoughtfully.” In that spirit of inclusion, our process began with all full-time employees meeting in small groups to read and discuss the Statement of Philosophy. One group was conducted in Spanish for employees most comfortable conversing in that language. Participants were asked to think deeply about our Statement, focusing on a few main questions: What’s most important in this document? What do we love about it? What may be problematic about it? How might we want to change it? And perhaps most essentially: Do we actually adhere to this Statement of Philosophy in our practices as a school? Spending the day reflecting together was a highly rewarding experience for participants, who reported feeling energized by the inclusion of all employees as we worked together to discuss issues affecting the entire School. Soon after the initial meeting, all employees selected a chapter of the report on which to work. (See page 25.) Led by members of the Crossroads self-study steering committee, the chapter committees met frequently over the course of several months to answer specific questions posed by the study, measuring our actual performance against our values and goals.

The Board of Trustees was also integral to this report. Not only did Board members participate in writing some of the chapters, but they also provided important data and reflected on the School’s mission, which is always at the heart of what they do.

After the committees reached consensus, the Steering Committee members wrote up their chapters and sent them to me and my self-study co-chair, Assistant Head of School and Dean of Faculty Morgan Schwartz, for review and editing. In the fall, the committees met again to review and edit the revised chapters. Finally, the Administrative Planning Committee, comprising the School’s top leadership, reviewed and added their insights. This process was long and sometimes challenging, but in keeping with our progressive approach, we listened intently to what all participants had to say. Employee feedback illuminated aspects of our School that have room for improvement: For instance, we identified the need to




The School was built upon five basic commitments: to academic excellence; to the arts; to the greater community; to the development of a student population of social, economic and racial diversity; and to the development of each student’s physical well-being and full human potential. It is the goal of Crossroads School to provide a strong college preparatory program from which each student will develop a personal commitment to learning, a respect for independent thinking and an expanding curiosity about the world and its people. We consider certain skills to be essential for all graduates: to read well, to write clearly and coherently, to study effectively, to reason soundly and to question thoughtfully. Through the educational process, we assist students in gaining self-esteem, selfknowledge and respect for the knowledge and opinions of others. We believe that education must not be a race for the accumulation of facts, but should be an enriching end in itself. We also believe that education is a joint venture among students, parents and teachers. To be effective with young people, teachers and

parents must themselves continue to learn, so that they may perceive the young accurately and treat them wisely. We believe that the arts are an essential part of the curriculum and that it is important for students to express themselves creatively and to use their imaginations freely. Therefore, music, drama, visual arts, film, writing and dance are significant parts of student life at Crossroads. Through our academic and extracurricular programs, we seek to promote social, political and moral understanding, and to instill a respect for the humanity and ecology of the earth. We understand that there are many kinds of intelligence, and the traditional academic, cognitive area is one. Other important areas of intelligence are intuition, imagination, artistic creativity, physical expression and performance, sensitivity to others and self-understanding. To neglect any of these areas is to limit students in the development of their full human potential. We believe that the uniqueness of children is revealed in their very existence and that it is the School’s responsibility to foster their innate sense of the mystery and joy of life.


First grade co-teacher Matthew Michael introduces young learners to newly hatched chicks.


become more fully inclusive of all the voices within our community and address competing needs for time and space. Yet overall, the self-study reflected a School that is filled with tremendous joy, creativity, innovative learning and a deep commitment to social justice, as illustrated by hundreds of examples from all three divisions. For several days in February, both Crossroads campuses hosted a

visiting committee of peers from other California independent schools to assess how well our self-study reflects the state of our School. We anticipate that the CAIS Board of Standards will renew our accreditation in early summer. The impact of this work goes well beyond the accreditation process. It will also prove instrumental in the development of a schoolwide

strategic plan—Crossroads’ first since 2002—that is currently underway. (See story on page 26.) While accreditation happens every seven years, our commitment to self-assessment is ongoing. Crossroads will continue to engage in the type of thoughtful self-reflection that leads to meaningful action, helping us become the best possible version of what we strive to be.




CROSSROADS EMBARKS ON A NEW STRATEGIC PLAN Imagine if you could ask Crossroads the questions that you might ask a friend or potential colleague: “How are you doing?” “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

The School—or, rather, representatives of its dedicated and diverse community—is attempting to tackle those and other self-reflective queries as it works to develop a strategic plan before the start of the 2018-19 school year. This process, which Crossroads is undertaking for the first time since 2002, will yield concrete goals for the School to pursue over the course of the next decade. “The strategic plan is essentially a road map that will guide us on a small number of important and calculated priorities for the School,” says Morgan Schwartz, assistant head of school and dean of faculty.


In September, members of the School community were invited to participate in an anonymous survey to identify Crossroads’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Current parents were also asked about the factors they considered in choosing a school for their children. Responses were collected and analyzed to assist in the strategic planning process. The strategic plan coincides with Crossroads’ development of a comprehensive self-study

report as part of the School’s accreditation process, submitted in December to the California Association of Independent Schools and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. (See story on page 22.) While the School issues such self-study reports every seven years as part of the accreditation process, the report also provides critical insights to the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, which will identify key objectives for Crossroads as it crafts a strategic plan.


“Periodic review of schoolwide priorities is a significant component of the reaccreditation process and is an indicator of a healthy school,” Morgan explains. “Accordingly, Crossroads wanted to capitalize on the momentum of the self-study by developing a new strategic plan to provide a road map for institutional priorities that will take the School through the next five to 10 years.” The Steering Committee— made up of 17 students, faculty members, alumni, Board members and administrators—has been working with consultants Ian Symmonds and Associates throughout the project. Head

of School Bob Riddle says he has been impressed with the progress made so far. Symmonds, a former educational administrator who launched his consultancy in 2003, believes education plays a key role in human development and social change. His firm has worked with nearly 300 schools, colleges and nonprofit organizations across the country on strategic planning and a variety of other wide-angle projects. Early on in the latest strategic planning process, Symmonds led visioning sessions with the Steering Committee to help train the group to think strategically and in broad

terms. The Committee and the Board of Trustees then honed in on a short list of categories to explore further in work groups, which included additional members of the School community. The resulting strategic plan will position Crossroads for success while ensuring that the School remains faithful to its five founding commitments: to academic excellence; to the arts; to the greater community; to the development of a student population of social, economic and racial diversity; and to the development of each student’s physical well-being and full human potential.







First-grade teacher Jacquelyn Ayears and Upper School English teacher Alan Barstow


attended PoCC and the


in-service training,


respectively. Although


only casually acquainted,


they eagerly agreed to


sit down together in


December and reflect on their experiences. These are excerpts from that conversation, condensed and edited for clarity.

ALAN You had a chance to go to PoCC last week, right? What was that like? JACQUELYN It was a pretty amazing experience to be there with Crossroads faculty and staff and administration, to connect with coworkers and go a little deeper in our conversations in a different space. My first year here at Crossroads, I went to the PoCC in National Harbor, Maryland. I tried to attend every workshop and every speaker. And then my second year, I went to Atlanta: My goal was to come back with ways to be successful as an African-American teaching at an independent school.


Last year, I left recharged and refreshed. I was able to refocus and encourage my students who also had goals and weren’t seeing success right away. So it not only made me a better professional, I feel it made me a better teacher. I had an opportunity to share what my goals were with leadership and just put it all out there. And it gave me courage, actually. I felt brave when I came back. Because I love the School and have a desire to grow within the community and also help my students grow. This year, I went in knowing that I wanted to focus on affinity groups, and the workshops that they had on that topic, and how to come back to an elementary school and implement affinity groups for not only the kids of color, but white allies and also parents. You had an in-service here on that Friday, right? ALAN Yeah, that’s right. We stayed here and we did a workshop on white privilege facilitated by the same consulting firm that leads our Summer Diversity Institute. Liz Fernandez led the Institute when I attended, and that was an incredible experience. Normally I’m very introverted, very introspective, and so when we have large group settings, I really don’t share a lot. And Liz basically asked me, in the

Faculty and staff discuss the impact of white privilege at the Dec. 1 in-service day on campus.

nicest way possible, to confront myself about that, because of what it means to be a white male who stays silent around issues of diversity. I think that is something that I always understood intellectually, but then all of a sudden to be confronted with it—that was really one of my biggest takeaways. I think it’s integral for us as a school community—for us as a society, really—to confront what it means to be white and what white privilege is. That was really the focus of the in-service day, to get at white privilege. There were three sessions that rotated through. The first one was about defining white privilege and for us to get a deeper understanding of our own privilege. The second one was how to be an ally, and there were lots of hypothetical situations that we had to go through. And the third one was to talk about white social power structures, and how institutions and society are sort of endeared to further white people. And then we ended with a Council where we split up into multiple groups around campus and folks had a chance to share what their experiences were like with privilege and what their experiences were that day.

JACQUELYN That reminds me of a workshop that I attended at PoCC, about how you engage white students while your kids of color are in affinity groups. I thought that, here, since our kids are so comfortable with Councils, that would be a great opportunity to connect our kids of color and our white allies. I also think it’s important that we’re doing this work with faculty and administration. I think it’s import-

have authentic conversations. I left the white privilege in-service day with more questions than answers. I think I left it angry at times, hopeful at others, and altogether more uncomfortable than comfortable. But I kind of feel like that’s the point. The point is that we are struggling to really reconcile with ourselves. JACQUELYN Just this morning in class, we talked about rights and

First-grade teacher Jacquelyn Ayears (top row, far right) at PoCC with her Elementary School colleagues. Top row: Teachers Mark Quinto, Sofia Lin, Audrey Matalone, Director Debbie Wei and Jacquelyn. Bottom row: Teachers Taylor Parker and Eva Araujo and librarian Valerie Jauregui.

ant that our parents have this opportunity, as well. ALAN One of the things that I think is great about Crossroads is just how honest we are about ourselves. I love this idea that, once Bob Riddle saw the results of Crossroads’ 2012 Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism study, he didn’t hide behind it; he put it out there and set goals for how we need to improve our community. And I think one of the areas that we still need to improve is just ensuring that we continue to have these conversations in a thoughtful way. Being a school that has so many different programs, we’re always battling for time. I think as a school, if we’re saying this is part of the fabric of who we are, then I hope that we continue to make the time to

privileges, and our first-graders were able to have just this conversation about their rights and really being advocates for people who can’t advocate for themselves. And here, these are six- and seven-year-old kids that are really thinking with their hearts what they can do to help people who have less or don’t have the words to express what they’re feeling. So all the work that we’re doing is really preparing our kids to be advocates, which is so necessary, especially right now with the climate of our country. ALAN Thanks, Jacquelyn. It’s so clear that you’re an awesome educator. I’m really glad you’re here at Crossroads. JACQUELYN Aw, thank you! I really enjoyed talking to you. I hope we can do this again.



Parents of Alumni Mixer

Recently moved? Not sure if we have your most updated contact information? Please visit and let us know how to reach you!



Alumni Online Community

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




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

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



Crossroads School Alumni Group on Facebook

1. Lou Schneider, Liz Abbe, Tom Nolan and Gloria Vogt-Nilsen

More than 2,400 group members.

2. Harold and Adrienne Breslow and Amy Roland

› Post, view, like or comment on

3. Bob Bendetson, Mark Schubb and Bob Riddle

recent or upcoming events.

› View alumni event photos.

4. Chuck Arnoldi and Krista Everage 5. Gemma Corfield and Lora Fremont 6. Toshi Nakajima, Wendy Snyder and Tim Scott 7. The Parents of Alumni Mixer Crew

Crossroads School Alumni Network on LinkedIn

› Look for or post a job or an internship.

› Find Crossroads alumni in your

Upcoming Events 05/24 Senior Class Fiesta Tenzing 21st Street Campus


05/29 Senior Parent Farewell 21st Street Campus

06/13 Jazz “A” Band and Alumni Concert Moose Lodge Santa Monica

10/13 Classes of ’88, ’98 and ’08 Reunions 21st Street Campus

To learn more about or register for any of our upcoming events, or to update your contact information, please visit or contact us at If you would like to be a part of the planning committee for your reunion, please contact Director of Alumni Relations Jenn Gerber ’97 at

› Connect or collaborate with

someone in another industry.

Crossroads School Alumni on Twitter @xrdsalumni


Alumni on Campus Whether it’s to speak to a class, visit with faculty, attend an event or just stroll down the Alley, we love having alumni back on campus. Here are some of the graduates who visited us recently.


2 1. Class of 2017 alumni Vitor Agulha, Ethan Chasen, Gabe Vasquez, Sam Roach and Max Kopelow: The crew is back together after graduating last year. 2. Betsy Rosenfeld ’91 strikes a pose as she makes calls for the alumni phone-a-thon. 3. Adam Slutske ’93 and Craig Juda ’93 together again for the alumni phone-a-thon.




4. E zra Levy ’17 and Angela Smith: a sweet reunion. 5. M ir Harris ’02 is a spectacular alumni volunteer!


6. Caroline Spiegel ’15 here to see her friend Tom Nolan and visit her old stomping grounds. 7. M aude Apatow ’16 and Andrew Valner ’16 missed the Alley too much to stay away.


8. E ve Bloomfield ’17 stops by.


9. Kaela Farrise ’10 reconnects with Rocio Ceja.


10. Madeline Bill ’16 and Juliette Faraut ’16 visit the Advancement office. 11. Danny Cosgrove ’87 is proud to volunteer at the alumni phone-a-thon.




12. E mma Blue Kirby ’17 already misses her alma mater. 13. Hassani Scott ’13 is excited to be back at her favorite school and pose with Shawn Gilbert. 14. Johnathan Lovett ’14 visits college counselor Brianna Shepard. 15. Charlotte Perebinossoff ’02 with Tom Nolan at the 10th-grade service learning day.






Class of 1987, 1997 and 2007 Reunion Night


On Oct. 14, 2017, the Crossroads Alumni Association sponsored a combined class reunion in the Alley. The classes of 1987, 1997 and 2007 came together to celebrate. What a beautiful night! Alumni reconnected with former teachers and administrators, hugged old friends and classmates and partied the night away. It was a grand night of reminiscing, laughter and community.



>>> 1. Hillary Paganelli, Craig Isaac, Amy Goldman, Jodi Price and Joanna Port 2. Garth Norman, Eric Markman and Carla Roley 3. Class of 1987 4. Brian Rousso, Andy Guss and Berkeley Price 5. Tina Gilmore and David Weinrot


6. Tom Laichas, Ellen Umansky and Paul Cummins




In the fall, the Alumni Office relaunched the alumni e-newsletter! Every issue is chock-full of interesting articles about our incredible graduates, upcoming alumni and School events and more. If you didn’t receive November’s issue, please visit to provide your current contact information. Have an idea for the newsletter? Email Director of Alumni Relations Jenn Gerber ’97 at We’d love to hear from you!



1. Alexis Earkman, Maggie Pulley, Yovana Perez and Janine Negrin


2. Cassandra Marino and husband Michael Marino, Matt Wilson, Cash Warren and wife Jessica Alba 3. Anastasia Fite and Erica Trumpower 4. Class of 1997 5. Hillary Baum, Christie Hooks Pliler and Lizzy Gerber 6. Sunny Levine, Grant Cartwright and wife Mandy Cartwright 7. Evan Garcia, husband of Anne Huira, Dan Fabulich, Jason Hill and Eugene Zarakhovsky




’97 4






’07 1








1. Maxine Rosin, Ryan Baptiste, Laurent Grill, Ally Siegel and Adam Gunther 2. Danell Raab, Ally Siegel, Maxine Rosin and Sean Lamm 3. Bri Alden ’11, Sam Shepard and Jessi Brown 4. Zoe Worth and Daisy Hamilton 5. Class of 2007 6. Cody Rasmus, James Weinberger, Frazier Hurwin and Zach Aronson 7. Melina Alden, Coby Greenberg, Tarik Tannir and Cody Rasmus 8. Mike Sommers, Lizzie Mandler and Margaux Steiner





Traci Sharpe writes, “Now that my daughter is a high school junior, I’m returning to the workforce as associate director of the Office of Career Planning at University of San Francisco School of Law, after being a stay-at-home mother for several years. My daughter and I have been very involved with The Giving Spirit, a Santa Monica-based nonprofit that provides survival packs for the homeless. Since relocating to Northern California, we’ve also volunteered at CityTeam in Oakland, a nonprofit dedicated to helping the homeless.” CLASS OF 1988

Alison Petrocelli writes, “I have enjoyed my time working with high school students from Crossroads and many private schools throughout Los Angeles on the HEARTbeats Membership Drive & Concert benefiting the Violence Intervention Program, which is the largest abuse treatment center in Los Angeles County, serving



In this issue, we highlight alumni whose life’s work exemplifies Crossroads’ five founding commitments: academic excellence; the arts; the greater community; the development of a student body of social, economic and racial diversity; and the development of each student’s physical well-being and full human potential.

DAMONIQUE BALLOU ’13 A couple years ago, DaMonique Ballou saw the viral video of Dajerria Becton being thrown to the ground by a police officer and was startled by the identity of the subject: a 15-yearold African-American girl. The video forced her to reflect on her own identity and experiences as a young black woman. It also compelled her to develop “Body. Black. Girl.”—a series of workshops she facilitated for young girls of color to deconstruct the narratives they’ve internalized and their expressions of gender and race. DaMonique brought these transformative workshops to fruition through her ELLA (Engage, Learn, Lead and Act) fellowship with the New Yorkbased Sadie Nash Leadership Project, a nonprofit group that supports activism among young women. “The matter is not simply about promoting diversity,” she says, “but reflecting and representing the people I serve and encounter.” Her project was informed by her education at Barnard College, a liberal arts school for women in New York City. There, she planned student theater events; joined the Writing Fellows program to help peers with assignments across disciplines; worked with the Barnard Organization of Soul Sisters to highlight issues in the African-American community at Barnard and Columbia University; and led a campaign to

install new photographs on campus to reflect its diversity. “You now see women wearing hijabs doing a scientific experiment, black students both in the classroom and at a social event on campus and a student working diligently in an art studio,” DaMonique says. “We so quickly want to put people in a category that represents a quota, where we can measure figures or better evaluate marketing plans. But in quantifying what is in the space, you never learn who is there.” Her accomplishments have roots in her Crossroads experiences as a member of the Touring Company. Under the direction of Davida Wills, she and her classmates performed for underserved communities in the Bay Area, forcing her to rethink her preconceived notions of others. “I still remember Davida telling us, ‘It’s about seeing people,’ not their circumstance, their disability or my discomfort,” she says. “I remember and keep these lessons very close to my heart.”


20,000 victims each year. My passion for community service started at Crossroads with my best friend and classmate, Eve Somer


Gerber ’88. Excited for this next


generation to do their part!” many people resisted talking about these issues—as if they were off-limits for people who are differently abled. “I think the most positive change

Michael Arnold writes, “I was recently recruited to NAI Capital to lead and grow their Southern California Tenant Consulting Practice Group. I will now be the director of global corporate services for NAI for Tenant Consulting. I will be responsible for growing the Southern California practice group, but globally. We advise clients in planning that aligns real estate, facilities and operational strategies with the company’s overall business objectives.” CLASS OF 1990

Erica Jacobs Green writes, “I am living in Washington, D.C., where I’m the editorial director for Kids Books at National Geographic. Every year, I travel to Reykjavik where I run the Iceland Writers Retreat, an event I founded while we were living there. Our daughter started middle school this year and our son is in fifth grade. My husband, Eric, is still with the State Department, and our family is beginning to daydream about where and when we will be posted overseas next.”


strategic portfolio and operational

Taking a gender studies course at Crossroads is what inspired Eva Sweeney to pursue that field as a college major. But as she delved deeper into the subject matter at Occidental College, she noticed a glaring lack of sex education for people with disabilities. Eva, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, decided to become an activist and advocate, informed by her experiences as a genderqueer woman who is differently abled. At 21, she wrote the book “Queers on Wheels” for LGBTQ people with disabilities. She started leading sex education workshops, took her seminars to cities across the country and made a documentary, “Respect: The Joy of Aides,” about the powerful relationships between people with disabilities and the people who help them. As she became a dedicated advocate on matters involving sex and disabilities, she discovered that

is in the number of people now talking about sex and disability,” shares Eva, who is nonverbal and uses a laser and alphabet board to communicate. “When I first started doing this work, I felt like I was the only one. That was hard because I could not network or discuss with others. Now there are many people advocating for the sexual rights of people with disabilities.” Eva says the message she tries to convey is one of humanity and dignity. She wants typically abled people not to make assumptions when they meet people with different abilities. She urges others to act normally and ask questions to learn more. “It is important to focus on inclusion of all people, because everyone has the potential to contribute to society,” she explains. Looking back, Eva is grateful for her time at Crossroads. Not only did it provide her with a strong social network—she still keeps in touch with friends from the gay-straight alliance—but it also gave her an invaluable educational foundation that serves her well today. She notes, “I have always said that Crossroads was way harder than college.”


Ryan Englekirk writes, “I was trying to


finish up my dissertation

Upon graduating from Crossroads, Daniel Nagin didn’t envision a career in academia. But he wanted to find a way to combine advocacy and teaching opportunities with a focus on social justice. That desire led him to Harvard Law School, where he serves as a clinical law professor, vice dean for experiential and clinical education, and faculty director of its veterans legal clinic and Legal Services Center. Daniel’s days are filled with a mix of activities: teaching in the classroom and in smaller group settings; strategizing with law students; interacting with clients, attorneys and court officials; overseeing the work of the clinics; developing grant proposals; and supporting the law school’s clinical and experiential learning programs. “The only way that becoming a lawyer made any sense to me was if I tried to use the law to protect the

rights of vulnerable communities— those experiencing financial distress, people with disabilities and others,” he says. “As a teacher, I hope I am helping students to develop a toolkit they can use not just to be outstanding advocates, but outstanding advocates whose career choices and pro bono commitments reflect a desire to enhance access to justice for the indigent.” Daniel says he is deeply appreciative of the education he received at Crossroads, where he learned to think critically and value community while also winning a state championship in his senior year as a member of the varsity boys basketball team under then-coach Dave Benezra. He studied history and government at Cornell University before earning his master’s in education from Stanford University and his juris doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was honored for excellence as a clinical law student. Daniel has worked for nonprofit legal services organizations on issues ranging from HIV/AIDS and eviction to domestic violence and public benefits, but he gravitated toward working with veterans after a family member served in Iraq. In his current roles, he strives to empower students to help others in similar ways. “It is truly inspiring to see our law students bring about positive changes in the lives of our clients,” he says.

by Jan. 1, but I feel like the gods are conspiring against me. When I am not muttering about the idiot who decided on the rules of English grammar and punctuation, I provide goodies to local shut-ins and homeless folks. Otherwise, I hang out with my cat in Rancho Mirage, serve as a caretaker for a home and annoy my neighbors ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE


as much as possible.” CLASS OF 1991

Peter Sengelmann writes, “I recently relocated back to the U.S. after living in Southeast Asia for eight years. My wife and I welcomed our fourth child, Seth, on Aug. 5. I’m now working as chief investment officer for Thun Financial Advisors, where I get to help clients all around the world.” CLASS OF 1992

Ama Marston writes, “I live in London and have a new book. ‘Type R: Transformative Resilience for Thriving in a Turbulent World’ looks at why the future no longer lies with Type As or Bs but Type Rs— the resilient people, families, businesses and communities who transform challenges into opportunities in times of change.



The book combines my work in international relations and purposeoriented business and leadership with the insights of my psychotherapist mother. For the full book description, please go to” CLASS OF 1995

Vanessa Rhoden Seder writes, “My cookbook ‘Secret Sauces’ (Kyle Books and Kyle Books UK, October 2017) is out now in bookstores and online.” CLASS OF 1999

Brian Stefan writes, “I just started in the UCLA Master of Social Welfare program, and I’m celebrating two years at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services as a suicide crisis counselor and supervisor. I love it!” CLASS OF 2000

Jennifer HUGO GUCKERT, seventh grade

ReynoldsKaye writes, “I recently started a new position as the curator of education and academic outreach at the Yale Center for British Art. I’m coming off the heels of curating the exhibition ‘Small-Great Objects: Anni and Josef Albers in the Americas’ at the Yale Art Gallery, which also includes a


publication and podcast series. If you find yourself in New Haven, please look me up.”




Chloe Peterson writes, “I gave birth to my daughter, Anya, on June 22. Motherhood has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life thus far, a moving meditation on letting go and going with the flow! I teach at Pilates Place in Santa Monica, so stop in for a class or hug. My husband Jeremy and I celebrated 14 years together (three married) this fall and, with Anya’s arrival, this next chapter in our lives feels like the most exciting yet.” Samantha Coghlan writes, “I met my husband at gemology school in San Diego, and we initially settled raise our two boys, Ozzy and Cash. We moved to Leiper’s Fork in Tennessee after falling in love on a vacation in July 2013. We started the vacation rental company Pot N’ Kettle Cottages so visitors can experience what we did on our first visit. We are currently raising our boys in this marvelous community.” CLASS OF 2005

Nicole Haskins writes, “I am in my fifth season with Smuin Ballet in San Francisco. I am also a freelance choreographer and most


down in the Santa Barbara area to

Teaching at Crossroads has been a dream come true for Kevin “KK” Jackson, a physical education teacher in the Elementary School. It’s where he went to school until graduation in 1982. It’s where he experienced some of his best memories and most rewarding challenges. And it’s where the importance of community service was ingrained in him. “It changed my life for the better,” he says of the School he’s called home for the last quarter-century. “Just being able to do what I do every day and call it work blows my mind.” KK was always inspired by his grandparents, who found time to help others even as they raised him and his siblings in the Oakwood area of Venice. Reconnecting after high school with Crossroads co-founder Paul Cummins—“the most giving person I have ever met,” KK says— fueled him to give back to his community. He started working at Crossroads as a P.E. teacher in the early ’90s, coached basketball at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica and began volunteering regularly with the local Police Activities League. Those experiences provided a foundation for KK and his wife, Regina, to launch their nonprofit, Runners Basketball Camp, in 1994. Their aim was to provide at-risk youth with quality programming, such as camps and summer sports tournaments, at

no cost to their families. What started with weeklong basketball camps has branched out to include other sports activities as well as academic tutoring, mentorship opportunities, lunch programs, charity events and other initiatives. Through it all, KK hopes his nonprofit steers kids toward choices that will help them later in life. Longtime Crossroads employee Daryl Roper has supported several of KK’s service programs, including as a guest speaker at KK’s camp and a collaborator at numerous camps and service outlets. KK recognizes that his work in the community serves as an example for his students, children and grandchildren, so they learn how to give to others while expecting nothing in return. “Our goal has been to help and mentor as many young people in need as we can,” he says. “The greatest joy of running my nonprofit is looking into the faces of all the children we provide services to.”



recently won the Oregon Ballet Theatre’s Choreography XX competition. I also received the New York Choreographic Institute


Commission Initiative grant.”


Sage Grazer writes, “I am thrilled to



share that I am a licensed psychotherapist working in private practice in Beverly Hills. I provide counseling services to adolescents and adults struggling with issues related to depression, anxiety, trauma, self-esteem, relationships, phase of life and other maladaptive behaviors. In addition to my general practice, I offer a specialization in working with entertainment industry professionals. If you would like to learn more about my work, please visit my website at” CLASS OF 2009

Jonathan Goldstein writes, “I graduated magna cum laude from UC Hastings College of the Law in May 2017. I am now an associate attorney at Winston & Strawn LLP in San Francisco, focusing on litigation. Next year I will clerk for Justice Gregory I. Massing of the Massachusetts Appeals Court in Boston.”

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

Over the last few months, Hiro Murai has spent ample time in what he describes as a “dingy dark room.” Things are going well. The setting is just part of what artistic success entails for the talented filmmaker. His recent focus on editing followed a busy shooting schedule for the second season of the critically acclaimed FX television series “Atlanta,” which Hiro directs and produces. Hiro has worked steadily in filmmaking throughout the last decade, specializing in music videos for artists such as A Tribe Called Quest, Childish Gambino, Bloc Party and The Shins. But he says definitively that his most rewarding work has come on “Atlanta,” which last year

won Golden Globe awards for best television series (musical or comedy) and best actor in a television series for creator and star Donald Glover. “The reception of the show was a total surprise to me,” Hiro says. “The show has such a weird, specific voice that I never expected it to connect with people on such a big scale. But I love it, obviously.” The mainstream success of “Atlanta” underscores Hiro’s focused approach to filmmaking. The less he thinks about how a particular project will be received, he says, the more creatively honest it will be. “I don’t always succeed at not thinking about expectations, but the best things I’ve made have always come from not worrying about outcome. I just try to enjoy the process.” For Hiro, who was born in Tokyo, developing a career behind the camera included several milestones at Crossroads. He started playing with cameras in Middle School, developing his interests in photography and the visual arts. In Upper School he took a video production class and made short films, including one of a pie-eating contest at Alleyween that he remembers vividly. “Crossroads really fostered my love for visual art,” he says.


Caleb Nicholas Polk ’08 Aug. 17, 1990-Feb. 19, 2018

We mourn the loss of one of our own. Caleb Polk died tragically in a car accident on Feb. 19. A graduate of the Class of 2008, Caleb was a talented visual artist who attended the University of San Francisco and the Otis School of Design, to which he was awarded a scholarship. As a child, Caleb consistently impressed the adults around him with his detailed and realistic renderings. At Crossroads, Caleb was known as both an athlete and an artist who took advantage of all that the School had to offer. Coach Daryl Roper shares, “Caleb had a wonderful disposition and an infectious smile. He loved to play basketball, and I had the honor to teach him some skills.” Caleb’s mother, Carolyn Dawson-Tatum, is herself a beloved member of the Crossroads community, and serves as a public announcer and scorekeeper for our volleyball and basketball teams. Says Caleb’s English teacher Hyacinth Young, “Caleb’s passion for art was CALEB POLK ’08

legendary. His notes were well-decorated with doodles and sketches. When he had opportunities to use his craft on creative assignments, then his artistic skills truly shone. I will forever remember and miss this gentle, caring soul.”

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

1714 21st St. Santa Monica, CA 90404 Change Service Requested

Make Your Mark. Your gift to the 2017-18 Annual Fund supports:

• Financial aid • Teacher salaries and benefits • Innovative curricula • The arts ... and so much more.

• Athletics • Technology • Environmental and Outdoor Education

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