Our Wildwood, Volume 48

Our Wildwood, Volume 48, Winter 2023



p16 Meet the Women of Wildwood

p24 Competing at the Highest Levels

p32 Alumni Return for In-Person Reunions

FACES OF LEADERSHIP: 2012-2023 Thank you to these current and previous female trustees for helping guide and shape Wildwood School for the past decade and continuing the legacy of female leadership that extends back to our founding.

Pictured (left to right): (top row) Nina Houghton, Kira Powell-Verica, Susan Olsen, Lisa Flashner, Lynn Loeb (WWPO Liaison); (second row) Smrithi Narayan, Amy Ardell, Ashley Kramer, Chelsea Hadley, Nina Jacobson; (third row) Charlene Fitzgibbon, Christine Cho, Glenda Martinez, Paige Tolmach, Patti Halpert; (fourth row) Diana Stephenson (WWPO Liaison), Cynthia Patton, Clare Bronowski, Erin Rottman (WWPO Liaison), Cynthia Berkshire; (fifth row) Elizabeth Parry, Azizi Williams, Lisa Eisenpresser, Jill Baldauf, Valerie Faris

Cover photo (left to right) : Director of Upper School Dr. Joanie Banks-Hunt, Director of Elementary School Katie Rios, Director of Middle School Jaimi Boehm. Photo by Leslie Barton.

i i

DEAR FRIENDS A Letter from Landis

Director of Middle School Jaimi Boehm and trustee Susan Olsen, mothers, respectively, to two and three sons at Wildwood, collaborated on the feature article, “A Legacy of Leadership: What I’ve Learned from the Women of Wildwood.” Jaimi and Susan zero in on the influences and contributions of just a few members of our school community, representative of thousands more women who’ve left a mark on the lives of our students over the years and the trajectory of our school. What they all share—what all of us who actively support the continued advancement of women and girls share—is the understanding that, although we may never know the scope of our impact, we will have made a contribution. The inimitable Dolly Parton is attributed to having plainly said, “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” Please join me in celebrating the Women of Wildwood, now and going forward, who’ve inspired the girls and boys, young women and young men in our care to dream, learn, do, and become all they might.

This issue of Our Wildwood, The Women of Wildwood, is near and dear to my heart, as colleagues will attest. Wildwood School has long had women in positions of leadership. From Board Chairs to department team leaders, from heads of school to student council leadership, Wildwood’s foundation has been built upon the strength and dedication of so many women who have contributed to its achievements. In the course of my 16 years here, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know six people serving in the role of Board Chair, half of them women. Cathleen Collins, Cynthia Berkshire, and Lisa Flashner all led our Board of Trustees. Our school’s three school directors and most academic and non-academic administrative staff are women. Education has long been a professional home for women, yet it’s only been in recent decades that women have increasingly become leaders in the world of education. While the story is still not one that points to gender equity in school leadership, Wildwood School has been at the forefront since its founding—by a woman—in 1971. It’s only been in the last decade that women accounted for half of all public school principalships in the United States. As a former trustee of The Heads Network, an organization whose mission states their commitment “…to the education of girls and advancing women’s leadership,” I am proud of that affiliation and of our leadership. Leadership is about far more than position or formal responsibility, of course. That’s why I’m particularly happy to see threaded throughout this important issue of Our Wildwood the stories of women who’ve left their mark on our school, its community, and our students and their families by contributing in myriad ways, all while bringing heart to the work.


Landis Green Head of School





p16 Meet the Women of Wildwood From founder Belle Mason to former Head of School Hope Boyd, current school directors to emerging student leaders, Wildwood women always have (and continue to) lead the way.

p22 Evidence and Ownership

p24 Competing at the Highest Level The fall 2022 sports season was filled with impressive moments as Wolves smashed personal records and turned the heads of our competition.

Inside the work to create a modern, sustainable, and

robust portfolio system to serve students kindergarten through twelfth grade.



GIVING VOICE ......................................................... p4 Megan Noel and Joe Wise

OH SNAP! ................................................................. p28 Photos from notable Wildwood events

GOOD TO KNOW ................................................... p6 Useful information about and for us

ALUMNI ALUMNI EVENTS ............................................................. p32 Welcome back to your home in the world ALUMNI NOTES ............................................................... p34 Tell us what you’re up to ALUMNI REFLECTION ................................................. p36 Alumni celebrate Wildwood through art

WOLVES MAKING WAVES ..................... p10 Students, alumni, and faculty making us proud

DONOR PROFILE ................................................ p12 Two families, two gifts, and a landmark for Wildwood philanthropy

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES ................ p14 Class of 2022 college list



GIVING VOICE A conversation between community members

Megan Noel and Joe Wise

Since its inception 10 years ago with a grant from the E.E. Ford Foundation, the Wildwood Institute for STEM Research and Development has been singularly helmed by veteran educator Joe Wise, whose 40 years in science education helped guide the fledgling institute into a robust laboratory of student-led research, discovery, and innovation. With his retirement at the end of the 2021-2022 school year, the torch is passed to Megan Noel, WISRD’s first female director.

OWW: The Institutes at Wildwood flip the script on traditional classroom learning—a distinction that even trickles down to the nomenclature used. Students are not “students”; they are “members,” “scientists,” and “researchers.” Likewise, “teacher” doesn’t effectively describe your roles. How do you define your role as directors of WISRD? JOE: My role in WISRD is that of a chief operating officer, which looks and acts very differently than a classroom instructor. It’s my responsibility to manage day-to-day operations, maintain equipment and a safe environment, and provide guidance as needed—but it’s the members who are the principal investigators. I don’t give lessons. It’s the members that are in charge of the direction of the research. They are accountable to a WISRD Board of Directors, made up of their own elected members, who oversee the larger picture of WISRD and maintain it as a research institute. MEGAN: I’ve never been a chief operating officer, but I have been a lab manager—and I very much see the role in that context. While working in a research lab, my whole role was to make sure everybody had everything they needed, everything worked, and if anything needed to be serviced, that was my job. Within WISRD, however, there’s also a pedagogy aspect that I really enjoy as an educator. It’s a fine balance of determining how much guidance I provide to students, versus how much I encourage them to find the answers and research on their own.



OWW: Along with Megan as Director, the student leadership within WISRD is also female this year. How does this reflect the evolution of the STEM field as more inclusive of other identities? JOE: It’s not just this year—we’ve had strong female leadership within WISRD since our founding. It started with the “Women of WISRD”, a group started in the early days of WISRD that made a real push at elementary, middle, and in upper to spark more interest and participation. Many of those younger students are now WISRD members. MEGAN: The pervasive idea in science, which is always spoken from a place of privilege, is that it shouldn’t matter what your race, gender, or sexuality is in order to do research. Yes, ultimately it should not matter, but rather than ignore it, we need to make sure we acknowledge the problem and work to make things better. It is so important to me that we make sure WISRD is a safe space for any and all who want to participate. If we want to make science a truly inclusive field, and WISRD is modeling a scientific institute by being as close to one as possible, students and future WISRD members need to be able to see themselves reflected and represented in the Institute.

OWW: What drew you to WISRD, and the Wildwood Institute Model?

MEGAN: Oh my gosh, so much! I hesitate to use the word “real”, because classroom science can be very real as well, but there’s such a difference when going from a classroom to a laboratory to perform genuine research science. It’s very difficult for high school science classes to reach these levels, simply because there’s so much curriculum to cover. Instead, “here’s a cookbook lab—I’ve done the hard stuff for you. I just want you to get the ‘aha’ moment and move onto the next chapter.” That crunch leads students to develop a fear of failure, but half of science is failing and figuring out why! JOE: For me, it’s simply a lot of fun. I would argue that you can’t really do science unless you work on something for a year or two, or in some cases, longer. We have some students that have worked in WISRD for four years. That starts to build an ownership over the work that doesn’t occur in traditional learning. A lengthier timeline opens up more time to explore and think about the next step of their work, which should be, “How is what I’m doing contributing to the community?” There’s purpose and motivation behind the work.



GOOD TO KNOW Useful information about and for us Navigating with Heart

Addressing Emotional Intelligence in a Post-Pandemic World

As we begin to move from the chaotic and disruptive world caused by the pandemic, Wildwood School is embarking on a year-long journey of “Navigating with Heart”—honing our emotional intelligence skills to better serve our students, community, and ourselves. To kick things off, Wildwood recently invited Dr. Marc Brackett, emotionally intelligent parent. The core of Dr. Brackett’s message is the importance of being able to identify emotions and their nuanced definitions. “Our cognitive abilities, our creativity, the way we make decisions, our level of engagement, and our productivity are entirely influenced by our emotional state,” Dr. Brackett said. “The better we are at recognizing and identifying our emotions, the better the strategy we can employ to deal with them.” For instance, the terms “stress” and “pressure” are often interchangeable in our vocabulary, but the words actually have two very different meanings. According to Dr. Brackett, “stress” is defined as having too many demands and not enough resources, while “pressure” the Director of the Center for Emotional Intelligence at Yale University, to speak with our community on how to be an


occurs when there is something at stake that is dependent on your behavior. “Once you’ve figured out what you’re feeling, you’re one step closer to dealing with it effectively,” Dr. Brackett said. This approach can also serve students at all levels. “Students’ emotional needs are woven into the tapestry of their physical, social, and intellectual needs,” Dr. Brackett said. “Academic development is not only an intellectual pursuit, but incorporates the body, the mind, and emotions.” Improving emotional intelligence is just one way of helping K-12 students recover from the pandemic and find health and support in the midst of mental health struggles. That said, implementing more emotionally intelligent teaching and parenting could provide far-reaching, positive change for students and communities. “By empowering students to develop their rational and emotional selves within the classroom as well

as outside of it, schools can begin to address the student mental health crisis with a more holistic and multi-faceted approach, helping create resilient young adults that are equipped for college and life beyond,” Dr. Brackett said. One tool for helping identify emotions is the book Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience by Brené Brown. Selected as the summer 2022 reading for Wildwood faculty and staff, Atlas of the Heart explores eighty-seven of the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human. Throughout the year, Wildwood faculty and staff are exploring the book, chapter by chapter, with the goal of building a shared vocabulary in order to foster shared connection. In addition, several parent and guardian discussion groups led by community members, have been planned for throughout the year, so that families can “navigate” this journey with us.


Exploring the Double

Edged Sword of Diversity Examining Connections

“This year is an opportunity to connect back with the emotions and feelings that we have experienced and will experience these next few years,” said Associate Head of School Christina Kyong. “Our students especially need the tools to ‘navigate’ from a time of uncertainty and fogginess to a time of certainty and clarity, and as the leaders, mentors, and adults in their lives, we all have an important role to play in facilitating this.”

Between DEIB and Global Citizenship

COULD PEOPLE’S DIFFERING PERCEPTIONS OF THE word “diversity” be the very thing that undermines collective efforts to advance it? That’s the question that diversity and inclusion expert Dr. Derrick Gay raised to Wildwood faculty and staff as part of his presentation, “The Intersection of DEIB and Global Citizenship.” A highly sought-after DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging) consultant, Dr. Gay’s work has been featured in the New York Times , The Washington Post , El Tiempo Latino , NPR, 60 Minutes , and others. He has also produced two TEDx Talks that explore the challenges around the word diversity and the nature of racial discourse. “How many people feel personally connected to the word ‘diversity’?” Dr. Gay asked Wildwood faculty and staff as they gathered for Intro Week, prior to the start of the 2022-2023 school year. When few attendees raised their hands, Dr. Gay’s reasoned this was because “diversity” has too often been misconstrued to refer to an identity—a “thing” that describes what someone is, rather than a goal to aspire to. “When defined this way, ‘diversity’ is something that one group of people inherently is, and another group inherently is not,” Dr. Gay continued. “The result is two

Dr. Marc Brackett with Associate Head of School Christina Kyong

continued on page 8



GOOD TO KNOW Useful information about and for us

continued from page 7

“The intersection of DEIB and Global Citizenship work is integral to truly being a citizen of our world—a world to which everyone should feel they belong,” said Karen Dye, director of equity and inclusion for Wildwood. “The connections that Dr. Gay impressed upon us during our work together solidified this concept and helped us move the needle from thinking solely about our immediate sphere of influence (locally, nationally) to cultivating a mindset of care for our greater society.”

groups—a ‘diverse’ group that will benefit from diversity initiatives, and a ‘normal’ group, for whom diversity is often not meaningful, relevant, or urgent.” It’s this division that limits diversity efforts from making a true, significant impact, Dr. Gay said. Instead, Dr. Gay suggests using the actual definition of the word diversity, which means “difference,” not “different.” “Diversity as ‘difference’ creates a space where everyone has equal claim, and everyone has equal benefit,” Dr. Gay said. “We are all part of this work, as individuals.” It’s a message that resonated with Wildwood faculty and staff, while also reflecting Wildwood’s own commitment to DEIB initiatives. “For years now, one of the things that I’ve loved most about the work we do here at Wildwood is reinforcing the fact that every member of the community brings multiple identities into the mix—race, gender, religion, ability/disability, etc.,” said Landis Green, head of school. “In his day with us, Dr. Gay rightly and powerfully acknowledged the importance of representation, while also driving home the idea that each of us—and the cultural identifiers that are part of making any of us who we are—contribute to the diversity of our community.” The personal stake we have in DEIB efforts also rings true for Global Citizenship, Dr. Gay said. Using the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals as a guide, we can all contribute in individual ways to larger, global efforts to improve our world. To illustrate this point, Wildwood faculty and staff broke into smaller groups by departments to brainstorm how they could, as smaller contingents within Wildwood, contribute to the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals. From reducing excess paper print-outs in classrooms to forming larger, strategic partnerships between students and globally focused organizations, the solutions each group brainstormed highlighted the many ways, big and small, we can all make an impact.

For more on Dr. Gay’s work, visit http://www.derrickgay.com

or follow him on social media: Instagram: @derrick_gay Twitter: @derrick_gay

Director of Equity and Inclusion Karen Dye, Dr. Derrick Gay, Head of School Landis Green, and Associate Head of School Christina Kyong



Meet Our Newest Board Members

Charlene Fitzgibbon

FAMILY: Charlene and her husband, Larry, have two children, including one current Wildwood student (Class of ‘25) BUSINESS AND BACKGROUND: A native of Brooklyn, Charlene is an accomplished communications professional with more than twenty years of experience in the digital media and entertainment sectors. Charlene garnered her expertise while working for Yahoo! and Comcast Interactive Media. She started her career in the music industry, at Elektra Records. As a principal for her own consultancy, Charlene spearheads multi

faceted programs for start-ups, institutions, and foundations to develop experiences and programs that tell compelling stories, drive meaningful connections, and build community globally. Charlene received a B.A. from Trinity College (Hartford, Conn.). She also serves as Board Chair for Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), the longest running incubator for contemporary artists and curators in Los Angeles.

Ken Hwang

FAMILY: Ken and his wife, Renae, have two children at Wildwood (Class of ‘25 and ‘27)

BUSINESS AND BACKGROUND: Ken is a veteran of the technology industry. He was an early employee leading the engineering teams at several early stage technology companies including Stamps.com, and served as the Director of Advanced Technology at MGM. He holds several software process patents. An active soccer Dad, he has been a volunteer coach and supporter of AYSO and North Venice Little League. He and his wife, Renae, oversee a portfolio of commercial real estate and business investments. He is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and holds an MBA from the Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine.

Smrithi Narayan

FAMILY: Smrithi and her husband, Sanjeev, have two children at Wildwood (Class of ‘26 and ‘34) BUSINESS AND BACKGROUND: Smrithi currently serves as the Senior Philanthropy Director at the Humane Society of the United States and is responsible for raising major gifts for the organization in the Southern California region. After four years in the technology consulting world, Smrithi transitioned to her nonprofit fundraising career in 2002, and has been driven by her commitment to each organization’s mission. Prior

to joining the Humane Society, she was Regional West Coast Director for the Earthwatch Institute–a citizen science organization based out of Boston, Mass., as well as the Development Manager at Heal the Bay, a grassroots organization focused on ocean health. Smrithi was also the founding member and Director of Development at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles and AIDS Project Los Angeles. A native of New Delhi, India, Smrithi received a B.A. in Economics from Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi, India and an MBA in General Management from Georgetown University.



WOLVES MAKING WAVES Students, alumni, and faculty making us proud

Our Latest Wave-Makers

Christine Wheaton Upper school science teacher Christine Wheaton spent the summer exploring ecology and conservation efforts in Belize, thanks to Wildwood’s Research Exploration and Advancement Program (REAP). Made possible by the Landis Green Innovation Fund, one of Wildwood’s three endowed funds, REAP was created to support faculty members in their quest to gain global experience and understanding to advance their practice at Wildwood. In the process, she collected data on manatee and hawksbill turtle nesting sites, researched the country’s West African cultural legacy, and explored the second largest barrier reef in the world—all to inform her plans for our Environmental Science and Biology students this year.

Dr. Joanie Banks-Hunt Director of Upper School Dr. Joanie Banks-Hunt was a featured panelist at the Society of Women Engineers national conference, WE22. As a female trailblazer in the male-dominated field of engineering, Dr. Banks-Hunt discussed how the industry has evolved since the 1970s and the current state of women in engineering. While the overall number of women in engineering has grown exponentially, Dr. Banks-Hunt shared that the actual percentage of women engineers has remained at approximately nine percent—a figure that Dr. Banks-Hunt hopes to change by encouraging more female students into STEM fields. To illustrate the wide array of career paths available to female engineers, Dr. Banks-Hunt shared her own trajectory from Silicon Valley high tech engineering to math and engineering educator, college professor, and now, Director of Upper School at Wildwood.


Upper School Students Shine at DTASC In October, Wildwood’s Performing Arts department brought its upper school electives students to participate in the annual DTASC Theater Festival, held by the Drama Teachers Association of Southern California. This was the 19th year that Wildwood has participated, along with 57 schools from all over southern California. Our students competed in both acting and technical theater categories—with all entries making it to the semi-final round! Notable winners include Kate E.D. ‘25 and Zion G. ‘25, who won fifth place in the LGBTQIA+ Playwrights category, and Giulia L. ‘23, Juliette M. ‘23 (and team), which won fifth place in the Set Design category.

Meet Gabrielle Dalmasy Gabrielle Dalmasy joined Wildwood in the spring of 2021 as Director of Major Gifts and Strategic Partnerships. In this role, Gabrielle works collaboratively with key volunteers, members of the advancement team, faculty, and staff to grow Wildwood’s philanthropic program. Gabrielle earned a B.A. in Psychology, with a minor in Education, at the University of Miami in Florida. She then went on to earn a masters in counseling at Pace University. After nine years at Marymount School of New York, she headed west, and most recently served as associate director of development at Loyola Marymount University. At Wildwood, recent major gifts have funded significant enhancements to the athletics program, provided seed money to launch the Wildwood Institute for STEM Research and Development (WISRD), and underwritten faculty professional development in the social justice and equity arenas. To learn more about Wildwood’s major gifts program or become involved, contact Gabrielle at gdalmasy@wildwood.org or (310) 881-2407.



DONOR PROFILE Thanks to our generous supporters Legacy and Leadership Two Wildwood School Alumni Families Make Landmark Named Gifts to Benefit Future Students

A Family Affair

TWO ALUMNI FAMILIES HAVE SHARED THEIR appreciation of Wildwood School with funding that will greatly benefit future students. Both families, the Cotsen-Rosenbaums and the Kramers, were excited to honor the work of Wildwood School employees and the entire Wildwood community through their generosity. In turn, the Board of Trustees and Head of School Landis Green were universally in favor of recognizing these extraordinary gifts by having them bear the names of these families in perpetuity. “While named gifts are not entirely new to Wildwood, these two new gifts represent an evolution of our community’s understanding of just how transformative they can be,” said Andrew Solmssen, Board of Trustees chair. “It’s been said that gifts like these are not only generous—they’re generative*—and by making these milestone gifts, each family hopes to inspire and raise the ambitions of others to follow in their footsteps.”

Corinna Cotsen and Lee Rosenbaum have been familiar faces around Wildwood for decades. Lee has served on the Board of Trustees for nearly 20 years, while Corinna was a long-time WWPO volunteer while their children attended Wildwood. The couple made a landmark gift to the school’s recent Foundation for the Future capital campaign, which helped to cement it as the most successful campaign in Wildwood’s history. Their profound generosity prompted the Board of Trustees to honor them with a naming opportunity. “Given the immense impact Wildwood has had on our children and the trajectory of their lives, the decision to give back to Wildwood was an easy one,” Lee said. “It was much, much more difficult to pinpoint one singular aspect of the Wildwood experience to recognize with our gift.” For that, Lee and Corinna turned to their three children—all Wildwood School alumni—for advice. Having conferred with Dr. Chiara Rosenbaum ’11, Emmett Rosenbaum ’13, and Anthea Rosenbaum ’16, the family chose to assign their family names to one of the many functions of the school for which they have the fondest of memories: college counseling. “Wildwood’s college counseling process played an integral role in bringing our childrens’ K-12 Wildwood education to a close and successfully launching their journeys into higher education and the world beyond,” Corinna said. “With this gift, we hope to honor our children’s college-preparatory education and the extraordinary individuals who guided them.” The Cotsen-Rosenbaum College Counseling Center not only pays homage to Wildwood’s thorough and much celebrated college counseling process, but touches on a core aspect of Wildwood experience, ensuring every Wildwood student will feel the impact of their gift as they near graduation.


Inspired by Equity

Ashley and David Kramer, too, realized that they wanted to make a statement of gratitude to a school community that had so effectively partnered with them as they raised their two daughters, Katie Kramer ‘19 and Ella Kramer ‘22. As Ella neared the end of her time at Wildwood, the Kramers approached the school and asked how they might direct a gift of gratitude. After discussing a range of potential options that would benefit from funding, the Kramers landed on Equity and Inclusion—long-standing priorities of Wildwood School that had inspired them throughout their Wildwood experience. “Our family feels so fortunate to have benefitted from Wildwood in many ways that extend far beyond Katie’s and Ella’s wonderful educations,” Ashley said. “One of these ways is by providing impactful lessons on the values of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. Our gratitude for our rich experience at Wildwood inspired us to think more specifically about ensuring that every Wildwood family has the ability to appreciate the school’s resources at their fullest, and on their own terms.” Wildwood School has long had a thriving Flexible Tuition Program, which sets tuition according to an individual family’s ability to pay, based on information gathered through the school’s Flexible Tuition application process. The Kramer Family Fund for Experiential Equity , a newly established endowment, builds upon this

A School Built on Generosity

Major gifts such as those by the Kramers and Costen-Rosenbaums benefit current and future Wildwood students, while also imparting a special message that students will carry with them even in their years after Wildwood, according to Landis Green, Head of School. “Our students know that they benefit from being educated in a well-funded school, with resources that make for excellent programming. I think it’s up to us, the adults in their lives, to help them understand that it’s from a place of care—of belief in their future and the future of the students who follow them—that people make investments like these,” Landis said. “Children and young adults benefit from the transparency of understanding that special places like Wildwood don’t just happen. It takes a community of people coming together around a big idea, people who are willing to commit— and even sacrifice—to make it happen,” Landis continued. “It’s important for our community to know that families can make transformative gifts that will enhance our school for their own students and generations of students to come.”


program by providing funding to supplement non-tuition expenses for students whose families participate significantly in the Flexible Tuition Program. Because of the Kramer’s gift, that same application process will be

used to calculate, assign, and underwrite discounts for some outside-of-tuition expenses such as equipment and technology, experiences like International Community Involvement trips, school lunches, and more. “Ensuring true experiential equity for all Wildwood students involves looking beyond just the expense of tuition to consider all of the potential challenges that might limit a student’s ability to take full advantage of all that Wildwood has to offer,” David said. “Wildwood would not be the same place without its incredibly diverse socioeconomic community, and it is our hope that this endowment supports the very ideals and initiatives that not only drew us to Wildwood in the first place, but were so thoughtfully instilled in our daughters’ education.”

*”Major Gifts and Naming Opportunities: When Giving Becomes Leading,” Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors Roadmap



THE JOURNEY CONTINUES Class of 2022 college list

Virginia Akujobi-Egere University of Southern California Reid Allenstein University of Oregon Shelby Barrett-Whitmore University of Hartford Cassiel Blum Goldsmiths, University of London

Milo Chamberlin Wesleyan University Kayli Joy Cooper Spelman College Jaden Drisdom Loyola Marymount University

Jacob Gelbart Northeastern University Miriam Gilbert University of Wisconsin, Madison Xander Hadley University of San Francisco Tatiana Higareda University of California, Merced

Julianna Horn University of Wisconsin, Madison Amir Isakhunov California Institute of the Arts Nahaar Izraeli Columbia College Chicago

Ethan Eskin Colby College

Thea Kassin The New School

Huckleberry Friedman Carleton College Quentin Gaudio University of California, Davis

Leo Blumenfield New York University Zoë Bryant San Francisco State University

Grace Higginbotham Skidmore College

Prescott Kelly University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Ella Kramer Wesleyan University

Hannah Holland-Rutledge Columbia College Chicago


Charlie Reynolds Bard College Molly Ribeiro Middlebury College Jason Rosenberg University of Oregon Seth Rosenberg Northeastern University Borga Sahbal California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Derin Sarioz Gap Year

Aden Schwartz Northeastern University

Willa Selman Loyola Marymount University Qew Shugars Xavier University

Tobey Steiner University of California, Berkeley Avery Steines DigiPen Institute of Technology Liam Stephenson University of Southern California Millie Rose Taub Northwestern University Mies Van Rooijen Gap Year Marika Vlahopoulos Barnard College Yuji Wexler University of Maryland

Angel Martin Del Campo California State Polytechnic University, Pomona Grace Mazzarella Savannah College of Art and Design

Kai Omine DePaul University Emma Parry New York University

Linus Phoenix University of San Francisco

Alexus Planas Case Western Reserve University

Graysen Paul University of Washington Viviana Pech California State University, Long Beach Luis-Daniel Perez University of California, Irvine

Lea Prough Gap Year

Romy Murro New York University Ian Norfolk Case Western Reserve University Ebube Nwabuzor Loyola Marymount University

Jackson Redman Rochester Institute of Technology Cooper Reif University of Southern California

Stella Philip Dickinson College

Loretta Wilson Oberlin College




Meet the Women of Wildwood


There’s no question that schools are filled with strong women who dedicate their lives to creating educational environments where students can learn and grow. However, while women comprise the majority of teaching positions (approximately 70-74 percent), research shows that many women aren’t obtaining leadership positions in K–12 schools across the U.S. When averaging the total number of school board members, principals, superintendents, and chief state education officers, women comprise approximately 30 percent nationally. However, the case for more women in school leadership positions is clear, strong, and pressing. Diving further into the data, the schools where these women are part of the leadership team happen to be among the top performing elementary, middle, and high schools in the U.S.* With a series of female leaders going back to our founding in 1971, Wildwood has bucked this national trend to the benefit of students, alumni, and our faculty and staff. Women make up the majority of our Heads Leadership Team members, as well as trustees. Wildwood is also a longtime member of The Head’s Network, founded in 1920 to promote female leadership in schools. Current Head of School Landis Green is a former trustee for the organization. From founder Belle Mason to former Head of School Hope Boyd, current school directors to emerging student leaders, Wildwood women always have (and continue to) lead the way.

* Benchmarking Women’s Leadership in the United States , University of Denver, 2018



FEATURE Jaimi Boehm, Director of Middle School & Susan Olsen, Board of Trustees A Legacy of Leadership: What I’ve Learned from the Women of Wildwood

My first task when I came to Wildwood School in 2017 as assistant director of upper school was to plan the Outdoor Ed retreat that would take all 220 upper school students and 35 faculty to Sequoia National Park for four days and three nights. I had no idea how to do that; in all of my previous roles as a teacher and educational leader, I had never been responsible for a community experience like that. I was both thrilled and intimidated by the opportunity and level of responsibility given to me right out of the gate. During one of those summer days early in my first month, longtime upper school humanities teacher Deb Christenson had come by to take care of some things in her classroom and stopped by my office to welcome me. Eager for insights about how Outdoor Ed trips had gone in the past, I was heartened by Deb’s final piece of advice: try reaching out to some upper school teachers and asking them what they’d like from a trip like this. Such a simple and important reminder. Trust the people around you. The trip was memorable and fun, and it was a good introduction to Wildwood for me. What I took away most from the experience was how much trust had been placed in me right from the outset of my time at Wildwood. I sensed it implicitly in ways big and small. It was okay if I had never done this or that before; I could learn it by doing it, and I could do a good job. As a woman and as a leader, that kind of trust is essential, and it’s been modeled for me in our school by the women whose legacy has shaped the culture of our school. To honor and reflect on that legacy and what it’s meant for those of us who benefit from it now, current board member Susan Olsen and I connected with some of the women whose service to the school and whose impact lives on. Colleen Pundyk, a former trustee and Director of Advancement who helped shepherd our school’s






“When I think about a compassionate leader, I think of someone whose work is to help others do their best. My senior seminar teacher, Deb Christenson, is such a person. She is a clear communicator who has challenged me to express my own ideas. I count her as a role model, and I am eager to continue learning from her.” — HONOR D. ‘23 STUDENT DIRECTOR OF THE WILDWOOD INSTITUTE FOR STEM RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT


Katie Rios, Director of Elementary School

Jaimi Boehm, Director of Middle School

expansion to a K-12 institution 22 years ago, remembered the spirit of the Board of Trustees during her time of service. She said, “We were can-do people. We were going to do the research, planning, finances—whatever needed to be done, we were just going to do it. We layered those responsibilities on top of all that we already did” in order to see Wildwood School become a learning community for students all the way through 12th grade. “The school exists because so many people said YES,” Colleen added.

Dr. Joanie Banks-Hunt, Director of Upper School

Karen Dye, Director of Equity and Inclusion

Kimberly Pope, Director of Admission and Enrollment Management

Kristin Hampton, Director of Institutional Advancement

Michelle Meena, Director of Head’s Office & Board Relations




Colleen’s service to Wildwood, and thus her legacy, was touched by people like parent and trustee Mary Estrin who, when she set her mind to something for Wildwood, couldn’t be stopped. “Mary didn’t pay attention to the glass ceilings that were even more dominant in the 1980s, when she began her long tenure on our Board,” Colleen said. Guided by Mary’s example, Colleen felt trusted to do what was right for the school, even as she was surrounded by predominantly male board members. What she remembers of her time at Wildwood was a deep and abiding spirit of collaboration in service to a greater common good. Monique Marshall, who taught at Wildwood for more than 20 years before launching her own antiracism and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) consulting firm, thought immediately of Hope Boyd, Wildwood’s head of school from 1992 to 2007. “When I was looking to move to LA from New York City, I knew about Hope, this Black female powerhouse. She put 100 percent of her faith in me. She had expectations that I could be somebody at Wildwood School, so I felt really affirmed and supported from the get-go.” Monique continued, “It was a privilege to work in a place where people believed in me and where I wasn’t afraid to try new things. With Hope, there was trust in the

FEATURE A Legacy of Leadership: What I’ve Learned from the Women of Wildwood

WHERE IT COUNTS 80% Percentage of female Heads Leadership

Team members 54% Percentage of female Board of Trustees members 3 of 3 Female school division directors (elementary, middle, upper) 2 of 3

Female directors of the Institutes at Wildwood 5 of 7 Female Heads of School since Wildwood’s founding







“I think the strong female teachers I have had the pleasure of working with at Wildwood have helped me pursue my interests in a way not many other people have. I always feel that they are available to talk to me and help me further my learning, especially the ones I had early on in the math and science departments who helped me discover the interest in science that I am pursuing today.” — ESMÉ W. ‘24

on her Wildwood experience, Lori offered, “Landis is asked to serve on and chair many boards. His active choice and commitment to serving on the board of the Head’s Network [whose mission is to promote the growth and development of women leaders] was a powerful statement. When you look at Landis’s legacy and the sheer number of school leaders who have successfully moved on to serve as heads of school, the leadership pipeline he mentored and shaped is staggering. That demonstrated belief in me, and more importantly the belief I saw him demonstrate in others, allowed me to flourish.” Trust. Faith. Belief. Gratitude. The legacy of these women and so many others at Wildwood is a culture of appreciation, of being specific in naming our thanks for someone else’s contributions, gifts, and positive impact. As a leader in this community, and as a parent to two students in this most special school, I am profoundly grateful to the women who have come before me. It is because of them that I feel trusted to share my own gifts and empowered to grow with the school.

individual. When Landis came to Wildwood, he brought things together and connected so many of the individual dots. I was given these new K-12 systems and structures to help me take my skills, knowledge, and good reputation and really deepen them, former Director of Equity and Inclusion and current parent, Rasheda Carroll was also someone to look to and learn from. She facilitated a lot of in-house training that gave me a real sense of what it means to be a female leader of color and of my ability to deal with conflict.” Former teacher and administrator, as well as current Wildwood parent, Melinda Tsapatsaris, reflected on her earliest years at Wildwood: “I was 23 and the main teacher-leader for the 7th and 8th grade teaching team. Many of the teachers on this team had decades of experience on me.” It was a trusted colleague who pushed Melinda out of her discomfort, saying, “You are who you are. Be you and be in your power.” Melinda found the advice comforting, as it invited her to find her footing as a leader in a way that felt right. With the confidence and support instilled in her from her colleagues at Wildwood, Melinda felt empowered to take on even higher levels of leadership within education, and now serves as Head of School for Westland School. “So often I experienced a cooperative learning environment, not a competitive one,” Melinda said. “While working, teaching, and growing at Wildwood, I was supported to be my best self. My colleagues and I were motivated to bring out each other’s excellence. I experienced overwhelming support and an honoring of who I was and where I was at.” This track—from Wildwood administration to Head of School—isn’t unique to Melinda. Like Melinda, former Associate Head of School Lori Strauss credits the opportunities at Wildwood for preparing her for her current role as Head of School at The Field School in Washington, D.C. In reflecting






Evidence and Ownership Creating a Modern, Sustainable Portfolio System

That’s the goal of Wildwood School’s portfolio and archive building work, being led by upper school visual arts teacher and current Wildwood parent Laura Forsythe. “Where do we show those ‘aha’ moments that occur every day both inside and outside the classroom?” Laura asked. “What evidence can students use to show their progression of becoming reflective scholars, compassionate leaders, and bold innovators?”

Developing the Habit of Evidence is an essential component of the Wildwood curriculum, whether it’s to inform a position during a classroom discussion, examine results in a lab, or evaluate sources for a paper—but how can the Habit of Evidence be applied to a student’s own growth and trajectory?



growth,” Laura said. “It’s a great way to show, not tell, an audience, which could be teachers and classmates at a Gateway or Senior Exhibition, or even prospective colleges, about your path towards mastery.” Reflection has always been a part of the Wildwood learning experience, and the importance of student portfolios was even included in the “10 Essentials” that formed the basis of Wildwood’s secondary program expansion to K-12 in 2000. However, the rapid advancement of technology has provided an opportunity to take this practice even deeper, and in a way that fully showcases the K-12 journey, Laura said. “There are fourth grade students that have created Google websites for WISRD (the Wildwood Institute for STEM Research and Development)—that’s evidence of learning that will only evolve over their years as they master new skills.” The next phase of this work will involve developing and testing portfolio prototypes, and eventually rolling out a K-12 system by 2024. In the meantime, the process is a way for Laura and the team to hone their own Habits of Convention, Evidence, and Collaboration in a way that furthers Wildwood’s mission and strengthens our learning community.

Laura and a team of faculty and staff (including Deb Christenson, Kathy Pillar, Allison Rotstein, Paula Gabriel, George Duryea, Dr. Joanie Banks-Hunt, Joe Wise, Steve Barrett, Nicholas Smith, Meira Gottlieb, and Michelle Simon) are collaborating on a three-year endeavor to create a modern, sustainable, and robust portfolio system to serve Wildwood students kindergarten through twelfth grade. Once launched, students will be able to use the portfolio to capture milestone learning moments and use the compiled evidence to demonstrate their growth over time. “When seniors are able to connect their elementary ‘trashion’ fashion projects to their work in costuming in developing their college portfolio, they are not only sharing their passion but also their learnings, reflections, and years of

23 OWW WINTER 2023 AHA! 12


Competing at the Highest Level The fall 2022 sports season was

filled with impressive moments as our spiking, running, and swimming Wolves smashed personal records and turned the heads of our competition. >




FEATURE Competing at the Highest Level

After a dominating season, the upper school girls varsity volleyball team easily qualified for the CIF playoffs, putting the team among the ranks of California’s best. The team knocked out first round opponent Carpenteria High School and advanced to the second round in Santa Barbara, where their season ended in a close match, 2-3, against Laguna Blanca. The middle school girls volleyball teams were impressive in their own right. Both middle school teams qualified for the playoffs and won their first round matches, advancing to the semi-finals. “Our teams have been so successful because of their mental toughness, as well as their ability to encourage and support each other on the court,” said middle school volleyball coach Esther Rogers. “It has been really fun watching them progress as players and teammates.” The boys beach volleyball team wrapped up its season with a strong showing at the JV Tournament of Champions and Varsity Pairs Championships, which hosted some of the best teams in the country. In the varsity matches, the pair of Quinn H. ‘23/Mathew M. ‘25 pulled off a solid win against Viewpoint, while the pairs of Ethan C. ‘23/Jonah S. ‘25 and Will J. ‘23/ Sid Z. ‘23 each got two wins in the JV competition. “All of the boys battled all day and learned a lot,” said boys beach volleyball coach Evan Dean. “It was a great experience for them to play against such quality teams, and really try to do some of the things that we had been coaching them on to get to the next level. Things look promising for the Wildwood beach squad as only four of our 14 players are seniors. I expect big things from our beach Wolves in the years to come!” In addition to running long distance, our running Wolves have been running circles around the competition during this fall’s middle and upper school cross-country competitions. During one of the most recent meets in Palos Verdes, everyone was able to handle the course and the infamous “Agony Hill” fairly easily, while sophomore Theo U.-N. ‘25 won his race and set the school record, running a blistering 11 minutes and 33 seconds.

The boys beach volleyball team wrapped up its season with a strong showing at the JV Tournament of Champions and Varsity Pairs Championships, which hosted some of the best teams in the country.

In addition to long distances, our cross

countryWolves ran circles around the competition during this fall’s middle and upper school meets.


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