I have been committed to children and education since high school and have always felt a calling in some way to either teach, help others, or work in a school setting. Working around our youth keeps my spirit young. Students have a way of providing hope for the future, a sense of idealism and a vitality that instills me with optimism. In turn, I have the massive responsibility to support students as they seek to make the important transition from middle school to high school. If I can help guide a family into a learning community where their child can thrive and grow, then in some small way I have made a difference. I don’t take this responsibility lightly, but feel honored every time I connect with a child or parent during the admissions process to support their child’s growth.
What is your position here and how long have you worked at O’Dowd? I am Director of Admissions. This will be my 5th year at O’Dowd and 4th year in my current role.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received (generally – it doesn’t have to be related to O’Dowd)?
Listen to hear and not to respond.
What is your favorite thing about your job? Meeting countless children from all over the Bay Area, from various school, cultures and families. The children I meet truly inspire me. I especially enjoy watching timid or shy 8th grade students become confident and active high school students. I also love observing the students each day when I walk across the Quad during lunch. I love watching the interactions between the students, the pods of students lounging around, the snippets of conversation that remind me that they are, indeed, still teenagers. I feel like an anthropologist spying on a somewhat familiar yet strange species.
What about your field or position do you think would surprise people the most? The volume of student visits we handle in a given admissions season, the number of daily phone call we manage, and how hard it is to not fall in love with each child during the process.
What is the most interesting or surprising thing about you? I have lived on three continents: Africa, Australia, and then moved to the United States when I was 13 – an incredibly difficult age to transition. I have three kids who attend three different schools and who span in age from 7 to 16. My 16 year old attends O’Dowd – of course. I love to spin and exercise. I was a terrible test taker in school, despite attending two excellent universities, which is why I have tremendous empathy for our 8th grade students who have to take the HSPT. I often share with them that resilience, diligence and self-advocacy will get them further in life than a high test score.
If you could rescue only one thing from your burning office, what would it be?
My grandmother’s tapestry from South Africa that is hanging on my office wall.
What is your favorite kind of music/what are your favorite bands?
I love rap and R&B music. I especially love old school rap like Digital Underground, Black Sheep and A Tribe Called Quest. I recently saw Sheila E perform at the Paramount. I also love U2. In fact, I love music and sing out loud in my car when nobody can hear me.
What is your favorite sports team or who is your favorite individual athlete? Definitely the Warriors and I am inspired by regular athletes who beat the odds and push themselves beyond their comfort zone. People who challenge themselves daily to cycle faster, run longer distances, climb mountains and conquer fears serve as constant inspiration. I especially love the story of Mavis Hutchison, a South African runner who was the first woman to run across the United States in 1978 and who still holds the Guinness World Record for women: 69 days, 2 hours and 40 minutes – that’s amazing.