The View From Here

A snapshot into life at Sonoma Academy taken from many angles, The View From Here is our bi-monthly blog featuring reflections from the Head of School, and other staffulty members. 

The View From Here: Current Article

List of 2 news stories.

  • The View From Here: SA on the Road!

    My life flashed in front of my eyes. At least the last 20 years. And it was good. So good. 

    Thirty-five SA alumni joined me, Kim Eber, Lily Thompson, and Megan Malone in Greenwich Village last night for our very first official, Sonoma Academy east coast gathering. 

    It was kind of like fireworks kept going off. As they entered the room, singly, or in small groups, each was this amazing little pop of excitement. Making a connection between the young student I had in my mind’s eye with the poised young adult who walked into the room was a colorful explosion. And then, as the alumni walked in and saw who else was there, more explosions of excitement to see and connect with each other. The sky kept filling up with more colors, more electricity, more color, more magic. Some of them have been in touch all along, some of them were unaware that there were so many Sonoma Academy kids now living and working in New York. The energy all evening was fun and electric, inspiring, and engaging, as they shared their journeys up to this point, talked about their college experiences and careers, and generally just basked in each other’s presence. 

    Over and over, we heard how they stay in touch, in different ways. One group connects through Google Hangout. Two young women from graduating classes six years apart (Samantha Woo ‘18 and Rose Martin ‘12) told us how they had met serendipitously in a swing dancing class when Sam told Rose that she looked remarkably like her good friend from high school… Grace Martin,‘15! Two other members of the Class of 2015 (Zoe Risher and Noah Baughman) were making plans to go to the gym today and we learned that a few of them were still together with their SA sweethearts!

    Late last night over a burger, and sitting in a cafe this morning over coffee, we are still waxing on about the magical evening and how much fun we had. Guess what? The proof is in the pudding and SA alumni are everything we would hope for; we would be happy to meet them out in the world and especially happy to hire them! To a person, they were delightful, unpretentious, warm, curious, connecting, kind, interesting, intelligent, accomplished, motivated, self-aware, and open. We want to stay connected with them forever; we want to do this again. And we will.

    To that end, we talked to them about their ideas for how to keep and build that connection and are building out exciting plans for how to stay engaged in a meaningful way with our NYC alums and Sonoma Academy alumni across the country and the world.
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  • The View From Here: Transition

    by Janet Durgin, Head of School
    Although the end of the school year—and thus, the beginning of my retirement—is still some months away, I’ve begin the process of clearing out my office, which holds an accumulation of books, papers, and photos from my twenty years here… and the twenty years of teaching and administering at Northfield Mount Hermon prior to that. Michele Martin, our librarian, has found good homes for cartons of books on schools, leadership, and educational theory. I’m keeping the poetry as well as “quelques petits bouqins” (little books) remaining from my years teaching French.

    Parler et convaincre, (the little book you see in this photo) means to speak and to convince. While this “bouqin” was intended to help French students develop compelling syntax, the title fits quite well into the job of Head of School; there is a lot of talking required, from the welcoming words at an event, to explaining decisions about school closure, to the deeply sad moments when we have experienced loss in our community.

    Ecouter, to listen, is clearly more important… and so essential if you’re going to have anything worth saying! Our new Head of School, Tucker Foehl, knows that deep listening will be foundational to his first year at Sonoma Academy and he and I have begun regular weekly conversations about everything SA, soup to nuts.

    These weekly calls are first and foremost about opening a channel of communication between me and Tucker, an open discussion that allows him to ask questions, as well as to begin the transfer of knowledge that will ensure a seamless transition. He is eager to absorb it all and a quick study. Our conversations will cover everything from marketing to enrollment, finance to operations, program and plans for our new performing arts center, and everything in between. But before these calls even began, I, and the admin team have been preparing for the transition by creating troves of files organized around operational priorities, with links to all relevant documents, summaries of past strategic planning efforts and their impact, my annual goals and reports I make to the board every year concerning progress against goals, and more in order to help Tucker hit the ground running when he officially begins his tenure as Head of School this summer.

    The Board of Trustees established a Head of School Transition committee immediately after Tucker was hired to ensure a smooth transition and to help Tucker and his family as they prepare to start their new life here in Sonoma County. The co-chairs of that committee—Bridget Twomey (Will ‘18, Madeline ‘?) and Mary Felton (Kid names Here)—have also been traveling to Sacramento regularly to meet with Tucker and his wife, Angela, who have been exploring the schools and neighborhoods in our area as their move to Sonoma County becomes a reality. The Board is working on a set of goals for Tucker’s first year which will be shared with you during the summer.

    Last week at community meeting, I told the students that my remaining days here were now going fast. I said that I wanted to have conversations with as many of them as possible and asked them to stop by and say hello. I look forward to graduating with the rest of my senior class on June 5. My last day will be the end-of-year gathering for staffulty and trustees on June 10 (coincidentally my 68th birthday!).

    Tucker will move into the office at the top of the stairs on Monday, June 15. It will have been freshened with new paint and furniture, the shelves ready to receive his books. I told our students that were going to love Tucker and he would love them and the school. In one of our recent conversations, Tucker told me that he was very aware that he was being passed something precious.

    I couldn’t agree more and am eager to share more updates about the transition with you throughout the remainder of this school year.
    Read More
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Santa Rosa, CA 95404 
(707) 545-1770 

Sonoma Academy Is...

...is the only private, independent, college preparatory high school in Sonoma County. On our beautiful campus nestled at the base of Taylor Mountain in Southeastern Santa Rosa, our students are able to explore their interests and passions in a rigorous and inspiring environment that develops a lifelong love of learning and prepares them for college and beyond.