Director of Student Support
San Francisco State University, MA
Cleveland State University, BA
email: margie.pugh [at] sonomaacademy.org
phone: (707) 636-2450
When she was in high school in Cleveland, Margie was the “girl who wanted to do everything,” she says. From musicals to the school newspaper, she did it all, thriving in a close school community. That drive for connection and inclusiveness has been a common theme throughout her life, and it’s one of the reasons that her role as our Director of Student Support is a perfect fit for her.
Margie majored in History in college, but one of her favorite subjects was Art History—she especially loved learning about Asian art and culture. After earning a teaching credential, Margie went to visit friends in San Francisco and ended up falling in love with California. “I loved the diversity, the culture, and the acceptance I found here,” she says. She taught Humanities at a number of middle schools, and found that she really loved the “detective work” involved with helping struggling students find paths to success in the classroom. This led her to attend a Reading Specialist graduate program at San Francisco State where she received her Master's Degree in Secondary Education and launched her career as an Educational Therapist.
Margie found that this field helped to satisfy both her boundless curiosity and her desire to make connections with people. She loved working with students as they developed tools and strategies to help with learning differences, and she enjoyed learning about new theories in education and psychology. She eventually brought this knowledge to a small middle school in Rohnert Park, where she served as the Head of the Middle School and taught Humanities.
Modeling lifelong learning for her students, Margie received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study at the homes of George Washington, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, and she was selected for a Fulbright Program to spend three weeks studying the educational system in Japan. “The experience of being immersed in another culture was incredible, but it was even more exciting to come back and share what I had learned with my American students,” she says.
Margie learned about Sonoma Academy as the school was first getting off the ground, and her two children were among our early graduates. She joined the school in 2008 as its first ever learning strategist. “My work has evolved so much since then!” she says. In addition to handling learning profiles and accommodations for our students with learning differences, she now works to support our international student program and Davis Scholars.
This job is perfect for Margie’s skill set. In her role, she gets to make one-on-one connections with students, learn about other cultures, build community, and keep abreast of new thinking in educational theory, all things that she is passionate about. She also loves to keep active in her free time: doing water aerobics, practicing Pilates, walking, singing, and traveling the world.
Margie appreciates that an understanding of different learning styles and a desire to teach each student as an individual is part of the school culture at Sonoma Academy. “It is very satisfying to help kids to understand that they might be having a hard time now, but that doesn’t mean that things will always be difficult,” she says. “No one can predict where your potential will take you.”