Faculty and staff departures


By Cooper Tenney

Eight faculty and staff members are departing Branson at the end of this school year to pursue different paths in life. 

The faculty leaving are Maggie Molter, Lori Deibel, Danny Lee, Janeal Fordham and Rachel Kim. Sabrina Wilson will also no longer be teaching Spanish as a faculty member because she has been appointed as the new dean of student life after stepping in for Meredith Herrera at the mid-semester break. 

Three staff members are also leaving our school, according to Michelle Jobes, director of human resources: Hannah Arndt, Ben Pastor and Ryan Shaw.

I spoke to four people about their plans for the future, favorite Branson memories and their messages for the Branson community. 

Maggie Molter

Maggie Molter has been teaching at Branson as a science teacher and JV girls soccer coach since 2017 and will be continuing her teaching career at the Blake School, a high school in Minneapolis. She will be teaching math and coaching girls soccer there.

According to Molter, the Branson community has been especially influential and inspiring for her.

“I have met so many amazing educators that have become mentors and hopefully lifelong friends,” Molter said. “And perhaps more importantly, this community is full of incredibly inspiring young people. You make me laugh, teach me about Gen-Z trends and give me a new perspective and hope for the future.”

Molter recounted her favorite Branson memories over her years at the school.

“A few from the lab come to mind … the safety shower getting pulled, shattered beakers, accidental chlorine gas. … Making videos with Karl [Schmidt] to try to make pandemic learning a little more fun. My first attempt on a skateboard, throwing grapefruits off my second-story steps, hover puck shenanigans, launching water rockets. Many moments of hilarity with the Alphabet group. I think it’s a sum of many, many small but joyful interactions!”

She also added a parting message for the Branson community.

“I am just filled with gratitude for the relationships I’ve built here and each of them truly has a special place in my heart,” said Molter.

Lori Deibel

Lori Deibel has been at Branson since 2002 and leaves us after 19 years of working as the school librarian and 15 years of serving as the Branson School archivist. She will be retiring from teaching at the end of this school year to spend time with her family, travel and volunteer with the Marin County Archives, as well as working on other ventures such as writing a book on her family history and pursuing forensic genealogy.

After 19 years, Deibel reflected on her Branson experience. 

“[My favorite memories include] sitting with each of my four advisor groups in front of the Library fireplace … helping my good friend Malik at track meets, joining my fellow teachers and staff at the lunch table … hearing a student get excited about the research topic we’re working on and being able to give them the tools to explore further.” 

Deibel has loved being around the students, faculty and staff members throughout her time at Branson. She said that she is a naturally introverted person, but being around everyone has brought her joy and helped her open up. 

“I have learned so much about myself and the world while I’ve been here, and I am so thankful to Branson for opening my eyes and my heart,” Deibel said.

With a parting piece of wisdom, Deibel advised students to seek out librarians throughout college for assistance. She also addressed the faculty and staff with a message:

“Thank you for being the collaborative, funny, engaged, and interesting people that made every day working here a challenge and a joy,” Deibel said.

Rachel Kim

Rachel Kim has been teaching music at Branson since 2015. She is leaving to pursue postgraduate studies in music and music education. 

She has described her favorite memories as “all of the Winter Concert performances we’ve produced, from choosing the pieces to practicing and rehearsing and finally performing for the audiences.”

Kim also expressed her love for the beautiful facilities as well as all of her students that she teaches and works with in her classes.

A message that she leaves with the Branson community is to “continue to explore and pursue your passions.”

Benjamin Pastor

Benjamin Pastor, the chief advancement officer, leaves Branson after three years. He will continue his career as the director of advancement at Rumsey Hall School, in Washington, Connecticut. 

“This community is incredible,” Pastor said. “People are kind and thoughtful, and the community is amazingly inclusive in so many ways. I also feel very lucky to have been part of …  an incredible faculty and staff. It really is an amazing group of people.”

Addressing the community, Pastor emphasized kindness as a core value for students and faculty alike to continue to practice. He also encouraged students to contribute a small gift to the Annual Fund, no matter how small the amount.

“[The Annual Fund] is what allows us to have the incredible teaching, learning, and campus resources that we do … so please consider returning that favor to future Branson students!”