Quick guide: new faculty and staff

The+Branson+School+gymnasium+is+seen+from+the+school%27s+library+in+Ross%2C+Calif.+on+Friday%2C+Aug.+2%2C+2019.+%28Alan+Dep%2FMarin+Independent+Journal%29
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Quick guide: new faculty and staff

The Branson School gymnasium is seen from the school's library in Ross, Calif. on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal)

The Branson School gymnasium is seen from the school's library in Ross, Calif. on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal)

Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal

The Branson School gymnasium is seen from the school's library in Ross, Calif. on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal)

Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal

Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal

The Branson School gymnasium is seen from the school's library in Ross, Calif. on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal)

Kaya Dierks, writer

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The Blazer have compiled a quick guide to some of the faces at Branson. Be sure to say “hello” if you see any of them around campus!

Lorena Alvear
Science Teacher

Students here are very serious about their studies, but they’re also very serious about being good people. And I just really love that.”

Previously at:

Colegio Americano de Quito

What attracted you to Branson?

“When I came here, I had to do a demo class, and I got to know the students. It seemed like – and I still have this impression – that students are very serious about their studies, but they’re also very serious about being good people. And I just really love that.”

What’s one thing that you’d like the student body to know about you?

“One of the things that I love about teaching is being able to interact with my students – get to know them, get to know what they’re interested in.”

What’s the most surprising thing about Branson?

“In my past experience, sometimes I needed to follow-up to make sure I can help students if they need any extra help. But I don’t have to do that here! Students are very aware if they need a little help, and they will ask for it. That’s amazing.”

What are your goals while you’re at Branson?

“Become a part of the community, and have good relationships with students, faculty, and other staff. And just learn! Because any new experience allows you to learn.”

JuanCarlos Arauz
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

“I want to help empower every student to thrive at Branson.”

Previously at:

E3: Education, Excellence, and Equity

What attracted you to Branson?

“The commitment that Branson has to be an excellent school. And Branson’s understanding that to be excellent, they must have equity built-in.”

What’s one thing that you’d like the student body to know about you?

“I’m the greatest basketball player they’ve never seen.”

What’s the most surprising thing about Branson?

“The amazing food! And how nice the students and faculty are.”

What are your goals while you’re at Branson?

“To help the adult community develop policies and structures that will empower every student to thrive at Branson.”

Whitney Livermore
History Teacher

 

“There’s a vibrant energy that I felt when I was here of people who were happy to be here, and excited by what they were doing.”

Previously at:

The Thacher School
Katherine Delmar Burke School

What attracted you to Branson?

“The community and the vibrant energy that I felt when I was here – of people who were happy to be here, and excited by what they were doing.”

What’s one thing that you’d like the student body to know about you?

“I really would like to know people’s names. Introduce yourself to me!”

What’s the most surprising thing about Branson?

“How many activities students are involved in outside of classes. I expect that at a boarding school – because everybody lives there – but you all also have to be at home with your families, and commute – and yet you still do lots of other things, too.”

What are your goals while you’re at Branson?

“To teach history well and help students love learning about it. And, also, to help Branson in its continued quest to build its community with the core values.”

Rich Mazzola
Director of Athletics

“I am, first, and foremost, an educator.” 

Previously at:

The College Preparatory School
St. Anne’s-Belfield School
The Thacher School

What attracted you to Branson?

“Well, my wife is the head of school here – so that’s what drew us!”

What’s one thing that you’d like the student body to know about you?

“I think that, at some schools, an athletic director might not be perceived as an educator – but I am, first and foremost, an educator. I wouldn’t want to make a career in athletics outside of the realm of education; I see athletics as a really valuable component of a student-athlete’s experience.”

What’s the most surprising thing about Branson?

“The overwhelming percentage of students who are involved in some school sport. It’s great to see. And I hope that’s indicative of students – whether they are experienced in athletics or not – feeling welcome to join the program.”

What are your goals while you’re at Branson?

“I want to make sure that every student who gets involved in the athletics program has a rich and meaningful experience. That athletics will be an integral part of their education.”

Anthony Perry
Spanish Teacher

“I’m very passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion. It tends to show up in how I exist in an institution.”

Previously at:

The Nueva School
Phillips Academy Andover
Georgetown University
St. George’s School

What attracted you to Branson?

“I had some people who I knew who thought that Branson would be a good school for me. They knew me, and they knew the institution, and they thought that it would be a good fit.”

What’s one thing that you’d like the student body to know about you?

“I’m very passionate about issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. It tends to show up in my classes, in how I exist at an institution.”

What’s the most surprising thing about Branson?

“How happy the kids are, given there’s a generalization or a stereotype that there’s a lot of work that students have to do. But I think that students are seemingly happy, and very friendly. A good surprise is that students are very friendly.”

What are your goals while you’re at Branson?

“To be a fantastic Spanish teacher. To have everyone understand how great the Spanish language is, and to those individuals who represent that culture – how great that is. To be a voice for that.”

Evan Schnair
English Teacher

“I want to find the creative writers, the poets.”

Previously at:

Drew School
California College of the Arts
Medaille College
SUNY Buffalo
Pacific Hills School

What attracted you to Branson?

“I immediately noticed the way in which the student community engages with each other in my demo lesson. What really stood out to me was how quickly everyone was willing to engage with each other, get to know each other, and dive into the work at hand. I think that speaks a lot to the teaching community that’s established here – how collaborative, open, and thoughtful the faculty are about the work they do, and how they bring that into the classroom for students.”

What’s one thing that you’d like the student body to know about you?

“I’m a poet, and I’ve been studying poetry since I was in high school. I think that for me, it’s really about giving students an opportunity to articulate their voice – how they begin to perceive and engage in culture and communities around us, and use an expressive medium to situate themselves.”

What’s the most surprising thing about Branson?

“The amount of awareness and kindness that students have. That seems to be embedded in how people interact with each other here, and that’s a wonderful surprise.”

What are your goals while you’re at Branson?

 “I want to find the creative writers. I want to find the poets. Start there.”