I am proud to introduce the 2019-2020 expanded leadership team for The Peregrine Project and Peregrine School to everyone in our community. I am thrilled with the model of leadership we have evolved for Peregrine School over the past two years, guided by the Governance Committee of the Board of Directors, and feel that we have stronger leadership than ever this year.
Peregrine School will still be governed by me, Lorie Hammond, Peregrine's founding Director, and by our Business Director, Su-Fei Kuok. However, I will be working only half time this year, and will focus my attention on broader Director roles such as curriculum planning, staff development, long term planning with the Board, and outreach through partnerships, grant writing, presentations and publications. This means that day-to-day management of our growing schools will fall on four new directors whom I will introduce below, each of whom will take charge of a sector of our school.
I am gratified that all of these directors have been long term Lorie Hammond and Su-Fei Kuok, 2019
employees of our school, so they understand the Peregrine culture
from the inside out. This is important to continuity in the unique community we are. Also important is that the nature of Peregrine's flat leadership style naturally enables our leaders to collaborate with each other and with our community of parents and teachers.
Susan King, Peregrine Board Chair:
The Peregrine Project is the nonprofit organization which runs Peregrine School. It is governed by a Board of Directors composed of parents, teachers, and community experts. As we begin the 2019-2020 school year, the Peregrine Project is excited to announce its new Board Chairperson, Susan King. As Susan enters her new role, she wanted to provide a statement to introduce herself as the incoming chair and offer herself as a channel for communications. Susan states:
I am thrilled to start my fifth year in the Peregrine School community as the board chair. A corporate and estate planning attorney by day, and a mother to two daughters in the elementary program by night. I hope that my knowledge, experience, and love of solving puzzles or problems will serve the school well in furthering its mission of educating children to be creative, critical thinkers and lifetime learners. It takes a village to raise a child, and I believe that fostering strong relationships within our village should be a primary goal for all of us. To that end, I welcome your ideas, suggestions, and feedback; consider me an open channel for communications.
Email: email@example.com Cell: 510-913-5716
Gabriela Cortez, Preschool Director:
I am delighted to introduce Gabriela Cortez, previously my Associate Director, as the Preschool Director of Peregrine School who will manage both preschool sites. I asked Gaby to comment on her background and aspirations, and this is what she shared:
One piece of advice I was given as an adolescent, to prepare me for the "real world", was that it's not always about what you know, but who you know. Throughout my studies I prepared myself for the "what you know" part, and I set a plan for myself. Life had other plans for me. 11 years ago, a friend of mine who worked at Peregrine recommended I apply. Since then I have worked almost every conceivable position, and so have very in-depth and hands-on knowledge about what it means to run and lead Peregrine. I am proud to say that I have contributed to shaping Peregrine into what it has become. The beauty of our school is that it is ever-adapting, and I look forward to be part of that continuous process.
My goals as Preschool Director are to do my best to provide a positive and nurturing experience to everyone who walks through our doors, guide our teaching staff to be able to do the same, be available to be a listening ear, do my best to address any challenges faced throughout the year,and work with everyone to best serve our school's mission and purpose.
Fabiola Vidrio, Peregrine West Site Director:
Since Peregrine School has two early childhood centers, it is necessary to have a leader focused on the west site. The natural choice is Fabiola Vidrio, who was our first Peregrine teacher thirteen years ago. Fabi remains head teacher of the Primaria classroom at the west site, but spends one fourth of her time in her site director role. I interviewed Fabi, who said the following:
I have been here from day one, in different roles with different ages. I started with two year olds, then moved to 3-4 year olds, and then became the Spanish teacher and finally the head teacher of Primaria, which I have been for five years. It is nice to have an official leadership role, because people come to me for support and troubleshooting, since I am the senior member of the staff.
My hope is to establish an even stronger sense of community in Peregrine West by building relationships with parents, incoming staff, and everyone involved. Community is so key to success, and my goal is to be open and available to staff and parents alike. This year I am initiating a lot of community gatherings, at the Farmers’ Market on a regular basis, and at special events, such as the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven open house. Our students love insects, so we are going there and to the Bohart Museum of Entomology. I have always created community within my own classroom, but this year I hope to build connections between people in all our classrooms.
Chris Erickson, Peregrine Elementary Director:
The elementary program has grown this year, and we are thrilled to introduce its new director, Chris Erickson, who remains our 3-6 grade humanities teacher as well. Chris has been instrumental in developing the Peregrine elementary program since its inception, and will spend one day a week on administration while still teaching. When asked about his background and hopes, Chris states:
I have a BA in cinema and photography from the University of Southern Illinois, Carbondale, as well as a MA in English, with a specialty in creative writing, from UC Davis. In addition to teaching English at the college level for several years, I was an instructor at Spy Hop Productions in Salt Lake City, teaching film-making to kids ages nine through sixteen. This is my ninth year teaching the upper grades at Peregrine.
In my new role as director, I would like to work collaboratively with my elementary colleagues to continue to shape and implement true progressive teaching and learning at Peregrine School. Peregrine should also be a place where teachers from other schools can come and learn our way. It's a private school in the public interest, and I look forward to working toward that vision. I also have a deep interest in creating dynamic and beautiful inside and outside environments on Peregrine's campus.
Yi Che, Chinese Program Director:
Our newest programs at Peregrine School have been our Chinese immersion preschool and kindergarten classes, as well as Chinese after school classes, elementary classes, and teacher and student exchanges to China. All of these programs have been initiated by Yi Che, who is now the Chinese Program Director at Peregrine. Yi describes her background and aspirations as follows:
I received my Masters Degree from East China Normal University and then a Ph.D. from Arizona State University. I was professionally trained as an ECC researcher. After having my own kids, I devoted my passion to the front-line classroom teaching at Peregrine. Over the past five years, I have worked in Escuelita and Primaria classes, before founding the Chinese Panda class; then the Kindergarten Dragon class. Meanwhile, I have worked as ECC Teacher Trainer and Curriculum Consultant, mostly in China as well as teaching undergraduate students at ASU, before and after joining Peregrine.
I believe that teaching is both an art and a science; it has a personal touch but can be improved through high-quality professional training. As our Chinese program has expanded, I have decided to step out from the classroom to be an administrator this year. My goal as our new Chinese Program Director is to support the Chinese program teachers through staff training, to develop age-appropriate and culturally sensitive curriculum, and to bring more bilingual, cross-cultural learning opportunities to teachers, students and families from local to global communities.
Peregrine School has attracted high quality teachers and leaders since its inception, and these leaders enable it to grow as an excellent school and an emergent model of progressive education. As founder of the school, its vision is central to my life purpose, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have such strong leaders to continue our mission as I shift my role to long-term planning and to expanding communication about our school to the outside world.
The Peregrine Project is governed by a board of directors consisting of parent, teacher, and community representatives who serve as either voting members or as non-voting advisors. The board strives for diversity and active participation from all factions of the school, especially the West campus. Parents interested in joining the board this year as an advisor, and possibly becoming a future board member, should contact our board chair, Susan King at firstname.lastname@example.org.To see our Board of Directors, please visit our website here.