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Laguna Blanca Welcomes New Staff, Students and Plans 80th Anniversary Celebrations

Students returned to Laguna Blanca School on Sept. 4 with eager anticipation of the year to come.

Faculty and staff welcomed back the students ready to dive into a new year full of exciting developments, including the celebration of the school’s historic 80th anniversary, which will be recognized at various events throughout the school year.

Joining the faculty team this year is Interim Head of School Richard Marracino, who has been in private education as a teacher and administrator for more than 40 years. A native of Connecticut, Marracino was awarded a head’s fellowship at Teacher’s College, Columbia University, received an MPA in urban government and educational administration from UCLA, and a bachelor of arts degree in political science, history and secondary education from the University of Connecticut.

He was formerly the headmaster of Commonwealth-Parkville, a two-campus, co-ed private school in San Jan, Puerto Rico, and over the years has worked in schools all over the country, including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan and Ohio, as well as internationally in the Dominican Republic and Spain.

Together with his wife, Lillian Lewis, Marracino is looking forward to the school year ahead and working with the students, faculty, staff, parents and alumni who make up the Laguna Blanca community.

New Lower School Headmaster Andy Surber was welcomed by the Laguna community over the summer, and is already feeling at home on campus among the younger students.

New this year is “Tecolote (Owl) Tuesdays,” where Surber shares his “Tip of the Week” at the Lower School weekly assembly. One recent example was Kindness, and students were reminded that if you approach a door and someone is following you, hold the door and allow the other person to pass through first. Already, Lower School students are heeding his advice tips and opening doors.

Laguna Blanca Interim Head of School Richard Marracino enjoys an ice cream social with new Middle School students. (Laguna Blanca School photo)

Also new to Laguna are 52 new students. The school has six siblings joining a sister or brother, two siblings of alumni, three alumni children, six families enrolling more than one child, three faculty/staff children, a set of twins and six international students. This year’s group has students joining us from England, Germany, Chile and China.

Laguna Blanca is proud to welcome these students into the community, as well as six new teachers — Elyse Atkinson (first-grade instructor), Brooke Cummings (third-grade instructor), Sienna Kimbell (Academic Services), Michael Kohan (music instructor for Chamber Ensemble and the middle, high school and stage bands), Joel Poholsky (Middle and Upper School math instructor), Meghan Roarty (AP psychology and AP biology instructor) and Andra Wilson (Middle School P.E. instructor and Advisory Program director).

The school is also gearing up for its 80th anniversary, celebrating 80 years of academic excellence and enriching extracurricular programs. This fall, the Laguna Blanca community will come together for an extra special '80s-themed Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 18-19, featuring the second annual Peter "Ace" Angeloff Golf Classic, the school-wide favorite Jogathon, exciting Homecoming football and volleyball games, and a birthday celebration complete with cake and a parent and alumni wine tasting gathering, where the new eco-friendly parking plaza will be commemorated with a ribbon cutting. Later in the spring, the school will celebrate being “totally awesome at 80” at its annual Auction and Gala.

Laguna Blanca will also see new developments in technology, as part of its goal to provide the very latest digital learning opportunities for its students. Several Laguna Blanca teachers recently attended the International Society for Technology and Education Annual Conference (ISTE) in San Antonio, Texas, where they learned about exciting new methods of incorporating modern technology into their teaching. The ISTE Conference has been the premier forum in which to learn, exchange ideas and survey the field of education technology.

Laguna Blanca students have already been using iPads and Kindles in their classrooms over the past year. With the fifth-grade teacher’s (Donna Brown) newly acquired techniques, her class has moved to an interactive online social studies text. In addition to developing a classroom blog this year, the fifth-graders will also be incorporating the iPads to create projects and demonstrate math concepts in "screencasts.”

For more information about Laguna Blanca School and for those interested in arranging a visit, please contact Joyce Balak, the director of admission and financial aid, at [email protected] or 805.687.2461 x210.

— Jennifer Zacharias is a publicist representing Laguna Blanca School.

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