By Eliza Insley and Jon Garvin
On Thursday, April 23, the current Summit Prep administration announced changes for the 2020-21 school year. Current Executive Director Caitlin Reilly and Deans of Culture Michael Green and Akanksha Wu announced that they are departing from the Husky family.
Current Modern World 1 and 2 teachers Mary-Beth Thompson and David Tellez are taking on the Dean roles. Current Director of Human Resources for Summit Public Schools, Cady Ching, fills the Executive Director position.
This change is sad for the Prep community, due to the significant roles the three administrators had in everyone’s daily lives. However, Prep faculty took time to share memories and appreciations of the three.
Michael Green has been a part of the Prep community for four years. His positive energy is the backbone of the school’s spirit, always making sure students and teachers are the best versions of themselves.
Next year’s Dean David Tellez shared, “Mr. Green has been an amazing person showing students the real meaning behind a responsible and dedicated young adult. Through his talks with many students, he has demonstrated the importance of being responsible, dedicated, and motivated while still maintaining a strong connection with students through his calm, ease, and approachable nature.”
Math 2 teacher Lauren Copenhaver shared, “Summit is losing a great leader (in Green’s words: Jesus wept). Mr. Green has always been someone who can bring anyone’s spirits up. He has a clever sense of humor and just makes you smile. Every time we saw each other in the hallways he would yell, ‘LC in the place to be!’. As simple as that was, it shows his fun personality and commitment to being a positive role model in leading his team. I will also miss the disciplinary finesse he has when talking to students (seriously he just makes so much sense when he’s correcting kids) and being on the same mentoring team for a class of students we love so dearly. He is excellent at what he does and in who he simply is. He motivates us all to do better. I wish you all the best, Mr. Green!”
Akanksha Wu has been a part of the Summit Prep community for two years. Her friendly smile was always refreshing for everyone to see while walking the hallways.
Copenhaver shared, “So for those of you that don’t know, Ms. Wu and I are actually sisters. It has felt like it at least because Ms. Wu has been such a wonderful coach. I am someone who is very hard on myself and, if I am not doing the best, I put myself down and feel like I am doing a poor job. This fixed mindset has given me a lot of anxiety. At the beginning of this year, Ms. Wu gave me an orchid and a notebook. She said that the orchid represented how much I have grown as a teacher and that I am continuing to blossom. The notebook was for me to write down aspects of myself in the context of my career as I discovered where I fit best. She highlighted all of the wins in my teaching career when I mostly focused on the losses. I still have that orchid although it needs a little TLC due to my lack of watering. However, it reminds me to have a growth mindset and, in this new season of life, that I can grow again, and I can learn more than I thought I could. You can bet those lessons will be written in that notebook. She teaches me to be silly and have fun experimenting in the classroom rather than let the fear of failure take over. Whether it has been trying to convince students that we are sisters or crating a math game in which students have to do math to help me find the love of my life, she has done what a great coach would do: never give up on me. Thank you, Ms. Wu!”
Alara Guzman-MacGiillivray, dean of operations, shared, “I really appreciate collaborating with Ms. Wu. I will miss our planning sessions where we think really hard and bounce ideas off each other and also do a lot of laughing and having fun.”
Caitlin Reilly has been a part of the Prep community for three years, and the Summit community even longer. Her hard work and determination to make the school a positive environment is inspirational to everyone she interacts with on a day-to-day basis.
AP Environmental Science teacher Christian Wyatt shared, “Ms. Reilly loves Prep more than anyone else, and is also very competitive. One time last summer before the school year started, all of the SPS faculty was meeting in Daly City for professional development. At the end of this week of sitting in a gymnasium, struggling to hear the speaker, we had school-based competitions, where each school’s faculty competed against each other. Hula-hoop stuff, charades, and this game of Jenga with peculiar rules. I am also a competitive person. When we were playing the big bosses (HQ people across the street) we were neck and neck, and when I approached Ms. Reilly about the rules of the game, she IMMEDIATELY listed off like 50 different ways that we could improve the wording of the rules and how we are definitely going to fight for it (metaphorically) if we have to. We, of course, won that game and went on to win the whole competition! I learned right there just how much of a leader Ms. Reilly was. Even in this little activity, we were going to do our very best because that is what Prep does. Her time with us has definitely reflected that. She has been such a great leader for our school and I’m so excited for her to start a new chapter!”
New Executive Director Cady Ching shared, “You have set up the most thoughtful transition for Prep and that speaks volumes for the type of leader you are. You think through the what, the why, the how, all while leading with students at the center of each decision and process. You have courage, strength and compassion that truly shines through all challenges and obstacles, and your dedication to Prep has been inspiring and game-changing. I have learned so much from working with you and for you, and I only hope that I can fill half of the shoes you left for me to fill. I am so excited about maintaining a life long friendship and I am so excited for your gran and neph (and Colleen!) because you are a true angel and it is time that they get to have you close. Do not worry about us, because we will be totally fine, and I will keep you updated and require your attention and coaching in the years to come. I love you so much and am so excited for your next chapter!”