Fond Farewells 2023
Steve Capone is a jack of all trades, and master of all as well. Steve’s interests are multifaceted and include D&D, the band Phish, the history of war, spy games, writing, and much more. Steve is first and foremost a learner, and practices Limud L’shma - learning for the sake of learning - nearly each minute he’s awake in the day. Steve is a teacher who challenges students and pushes them to do in-depth writing and research, as he demonstrates himself through his own endeavors of authoring a book.
For the past six years, Steve has created unique avenues for students to play, learn, gather, and share their passions and learning with one another. Thank you, Steve, for sharing your insatiable and playful attitude towards learning, and enthusiastically showing us all how much the world has to teach.
Erik Garabaya Casado
Erik Garabaya taught 6th Grade Spanish this year, his first at McGillis, on a part-time basis. All the while, he worked to complete his Ph.D. through courses in Spain and adjunct teaching at the University of Utah.
A student of the teaching and learning of second languages, Sr. Garabaya did an amazing job of teaching Middle School students for the first time in his early career, and brought his graduate studies to life in the classroom. He will be returning to Spain to defend his dissertation in just a few weeks, and then launch his career in training future language teachers.
Sr. Garabaya taught his students the value of Derech Eretz - Respect for all - with his calm, quiet demeanor and knowledge of other places and cultures. Muchas gracias, Sr. Garabaya.
Over the past two years, Leif Hansen has created compelling and beautiful films and short videos that weave in our most important McGillis stories. Leif’s videos are creative examples of our values in action, and they brilliantly capture the culture and spirit of McGillis. These video stories are heartfelt, funny, playful, and demonstrate the joy of McGillis.
Because our videos are shared broadly and viewed by students, parents, grandparents, and across states and perhaps even countries, Leif has helped to spread the power of our Kehilah with his filmmaking talents. Thank you, Leif, for showing the world what our McGillis Kehilah stands for.
Cynthia Hori has been teaching students about the power and beauty of science for 42 years. For the past eight, Cynthia introduced McGillis students to the ways in which science could teach us about the greatest mysteries of the world, along with the ways that students could be scientists. From observing hawks to studying weather patterns, launching rockets, or creating Mars habitats, Cynthia showed students all the ways science touched everyday life - from the mundane to the impossible.
Cynthia cares deeply about the environment, and she has worked tirelessly to promote awareness and sustainability. She understands the necessity of Tikkun Olam - repairing the world - if future generations are to sustain our planet and protect its natural beauty.
Cynthia is retiring after a stellar career in education, helping students understand this McGillis value not only here, but at her prior schools. Thank you, Cynthia, for helping us to understand why our world needs us to act as champions for our living planet and teaching us how we can make a difference.
Britta Joslyn jumped into our TLC two years ago, after creating a big following as a teacher who possessed the magic to help students with dyslexia. McGillis was lucky to sway her to teach here in just our second year of TLC. Britta brought an amazing skill set and taught her colleagues so much about specialized instruction and about language-based learning differences.
Britta exhibited Gemilut Hasadim - doing good and kind deeds - through this sharing of knowledge and teaching our young Magpies the powers of their intellect and capabilities to overcome learning challenges. Thank you, Britta, for inspiring our students to grow through the TLC, and for helping our TLC establish as the newest division of our school.
Liz Paige - “Ms. Liz” - has helped to cement our McGillis values in all of our hearts and minds. Liz has been doing this most important educational work for decades, and specifically here at McGillis for nine years.
Liz taught our students the importance of justice, of noticing what is unjust, and discovering our power within to make it right. She has inspired us to not just understand our McGillis values, and how to properly pronounce them, but also to live them with intentionality. Liz is an advocate for those in need. She demonstrates how we can and must make a difference in our world to serve those in need.
She also has taught us all the beauty of Jewish culture and opened our minds to understand and accept into our communities those who are different from us. She teaches us about history and the consequences of places and politics that divide, or even worse, eradicate. Liz has promoted belonging for us all, and why belonging can make the world a better place.
Liz practices Tzedakah - giving to others - in all that she does. We can always find Ms. Liz leading drives for those in need, collecting meals or items for those who are in pain, or lending her time and hands to help someone less fortunate. Thank you, Liz, for demonstrating the power, and necessity, of Tzedakah.