Introducing: Hawken’s New Faculty

Courtesy of Jingyi Zhang

After the Hawken Community waved goodbye to the campus they had known for so long, they joyously welcomed the new and innovative Stirn Hall. And with the new building, we welcomed several new faculty members.

        This year, the language department welcomes a new member. Mrs. Zhang comes to us from Circleville, Ohio. She immigrated to the United States in 2011 from Shaoxing, Shejiang, China. After receiving a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the Cleveland State University, she worked for the Chillicothe City School district as the program director for three years. She has also worked at Kent State University as a culture teacher, as well as the Saint Joseph Academy. For a year now, Mrs. Zhang has also been a mother to her baby boy. She currently teaches Chinese I, Chinese III, and Chinese III Honors. After joining Hawken and learning about our core values within the community, she is proud of the Fair Play motto that Hawken promotes. In addition, Mrs. Zhang believes that with the addition of Stirn Hall, students will be able to really use the new space to their advantage as they prepare themselves for their next step in life, college. Mrs. Zhang’s favorite movie is The Life of Pi, a film that won a Golden Globe award for Best Original Score.

        A large change to Hawken this year has been the removal of the library, a quiet environment where students could be found studying for their classes. However, in Stirn Hall, it has now been transformed, not only with the new architecture but our new librarian Mr. Greenfield. The new Librarian and Instructional Technologist, Mr. Greenfield can easily be found in the Learning Commons, located just above the Grand Staircase. After studying at Westminster College, he worked at Kent State focusing on special collections, rare books and archives, and researching the shooting incident in 1970 near Kent State University. An Ohio native, born in Youngstown, he dropped out of college and decided to work instead. He left for California where he ran a bar and grille, but soon realized that the 80 hour weeks were simply not meant for him. He left his job and returned to Westminster, where he got his degrees in History and Philosophy of Religion. He hopes to use this knowledge not only to help in the librarian, but to teach an intensive in the future. Those who have met Mr. Greenfield so far this school year know that he is very resourceful. Currently, Mr. Greenfield helps out by demonstrating technology resources and research resources and having one-on-one conversations with students. His favorite movies are The Big Lebowski, Citizen Kane, and any movies that are just so bad that they become enjoyable.

Courtesy of Yasmin Raz

Courtesy of Yasmin Raz

A new humanities wing is not merely complete without a new teacher. Ms. Larson, an adventurous person and enthusiastic reader, has joined Hawken as a ninth grade humanities teacher. Originally born in Orlando, Florida, she was raised in Boston, Massachusetts. Other than living in Istanbul, Turkey, her favorite city, Ohio will be the first place she has lived in outside of Massachusetts. An outgoing and open-minded person, she enjoys trying new food and shares a common fear of heights. She has traveled all over the world and is always trying new activities. Ms. Larson is 85% deaf in both of her ears, and while she wears hearing aids, she lip-reads primarily to understand. An avid sports fan, she follows the Boston Red Sox and Patriots. Currently, Ms. Larson teaches three ninth grade humanities classes and hopes to meet more of the Hawken community as the year continues. A childhood favorite of hers, which may come as a surprise to many, is Terminator 2.

        Alumni have always affected students indirectly, through their various acts that contribute to Hawken’s success. However, few return to work as a teacher for the school that prepared them for the real world. Mr. Murray, a graduate of Hawken School, will continue his time at Hawken as a math teacher. After graduating Hawken, Mr. Murray went on to attend Wake Forest University, The Ohio State University, and Columbia University. Before coming back to Cleveland, where he was born, he lived in Savannah, Georgia where he taught at a school called St. Andrew’s, and then moved to San Francisco. There he taught and coached at a school called Sonoma Academy.  Returning to Hawken, he is now teaching AP Statistics and Geometry, as well as being a coach for the girls’ varsity basketball team. Mr. Murray hopes to be supportive of not only his students, but the overall Hawken community through academic, social, and athletic development. Mr. Murray’s favorite movies are Step Up 2: The Streets, and The Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold Fire.

Courtesy of David Murray

A key element to a student’s success is being surrounded by friendly faces. As one enters the school, the first face that is always smiling is Mrs. Gilbert. Hailing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and currently living in Solon, Ms. Gilbert lives with her three sons, one of whom is an 8th grader at Hawken Middle School. After owning and operating a nursing home and rehabilitation center, she decided to bring her valuable skills and expertise to the Hawken community in efforts to improving the life of both students and faculty. A switch on the spectrum of life, Mrs. Gilbert truly enjoys having both experiences. It’s an understatement to say Mrs. Gilbert likes Stirn Hall, especially when she gets to see all of the students faces as they come in for Assembly or their morning classes. Mrs. Gilbert hopes that throughout this year, she can get to meet every member of the community with the aid of her candy dish. Her favorite movie is To Kill a Mockingbird — however, she highly recommends the book The Power of One.

        It is important to know all who share this community with us because, after all, it is a small world. Greeting newer members of our community with open arms has been a tradition for Hawken, so let us give the four new faculty members a warm welcome as they embark on their journey at Hawken.