February Alumni and Faculty Notes

Catch up on news from the SYA alumni and faculty community

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John Arundel FR'83 is in his 11th year as associate publisher of Washington Life magazine where he regularly covers events at the Residence of the French Ambassador and has the chance to practice his French with diplomats. Recent interviews include Tom Hanks, Clint Eastwood and Angelina Jolie. (The Alumni Office remembers the September 2018 cover with Amb. Charles Rivkin FR'79 FRS'11P and his wife, Susan Tolson.)

Jason Blum FR'86 is one of the few behind Quibi, a new streaming service launching in April designed to provide movie-quality shows designed for your phone. Quibi, which stands for quick bite, will present fresh content from today’s top talent. If you missed the Super Bowl ad, watch it here. Being released this month on the big(ger) screen are Fantasy Island (14th) and The Invisible Man (28th).

Diana Caba ES'00, senior director of Economic Empowerment at the Hispanic Federation in NYC, recently participated in the 2020 National Skills Coalition Summit in DC. The annual summit brings together workforce leaders from around the country to better advocate for skills priorities. This year’s focus was digital skills.

Chris Dickey FR'68's recent article in The Daily Beast is about the 1964 murder oMary Pinchot Meyer, who was killed just 11 months after JFK's assassination, her missing diary and narratives of romance and conspiracy theories.

James Figetakis FR’78 organized and hosted classmate Andrew Gilmour FR’78 as a featured speaker at The Harvard Club in Washington, DC, to present his new book A Middle East Primed for New Thinking: Insights and Policy Options from the Ancient World as a result of Gilmour’s 32-year career as an analyst for the Middle East at the CIA. It drew a sell-out audience of 120 VIPs and field experts, including fellow SYA alums Amb. Jess Bailey FR’77Stephen Clark ES’77, Ariel O’Connor ES’98, Chase Robinson FR’80 and Nikki Schoen IT’13. Anywhere there are SYAers, it is a worldly, stimulating and fun event! 

Charles Gillespie ES'01, CEO of Gambling.com Group, was named Affiliate Leader of the Year at the Sports Betting Community (SBC) Awards 2019 at the SBC Awards Ceremony in London. The award recognizes the work of outstanding leaders in the sports betting industry who have demonstrated professional growth, outstanding achievement and creativity.

Marilou and Georges Krivobok FR'75-'77RD FR'76P, former SYA France Resident Director and parent, recently relocated to the southern part of St. Petersburg where they are enjoying a very picturesque lush landscape close to the bay. Georges said, "A new chapter in our life is beginning for an 89- and 86-year-old couple who has lived and worked all over the world."

Todd Lengacher ES'04-'05F, former SYA Spain math teacher, has recently taken the executive director position of Big Brothers Big Sisters in NW Montana. This is a new venture after 20 years in education. Todd credits his time at SYA with providing him the perspective and experience necessary to build community and school exchanges in 13 countries, including his favorites — South America, Central America and Mexico — where he can continue to use his Spanish.

Heidi Cole McAdams FR'01 is a writer and co-executive producer on ABC’S Stumptown starring Cobie Smulders and is in active development on two drama pilots. Her previous series writing and producing work includes Book of Enchantment (Disney+), Cleopatra (ABC Studios), The 100 (CW), State of Affairs (NBC), and Intelligence (CBS).She is also one of our young alum panelists at our upcoming event in Los Angeles on February 19.

Becky and Hal McCann '90ED ES'91-'92 RD, former Executive Director and SYA Spain Resident Director, have had a year filled with trips visiting family on both coasts and taking a river boat cruise on the Rhine and Moselle from Basel to Antwerp. They’re busy planning their next adventures. Becky had a 9 Hole Club Championship win and 9 Hole Player of the Year Award while Hal continues his involvement in barbershop chorus and with his quartet, Tidal Fource. They are teaching a beginner’s Spanish class in their community and Becky also uses her Spanish skills in her work as a court interpreter in Beaufort County (SC). Becky added, “We have such wonderful memories of our years with SYA and applaud the work you all are doing in offering young people the rich opportunity to become more informed, more empathetic citizens of the world.”

Antonio Monegal ES'82-'84F was the the Josep Pla Visiting Professor at Stanford University this fall, where he taught a course on "Visuality, Memory and Citizenship: Archive and Activism in Catalan Photography.” His family was able to join him. He added, "My experience at SYA, centuries ago, next to great colleagues such as Ed Sainati and Ángel Vilalta, was a decisive stepping stone toward the beginning of my academic career in the US, and I have always been grateful for what that opportunity meant. Not only students benefit from the time at SYA."

Merritt Moore IT'05 is an artist-in-residence at Harvard University's ArtLab. Her investigation of choreographing a dance duet between a robot and human, along with collaborator Alice Williamson, will explore how Artificial Intelligence can inspire and broaden human creativity through the language of dance.

Griffin Morse ES'03-'11 ES'13-'14RD, former SYA Spain Resident Director, was appointed head principal of Fairfield International Academy in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Opened in 2018, the school serves students from 6th to 12th grade, with its first graduating class scheduled for 2022. And in true SYA spirit, his English, French and Spanish skills help to immerse him fully in the Jamaican and Caribbean cultures.

Ben Moser FR'93's new biography Sontag explores the insecurity behind the public face of writer and activist Susan Sontag and her responses to the cruelties and absurdities of a country that had lost its way. Sontag is the first book based on the writer's restricted archives and on access to many people who have never before spoken about Sontag, including Annie Leibovitz. Learn a little more about Ben and this book in this clip from "Great Day Houston."

Tia Napolitano FR'01 is writing co-executive producer on the upcoming NBC family drama, Council of Dads. Professionally, she grew up as a writer/producer in the Shondaland camp on Grey’s AnatomyScandal and Station 19. She is also one of our young alum panelists at our upcoming event in Los Angeles on February 19.

Randall Peffer ES'82F ES'16P, former SYA Spain English teacher (and SYA parent!), has a new book out. Dangerous Shallows tells the story of a quest to solve maritime cold-cases aboard the ghost ships of Cape Cod.

Francesca Piana ES'93-'97RD, former SYA Spain Resident Director, taught a course on Masterpieces of Italian Film at Beacon Hill Seminars in Boston in the fall. Now in Quito, she is giving talks at public schools about civic responsibility and the role of the individual in creating a healthy society. She is also giving lectures on "Latin American Identity and the Origins of the Problems the World Faces in the XXI Century" at the Alliance Française and the Ecuadorean School of Diplomacy.

Antonio López Piña, SYA Spain’s political science teacher, recently visited a school in Cádiz to talk about his most recent book, Circa Ignis, which had been selected as mandatory reading for 10th and 11th grade students.

John Rosen ES'98-'02RD ES'12RD, former SYA Spain Resident Director, recently celebrated the 17th anniversary of El Casal, his gap year program in Barcelona.

Sam Savage IT'09F, former SYA Italy Latin teacher, was appointed the dean of faculty at The Masters School in NYC. 

Martin Sinkoff FR'73 is doing what he did in '72-'73 but instead of living in Rennes, he's in Tel Aviv. He's a wine trade professional with experience in all levels of the industry adding Israel to his dossier of four decades spanning five countries — France, Spain, Argentina, Chile and the U.S. He recently attended the Kosher Wine and Food Festival in Tel Aviv.

Jason Wu FR'01 is featured in an upcoming BMW series focused on the “Road Less Traveled,” which highlights Jason's and three fellow designers' respective journeys in the industry. Until then, get a glimpse of his behind-the-scenes action prepping for New York Fashion Week. 


In Memoriam:

It is with great sadness that we share the news of alumni and faculty.  

David Goldin ES'65, a member of SYA's first-ever class and Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, passed away on February 5. The first group of 11 schoolboys met on their ocean voyage to Le Havre aboard the MS Aurelia before finally arriving in Barcelona. Many classmates reconnected at their 50th reunion in Barcelona and remarked that time seemed to have stood still. This intrepid group of adventurers were the first recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award, presented at SYA's 50th anniversary celebration in 2015, the class's 50th reunion year.

Tim Pettus CN'04-'12F CN'16F, longtime SYA math faculty member, passed away on February 1. We know he treasured his years in Beijing and often commented that his SYA students were the best students and people he ever had the pleasure of teaching. A celebration of life is being planned; details will be shared when available. Read the article written when he (temporarily!) retired in 2012, before returning for one more year. 



  • Alumni Notes
  • News
Celebrating 50 Years of Coeducation: the Women of SYA

The unprecedented move toward coeducation signaled a sweeping evolution at SYA. This moment opened doors to a lifetime of possibility and change for women, one that continues to evolve and show promise. The rest is HERstory.

It's Founder's Week and Celebration of 50 Years of Coeducation

Beginning this Founder's Day, September 9, 2020, we commemorate this historic moment with a year-long celebration of virtual programming and stories. Throughout the year we will invite the participation of alumnae/i, faculty, staff, students and parents as we honor the influence and contributions of women to SYA's past, present and future. 

2020 Alvarez Global Scholars

They say that when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. Like many of their classmates, SYA’s very first Alvarez Global Scholars, Frances and Annika, will tell you that they also made traditional cider, cheese, lifelong friends, and memories that will help shape how they ultimately see the world.

My Italian Odyssey

SYA Italy class of 2020 student Jalal H. reflects on his time spent abroad in Viterbo and the memories he made with friends.