I’m a Spanish teacher, the Language Department chair, head of the Community Service program, co-coordinator of the Senior Exhibition Program, and co-head of the Judicial Council (JC).
I’ve been at Thacher since
Tough question to answer. My parents moved to Thacher when I was 2, and I graduated from Thacher in 1985. However, I returned to teach here in the fall of 1997.
What my students call me
Ms. Perry or Señora.
I knew I wanted to work at Thacher when
I finished my master’s degree (after a year in Madrid) and knew I wanted to teach at a boarding school in California.
Favorite Thacher teaching moment
When a student spontaneously uses the subjunctive and then looks at me with that knowing smile, saying “Wow, yes, I get it!”
Favorite job perk
Living in the house I grew-up in, watching the sunset from my porch, and laughing with students and my colleagues every day.
Since you asked me to brag, here are the professional accomplishments I’m most proud of
Working with the Senior Exhibition Committee to improve a program that is already pretty outstanding. Being part of a group (the Independent School Gender Project) that studies gender issues in independent schools across the nation. The number of Thacher students who go on to study Spanish in college and/or use it in their careers.
When not in the classroom I can be found
Taking students to volunteer at the Special Olympics practice in Ventura, swimming with the Ojai Masters Swim team, cooking family dinner (for my husband Derick and my girls and two nephews who all currently attend Thacher—sometimes a grandparent or four join us).
Favorite place at Thacher
The Outdoor Chapel. The view is unsurpassable and the memories generated from moments spent there—weddings, memorial services, and far too many chapel services to count—I hold dear. Somehow, looking out over the valley, the view is always apropos.
Favorite place in my imagination
A café in Spain, with a café con leche on the table and a good book in hand.
Favorite places on earth
El restaurante La Finca de Susana in Madrid (order el menú del día); The Prado Museum (also in Madrid); Seacliff Beach, walking Pearl (the dog) as the sun rises; and around a table—any table—with my family and friends.
Hardly anybody knows that
I really can draw a whole lot better than I do in class; I dropped Spanish IV after the first trimester my senior year at Thacher; I never took chemistry; and I took woodshop with [Thacher wood design teacher] John Bueti during my sabbatical, a fabulous experience.
The book, movie, work of art, or piece of music I cannot imagine life without
Books: 100 años de soledad by Gabriel García Márquez, Absalom! Absalom! by William Faulkner, Beloved by Toni Morrison, Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges.
Movies: Anything by Almodóvar (especially Todo sobre mi madre and ¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto?).
What I wanted to be when I grew up (when I was 10)
Someone old enough to hold a conversation about cooking with [longtime Thacher teacher] Peter Robinson.