Thursday, October 22, 2009


One of the best things about St. Luke's is that colleagues are friends. We work hard together, but we always make time to laugh and to enjoy each other's company.

While I have two siblings who are brothers, I have brothers here too. They tease me, give me advice, encourage me, and scold me. I always look forward to seeing them and deeply respect their intelligence, talent, and what they do for St. Luke's.

Two of my brothers are Dale Griffa and Rick Holyfield.

On Facebook, I said I loved Dale, and he wrote back that I should join the All Hail Dale Griffa fan club. Thinking he was joking, I laughed to myself and went to create a Facebook group of the same name.

He wasn't joking.

A student created the group, and I was the 154th person to join. Go figure. I should have known students love Dale as I do. He's strict and demands the best from his students, but he cares deeply about his kids.

Rick and I came to St. Luke's within a few months of each other. I came in late February, he in July. In September, he pulled me aside and said, "Okay, Ninette, when am I going to see the 'real' St. Luke's." I replied, "I've been here six months, and I think this IS the real St. Luke's. Everyone is nice, friendly, hardworking, and committed."

Seven years later, Rick and I are still here.

Rick is funny, honest, and a wonderful public speaker. He's also done so much to integrate everyone into the community and make sure they feel welcome.

Bravo to my brothers.

Even though they are a big pain in my side. ;)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Your Kids Will Be Known ... and Needed

At today's Open House for new families, Mark Davis spoke to the parents about the school. He talked about all the many opportunities available to students who come here, about taking risks in a safe environment, and how our deep sense of community provides the foundation for everything we do.

What struck a deep chord in me, like the bass timbre of a large Buddhist bell gong, was Mark's sharing,

"Your kids will be known ... and needed."

We all want to be known, but to be needed is deeply embedded in our humanity.

To be needed is to be valued.

And to be valued is priceless.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


School is so busy that sometimes it feels like I don't have time to breathe.

But you have to breathe to live.

When I need to reground myself, my form of breathing is to get to the reason why I'm at school in the first place -- the kids.

Instead of worrying about whatever I was worrying about, I went for a quick run on the elliptical and then out to the field hockey field to join JV field hockey practice.

I hadn't picked up a stick in 25 years, but in short order, I was shooting on the goalie and participating in drills.

One girl, Lauren, who just started field hockey this week, was fabulous. While she was new to the technical part of field hockey, she was an expert in passion and spunk. And that piece is going to make her a great field hockey player and teammate.

My time on the field was exhilirating! The fresh, cool air cleared my brain. My muscles burned. The kids inspired.

I breathed.