At age 31, Dee Dee Myers became the first female White House Press Secretary of the United States. In this episode, Dee Dee explores notions of truth vs. advocacy, gender and authority, and shares firsthand insights into the unique talent, perseverance, and personal failings of President Bill Clinton. Now a Harvard-Westlake parent, Dee Dee describes her own journey from Valencia, CA to the White House Press Room, in addition to her time consulting on NBC’s “The West Wing” and as a Warner Bros. executive. Among the inspirational teachers Dee Dee references are Laurie Huenick of Hart High School and Diane Dreher and Eric Hanson of Santa Clara University.
Ted Walch is a Harvard-Westlake legend. A teacher for 54 years (30 at Harvard-Westlake), Ted recounts fascinating stories about many of the notable alumni who credit Ted with their success, including Maggie Gyllenhaal ’95 and Jake Gyllenhaal ’98, the sublimely talented Class of 2011 (featuring Beanie Feldstein ’11, Ben Platt ’11, Kathryn Gallagher ’11, and others), and why Ted considers a 1999 production of King Lear starring Fran Kranz ’00 the finest in school history. Ted also describes his upbringing in Sedalia, Missouri, co-directing plays with Paul Newman at Kenyon College, and befriending Tom Hudnut in the early 70’s as young teachers at St. Albans. Ted references John Allen of Smith-Cotton High School and Jim Michael of Kenyon College as profound educational influences.
Greg Gonzalez believes financial aid should be “brought out of the shadows” at Harvard-Westlake, less stigmatized, and regarded not as “charity,” but as a means of attracting and empowering talent. As Director of Financial Aid, Greg is responsible for making sure financial aid dollars extend far beyond tuition, ensuring that every student accesses the totality of the Harvard-Westlake experience, regardless of family resources. In this episode, Greg discusses his upbringing in Montebello, schooling at Columbia University and Columbia Journalism School, and how a career in journalism transitioned to education. Greg references Jim Moran and George Flores of Cantwell-Sacred Heart and Jennifer Friedman of Columbia University as profound educational influences.
Terry Barnum refers to athletics as the “front porch” of an institution, providing the outside world a glimpse into what type of community Harvard-Westlake aspires to be. As Head of Athletics, Terry speaks to the value of both “elite” and community-oriented sports at Harvard-Westlake, in addition to how athletics can teach lessons and values few other venues can. Terry also discusses his family and upbringing in Chatsworth, CA, as well as his college football career at USC, which included scoring a touchdown in the 1996 Rose Bowl. Terry highlights Alemany educators Jon Mack and Kate Cerruti as profound influences on his life and career, in addition to USC’s Dennis Thurman.
As Head of Communications and Strategic Initiatives, Ari Engelberg ’89 focuses on the question, “What will Harvard-Westlake look like 5, 10, 20 years from now?” In this episode, Ari discusses many of those projects, including the River Park campus, faculty cost of living analyses, and how Harvard-Westlake can better commit to a purpose beyond itself. A co-founder of the internet company Stamps.com, Ari also tells the “origin story” of how the company was born in a computer lab at UCLA Anderson. Ari references two Harvard-Westlake educators, Debbie Reed and Steve Marsden, as profound influences, in addition to a former Michigan congressman named Bart Stupak.
Janine Jones is Harvard-Westlake’s first Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). In this episode, Janine discusses how DEI became an area of focus and increased professional development at Harvard-Westlake, in addition to the challenges of engaging in this work within a community of diverse opinions and perceptions about DEI. Janine makes special mention of her parents, both educators, as profound influences upon her life and work, in addition to the inspiring impact of HBCU’s and a community organization called the Worthington Alliance of Black Parents.