Associate Heads of School to leave at end of year

Hutchins retires, Schaefer accepts new position out-of-state

by Jean Aquino and Michelle Kleytman, Editorial Staff

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Two of NDB’s longtime administrators will be leaving the school at the end of this academic year. For the past two decades, Associate Head of School for Student Affairs Carolyn Hutchins and Associate Head of School for Academics Anne Schaefer-Salinas have served the community – Technically, Hutchins has served 24 years at NDB and 45 years in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.  Hutchins and her co-worker/husband, Mike, are looking forward to retirement, while watching their granddaughter, Chloe, and international student, Ivy, finish their education at NDB. Schaefer and her family are moving out of the Bay Area to San Antonio, Texas where she has accepted a position as an administrator at TMI Episcopal, a private school.

Hutchins: Road to NDB

Hutchins’ role in Catholic education started long before her two decades and four years at NDB.

“Well,” she began, as she sat down in an interview with the Catalyst, “I have been in the Archdiocese for 45 years. I started in… 1975 at an all-girls school in San Francisco… And then, I went to [Immaculate Conception Academy]…”

She continued, “I live a mile and a half from [NDB], and I saw a job posting for… the Dean of Students position. And, I thought, ‘Well, try, apply, and if I get it, I get it. And, if I don’t, I don’t.’ I got the job.”

She explained, “And then, over the years, the position changed to assistant principal and an associate head of school.”

She added, “And, prior to the archdiocese, I was a Jesuit volunteer. I worked in Guam and Micronesia as Jesuit volunteer for… a little more than a year, and I taught middle school and loved it – co-ed middle school.”

She also added, “But, ever since then, I have been in a single gender girls Catholic school. So, I’ve spent 45 years doing that.”

Hutchins: Looking back

Four and a half decades may seem like quite a long time to stay in one work environment, but Hutchins loves what it has to offer.

“That’s a long time,” she said. “…I’ve been at three different schools in this archdiocese. And, every place I go, I always run into somebody that I know, either presently or from the past, and sometimes I have to think, ‘Now, what school was that?’ You know that I never forget a face.”

She continued, “…I’m hoping that I had a positive impact on students and gave them what they needed when they were in the school that I served.”

Hutchins: On retirement

Although it has been a good experience watching NDB students grow up in the school’s classrooms and hallways, Hutchins expressed excitement for her upcoming retirement.

When asked about her post-NDB plans, she said, “Well, I think Mike and I would like to go to Europe. I’ve never been to Europe. I’ve only been to Asia and Micronesia. So, we’re thinking about looking into maybe a river cruise sometime in the near future.”

The couple began leaving their mark on the community over twenty years ago when he left the post office to join his wife at the school.

Mike Hutchins said, “I started out because Mrs. Hutchins was always here. She goes to all the events. So, the only way I was going to see her was volunteering here. I did that for a couple of years and then they put me on payroll.”

Schaefer: The classroom

Schaefer began her career at NDB in 1999 not as an administrator, but as a teacher.

In an interview with the Catalyst, she shared, “I started as a classroom teacher, split between the Social Sciences department and the Religious Studies department.”

She continued, “From there, I eventually moved fully into the Social Science department… I’m proud to say that, with the exception of A.P. Government, I have taught every class in the social sciences.”

She also worked in the Campus Ministry department, planning liturgies throughout the school year.  She said, “Even though I wasn’t teaching religion, I was working in campus ministry as the liturgy coordinator. I oversaw the spirit choir for a while.”

Schaefer: On technology

During the past twenty years, Schaefer has seen the school grow almost as quickly as modern technology and its need to prepare students for the future, especially in the Silicon Valley.

She says, “I think probably the biggest shift has been a more intentional use of technology. We had to get to a point where we could give students a learning environment that was going to mirror some of what they could get if they chose a public school, as well as what was going to prepare them for college. But, not just college – for your internships and your summer jobs and your careers beyond that.”

She expressed that administrators, faculty, staff, and other community members have always worked continuously throughout the years to ensure their students are prepared to learn with and use technology for their collegiate and professional lives.

Schaefer recalled some of the school’s technological accomplishments during her time here. She said, “Creating the Tiger Tech team; getting the Innovation Lab up and running; bringing in design thinking, the senior passion projects; instituting the student portfolios… Those sorts of things I see as professional accomplishments from the standpoint of helping to move NDB forward as a school and making sure that we can be competitive.”

Some of that work happened with fellow techie and Biology teacher Rebecca Girard. In an interview with the Catalyst, Girard reflected on their work, saying, “I think Mrs. Schaefer has done a good job of pushing people to do more. For students, we spent time researching and decided to go with laptops instead of iPads. We also developed the +1 policy and digital citizenship week.

She continued, “Mrs. Schaefer makes sure all of the infrastructure is updated, including projectors, TVs, and the iPad carts. She is passionate about learning and has dedicated 20 years to NDB.”

Making a difference

Schaefer views her greatest achievement as the impact that she has made on students as a teacher and as an administrator.

She said, “I also look at the students that I’ve had over the years. I have students who are now teachers, and they’re moms, and they’re traveling, and they are doing amazing things with companies. When I see what the girls are doing, and I got to touch their lives in one way, shape, or form, that to me, is an accomplishment because I know that I’m making a difference.”

End of an era

As the Associate Head of School for Student Affairs and Associate Head of School for Academics, Carolyn Hutchins and Anne Schaefer-Salinas, respectively, have made an important mark on the NDB community. The school will not be the same without them, and the Catalyst thanks them for their contributions.