DianneWilloughbyBorn and raised in New Jersey, Dianne came to San Francisco on a one-way ticket in 1989, about one month after the Loma Prieta earthquake. Friends and family thought she was crazy; no one in her family had ever moved so far away. Having gone to college close to home, she craved adventure. She loved cities, and after visiting several times, fell in love with San Francisco, its beauty, and the kindness of the people she met here. After meeting her husband, David, on her first day of work in SF, she knew she wasn’t going back to N.J.

In school and early career, Dianne worked as a CPA for a giant accounting firm, a giant book publisher, and a giant investment company. Rare as it may be, she loved the corporate world — that is, until two sons came along, Drew in 1994 and Dominic in 1997, and the hours began to take their toll. She considers herself blessed to become a full-time mom in 2000, and returned to Nueva as a contract writer in April of 2015, before joining the Communications team full time last February.


1. What was Nueva like when you first arrived?

Drew started in PreK in 1999, and Dominic in 2001. Nueva was much smaller then, and the Upper School and the Hillside Learning Complex were not yet part of the dream. On so many levels, Nueva was much the same then as it is today: every day, Nueva teachers opened their hearts to our sons, listened closely to them, helped them know that learning was amazing, and was something that happened at every corner of their lives, not only during their school day. I still see this each day at Nueva.

Then, as now, Nueva was embracing of students and family. Being a parent volunteer became a passion for me, and David and I soaked up learning at as many parent coffees, speaker events, music performances, and culminations as we could attend.


2. Do you have a favorite Nueva moment from your time here?

That’s impossible to answer, so I’ll choose the time I realized that Nueva was changing me in addition to our sons. I came to parenting with my preconceived notions of the type of parent I was going to be, took it very seriously, and had every intention of being successful — whatever that meant! When our sons came home from Nueva asking endless questions, wanting to try everything, and politely challenging the rules in our house that seemed arbitrary to them, it became crystal clear that my notions about parenting (read planned and organized!) were never going to get me what I wanted — to help our boys think for themselves, and for them to know that we’d always hear them and take time to explore life with them. I think I changed nearly overnight as I realized my need to educate myself, becoming an observer of Nueva teachers, taking my cues from them, learning to listen, and genuinely, and finally, getting it that the time we spent enabling our boys’ questions was absolutely precious.


3. Between Nueva Digest stories and editing the Nueva Journal, you write quite a bit. What is your favorite story that you have written?

These are seriously impossible questions! I don’t have one favorite story. However, I love writing pieces that share the qualities and experiences that make Nueva truly unique, enabling parents and the external community to get a sense of daily life here. It feels like shameless self-promotion, but the recent Intersession 2017 story practically wrote itself, and working with faculty to enhance our arts program coverage on our website was tons of fun. Stories that combine “learn by doing” with “learn by caring” (MLK Day Observations and the College Wellness Task Force efforts) showcase the people our students are becoming in the world and simply make me proud to be here.


4. What has it been like coming back to the Nueva community as an employee?

It has been absolutely seamless. I feel honored to be doing the work that I do, and as a parent back then, I felt honored to have our sons learning here. I don’t think I ever took it for granted, and that’s the way I feel about working here now. In so many ways, I’m a student again.


5. What inspires you?

Brainstorming new ideas with colleagues and friends, optimism, and people inspire me. Even though our nightly news is worrisome these days, I’m inspired by the warmth and generosity of the people I meet, both at Nueva and beyond.


 February 10, 2017



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