Taryn GroganAfter growing up in San Francisco, Taryn received a BA in mass communications from UC Berkeley and an MA in broadcasting, electronic communications, and arts (media production) from San Francisco State University. She found admissions to be the perfect marriage of her passions for working with people, education, and administration. 

Taryn arrived at Nueva by way of A Better Chance, where she was program coordinator, working with students of color for the high school application process. She worked with Nueva in its diversity efforts and was drawn to Nueva in particular because of her experience in the gifted program in elementary and middle school. While she did well, her parents didn’t know that schools like Nueva existed. Ever since, she has made it her mission to inform people about Nueva and all that a Nueva experience can offer so people don’t miss opportunities they don’t even know are out there! 


1. Have you worked at any other schools? Is admissions at Nueva different?

I worked at Longfellow Middle School in Berkeley as the television production teacher many moons ago. Nueva is the only admissions office I’ve worked in, but through A Better Chance I worked with over 30 admissions offices. Yes, admissions at each school is different. Nueva’s application is lengthy and thorough, so we appreciate every family that completes the process. We also have received feedback that many students and adults actually enjoy and learn a lot from the process because it is so different.


2. What’s the most interesting or surprising thing you’ve read on an application?

It’s fun to read what each student is interested in and about his or her special projects or passions. I really enjoy the My Page submissions from our middle and upper school applicants. We’ve collected very cool collages, wacky art, and even a pair of swim goggles with submissions. I also treasure the original art that our youngest applicants give to me. Occasionally, a child will draw a picture of me, and I love to see all the various interpretations of Taryn. They are the sweetest pictures!


3. So much of admissions involves planning for the future. Is there anything in particular that you are looking forward to in your own future?

In my immediate future, I am looking forward to a relaxing week on vacation, no phones, no emails, and no meetings. I am mom of two little ones, so I can’t wait to spend quality time playing, reading, singing, and just being with them. My daughter (11 months) is learning to walk and my oldest (2.5) habitually asks, “Why?” While it will be vacation, I’ll still be very busy! Yet THAT type of busy I cherish and can’t get enough of.


4. What do you do in your free time? A favorite pastime or hobby?

Free time?? Well, that’s a novel thing these days. With an infant and a toddler, I’m constantly trying to create free time. I enjoy reading a good historical fiction book, or doing crossword puzzles. I’m planning to get back into yoga or building a new exercise routine with my husband soon. Actually, I’ve been thinking about what new hobby I can develop. Maybe someone can send me a few suggestions?


5. What was it like to watch a class of Nueva students apply to colleges?

It has been absolutely amazing and mind-blowing. Time flew by so quickly! I remember the school fairs and visits to recruit this graduating class. They were young eighth graders, eyes wide and excited about being Nueva’s high school pioneers. Now, they are older, wiser, and maturing, extremely bright and talented, compassionate and unstoppable graduates, bound for college with promising futures ahead. Many people wondered what this first class would look like, what they would accomplish, where they would attend college, and how they would contribute to our community and the larger world. I never doubted this group. They were remarkable applicants and they have proven to be amazing students, teachers, leaders, and generous contributors. They have left an unforgettable and lasting mark on Nueva, our partners, and the community at large, and, let me not fail to mention, a meaningful and lasting impression on me. It has been my honor to watch these young people grow. I’ve been very fortunate to be part of this founding class. They are my babies too, and I look forward to watching them spread their wings and fly. They each have brilliant college and career years ahead. There were a few unifying themes for this class. They wanted to make a difference, lead, create, and define, and they have definitely succeeded in doing so. We asked them to imagine a limitless high school experience; they did that and more. They imagined it and they helped build it. I cannot wait to see all they accomplish in the next chapters of their life journey. I wish them only the best!


 June 9, 2017



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