In you case you missed it in the latest issue of Nueva Magazine, we introduced the community to our new director of communications, Karin Storm Wood. Karin joined Nueva this summer all the way from Brooklyn, New York as both a member of our leadership team and a Nueva parent (daughter, Elie, is in 9th grade). She has already begun immersing herself in the community—wearing both hats!—and getting to know the people that make Nueva special (she is particularly excited to get to know students as a middle school lit club leader this year).
What do you hope this new school year will bring for you personally and professionally?
Prior to coming to Nueva, I spent eight years leading the communications program at an independent school in Brooklyn with a similarly strong commitment to equity, belonging, and social-emotional learning. Still, schools are like fingerprints: no two are the same. So I’m excited to spend time with people across the Nueva community and learn the specifics of how the school delivers on its promises. Sharpening my understanding of giftedness—a concept that’s tossed around quite a bit in educational environments—is something I’m looking for- ward to as well.
Communications work presents two very different challenges: on one hand, we work hard to make sure anything anyone wants to know about Nueva is clear, accurate, and accessible. On the other hand, we love to produce stories and images that are memorable, engaging, and fun. My job is to make sure we’re striking the right balance and achieving these goals equally well. I feel especially lucky to join Nueva’s incredibly talented communications team—just look at this magazine!
What is something that people might be surprised to know about you?
Though I used to be a high school English teacher, for every novel I read these days, I read five psychology books. I’ve always been fascinated by human behavior—specifically, why people do the things they do, the good and the bad. For instance, did you know that researchers don’t even agree on what emotions are or where they come from? And yet emotions directly impact everything we think and do. That’s just fascinating to me!
The lower school often marks the 100th day of school with a celebration. How do you envision your first 100 days?
My number one priority will be learning. I’ll probably ask 10 questions a day—that’s 1,000 questions in my first 100 days! And that’s a conservative estimate.
And I plan to sit down with every kind of Nueva constituent, as well as colleagues from every division, department, and office of the school. I’m reminded of the parable of the six blind men and the elephant: by gathering many different perspectives, I’ll be able to develop the most accurate, representative understanding of Nueva and its needs.
Every year, second graders study what brings people to the Bay Area. What draws you to the Bay Area?
As a native New Yorker, I’m incredibly excited to try this living-among-nature thing you all do here in Northern California. While my family and I will eventually explore San Francisco, right now I’m much more drawn to the undeveloped areas not far from our front door in Belmont. Up until now, my regular walk was in Brooklyn Bridge Park on the New York Harbor, so the opposite kind of vista—one with no visible human footprint—is kind of a dream for me.
Along with discovering the Bay Area’s many trails, my daughter Elie has ridden horses since she was 3 years old (though not regularly), and we’re all looking forward to riding being more accessible to her. She also plays volleyball and was excited to learn that it’s “bigger” here than in New York. When she was admitted to Nueva’s ninth grade this spring, I surprised her with a Nueva Volleyball hoodie, with the horse mascot across the back. Go Mavericks!
|Favorite book to gift: Radical Candor by Kim Scott
|Favorite travel destinations: Paris. Yellowstone. Diagon Alley
|Song that gets you on the dance floor: “Everybody Dance Now” by C+C Music Factory
|Person, place, or thing that brings you joy: Chocolate chip cookies with just the right amount of saltiness.
|Morning beverage of choice: Dark roast with lots of milk, extra hot!
|Secret hidden talent: Juggling
|Number one on your bucket list: To live in Norway, above the Arctic Circle, for a full year, to experience the polar night and the midnight sun.
|Your hero: Anyone who’s having a tough day and still manages to be present, patient, and kind.
|Last "supper" (i.e. favorite meal: Fish tacos from Habana Outpost—literally my last supper in New York!|