Upper school music teacher Susan Nace is a Grammy winner! Nace, who directs Cantilena and advises Guys’ Gig, is part of the Grammy-winning San Francisco Symphony Chorus. The group was given the Best Choral Performance award for their live recording of “Symphony of a Thousand,” part of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in E-flat major.
Produced under the direction of San Francisco Symphony conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and choral director Ragnar Bohlin, the recording was made during live performances in Davies Symphony Hall in November 2008. Nace will receive a certificate and a pin to wear during performances, and will have an official photo taken with the Grammy statue after it arrives in May. The recording, including the “Adagio” from Symphony No.10, has also won Best Classical Album and Best Engineered Classical Album awards.
Prior to the nomination, Nace was hopeful. “We certainly hoped for a nomination because the concerts were magical,” she said. “After the nominations, I ordered the competition’s recordings. After listening to them, I thought they didn’t have a chance (in my humble opinion),” she added. After winning, the chorus “had a little celebration after rehearsal the following night,” said Nace. “The big celebration will be at the Symphony’s end-of-the-year party in May,” she said. A short video with behind the scenes footage and insights from the recording can be viewed at the San Francisco Symphony website under “A Universe of Sound: Recording Mahler’s Symphony No. 8.”
Enid Davis, who has been Harker’s library director for 17 years, has decided to step down from her current position. Over the years Davis has been responsible for founding many library-related committees and programs including a campus favorite – the lower school Ogre Awards. These awards celebrate learning about folktales via an Academy Awards-like ceremony in which students perform a segment of a fairy tale for their peers.
“During Enid’s directorship at Harker, she created many initiatives that moved our efforts in a forward-thinking manner,” said Jennifer Gargano, assistant head of school for academic affairs. Davis stated that her proudest achievement is that she “has created a first-class library department that has grown from one librarian on one campus to five librarians, five clerks and an archivist on three campuses.” Davis will continue to work at the lower school as a part-time librarian for the 2010-11 school year. In this role she will be able to focus on her first love, teaching library classes and encouraging students to develop a love for stories and storytelling. Sue Smith, currently upper school librarian, will be taking Davis’ place as library director and Lauri Vaughan will assume Smith’s role as campus librarian beginning next fall.
Joe Rosenthal, Harker’s executive director of advancement, was one of several individuals and organizations honored by the Silicon Valley chapter of the American Fundraising Professionals at this year’s annual National Philanthropy Day awards luncheon in late November. Held at the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara and attended by over 500 guests who represented dozens of Bay Area nonprofits and corporations, Rosenthal was named the Outstanding Professional Fundraiser for 2009.
“Congratulations to Joe for all of his dedication to and hard work on behalf of the school and the children. This is a tremendous honor to him and the school community,” said Chris Nikoloff, head of school, after Rosenthal’s selection for this award was announced in June. Sharon Svensson, president of Essex and Drake Fund Raising Council, which recommended Rosenthal for the award, said, “The National Philanthropy Day selection panel was very impressed by Joe. They specifically said they were very impressed by the quality of the nomination and the length and breadth of Joe’s accomplishments.”
Rosenthal recognized his advancement team, who were all in attendance, for their outstanding work for Harker. Also in attendance were many members of Harker’s board of trustees, Nikoloff and many of Harker’s key donors.
Harker’s Board Welcomes New Members, Jennifer Gargano and Marie Clifford
Harker has two new members on its board of trustees. A hearty welcome to Jennifer Gargano, assistant head of school for academic affairs, and Marie Clifford, Harker’s former and longtime business manager. Gargano began at Harker in 1999 and assumed the assistant head role in 2004. Her positions have included middle school head, community service director, Junior Engineering and Technical Society team coach and Honor Council chair; she is now National Honor Society (NHS) advisor. Prior to joining Harker, she taught middle and upper school math in the Chicago area, where she was born and raised.
While in grade school, Gargano enjoyed observing her classmates to see how they learned, and, thus motivated, went on to earn a degree in elementary education with a minor in mathematics followed by a master’s degree in secondary math education.
Gargano considers herself lucky to have landed at Harker. “It is a unique place where the students are incredibly nice and kind to one another and faculty and staff are dedicated above and beyond to the students and the institution,” she said. Outside of Harker, Gargano stays in shape running and volunteering, tutoring at a local charter school with NHS members, serving at her church and volunteering at food banks and other nonprofit organizations.
Marie Clifford joins The Harker School Board of Trustees after serving as the school’s business manager from 1989 until her retirement in 2008. Clifford spent 20 years at Polaroid Corporation, retiring as senior quality control manager for worldwide camera manufacturing. Then-president and head of school Howard and Diana Nichols drew her to the school to help lay out the financial and other business systems. “It was an exciting time,” said Clifford. “I helped through the years when there was explosive growth at Harker. Enrollment went from roughly 800 students to over 1,700 students.” Clifford holds a B.S. degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in industrial engineering from Northeastern University, and her experience with managing large projects was of immense value to the school.
Clifford has strong ties to the school still, as she has two grandchildren, Michael Clifford, Gr. 12 and his sister Keri, Gr. 9, at Harker. “It is wonderful to continue a close relationship with the school, faculty and administration,” she said. Aside from her interest in Harker, Clifford is active in a number of environmental areas and stays active with yoga and showing her pug dogs. “I hope that my years of experience managing Harker assets will be useful, as the Board takes on the challenge of keeping Harker one of the best independent schools in the country.”