Leaving a Legacy

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By Hana Futai and Ellie Shim

Dana Arnaboldi

photo by Bella Ishanyan

After 24 years at South, English teacher Dana Arnaboldi is retiring from teaching. During her time at South, she was a faculty advisor for South’s yearbook Regulus as well as the advisor of Raise a Smile, a community service club that supports disadvantaged children. 

Arnaboldi said that the most rewarding part of her job was supporting her students both inside and outside of the classroom. 

“I love getting to know my students as people, while watching them grow as learners,” she said. “It’s amazing when you can when both of those things can happen at once.”

English teacher Robyn Marder first met Arnaboldi over 20 years ago while getting her teaching certification. After becoming colleagues two years later, they became close friends. Marder said that Arnaboldi has always been a cheerleader for her students. 

“She’s so adept at and willing to modify things and see what an individual student needs and she always finds a way to give it to them.” she said.

Although Arnaboldi doesn’t yet have plans for after retirement, she said she is ready to explore what her future entails.

“I’m keeping my options open,” she said. “I am excited about having new adventures.” 

Linda Kraus

photo courtesy of Regulus

Biology teacher and co-founder of the DaVinci program Linda Kraus is retiring from teaching at South after 25 years. Math department head and Dr. Kraus’s son Alex Kraus said that Dr. Kraus made integral contributions to prominent clubs at South. 

“She was very instrumental in the start of our science team here and really getting it off the ground. The robotics team as well, which didn’t exist here at all, went on to win awards in its very first year of inception,” he said. 

Mr. Kraus said that he has appreciated sharing a working environment with Dr. Kraus. 

“I’m very glad to be able to celebrate her contributions to South, certainly as a colleague, but more as a son,” he said. “She created an environment in which students could feel safe,  connected, involved, respected and appreciated.”

As an educator himself, Mr. Kraus said he was fortunate to have a role model like Dr. Kraus.   

 “I had one of the best possible mentors I could ask for, and she was my mom,” he said. “I am hopeful that in retirement she continues to find as much fulfillment and satisfaction and joy, working in and doing whatever she chooses to do, as she did working with the students here at South because I know that is something that she truly, truly loved.”

Marcia Okun

photo by Andrew Feinberg

After 27 years of contributions to the School Council, art festivals and advising a multitude of clubs, including the United Nations Children’s Fund and the Jewish Student Union, history teacher Dr. Marcia Okun is retiring this year. 

A South alumna, Okun said that she discovered a job position from an acquaintance and has been teaching ever since.     

“I’d gone to South as a student, and somebody suggested I try teaching,” she said. “I talked to one of my former teachers and there was an opening for a long-term substitute.”

History department head Jennifer Morrill said that Okun made a lasting impact on South’s curriculum. 

“She has given the history department so many recommendations for readings, books and scholarships that have really impacted how we teach history,” she said. “She’s been instrumental in helping all of us access new scholarships and think of ways to use it in our courses.”

With retirement approaching, Okun said that ultimately, teaching has been rewarding. 

“Seeing students grow and learn to think for themselves is incredible,” she said. “Knowing that I made a difference is very satisfying.”

Morrill said Okun’s intelligence and curiosity will continue to inspire outside of the classroom.

“I know that she will continue to engage with ideas, think deeply about the world and teach in her own ways.”

Lisa Soo Hoo

photo by Ellie Shim

History teacher Lisa Soo Hoo has taught at South for 25 years. This year, she is retiring from teaching along with co-advising the Asian Student Organization (ASO). 

Soo Hoo said that she especially enjoyed watching students progress and gain both scholarly and interpersonal skills. 

“I enjoyed the daily work with students, helping them to problem solve [and] guiding them to be better thinkers, teammates and humans,” she said. 

Co-advisor of the ASO with Soo Hoo, chemistry teacher Suzy Drurey said that students and staff are fortunate to benefit from her inclusive vision. 

“She has impacted positive change in South’s student culture and instilled social activism, social justice and anti-racism policy at our core,” she said. 

  Close friend and co-worker Lily Eng Shine said that she admires Soo Hoo’s humility. 

“She’s someone who works hard and actually doesn’t need the credit,” she said. “It’s enough for her to know that she’s making a change and I really respect her for that.”

After retiring, Soo Hoo said she plans to keep busy with meaningful contributions to her community. 

“I plan to further my involvement in sustainable agriculture and gardening,” she said. “Maybe work for a non-profit and hopefully travel and read more.”

Marla Wiener

photo by Marty Basaria

After retiring in 2018 and coming back in 2022, Spanish teacher Marla Wiener has decided to retire from teaching at South after 28 years. Throughout her time at South, Wiener spent many years developing the Individual Senior Experience program (WISE), a program in which seniors can do various projects and internships outside of school while still receiving school credit. 

Wiener said she wanted the program to be a space where students could find joy in things outside of the basic core subjects. 

“If they feel good about themselves in the classroom and feel good that they’ve accomplished something, that’s the most important thing,” she said.

World language department head Suzanne Murphy-Ferguson said Wiener’s passion and perseverance have allowed her to improve her students’ learning mindset. 

“She helped shape our world language program and get students excited about being able to speak another language and use it beyond South,” she said. “She really does help every student see their way through the end of whatever it is they’re working on.”

Murphy-Ferguson said Wiener’s firecracker-like energy is contagious.

“She is small in stature but huge in energy,” she said. “You will sense her energy. You will see she’s somebody who is always vibrant in her colors and I think that vibrancy is just an entire part of her persona.”

Before retiring, Wiener said she wishes the best for her students.  

“I want to be remembered as someone who cared dearly about her students,” she said. ”If kids can achieve something that they feel good about, that’s the most important thing to me.” 

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