Below is a letter from Mark Peabody, Founder and Director of Marin School of the Arts, who has recently annouced his retirement. This letter went out to the extended MSA community of Feb. 26:
To All MSA Parents, Students and Friends of MSA:
As all of you know by now, I will be retiring in June from teaching and in my role as Assistant Principal of Novato High and Director of MSA. The decision is part of a retirement timetable that has been in place for three years. This has timetable has allowed both the District and the MSA Foundation Board the opportunity to do extensive planning to assure a smooth and orderly transition for my replacement.
As part of that timeline my position as Assistant Principal/Director of MSA is currently listed on the leading online educational job posting network, Edjoin. It is highly unusual for districts to fill administrative vacancies so early in the year. To the credit of our Superintendent, Shalee Cunningham, Director of Personnel, Pam Conklin, our Principal, Rey Mayoral, the MSAF Board, MSAF Board President, Gail Anderson and Annie Hartje, we have been working collaboratively since last August to ensure that we find the best caliber replacement so that MSA can continue to offer the high level of arts education we have all come to expect. Interviews of prospective administrators will take place in late March. The committee that will interview the administrative candidates will have many MSA representatives from within the school and the parent community to ensure a very collaborative process with input from our principle stakeholders.
Once the new Assistant Principal/Director of MSA is selected, I will work in whatever capacity is necessary to support them to make this transition as seamless as possible.
I know the parents and students see my role in MSA in many different ways. To some, I am the administrative leader who speaks a couple of times a year at important events. To others I am a problem solver, watchdog, leader, disciplinarian and spokesperson. To others, I am their teacher, a musician, critic, friend, idea person and the founder of MSA. However you see me, know that I will continue to work hard to support and develop the program.
Being MSA's founder and first and only administrator, makes my retirement unusual and different from most educators experience. I feel such an unbelievable amount of support and appreciation from parents and students that at times it seems like I am in one of those inspirational movies where against all odds, the community wins in the end. Because of your support and appreciation and MSA's success, I have had 12 of the most amazing years of my career.
But of all these years, this is the most important year. There are many reasons for this but the number one reason is that I want to leave MSA as strong, vital and successful as I can. That is why I am so gratified that we have had a record number of students applying that means that MSA will once again grow next year. More students means the possibility of adding new and interesting arts opportunities for our students. Even though we are only about two thirds through the year, we have already had a record number prestigious of awards won by our students and programs from all of our departments that have had the opportunity to compete. These outstanding results offer proof that MSA is one of the leading art schools in the state. I am also very excited by the passion and dedication of our teachers, by the talent and quality of our students and by the excellent parents who serve on the MSA Foundation Board and in the booster groups in so many different ways.
As we move closer to the end of this school year and my retirement, be aware that I am fully committed to working passionately and actively to ensure that both Novato High School and Marin School of the Arts continue to be successful. Please accept my heartfelt thanks for all you have done to make my life and career such an amazing experience!