(L-R: The Bates Family; Anna '29, Justin '99, Theo '31, and Aimée)

Stepping into the role of upper division head last January has made for an invigorating year, and it’s given me the opportunity to reflect on the roots that have grown between me and this school. A Philadelphia native, I arrived in Pebble Beach in the fall of 2006 to teach English and coach field hockey and lacrosse. In the 18 years since, I have had the privilege of watching hundreds upon hundreds of students step across the stage at graduation and enter the remarkable tribe of Stevenson alumni. I’m also married to an alumnus–Justin Bates ’99–who has joined me in devoting his career to this school, as a history teacher and the head of the boys golf program. Justin has uncles on both sides of his family who are alums as well (Charlie Bates ’72 and Jim Coonan ’71), and with our two children, proud future alumni Anna ’29 and Theo ’31, our family’s Stevenson story is truly multigenerational. When I listen to the stories of RLS alumni, I’m both proud of the ways we have grown up as a school and awed by the throughlines: in unwavering ways, we’re still a place where students learn to be brave, where they discover how to share their story and learn to listen well to the stories of peers from down the street and around the world, where teachers see them, and where friendships are formed for the long haul.

In February, we held our annual Symposium, a day when we pause classes to take a deep dive into a topical theme. This year’s student-selected focus was “Artificial Intelligence: Navigating Our Future,” and alumni, parents, and friends of the school with AI expertise gathered on campus to host workshops and discussions for our current students. As I sat in Keck Auditorium listening to one of our featured speakers, a woman stood up before me and suddenly I was transported to my very first year teaching English, when I had a dozen seniors around a Harkness table built by Frank Stephenson discussing Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five. Yaa Boakye ’07–the woman before me–was one of those seniors. Yaa is a registered dietician nutritionist who is currently pursuing her MBA and is known for integrating her health and wellness expertise with cutting-edge digital marketing and AI technology. She had flown in from Chicago to lead a workshop on building AI chatbots. Yaa and I caught up as we strolled down to Talbott, and soon she was welcoming students into her classroom. It’s a surreal experience that I will never stop enjoying to get a glimpse into the ways former students are navigating the world with purpose and passion.

This newsletter gives you a glimpse into some of the ways your fellow Pirates are doing just that—Lindsey Colker ’95, who is running her own PR/Marketing firm in Los Angeles, and Michael Younger ’02, who just announced his campaign for the governor of California. We are thrilled to have Michael as our 2024 commencement speaker and look forward to him having a front row seat to this year’s crop of graduates crossing Rosen stage and officially joining our Stevenson alumni family.

I hope you also enjoy our faculty profile of Ron Provost. When alumni come back to campus, they often remark that they can’t believe they lived in such an incredible environment for high school. From tide pools and elephant seal hatcheries to the expansive night sky, there’s no teacher at Stevenson who takes more advantage of the extended classroom of our natural world.

If you’re ready to remember just how beautiful Stevenson and the Monterey Peninsula are, we hope you’ll come see us soon.