The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

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Returning to their roots

Alumnae continue to be active as faculty

Among the many faculty members in the hallways, there are a select few with graduation numbers on their badges. This means they are a Hockaday alumna.

Randal Rhodus ‘97

One of those alumnae is Assistant Head of School Randal Rhodus ’97 who has been on campus for a total of 33 years. She first came to Hockaday as a first-grade student. After graduating and earning her bachelor’s and graduate degrees, she worked in New York City. After a few years, she decided to return to Dallas and start at Hockaday as a second-grade teacher, working in the same classroom she once learned in. After teaching for 9 years, she was then Head of Lower School for 11 years, and this year marks her first year as the Assistant Head of School.

“I just couldn’t imagine a more wonderful place to be,” Rhodus said. “If I could tell you what my personal mission statement is, it would be exactly Hockaday’s mission statement.”

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Rhodus believes that her experience and memories as an alumna help her to make decisions with the students’ best interests in mind.

“Being an alumna has helped me make sure that the student experience has to be at the forefront of every decision we make,” Rhodus said.

Christie Sullivan ‘95

Christie Sullivan ’95 was a lifer of 14 years before rejoining as part of the faculty. Sullivan is now the Performing Arts Chair and Director of Dance.

“I think I’ve always known somehow dance was a part of my world, but it all started at the Pre-K circus,” Sullivan said.

After graduation, Sullivan went on to major in dance performance at Southern Methodist University. After a few seasons with the Bruce Wood Dance Company dancing professionally and teaching and choreographing in the DFW area, Sullivan finally returned to Hockaday in 2007. While teaching, Sullivan completed her Master’s in Education of Dance from the Royal Academy of Dance at the University of Bath.

Sullivan’s favorite part about working at Hockaday is the opportunity to collaborate between students and fine arts faculty.

“It’s a beautiful thing when we can all collaborate and work together,” Sullivan said.

This year’s Upper School dance production of “Alice in Wonderland” was in collaboration with the film class, as they created a video for the introduction of the performance.

“That’s what I love about teaching the arts here at Hockaday,” Sullivan said. “We are pushing towards that level of excellence in the arts and digging deep in the arts.”

Sullivan worked with Beth Wortley, who was her former Hockaday dance teacher, for 15 years before Wortley’s retirement. Sullivan said Wortley encouraged her to continue to pursue dance after upper school.

“I can’t thank her enough, just that moment I felt validated in my passions and realized that there was a space for what I love to do,” Sullivan said. “It was a gift to be able to work with my mentor and continue to grow that for many years.”

Caroline Robb ‘07

Caroline Robb ’07 also found her mentor at Hockaday when she was 13 years old, math teacher Jeri Sutton.

“It’s very full circle,” Robb said. “I was able to benefit from her wisdom at three very distinct life stages for me. The first one being when I was a student here. Then when I was a young teacher, even when I wasn’t working here. And now working with her.”

Robb is now the Math Department Chair and says that Sutton has been able to give her valuable advice.

“She has had outstanding advice for me and really helped me form from a dorky little eighth grader into an adult in charge of things,” Robb said.

Robb has worked at Hockaday for three years and was a student here for five years. After graduating, she went on to major in math with a focus in financial mathematics. But after an internship one summer at Merrill Lynch, she quickly realized she didn’t want to work in finance.

After working at a literacy program for students in Southeast Dallas, she realized teaching was her calling.

“I fell in love with teaching – I loved working with teenagers,” Robb said. “I loved learning. I loved being around that environment.”

Empowered by their alma mater, many alumnae have come full circle, returning to provide the same lasting experience for the students whose places they were once in.

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About the Contributor
Melinda Hu
Melinda Hu, Staff Writer