Coastweek at Sea Crest

Thanks to all our teachers and students for making our first-ever Coastweek so special. In particular, we would like to recognize our wonderful teachers Stephanie Hanepen (First Grade) and Anastasia Pickens (Fifth Grade Math & Science) who spearheaded this amazing ocean appreciation project at our school. We came together as a community to celebrate the ocean and our beautiful coastal environment!


Kindergarten Half Moon Bay

Kindergarten studied the Ocean Community, learned about all the different animals that live in the ocean and created a beautiful art piece that represents the ocean community.

First Grade Elementary School Coast

First Grade learned all the ways to have Fun at the Beach by listening to stories, exploring sand through art and making surfboards in the Innovation Lab.

Second Grade Elementary School Half Moon Bay

Second Grade gathered all kinds of objects that can be found on the beach and became experts on Trash or Treasures, what is trash and what is a precious gift from the ocean.

Third Grade Sea Crest School HMB

Third Grade studied Ocean Natural Resources: what a natural resource is, how they are used and which particular ones come from the ocean; and created detailed mobiles to explain their discoveries.

Fourth Grade Coastweek

Fourth Grade learned all about Sharks, did research and presented their findings to other classrooms, built a model of a great white shark and made shark necklaces.

Fifth Grade Kelp Forest Half Moon Bay

Fifth Grade studied Kelp Forests, underwater ecosystems formed in shallow water, and turned their classroom into a big one. They enjoyed sharing what they created and learned with the rest of the school.


Thank you very much!


— The Power of Role Models: Share Everything

Kindergarten Lunch with the Head of School Tekakwitha

Kindergarten Lunch with the Head of School Tekakwitha Gratitude Role ModelsKindergarten Lunch with the Head of School Tekakwitha Role ModelsKindergarten Lunch with the Head of School Tekakwitha Role ModelsThe first message in Robert Fulghum’s bestseller, All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten is “share everything”. I experienced this lesson first-hand last Friday whilst eating lunch with our Kindergartners.

I arrived in Mrs. Ortiz’s class as the pupils were readying themselves for lunch. I sat on the chair that was placed for me in the middle of the rug and picked up Beyond the Pond to read to the pupils as they ate. Before I could open it, one of them approached me and gave me a fortune cookie, saying, “My mum told me to give this to you for lunch.” “What a sweet gesture,” I said, to squeals from the children of “open it!” My fortune elicited an immediate grin, “You will receive wealth and jewellery.” I could buy into that fortune.

I opened the book; however, before I could begin to read, without a word, another pupil gave me a green grape, then another gave me half of a strawberry and then one by one each child gave me something for lunch. I feasted on carrots, a cucumber slice, a chocolate wafer and a slightly chewed piece of pita bread. “I have received my wealth,” I thought, “the fortune cookie’s prediction is already coming true!”

Our programmatic strategic initiative this year is Assessments and the faculty/staff are focussing on The Power of Role Models as an institutional goal. As I walked back to my office for a meeting, I recalled that when I was growing up, the role models in my life were adults; yet, what the Kindergarteners made me appreciate is that adults too can learn life lessons from children.

That evening, as I regaled my husband with the events of my day at school, I recounted that my favourite experience all week was eating lunch with Ms Travis’ Kindergarten class on Monday and Mrs. Ortiz’s class on Friday. The pupils’ kindness was gentle, pure and done without the expectation of anything in return. I wonder though, if I was too subtle in my hints to my husband that the last part of the fortune cookie’s message is still awaiting fulfilment.

With Gratitude,

Dr. Tekakwitha M. Pernambuco-Wise
Head of School



— Clean Energy at Sea Crest

Solar Panels Clean Energy at Sea Crest

Solar Panels Clean Energy at Sea Crest

Solar Panels Clean Energy at Sea Crest

“We are thrilled to see our solar panels being installed and another step was taken toward reducing our carbon footprint. It ties our goals together: environmental stewardship and the importance of role models. We want to show our pupils this was the responsible thing to do and we are not just thinking of today, but preparing for the future.

Ryan Popple, a board member and Sea Crest parent who is very passionate about the environment, spearheaded a task force last year for our solar panels. This board committee, comprised of parents and administrators, looked at various companies and long-term costs, always seeking the best for the environment, school and pupils.

After this strategic and rigorous process, we made the right decision: generate our own, clean energy and make a positive impact on our planet. We are also looking forward to seeing this enhancing our curriculum and the excitement of innovative learning, which ultimately speaks to our mission.”

Dr. Tekakwitha M. Pernambuco-Wise
Head of School



Solar Panels Clean Energy at Sea Crest

Solar Panels Clean Energy Sea Crest School

“We had been looking into solar energy for several years when we connected with Mike Casterline, a Sea Crest parent who worked at Solar City, about a year ago. He was instrumental in helping us formulate our plan and find the right price point for us.

After researching our options, we made our decision and started taking the first steps. A few weeks ago our solar panels were successfully installed and are now being connected to the grid. Solar energy will soon represent about 80% of our consumption.

There is no doubt this project will greatly benefit our school in different ways: lowering our energy bill, decreasing our footprint, and most importantly, helping us educate our students. We will be able to track how much energy we are generating and we want to get our students involved in understanding the impact.”

Andrew Geller
Facilities Manager & Project Lead

— Navigating the Labyrinth: Examining the Career Pathways for Female Heads of School

The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) originally published this article in Summer 2014 — “Navigating the Labyrinth Examining the Career Pathways for Female Heads of School”— written by Dr. Tekakwitha M. Pernambuco-Wise, Head of School.

It was July 2013. While hot and humid outdoors, it was cool inside the Emory Conference Center in Atlanta. I looked around the room at the NAIS Institute for New Heads and wondered if anything had changed since I completed my leadership study 18 months earlier. It appeared not. Of the 59 brand new heads attending the 2013 institute, only 34 percent were female. My hunch was confirmed when I received the statistics from the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). The world of independent schools remains a female-dominated field — except at the topmost level.

At the time of my research, 72 percent of heads had been senior administrators in schools prior to attaining headship.(1) This suggests that most heads rise from these ranks. Most teachers are women — 66 percent in coeducational schools and 81 percent in all-girls schools (2) — and the majority of administrators on the traditional path to headship are female. Yet women comprise only 31 percent of independent school headships, with 50 percent of those women leading K – 8 schools. These numbers have remained static since 2002. Even though women fill most senior administrator positions, the percentage of applicants for headship also remains predominantly male (66 percent) and European American (86 percent).(3)

Curious about this phenomenon, I embarked on a journey to answer the following research question: “What factors are related to women attaining headships in NAIS schools and what sustained them in the job?” Performing a qualitative, grounded theory study, which sought to develop rather than test an existing theory, I interviewed 19 female heads of school and 12 search consultants.

Besides curiosity, the impetus for undertaking this study was my assumption that, by understanding how some women attained and were sustained in the position, other women may be encouraged to seek headship as a natural progression of their careers. Additionally, I assumed that the results would prove informative for boards of trustees and search firms, two predominant gatekeepers for headship ascension, thus providing a significant resource from a potentially rich applicant pool for filling the predicted shortage.

Navigating a Labyrinth

In a grounded theory study, a theory can be generated when a core category emerges from the data. In my study, an apt metaphor emerged. One female head of school I interviewed described her experience of attaining headship not as some variation of the traditional trajectory that most males took (teacher to department chair, department chair to dean, dean to assistant head, assistant head to head of school), but rather as negotiating a labyrinth. The core category that then emerged from the data in my study was what I call Navigating a Labyrinth — and I used this metaphor to frame the characteristics that helped women attain and be sustained in the position.

The denotation of the labyrinth in the study was that of a maze with headship being the treasure. This meant that if 10 men entered the labyrinth, seven emerged with the treasure; however, when 10 women entered, only three attained the treasure. When the women were asked about their experience of the labyrinth, they stated that numerous paths took them either to the core, away from the core, or to different treasures, or that, at some point, the way was blocked. When questioned about how they were able to negotiate the labyrinth and attain the treasure, each produced “master keys” that she had acquired or made that helped unlock huge, iron-girded doors to paths that led to the labyrinth’s core. The women did not all pass through the same doors. The keys, however, used singly or in combination, helped them to get through any door they faced.

For all the women candidates, four doors, some more powerful than others, blocked the path to headship: Unspoken Biases, Risky Candidate, Lifestyle vs. Job, and Loneliness. The six keys that opened the doors were: Foundation; Skills; Support; Opportunity; Voice; and Changing Times, Changing Position.

The article further explores the four doors and the six keys to open the doors. Click here to read the entire article on the NAIS website.


(1) National Association of Independent Schools, The State of Independent School Leadership, 2009. Washington, D.C., February 2010. Retrieved from
(2) National Association of Independent Schools (2004-2005), NAIS StatsOnline Data Analysis. Staff Statistics in NAIS Member Schools Executive Summary, 2004-2005 School Year. Retrieved from
(3) National Association of Independent Schools (February, 2010).

In the News: Students return to Sea Crest


The Half Moon Bay Review published an article about our wonderful Welcome Back Celebration:

The collective energy was high Aug. 31 as Sea Crest School students punctuated their first day of classes with a party.

The Sea Crest School Welcome Back Celebration kicked into high gear as sharply dressed students zoomed from face painting to the photo booth as fast as their shiny new shoes could carry them. Kids chatted excitedly, comparing notes, as they waited in line for buttery popcorn and other scrumptious snacks.

The Welcome Back Celebration has become a beloved tradition at Sea Crest. It’s a way for kids to connect with each other after the end of a successful day back in the classroom. But the intent behind the event goes much deeper that that.
“On the first day of school at Sea Crest, we came back together as a community and joined back together as a community,” said Head of School, Tekakwitha M. Pernambuco-Wise.

“We talked about the importance of welcoming and including new people into our community and that’s the mindset that we have at Sea Crest,” she said.

Indeed, the Welcome Back Celebration can be a way for new pupils to cement their decision to attend Sea Crest.

The school goes the extra mile to ensure new students are included before they even get to the classroom. During the summer, these families are paired with seasoned “buddy families” who work to share their knowledge of the school while establishing a bond of friendship before the first school bell rings.

The pairing helps ease the transition by ensuring new kids have at least one friendly face on the playground on the first day of school.

While the Welcome Back Celebration is clearly a way to end Day One on a high note, it’s also a way for the school to reconnect with the community immediately surrounding the school.

It was evident in the little touches, like beautiful handmade paper flowers that add a pop of color to the school’s entrance on the first day.

The carefully crafted, vibrant decorations were a gift from the Half Moon Village, a senior housing complex located next door to the school.

“Some of the residents from Half Moon Village came … and they decorated the front of our school,” said Pernambuco-Wise. “They baked some goodies for our faculty and staff and just expressed how happy they are that we’re here.”

The connection between the seniors and the school is one that Pernambuco-Wise has begun to cultivate.

“As the world is changing, more and more of our pupils are living in nuclear families and seeing their grandparents very infrequently,” she said. “We have a wealth of knowledge surrounding us at Sea Crest so it’s important for us to connect with the residents.”

Last year, Pernambuco-Wise started an initiative at the school called the grandparents circle. The program is intended to bridge the gap between the older generations where both parties can share ideas and learn from each other.

“I believe it’s important for the younger generation to connect with the elders,” said Pernambuco-Wise, “to learn from the wisdom of the elders.”


Sea Crest School is dedicated to providing the best in innovative education to inspire and empower our learners to engage curiosity, express creativity, act with compassion, and lead with courage.


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