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A passionate advocate of “education for the whole person – mind, body and spirit,” Serena Beeks, who oversees nearly 40 Episcopal schools in the Los Angeles Episcopal diocese, will provide the graduation address to The Gooden School’s 2014 eighth grade class. The graduation will take place at 3:30 pm on Thursday, June 5, on the school’s campus in Sierra Madre.
“I’m delighted to be invited to give the graduation address at Gooden,” said Beeks. “Gooden is such a beautiful place, with an energetic atmosphere where doors of possibility are opened to children. And graduation is such an exciting time of transition as students continue their journeys of discovery.”
Since 1998, Beeks has served as Executive Director, Diocesan Commission on Schools, Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. She did however take a break to serve as division head of a new independent school in Las Vegas for five years, which gave her a [delete “first-hand” – almost all of my work has been first-hand] perspective on challenges and opportunities in education outside of the world of Episcopal schools. Prior to her position at the diocese, Beeks served as founding head of school of St. Mark’s, in Upland, for 16 years. Beeks received her Doctor of Ministry degree from Virginia Theological Seminary, and is a graduate of UC Berkeley and Claremont Graduate School. She serves as a Governing Board member of the National Association of Episcopal Schools, and is an Honorary Canon of the Cathedral Center.
Additionally, Beeks enjoys serving as a liaison between Episcopal schools such as Gooden and their sister schools in Haiti. “It’s a meaningful way for students to look outward,” said Beeks. It’s a theme she plans to focus on in her graduation address.
“Thinking of others is not our default,” Beeks said. “Through the sister school program, and other service learning opportunities, children begin to realize that what they do matters – whether it’s small acts of generosity, creativity, caring or sharing.”
Reflecting the school’s reputation for academic excellence and its emphasis on the arts, Gooden students are accepted by the finest area high schools. This fall, graduates will attend Flintridge Prep, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, La Salle, Loyola, Mayfield Senior School, Maranatha, St. Francis and Westridge.
Established in 1975, The Gooden School offers a classical education for the 21st Century. The independent Episcopal school, K – 8th grade, is located in Sierra Madre, CA. For more information, visit www.goodenschool.org.
(Photo caption) Gooden School’s 2014 eighth grade graduates include (from top tree branch, left to right): Adam Evenson, Tim Treinen, Jack Crawford, Tiana Lopez, Daria Young, Sary Nachabe; Middle row (left to right): Taylor Morris, Ariana Fotoohi, Natalie Boberg; Front row (left to right): Sam Christopher, Caleb McCoy, Reese Bauer, Ariana Saigh, Jackson Morgan, Alvin Wang, John Nahas, Michael Brennan and Natalie Fung.