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Seattle Academy is 37!

Photo of Seattle Academy Founding Faculty and Staff From 1983

Photo of Founding Faculty Melinda Mueller and Staff Gayle Pearl. 

This week in 1983, Seattle Academy was founded by a dedicated group of students, faculty, and parents who were inspired to start a new school designed to prepare students for college and life. Central to a SAAS education is our culture of performance where students demonstrate what they’ve learned in ways that go beyond the classroom. Mathematicians are poets; athletes are singers; scientists are debaters, and everyone takes educated risks.

This approach extends beyond our students. Our two original founding faculty have also learned a thing -- or two or three during thirty-seven years at SAAS, as described in this report from the “Precinct of the Last Two Still Standing:” Gayle Pearl and Melinda Mueller

We agree that one key reason we are still here is that SAAS has offered both of us “opportunities” (that’s in air-quotes because we didn’t always see them that way at the time).  In the early days, the working principle was “everyone does everything.” Everyone was a janitor, everyone was security, everyone was a plumber when a toilet backed up.  But also, “So, you’ve never gone backpacking in your life? Doesn’t matter!  We need adults to go with kids on the Odyssey Trip (then known as ‘The Lord of the Flies’ trip—and what could possibly go wrong?).”  

And so, it’s continued: We need adults to go backpacking with kids in the American Southwest--and also while there, help build housing for Navajo elders: Have you ever poured a foundation?  You’re a science teacher? How about if you also coach speech and debate? We’re taking students white-water rafting: You in? We’ve decided to become a laptop school: No worries, you got this!  Also, we’re sending you to bus-driver training.

We've gone places and learned to do things that we likely would never have done, were it not for SAAS—and that we likely would not have been given the opportunity to do elsewhere, where job descriptions are much more…limited? Pigeon-holed? Gayle did not expect to become Registrar plus bus-driver plus expert back-packer; Melinda did not anticipate learning to dry-wall or dance Cajun-style. 

We also got to watch children grow into young adults, and young adults become artists, scientists, community movers, innovators, and more. Former students became colleagues; colleagues became friends. Former students became parents of current students.  We’ve watched colleagues work magic, drawing out talents students didn’t know they had—presto!--like pulling rabbits out of a hat. 

This hasn’t been a job; it’s been an Adventure. 

Group photo of the Seattle Academy Faculty and Staff in the 1980's

Photo of Seattle Academy (SAAS) Faculty and Staff in the early years of the school.

We are grateful for your thirty-seven years of dedicated service to SAAS, Gayle and Melinda! Thank you for how you’ve impacted the lives of over 2,100 SAAS graduates that have passed through our hallways and are now spread out across the city, state, and beyond, contributing boldly in ways that make us proud and SAAS strong!


Check out more school photos from our archives here