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Message from Board Chair Matt Echohawk-Hayashi

Message from Board Chair Matt Echohawk-Hayashi

Dear SAAS Community,

I’m very grateful for the privilege to introduce myself as the incoming board chair. The welcome I’ve already received from this community has been so generous and warm and my family and I appreciate the inclusion into such a wonderful collection of people.

My name is Matt Echohawk-Hayashi and my much better half, Colleen, and I have two kids at SAAS (in the 10th and 8th grade this fall). Our family just completed our second year here at SAAS and we honestly have been overwhelmed by the intentionality of mission and vision, and the entire community’s commitment to live by SAAS’ core values.

I’d like to send a special thank you to all the faculty and staff who have transcended expectations as educators over the last three years to serve our kids with such grace, excellence, and creativity. I’m sure it will take a while for us to process the loss and challenges this pandemic has inflicted (and continues to) upon our lives and on those around us. Yet through it all, while schools have represented the most complex, scary, and contentious of environments to navigate, the commitment of the entire SAAS team to minimize the burden and to preserve and increase the learning for our children has been heroic. Thank you so much.

There is a lot to look forward to as we fix our intentions on SAAS’ future. Rob, David, board members past and present, and so many others have positioned this dynamic community to make new leaps that challenge students to QUESTION, IMAGINE, AND CREATE in order to CONTRIBUTE boldly to a changing world. A few things to highlight:

  1. The new Home of the Upper School. Building a space designed for and dedicated to the unique needs of upper school students will be a significant challenge, but a necessary one, and will undoubtedly produce immeasurable returns.
  2. Building on what we’ve learned from the pandemic. After spending two and a half years adapting and negotiating things we have never dreamed of, with respect to all we have suffered, our whole community is brimming with new skills, new capacities, and new empathy after enduring and continuing to learn despite it all. I can’t wait to see how these hard-won lessons turn into new strengths and new opportunities here at SAAS.
  3. The pandemic is not the only thing that has changed. Our kids (and their families) are facing social, political, economic, and cultural changes we could hardly have imagined a few years ago. Our commitment here is to prepare students to impact the world they encounter, regardless of its complexity. At SAAS we have the tools to do that and I’m looking forward to seeing our whole community work together to meet the challenges of 2022 and beyond.

It's a very humbling experience to write this as chair. Our board is a good reflection of the community in that it is filled with kind, brilliant and talented people, some of the most gifted parents and advocates this city has to offer. I find myself in the odd position to write on such a group’s behalf, and to such an amazing community as you all. Our board is fully committed to serving this school and this community’s interests with our best efforts and I take large comfort in the knowledge that we all share this commitment. 

With much aloha,

Matt Echohawk-Hayashi

In Focus, Spring 2022

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