The new head of school at the K-8 Sea Crest School in Half Moon Bay, California is turning her attention to collaboration in order to promote service-learning in private education. Dr. Tekakwitha Pernambuco-Wise has high hopes of instilling the value of helping others as much as the importance of higher education in the students.
Over the course of her professional life, Pernambuco-Wise has overseen students ranging in grades from kindergarten to high school. Her work and studies have brought her to multiple countries, and in her far-reaching experience, she maintains that by making early childhood education joyous and teaching students resilience, she can ignite life-long learning. With about 2.63 million students in the United States enrolled in private elementary schools in 2016, private school educators are given ample opportunity to promote this life-long learning.
Pernambuco-Wise cites her upbringing in British Guiana with parents who promoted altruistic values as the reason for her successes. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University, a master’s from the University of Toronto, and a doctorate in educational leadership from St. Mary’s College. This high-achieving educator says that she was shaped by her father’s teachings that success is found in realizing your passions.
At Sea Crest private school, Pernambuco-Wise was already surprised at the philanthropy and activism shown by parents, students, and teachers. Working off of existing park adoption initiatives, Pernambuco-Wise helped the community set up a monthly clean-up of Poplar Beach, teaching the kids to care for the environment. Pernambuco-Wise wants to make school a joyous activity for kids, as much of their lives are already structured and create stress and fatigue.
According to recent research from Research Schools International, Pernambuco-Wise’s pursuit of student joy will have a positive impact on their academics. The results of the study showed a significant correlation between the happiness levels reported by students and their GPA. The research included students from elementary school through high school at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, which has a student body of about 435 students.
The study also revealed that students who had positive relationships with teachers were more likely to be happy. At Sea Crest, Pernambuco-Wise hopes to mimic these beneficial relationships by fostering a tight-knit community of teachers, students, and parents. By forming those bonds, Pernambuco-Wise aims to create a joyous environment that frees kids to use their imagination, making them self-sufficient and successful in the years to come.