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Q&A with new teachers Tara Renner, Alexandra Greenberg and Whitney Wagner

Photo credit: Zoe Gazzuolo
Three faculty and staff school pictures feature science teacher Tara Renner, English teacher Alexandra Greenberg and history teaching apprentice Whitney Wagner. The Oracle held a Q&A with Renner, Greenberg and Wagner to ask them about their first few weeks at Archer and initial feelings surrounding the 2023-24 school year. (Photos by Ultimate Exposures and Graphic Illustration by Zoe Gazzuolo)

A new year means new Archer faculty and staff members. At the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year, the Archer community welcomed 13 new members to the faculty and staff in departments ranging from STEM to humanities.

The Oracle sat down with science teacher Tara Renner, English teacher Alexandra Greenberg and history teaching apprentice Whitney Wagner to hear about their first weeks working at Archer and their feelings surrounding the upcoming school year. Renner teaches Biology and Systems Biology and Disease, Greenberg teaches English 8 and Wagner teaches eighth grade U.S. History. 

Why did you want to become a teacher?

Tara Renner [TR]: I just love science and sharing that passion with students, especially young women. I’ve worked in all-girls schools for most of my career, so I’m really passionate about supporting women in the sciences.

Alexandra Greenberg [AG]: I did not always know or want to be a teacher. I sort of fell into it, and it turned out that I really [enjoyed] it because I like being around people. I don’t like sitting at a desk all day. I had to be creative, laugh, have some fun and do lots of reading.

Whitney Wagner [WW]: I felt like — I still feel — that being a part of students’ development of critical thinking skills and making sense of the world, whether it’s to critique it or to come up with solutions, is one of the most impactful things that I could do in terms of a career.

What drew you to Archer?

[TR]: I live in Los Angeles and know about all the schools, and I just know students from here love the school. The position showed up, and I was so eager to apply.

[AG]: I was looking for a change from my previous school. I know Ms. Rubin — we used to work together — and she told me there was an available position, so I came here, and clearly, the campus is amazing. Everyone is so friendly and [there’s] just really good vibes overall. How can you not be drawn to campus here?

[WW]: I saw the posting and could hardly believe my eyes. I was so excited about this. I think the community, the all-girls school, the inquiry-based learning, so letting students be the drivers of their own learning and the focus on their holistic well-being and development as global citizens and people [drew me to Archer].

​​What’s one word to summarize your experience at Archer so far? Why?

[TR]: I’m going to say passion because everybody is very passionate about each task they’re doing. Every teacher is so passionate about their work, and the students are so passionate about everything that they’re working on at that moment. I’ve really noticed so much hard work.

[AG]: Inspiring. At my previous school, I was starting to lose steam a little bit, but I feel rejuvenated here. Observing other teachers and watching the students work has been very inspiring, and it’s made me want to push myself further and see what I can do here.

[WW]: Inspiring maybe — I feel like the ethos Archer has here and the expectations of you being your best self that you can be, while also having compassion for you and caring about you on a broader level, is a big part of it for me. It’s inspiring to see such great expectations and also have space for a person as a whole.

What’s one of your biggest goals or aspirations for the upcoming year?

[TR]: To create amazing courses for my students. I think that’s my main goal this year with being a new instructor. I want to make sure that everything is of the highest quality and just really engaging.

[AG]: To involve myself wherever I can. I get to work with the JSU, so that’s one thing I’ll start doing and just see what else I can do to get involved to get to know everyone in the school and really integrate myself.

[WW]: One of my biggest goals is to develop my pedagogy here and also to support the students’ growth here at Archer and be someone that they can count on.

What are you most looking forward to in the future surrounding Archer?

[TR]: I’m really looking forward to all of the community events. I’m excited to see the maypole — that sounds really exciting — and just getting to know the community throughout the year through all the different events that are happening.

[AG]: I’m really looking forward to Halloween — I’ve heard amazing things about Halloween. It’s one of my favorite holidays, definitely in my top three. I’m really excited to see the haunted house and everyone dressed up, and we’ll probably do some scary stories in [my class].

[WW]: Well, in the very near future, I’m going on Arrow Week. I’m really looking forward to that.

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About the Contributor
Zoe Gazzuolo, Culture Editor
Zoe Gazzuolo joined The Oracle as a staff reporter in 2022 and became the Culture Editor in 2023. She plays tennis and joined the Archer Varsity team her freshman year. In her free time, she loves hanging out with friends, baking and listening to music.

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