The end of the 2015-2016 academic year also marked significant transitions for three integral members of The Seattle School’s faculty: Christie Lynk, MA, Gina Waggoner, MA, and Dr. Caprice Hollins. At the 2016 Commencement ceremony earlier this summer, Dr. J. Derek McNeil, Senior Vice President of Academics, led a time of honoring these women for their leadership, passion, and service to this community.
Christie Lynk played a crucial role in the formation of The Seattle School. Over the past 20 years, she has served as Site Administrator, Chief Academic Officer, Vice President of Programmatic Development, Associate Academic Dean, Executive Vice President, Accreditation Liaison and Officer, Practicum Leader, and Assistant Professor. “It tells you something about a person who’s willing to serve in that many places to keep something vibrant alive,” says Dr. McNeil. “It tells of a mother and father, both a shaping and a forming, a guiding and a holding.”
Lynk will continue in a teaching role at The Seattle School, including an Advanced Seminar and the Professional Ethics course, which she teaches alongside Dr. Stephanie Neill for students entering their counseling internships. Lynk’s nurturing leadership, insistent hope, and unwavering passion have been an inspiration to students, faculty, and staff throughout The Seattle School’s existence. The communal gratitude for her service was expressed in a standing ovation at Commencement, where she was presented with a book of Pablo Neruda’s last poems and a sizable gift certificate to Elliott Bay Book Company.
Gina Waggoner joined The Seattle School in 2001 and has worked most recently as the Director of Practicum, overseeing the leaders, facilitators, and students who move through the Practicum process. “Practicum is the center and the heart of what we do in terms of training,” says Dr. McNeil. “And Gina has been a gem. I have greatly appreciated her being in that role.” Though Waggoner is stepping down from the directorship, she will continue working at The Seattle School as a consultant and Practicum Leader.
Like Waggoner, Dr. Caprice Hollins joined The Seattle School in 2001, first as adjunct faculty before becoming a core faculty member in 2008. Dr. Hollins’s summer intensive, Multicultural Perspectives, is a crucial component in all three of The Seattle School’s degree programs, in which Dr. Hollins challenges students to develop critical self-awareness and relate to others with curiosity, courage, and care. “I have often talked about Caprice as being the heart of us, the heart of this faculty,” says Dr. McNeil. “I have appreciated her advocacy, her boldness, and I have loved the way this faculty has brought that advocacy and boldness into itself.”
Dr. Hollins is the founder of Cultures Connecting, LLC, providing professional development and consulting services to organizations seeking to enter conversations about race, culture, and social justice. As Cultures Connecting continues to grow, Dr. Hollins is stepping down from her core faculty position to dedicate more of her time and energy to her business. She will continue to work with The Seattle School as a consultant and will return each summer to teach Multicultural Perspectives.
“Graduates here today, past graduates sprinkled throughout this room, those who walk in the world, you are this school,” said Christie Lynk, addressing the 2016 Commencement audience. “Your presence, your teachable spirit, your dear hearts and passionate purposes have created this place. May you go forth into the world with our love, our deep gratitude, and our blessing.”
In this season of (S)ending, that same love, gratitude, and blessing is reflected back to all three of these women for their leadership and their presence. The Seattle School would not be the same without their decades of service, and their legacies and ongoing work will continue to impact this institution for many years to come.