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Know Your Pelicans

Meet Maria Nunes

Upper School Division Head

Know Your Pelicans

This is your first year as Packer's Upper School Division Head. What about Packer inspires you?

The people. I feel lucky to have joined such an intellectually passionate, vibrant, and joyous group of people. I am inspired by the dedication that everyone in the building — adult and child — shows to making the Packer experience the best that it can be.

Before assuming your current role at Packer, you were a mathematics and economics teacher and a dean. What did you like most about being in the classroom? 

I miss teaching. I loved the sense of community and common purpose I was able to build with my students. Everyday, I looked forward to sharing students’ excitement in exploring new ideas, to supporting their perseverance when facing challenges and their joy in mastering what was previously unknown. There’s no better feeling than to see the twinkle in someone’s eye when the learning becomes their own.

Name a book/artwork/piece of music that changed your life and explain how.

The arts inspire me constantly. My latest obsession is the work of Titus Kaphar. He is a young African American painter and sculptor who explores the power of representation in historical narratives. His work broadened my perspective on the need to amend, but not avoid, the retelling of difficult moments in history. Titus shares the genesis of his painting Shifting the Gaze in a compelling 2017 TED Talk. I urge you to watch it

What is something that most Packer people wouldn't guess about you?

I was tiny in elementary school. Many thought I wouldn’t grow any taller than my grandmother. She was barely five feet tall — in heels!

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