Next month, Mike Haykin, Seattle Academy's Director of Learning Support, will depart for Yellow Wood Academy on Mercer Island after 20 years of outstanding work at our school. Elise Hebert '20 sat down with Mike for an interview.
How did your previous experience with teaching and counseling prepare you for your work at SAAS?
I had a lot of experience before I got to SAAS, and it all prepared me in different ways. So I felt like when I came here, this was a good place for me to work, because I had experience in teaching, I had experience in learning support, I had experience in counseling, and I could put all of them together and built support programs for schools.
What are you most proud of at SAAS?
That’s really the program and the community that I’ve been able to share in the opportunity to build. I’m also proudest of all the wonderful teachers that I’ve been a part of bringing on board here, getting in the door. I think there are a lot of fantastic people here. But physically leaving, in terms of the job, I will always consider myself to be a part of this community. It’s a place that has meant a lot to me, means a lot to me, and I want to see it be successful as it grows into the future.
What have been some of your biggest challenges?
In terms of challenges, I really feel like this has been more of a place of opportunities. I don’t think of it in terms of challenges - that hasn’t really been my experience.
What are your fondest memories?
I have a lot - a lot - of fond memories of different students that I knew over time, and then getting to watch how they grow and change; and particularly, as I’ve been here a long time, seeing how they are as adults. It’s been a real gift to be able to watch folks change over a long arc of time.
How do programs like the Learning Support Program help students?
Well, I know how I want it to help students. By and large anybody who comes here is pretty capable, but there’s stuff that gets in the way. The notion of [the support program] is to help make sure that folks are clear enough about the things that are going on, so they feel like they can confidently operate within the classroom, and outside the classroom. And I think we do that - so, pretty successful.
What are you taking away from your experience working here?
A whole bunch! I’ve been here 20 years. That’s a good chunk of anyone’s life. I think there are relationships that are really important to me - my own daughter went here and had a wonderful experience. I’ve grown professionally here, and the community has grown, and I’ve watched parents grow, too - everybody grows. So it’s been a really privileged seat to be in and have that experience. What I take away is both the memories of that, and the ongoing relationships that I have that developed because of that. But also the perspective that you get when you’re able to see something over that arc of time. It’s a rare thing, and it’s something I feel very fortunate to have had. I have appreciated the support from the parents and the administration here, and I am impressed by the teachers I worked with, and I enjoy the students that I get to see.
What do you look forward to in the future?
I like to build programs. So I will leave here and I will continue to build programs. That’s what I’m going to do at Yellow Wood.