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#PREPpeople: Nora Maginn-Fame
Posted 08/28/2019 03:35PM
#PREPpeople is one in an occasional series of snapshots spotlighting the people of St. John's Prep
Nora Maginn-Fame


HOMETOWNHamilton, Mass.

EDUCATION: Diploma, Hamilton-Wenham High School; B.A., Interdisciplinary English-History (minor in Chinese), Union College (N.Y.); Ed.M. Human Development and Psychology, Harvard Graduate School of Education

YEARS AT ST. JOHN’S: 2

ROLE: Director of the Center for Innovation and Design

FUN FACT: “After college, I moved to Shanghai and taught at an international school with the idea of getting a work visa, but I loved the classroom experience and students so much, I came back to get a degree in education. On a lighter note, I was an extra in a Jordan’s Furniture commercial when I was 12, and it was shot on a Duck Boat with Elliot and Barry. I think it’s on YouTube.”

DESCRIBE A TEACHER WHO INSPIRED YOU GROWING UP: “Two teachers, in particular, in high school. Mr. Conrad, who taught art, and Mr. Zaniboni, who taught shop. Both were inspired by Leonardo DaVinci, so they created an elective about his life and the Renaissance period he lived in. We did cool things like build a device that would allow someone to walk on water, and we actually tested it on Chebacco Lake. The course was a great example of teachers from different disciplines working together to create a really cohesive course. I think that’s what first sparked my appreciation for multi-disciplinary learning.”

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO WORK AT A SCHOOL FOR A LIVING?: “The opportunity to work with students. I really enjoy supporting students to provide them with as many chances as possible to engage with the world. Whether that’s going abroad, or a classroom-curricular component, or connecting with the world via the virtual classroom. Learning about the world helps you learn about yourself, and the part I can play in that process is really valuable to me.”

WHAT EXPERIENCE OUTSIDE OF ST. JOHN’S INFORMS YOUR WORK WITH STUDENTS AT THE PREP?: “I’ve been really fortunate to have the opportunity to go abroad in different contexts. As a student and as a facilitator for other students, I think I’ve really benefited from that personally and professionally. I’ve always liked the phrase, ‘A fish doesn’t know what water is.’ In other words, I lived where I grew up, so I never knew anything else. When I got older, I couldn’t wait to leave, so I left, saw the world, and now I’m back with a changed perspective.”

WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE EVERY DAY?: “I think the openness and the possibility they bring to everything is really exciting. When I was working with undergrads at Harvard, they came up with such thoughtful ideas for how to approach a variety of problems in the world. Young people aren’t burdened by the constraints that one might feel as part of an organization. They feel capable of making a difference and my role is to help them keep that attitude as they go out in the world and encounter any number of barriers. Students have a great capacity to consider things and approach things from an altruistic point of view.”

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