Retiring Teachers Bid Farewell to The Hill

Our school community bid farewell to two longtime members of the faculty this summer. Before leaving campus, we asked David Hailey and Mark Kazanoff to share reflections of their time at St. Stephen's. 

David Hailey, Math Instructor

I arrived at St. Stephen’s in the fall of 2002, looking for new challenges in my career. I had always admired the school and loved the beautiful campus. It was an exciting opportunity.

During my time here I have taught math, reestablished the math contests TXML and Mandelbrot, worked with Breakthrough Program students, sponsored debate and chess teams, served on the discipline committee, and coached girls’ golf, as well as boys’ and girls’ soccer. I am particularly proud of my Chapel talks, which grew into an annual affair.

I have most enjoyed my relationships with students through the years. The advisory system, assigned lunch tables, being able to coach as well as teach, and simply the general sense of community on campus have given me the opportunity to connect with students both inside and outside of the classroom. Some of my strongest connections have been with students I never had in my math classroom; this is an extraordinary facet of the St. Stephen’s community. I will miss the people, but also the trees. I love The Hill.

It is difficult to know if my leaving is, in fact, retirement. I definitely want to take some time to consider what is next for me. I may be through teaching, but maybe not. Much like when I came to this school, I am in search of new challenges. When I do officially retire, I will hopefully relocate to a place of natural beauty with a leisurely pace, probably the high desert of West Texas or Santa Fe.

 Mark Kazanoff, Ph.D.

I started at St. Stephen’s as a part-time teacher in 1996, giving a few saxophone lessons each rotation. Three years later, I started teaching full time, adding music theory classes and saxophone lessons. By 2001, we had started the Upper School jazz band, which I directed. Middle School jazz band and jazz combo soon followed. I have run the Music Lab since its inception. Additionally, I have taught music history, social science seminars and a class in American Soul. Of course, I also have been an advisor and taught independent study courses in music.

My original intention was to work at a college or university, but I did not want to move away from Austin. When the position at St. Stephen's came up, it seemed like a great way to get into teaching.

I will miss the liveliness and excitement of the students, their creativity and passion, as well as working with student musicians to create a beautiful concert of jazz music. Even if a student graduates and never touches an instrument again, I believe their exposure to jazz and the experience of us playing music together will have changed their life for the better. The occasional collaborations I have had with other faculty members for dance, theatre and Chapel programs also have been rewarding.

For the last 20 years, I pretty much have held two full-time jobs: teaching and my music career. I am looking forward to having only one job! It will be easier for me to travel a bit more with my music friends, as well as write and practice.
Address: 6500 St. Stephen's Dr., Austin, TX 78746
Phone: (512) 327-1213