Non-linear journey from math teacher to teaching

by Andrew Alonzo | [email protected]

Despite being the daughter of a teacher, Vivian Webb School’s dean of students, Sarah Lantz, said she took a detour to teach.

Long before she began her career teaching math at Claremont Private School in 2010, Lantz recalled how she was first intrigued by the subject many seek to avoid at all costs. Between 1992 and 1996, she attended Saint Lucy’s Priory Secondary School in Glendora where she played volleyball and also developed her affinity for numbers, thanks to her first grade algebra teacher, Mary Fowler.

“It’s something that always came easily to me. It’s something that I was successful with,” the 43-year-old said of math. “I think my favorite classes were probably my math class because I loved the subject so much.”

After high school, Lantz attended Scripps College where she developed her social life and barista skills working at the student-run cafe, The Motley Coffeehouse. At work, Lantz said she really enjoys interacting with others and understanding the business, its practices and how to run it. The experience inspired her to pursue a degree in economics at Scripps because she could “see how customer behavior would influence our business decisions.” After completing his undergraduate studies, Lantz earned degrees in math and economics and began a career in numbers processing.

In 2000, Lantz accepted a job in Washington DC with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. There she worked as an economics researcher for about 10 other economists, doing work that supported her colleagues’ findings.

“At the time, I mean, there wasn’t a whole lot going on in terms of…this subject in the United States,” she said, adding, however, that “it wasn’t that interesting for I wanted to come back to Southern California.”

Lantz then worked on the risk assessment and internal process management team for Los Angeles-based Capital Group from 2002 to 2004.

“Again, I was like that’s not really what I wanted to do,” she explained before laughing. “Early in my career, I realized that I wanted to have a job where I would have more impact on people’s daily lives.”

In 2006, a year after their marriage, she joined her husband Ray Lantz in the family business, The Diamond Center in Claremont. However, she only lasted a year as she did not see herself fitting into the retail environment.

“I didn’t find personal satisfaction in retail, I really wanted to work in an academic setting,” she said.

It wasn’t until Lantz began fundraising for local schools, including Webb Schools, that she began to truly find her passion for making an impact.

“I thought, you know, fundraising, I can do that, I get along with people, I don’t mind asking for money,” Lantz said. “I started fundraising and that’s how I came to Webb.”

In 2008, alongside leading the school’s annual giving program, the La Verne native also began teaching economics on a team with current schools principal Taylor Stockdale. In 2010, after the Lantzes welcomed their first child, Lucy, Lantz was told about openings for a math teacher and a dorm leader position at the school. She jumped at the chance and was hired for both jobs.

At Webb, Lantz currently teaches Integrated Math II, an advanced-level math course open to freshmen and juniors. As a math professor in one of the most prestigious academic settings, she says there is no limit to the love she has for her work. “I love teaching. I love having an impact on children and watching them grow year after year.

“As I become a more experienced math teacher, our job is to help students think critically about math when writing social studies text,” she said. “I love math and problem solving and I think all students can do it if they give themselves the patience and time to really grapple with the skills they have and how to apply them to a problem. .”

“I think what inspires me to teach is that…it gives me the opportunity to connect with kids and for them to see that you don’t have to be a magician of math to study math, be good at math, and do something in your math career,” she said.

While on maternity leave with the couple’s third child, Evelyn, in 2016, Lantz recalls interviewing for the position of dean of students at the private school, to which she was appointed in the first place. fall 2017.

“It was a great honor for me. When I was promoted to Dean of Students, it was a great way for the school to recognize my work so far and to have faith and confidence in me to lead the school that way,” she said. “I want to believe that my work isn’t for nothing. and a meaning.

“People ask ‘how do you do Sarah?’ And my first thing is that I have a great partner who supports my growth not only as a person but in my career and we have really succeeded in being for each other [and] that we put our family first.

Over the years, Lantz has racked up quite a few titles. As well as being a maths teacher and dean of students, she is also the wife of her husband Ray and the mother of their three children, Lucy, 12, Annie, 9 and Evelyn, five. All the titles she cherishes deeply. She also earned a Masters of Education from Claremont Graduate University in 2020.

“I think women who have chosen to have families and who have chosen to work outside the home, I really think we’re all superheroes disguised as mothers,” she said. . “I think of my mother [Judith Belanger] and all that she did and I wanted to be like her who was a good mother, a good wife and partner to my husband, but also to be successful in the work that I was doing so that my time away from my children was ‘ t for nothing.

While some use the “live at work” cliché as an exaggeration of their workload, Lantz and his family literally live on the Webb Schools campus. Although she spends most of her days at work, outside of the classroom, Lantz said she enjoys spending her free time biking in the city of trees, gardening in her backyard or just hanging out. spending time with his family.

“It’s truly an honor and a privilege to raise our kids here at Webb among, you know, some of the brightest students in the world,” Lantz said. “It sometimes feels like we’re living in a fairy tale because it’s a new and different experience for so many people in Southern California to live in a boarding school.”

So far, for Lantz, life, in her words, has been a steady and enjoyable journey that she has been able to celebrate with those around her.

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