Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering options to make education work for families. We have a full hybrid program for grades pre-12, which means part-time classroom and part-time home instruction with a 4 day option for middle school and a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

Semper discentes – always learning together.
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Friday Faces: High School

Team SLOCA

It’s Friday and that only means one thing! Friday Faces!! Today, we are thrilled to feature our extraordinary High School team. This highly qualified and dedicated men and women are responsible for equipping your students to become independent learners and to flourish in the last and final stage of the trivium, the rhetoric stage. For our readers with younger students, we welcome you to visit our High School page to learn more.

The high school world and the culture they have created on their campus wouldn’t exist without the guidance of their teachers. Let’s read on and get to know them a bit…


1. If you could add anyone to Mount Rushmore, who would it be and why?

  • Pamela: To add to Mount Rushmore? I would be tempted to choose Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to the United States Congress, the first black candidate for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States, and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party‘s presidential nomination. But I won’t choose. Because, as John Fire Lame Deer, a Lakota medicine man, said: “The whole idea of making a beautiful wild mountain into a statue… is a pollution of the landscape.”
  • Paige: Definitely a woman… preferably an abolitionist and a suffragette… Susan B. Anthony, perhaps?
  • Sonja: Harriet Tubman. At the moment, the U.S. Treasury isn’t committing to putting this civil rights hero on the $20 bill, so instead let’s carve a 60 foot face on a mountain to remind ourselves what courage and resilience looks like.
  • Tami: I would add an ordinary American who had done something heroic but as yet unsung. To me it would be a reminder that our leaders were meant to serve the true heroes of our society-those who live, day-to-day, our cherished values and virtues.
  • Nicholas: My mama because she is rad and we need a woman up there on the Mount. If the committee doesn’t agree to have Mama up there, my second vote would be MLK.
  • Paul: My wife—she’s president of my heart.
  • Steve: FDR probably.  He saved the US from the depression and the world from Fascism.
  • Sarah: So easy! Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The work he did in his leadership of the civil rights movement absolutely embodies the best parts of what America has long aspired to be, all the way back to the early days. He saw that we could be a land of promise leading the way in the areas of freedom, progress, conscience, intellectual and spiritual vitality, and equality. I still believe his work is largely incomplete and largely possible, and that is so hopeful to me! Second Choice: Flannery O’Connor, with a sardonic smirk on her face. Third Choice: Fred Rogers, our most gentle, cardigan-clad hero. All three should have been added years ago.
  • Tony: Obama. Because I believe his election was a significant step in healing racial divisions in America.

2. Are you a traveler or a homebody?

  • Pamela: I used to be quite a roamer and a rover– but since I moved to SLO seven years ago, I love to stay put.
  • Paige: I love both. I’m equally drawn to homesteading and a nomadic lifestyle. I have a dream that someday we will turn an old school bus into a tiny house, and travel with our home.
  • Sonja: Traveler with periods of homebodying in between
  • Tami: Both
  • Nicholas: Both. I try to be home wherever I am.
  • Paul: I’m a travelbody—sort of both, sort of neither. I like having traveled more than the actual traveling, not unlike Bilbo Baggins.
  • Steve: Both.  I like both a lot.  I like the experiences of travelling and wouldn’t trade it for the world (haha) but just being home without a chore or work to do is also nice.
  • Sarah: Both! I get the adventure bug and dive in to the culture shock and weird food, and then a few weeks in to any trip I get totally homesick and start acting like a complete baby. I think at my heart, I am a road tripper, and if I didn’t like teaching so much, it would be tempted to live on the move. I could drive for months around America and never get homesick, as Starbucks is my own personal living room anyway.
  • Tony: Both, but a traveler mainly.

3. You can have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? (ex: sushi? scotch tape? fuzzy socks? :))

  • Pamela: Vision!
  • Paige: Can I say time? I never seem to have quite enough!
  • Sonja: Fresh strawberries. Good thing I live on the Central Coast!
  • Tami: Kombucha
  • Nicholas: Clean, biodegradable sponges, please. Stinky sponges hurt my mind, body, and soul. I have a lot of roommates, and at least one of them (not sure who!) is either afraid of dry sponges or lacks the hand strength to wring them out. Picking up a cold, wet, stinky sponge puts me right on the struggle bus with no return trip. H E L P !
  • Paul: Time (though I’m sure Nietzsche would think that that is bad faith).
  • Steve: I would choose scotch tape over sushi or socks.
  • Sarah: Time. Is that cheating?
  • Tony: Time.

4. Would you rather have invisibility or flight?

  • Pamela: Invisibility– but only if I could share it with someone else (like Harry Potter’s dad’s invisibility cloak).
  • Paige: Flight! Mostly to save time (see above)
  • Sonja: Flight, no doubt about it.
  • Tami: Remembering Gyges and his ring, I choose flight.
  • Nicholas: F L I G H T
  • Paul: Flight, no question. Birds are amazing.
  • Steve: My superhero skill would be the ability to remove all the Carbon from any object or thing.  I would be called “the Decarbonator.”
  • Sarah: Invisibility!!! With that, I could pull some seriously amazing Valhalla pranks on Mrs. Bartel, Mrs. Bair, and Mr. McCullough. Flight??? That’s what airplanes are for!
  • Tony: Flight

5. How do you recharge?

  • Pamela: I recharge by puttering in my garden, and going barefoot.
  • Paige: Depends on how much time I’ve got! If I’ve just got a few minutes, I love to sit in our garden with a glass of rosé. If I have a few days, I love to camp. We do quite a bit of camping as a family, and we love going out exploring and lounging around reading in equal measure. (Plus, it allows us to unplug completely for a bit 😉
  • Sonja: Reading fantasy books.
  • Tami: Music, writing, study, meditative prayers (silence).
  • Nicholas: I love cozying up alone with my piano and playing it freely without thinking. Sitting and walking meditation also give me quite the recharge.
  • Paul: Read. Walk. Write. Eat. Read.
  • Steve: I have a small battery charger for AA and AAA batteries, but could use a larger battery charger for the C and D sized.
  • Sarah: Technology Detox!!! I get so drained by emailing, texting, browsing, and reading the news! I’m pretty sure my computer and phone have compromised my health more than any other things. About six months ago, I bankrupted my Facebook and Instagram accounts and said goodbye to social media and the 24 Hour news cycle forever. Disconnecting was the best decision I ever made. I like reading the paper now, and I love print publications! I’m slower to become informed, but far happier. If anything really important happens in the world, eventually someone else is bound to tell me about it before the end of the day anyhow. I’ve taken to calling up old friends to chat on the phone instead of “liking” their photos, which has led to more intentionality in my relationships. And I still love a good political debate over beers, but I would rather do that in person than on the internet. It’s more fun (and far easier to stay grounded in our humanity and compassion) when we have to look someone in the eye while in the midst of solving a problem together. Since kissing the internet goodbye, I’ve come to see the world and the people in it as more nuanced, wonderful, colorful, and complex, and that has recharged my soul (and my brain) quite a bit. Given the tenor of our national public conversation, it’s pretty amazing to step outside of that firestorm to look out on the world and let yourself feel generally optimistic about humanity’s potential for goodness and beauty and love. No really, you all should try it! I am now convinced social media, while handy for some things, is anathema to camaraderie, progress, democracy, intellectual vitality, and the health of our brains and hearts. And as I am on an endless quest for more time in the day to invest in things I’m passionate about, I feel like I’ve gained hours of my life back each week that I wasn’t even aware I was wasting.
  • Tony: I like to go for walks in the English countryside and then wander into ancient churches, where I can sit alone with my own thoughts.

Thanks for sharing with us, High School staff! Readers, we hope you’ve enjoyed this series so far. We have just one last group to highlight next week so make sure to come back by! Our leadership team will bring up the rear!

A quick reminder for this coming Monday: Parent Preview Night + High School Preview Night…

is coming up on November 5th from 7-9p. If you or someone you know is interested and would like to know more about us, this is the event to go to! Parent Preview Night is for parents interested in grades preschool through 8th grade while the High School Preview Night is for high school students and their parents. RSVP using the links above or contact us for any questions. We look forward to meeting you!