Debbie Seidel, our new 2nd grade teacher, got plenty of life advice from her family growing up. First, she says, “Teaching was not my idea. I thought maybe I should be an attorney, but my dad suggested teaching because I was great with kids.” Born and raised in Los Angeles, Debbie went to college at the University of Wisconsin at her big brother’s suggestion. He was at UCLA and said he ran into their mother at a grocery store. “Go to college far away,” she remembers him saying with a smile, “You’re not supposed to run into Mom in the market!”
After braving the Madison, Wisconsin cold to earn her bachelors degree, she returned to L.A. and began the CSUN teaching program to get her credential. Simultaneous to that, Debbie was hired to be an assistant at Curtis School. After earning her credential she got hired at Village School in Pacific Palisades. She spent many years there teaching Kindergarten and then 2nd grade before deciding to take a break to start a family of her own.
She ended up having two children and sending them both to Los Encinos School! Her oldest, Dylan (’15), is now a 10th grader at Milken. A.J. is here in 6th grade.
Why was she drawn to LES as a parent? Debbie says it was due to Ilene’s influence, mainly. “When I first walked through the red gates, the teacher side of me thought the school was too small. But Ilene sold me on it when she gave me another memorable piece of advice: ‘This isn’t about what you think is best for you, it’s about what’s best for your child.’ Los Encinos really did feel like the best fit for us.” Debbie also credits Valerie (art teacher and director of integration) for being a big draw, saying, “She was awesome then as she is now.”
Debbie celebrated her 18th wedding anniversary in August. She met her husband, Steve, (a partner today at a branded content agency) through a colleague at Village School whose boyfriend was best friends with him. That colleague ended up marrying that boyfriend and Debbie married Steve and the couples remain close to this day.
In her free time, Debbie enjoys playing Words with Friends and watching cooking shows on TV, even though she admits that she doesn’t really enjoy cooking herself. Music, going to concerts, and sports are also big parts of the Seidel’s family life. They love all sports, and point to the Dodgers, Rams, and Lakers, as particular favorites.
Debbie also has an affinity for dogs and has been involved in dog rescue. She’s placed a lot of dogs with friends and family. The Seidel’s family pet is “Kona,” a four-year-old, 80-pound golden retriever.
Debbie thinks it will be great to work so closely to her sixth grader, but predicts that they will both be too busy to see much of each other. She hopes to bring to LES the experience of a veteran teacher and mother while also keeping up with the current trends. “I can’t wait to see what I’ll learn from the younger teachers,” she says.
When asked how LES has changed since she was here as a parent eleven years ago, Debbie remembers the bungalows and seeing the new building get remodeled. “There are plenty of physical changes,” she says, “but the heart of the school has stayed the same.” She pauses for a moment, then adds, “I also remember Ilene telling me that she wants kids to stay kids and not rush into adulthood. That really resonated with me.”