Authored by Marty Kelly (and Upper School colleagues)
Have you ever had something that you never knew you really needed until you had it? Like something you lived your whole life without and now absolutely cannot live without? Like dry shampoo. Or a straightener. Or wine. Seriously, how did I ever live without them? They make my life so much easier, better, smoother, and enjoyable-er. You know what else does all that for me (and on a WAY more important level than giving me good hair and superficial confidence)? Our Upper School Learning Facilitator. I cannot live without Hollie Marjanovic.
When I was in high school here, we didn’t have a learning facilitator, so when I returned here to teach, I was skeptical (and as you all know, I hate change). My pretentious little first-year teaching self thought, “I mean what is a learning facilitator? I’m a teacher. I facilitate learning.” Um, no I do not. Well, I mean, yes, okay I do, but not Hollie-level which is next level. Now fast forward twelve years to now when I am ready and happy to say I was so wrong (and “when I’m wrong, I say I’m wrong”: name the movie!).
Now that I have her and know her, I cannot do my job without Hollie. She is my runway clearer, air traffic controller, pothole filler, fire putter-outer, rodeo wrangler, and left tackle blind side protector. That’s a number of metaphors, but you get it: she does everything. For everybody. Not just me. I’m not even sure what her actual job description is anymore, but I can guaran-darn-tee that she does that job and then about ten others. All while being her good-natured, good-humored, hilarious Hollie self. I mean who else can pull off getting hit on the head with a volleyball in front of the entire upper school student body while wearing a blow-up unicorn costume?
But Hollie isn’t just a fluffy unicorn. She is a boots-on-the ground do-er, and she gets it (whatever the “it” is of the hundreds she’s handling at the time) done efficiently and effectively. During the school day, you may catch a glimpse of Hollie as she scampers back and forth past our windows across the courtyard or across campus to steer rope various students for the rest of us. When I asked faculty for their input on what Hollie means to them, they captured her in the words “godsend,” “true Saint,” “gift,” “saving grace,” and “the best” (twice, and one time in all caps). Keep reading to see what else Upper School faculty had to say about Hollie, who, in the words of Tina Turner, is simply the best.
Colin Dunnigan: Hollie’s willingness to jump into issues with students has been phenomenal. She has become the de facto academic advisor/caretaker for every upper school student, carefully monitoring what they are doing, keeping up with what assignments are due in a dizzying array of classes, setting up tutoring sessions, getting extended time materials handled, calling parents who are upset about how their children are doing, reminding folks to update their assignments online, all while keeping a cool head and staying relentlessly positive. She has been a big help to me, but more importantly, she has been the saving grace for many students whom she has served through coaxing, cajoling, organizing, and keeping them focused, especially in times of challenge or crisis.
Ray McFarland: ALWAYS WILLING TO HELP….always with a smile…there seems to be nothing she can’t do ….if you need it organized she is the one to call…she is the definition of a good friend.
Jen Whitt: Hollie is always willing to share her time and institutional knowledge with me. Last year she patiently answered all of my questions. She was also a friendly face to talk to at events, which for a new person can be a bit daunting. She went out of her way to make sure that I felt welcomed.
Emily Philpott: Hollie is the best! Not only does she do everything she can to support students and teachers, but she is also a fantastic problem-solver. She figures out a way to make things happen, even when it causes more work for herself. And she does everything with a smile, when at times she would be justified in getting grumpy and frustrated (like today when I accidentally booked a meeting in the space that her study hall meets). We are all lucky that she is at St. Andrew’s!
Jim Foley: Hollie Marjanovic is a godsend to this Upper School. I honestly do not know where we would be without her. She has helped my students and me many times. To give but one example, Hollie has provided help to my tenth-grade World History II students with note-taking skills, study skills, and arranging for Writing Lab Fellows to work with these students on writing essays. Hollie also knows the students she helps and shares her knowledge with those students’ teachers. She is a true Saint
Russell Marsalis: When I first started working here at St. Andrew’s, there were two things I noticed right away about Hollie Marjanovic. First, was the passion and drive she has to care for our students both in the classroom and out. Second, was how hard she works to accomplish those tasks. Hollie is always willing to help out around the school when any issue arises. I know for me, personally, and many of the other coaches she is a huge help without student-athletes. She alerts us early on if there are behavior or academic issues so that we may correct them before a problem persists. How she still has enough energy once she lives work every day is beyond me because she pours so much of it into her job.
Jennifer Gunn: Hollie has been a great help to middle school students this year. She has helped me schedule math, English, and history tutors. Hollie is so knowledgeable of what students can be good mentors to younger students that her help has been invaluable to me.
Julie Rust: I have literally never been in a meeting where Hollie is involved when she didn’t bring up a point, topic, concern, suggestion, or idea that radically improved/informed the conversation or next steps. She is perhaps one of the most “with it” colleagues I’ve ever had. Hollie is not only good at figuring out the details that have been missed, she’s also quick to propose (and usually be part of) the solution. She is a fighter of a multitude of good fights every day and when I grow up I want to be her. 🙂
Linda Rodriguez: It is almost impossible to find Hollie. Whenever a student asks “Have you seen Mrs. Marjanovic?” I inevitably say, “She was just right here! But she’s gone now.” The truth is, Holie is one of the busiest people on campus. Her dedication to student success is admirable and chasing down kids is sweaty work. But no matter how many students she’s supporting, she is always gracious and smiling. Her teacher tool bag is full of student centered resources and she’s more than willing to share – it speaks to the priority she places on helping kids. We are lucky to have her…when we can find her!!
Sarah Spann: Hollie is the prime example of a giver with such a big heart. She does so much for the school and not just students but with her colleagues as well. She wants to help students be successful but she knows she can’t do it by herself. She’s selfless and constantly communicates to that particular faculty about a student that needs help or extra motivation. She has taught me a lot just by observing her and the attention to details that she has. She works so hard in wanting to make St. Andrew’s better. And it is better because of her. She’s selfless and genuine. Give credit where credit is due and Hollie deserves it. Thank you for all that you do Hollie.
Annie Elliott: When I ask how the US can be supportive when students lose a relative, have surgery, etc., folks often ask if we can help to alleviate concern about missed work or getting behind. I am so thankful that I can refer those families to Hollie and that she helps our students triage assignments and manage their workloads in those times of stress.
Lauren Powell: A giant heart for others. She works to make sure that everyone is cared for and attended to and she does it with a smile and an infectious laugh. She has a natural ability to attend to details, is organized, and has an awesome memory–great qualities for a learning facilitator. Hollie is tireless in her pursuit of folks who need help doing or finishing work. One of Hollie’s specialties is helping motivate students who are ‘not in the mood’ because she always seems to be in the mood to facilitate learning and growing.
Gracie Bellnap: The threads of Hollie’s influence are woven deeply into all facets of the St. Andrew’s experience. She makes me feel connected and inspires me to be a better teacher and friend.
Dan Roach: Speaking both as a teacher and a coach, I have the utmost appreciation for the way Hollie manages our student-athletes and helps keep them on track with all their assignments (particularly when one or two may be missing or late). She keeps teachers and coaches connected in our collective mission for the academic and athletic success of student-athletes. One might say that she acts as a conduit between the academic and the athletic realms of our school. Kudos to our Learning Facilitator Hollie Marjanovic!
Emmi Sprayberry: Hollie Marjanovic is one of the most dedicated individuals I know. She works tirelessly to provide support to students and parents. Her persistence, wisdom, and ability to keep a cool head is coupled with an amazing sense of humor and positivity which always leaves me encouraged and amazed. She is always ready to help, even when her plate is overly full. Time after time I have seen her step in and step up, a constant communicator making things happen. I honestly don’t know what this community would do without her. To say Hollie Marjanovic is a saint would probably be an understatement for all that she does.
Darin Maier: Here’s one for you — after getting her kids home on Friday, she came back out and judged two debates for us on Friday evening at the Saints Classic. This is not the first time she has answered the call when we’ve needed folks to come out and help.
Lara Kees: We all know that she’s great at keeping up with many kids and their work AND taking the load off of us, all while staying cheery and optimistic. She’s always up for the various contests & games–ready to take a pie in the face, e.g.
Claire Whitehurst: Hollie is a completely joyful gift everyday. Seeing her always makes me feel like I have someone in my corner no matter what. She also has one of the best laughs I’ve ever heard. St. Andrew’s is incredibly lucky to have her on the team! She is also equally loved and cherished by all of the students. She’s on top of everything. She lent me a cake dish in the midst of finals last semester. She’s just THE BEST!