Magdalena “Rocio” Krause is typical of generations of Sidwell Friends teachers in that she chose to remain dedicated to Sidwell Friends students for decades. Rocio came to Sidwell Friends in 1993 as the number of students in Spanish classes grew. Like her recently retired cohort, she was held in place by the enjoyment of mentoring Sidwell's very special scholars and leading its very gratifying classes. In those classes, Rocio was disciplined, demanding and formidable. (A caution here: the translation of “formidable” from Spanish to English means “tremendous” or “outstanding” which is what Rocio's teaching achieved.)
It was clear to her colleagues that students from her classes would know their stuff. Grade inflation was an anathema to her. And, like the colleagues mentioned above, she had many students who loved her teaching, and now alums thankful for her tutelage.
Certainly, Rocio could be independent-minded. She dared to follow her own drummer, exemplifying that the best teaching results from a pedagogy that best suits a teacher's character and beliefs, rather than from one conforming to some prescribed curriculum. Rocio demanded the best from students and received their best in return.
I found it a very pleasant coincidence that both Rocio and I had roots in Ecuador. Like many Latinos, she has a piquant sense of humor that doesn't eschew the “verde” as one says in Spanish. Rocio grew up in the lively port city of Guayaquil. Her family has multicultural connections: Asian, Middle-eastern, and European. In Guayaquil, she did her studies, took a gap year in Germany, then taught English at the American School, German at the German School, and went on to teach Spanish to Peace Corp volunteers in Quito. She and her colleagues successfully created their own curricula for the volunteers, which is why she always had faith in her own creativity in planning Sidwell classes.
Eventually, what brought Rocio to the United States was marriage to a US citizen who was working in Ecuador, which is how she garnered the surname “Krause”. Rocio has two adult children, Billy married to Thais and Kirsten married to Ari, and grandchildren, Gabriel (2) and Adrian (1), on whom she dotes. Of course!
Rocio had always been a traveler, voyaging first to Europe in her student days to learn German. She has gone on to savor the world's cultures. Her journeys have continued to include China and most of Europe and South America. Will she continue to travel? Por supuesto! Rocio will be off to Eastern Europe, Peru, and Brazil in the near future.
In closing her most recent e-mail to me, Rocio says that she considers herself a very fortunate person because she has been able to read and travel a great deal while at the same time she has had an interesting family and many good friends. She also said that so far she has had four retirement parties and that there are two more prepared by friends in California and Florida. She goes on to note a fact of which her friends and colleagues are all aware: Rocio loves a party and is a great dancer!
We all wish Rocio well in retirement, thank her for her years of collegiality and service to Sidwell Friends, and welcome her as a worthy member to the equally worthy ranks of retired faculty.