Cécile grew up in France and graduated from DePaul University with a degree in secondary education and French. She has taught in Westchester County, New York, in Chicago, and at the Marble Charter School in Marble, Colorado. For four years, she taught college-level French classes at Basalt High School through a partnership with Colorado Mountain College. Cécile began teaching at Aspen Country Day School in 2019, and her two sons are students here.
Three essential items?
Lip balm, tea, and a good book.
Something you haven’t done yet?
I want to go to New Zealand. I’ve lived in Australia and I like that part of the world. It is still wild out there, and the people are down to earth; New Zealand looks very beautiful.
What was it like to come to America?
The first time I came by myself, I was 14. I was an exchange student in Park City, Utah. And I’m still friends with the family. I was kind of shocked to see how homes were built. In France, homes are built with cinder blocks, brick, stone, you know, super heavy material, and then here homes are made of wood. And I thought, “this is kind of strange!” The relationships between children and parents were different, too. It was just much more laid back.
Something we might not know about you?
I actually was born in Venezuela. My father was a geologist and worked for a French company there. I only was there for three weeks; I have a baby picture on my Venezuelan passport, but I have never been back. (Interviewer: Are you an American citizen?) I am, I became American last year!
Most interesting job before this?
I took care of a Japanese garden for two years on the Rockefeller estate near Tarrytown. I had studied horticulture, and one of my jobs was to rake their Zen garden, making designs such as mountains and waves. They brought people from Japan to build walls and hold tea ceremonies. There were lots of ponds and I learned to shape maple trees into little clouds; it was very meditative.
A time something turned out better than expected?
I thought I wanted to go to the University of Chicago. But in the long run, I went to DePaul University. I had an independent study; I was in charge of going through all the files, everything they had on Napoleon. If I’d gone to the University of Chicago they might not have let me do all that. Also, it was a smaller community. You students at Country Day have closer relationships with teachers, but when you go to a very big school, you can kind of get lost. And it’s the same for teachers; in a smaller school, you’re closer to the other teachers and to your students, too.