Farewell to Melissa Alkire

Head of Upper School Melissa Alkire says goodbye to Laguna Blanca after three years of leadership.


Stephen Zeigler

Head of Upper School Melissa Alkire

Lucia Camp

“Ms. Alkire leads with her love for students, families, and colleagues, said Head of School Ron Cino, “She understands that building community deepens the trust and belonging we need to foster an innovative, dynamic learning environment.”

After moving from Boston in 2020, Head of Upper School Melissa Alkire guided the Upper School through the COVID-19 pandemic with skilled leadership, comforting our community when it was tested. 

“Ms. Alkire is the type of person who can just brighten a room with her fabulous outfits and beautiful smile,” said Kendall Keshen, ‘24. 

Alkire’s warm personality is expressed in every facet of her work at Laguna through her positive attitude. 

“I admire Ms. Alkire’s ability to see the best in every single person at Laguna,” said Paloma Lujan, ‘24. “She is kind, funny, and someone I look up to.”

Despite facing challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic, Alkire managed to navigate through new circumstances and a new school with grace and ease, becoming a role model for the community. 

“One of my favorite memories is putting down all of the walking directions signs with Mr. Lopes during COVID. School had not started yet, and he was one of the only people I had met in person,” said Alkire, “He has since become one of my most cherished colleagues and truly a deep friend.”

As she cultivated connections and collaborated with colleagues, Alkire formed deep friendships with community members, making the campus a kinder and more connected place. 

“Always consistent and reliable, Ms. Alkire can be depended on for both support and truthfulness at all times. She is also fun and funny, a great storyteller,” said Bojana Hill, an English instructor and close friend of Alkire. “She is a friend whom you would want to have your back, to help you when things are tough.” 

Her role in reopening Laguna was essential for a healthy school environment and encouraging adaptation in unprecedented times.

“Ever since I came into high school as a freshman, Alkire has been my advisor and has always been there for me when I am stressed or need any help. I really appreciate everything she has done to help me and other students thrive as her advisees, and I will greatly miss her next year,“ said Spencer Hlavaty, ‘24. 

Leaving the Santa Barbara area, her home at Laguna will be one of the most challenging parts of this transition.  

“I am going to miss my colleagues deeply, the students, the campus, and my weird little hut that is always so cold,” Alkire said. “I’m going to miss the beautiful food, incredible ocean, and the ability to watch concerts at the SB Bowl.” 

After three successful years here, her leadership has made a lasting impact. Her absence will be felt as she returns to Massachusetts. 

“I am going to be focusing on my family next. I want to spend more time with my husband and with my children. I will be taking on the role of Lower School Director at Brimmer and May. I think this job will give me a little more of that balance.” 

Alkire has two children attending Laguna, Henry, in third grade, and Owen, in first. 

“Ms. Alkire has been with me since the beginning of my time at Laguna, and she has been the main support for me here,” said Christiana Cino ‘24, “I am really going to miss her.” 

Alkire has various talents, from playing the oboe to speaking Italian, and the community will miss her dynamic personality. 

“I hope my impact has been that students can go to a division head and will be seen, cared for, and find a partner to work with,” said Alkire.