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John Magee


Stanford University, Biology

UC Berkeley, Law

Success isn’t permanent, and failure isn’t fatal. –Dick Butkus, weirdly

John Magee was born in 1953 in Concord, Massachusetts, where he grew up hiking, camping, fishing, birdwatching and trying very hard to avoid organized sports.  He attended Stanford University, majoring in Biology, before studying law at Boalt Hall, University of California, Berkeley.  After a brief and unsatisfying few years practicing law, he became a high school teacher at Drew School in San Francisco, where he taught for twenty-four years.  He taught subjects including Algebra II, Biology, A.P. Biology, Chemistry, Honors Chemistry, and Ecology, Genetics and Evolution.  He was also the Dean of Students for nine years, organized camping trips and outings, led student travel, and built sets for the school plays.

In 2010, John took a semester sabbatical from Drew to travel to Tanzania and Kenya where he participated in an EarthWatch program studying elephants, and began a relationship with a small village secondary school outside of Moshi, Tanzania.  He worked with the school to upgrade its chemistry lab, and taught a series of workshops to chemistry teachers from around the Kilimanjaro Region, focusing on teaching hands-on, lab-based chemistry, until his work was interrupted by the pandemic.  He speaks Swahili, and would love to return to East Africa; however his dog is not enthusiastic about the idea.

John retired from Drew in 2013 and moved to San Juan Island.  In 2016 he joined the faculty at SSIS, assisting as a chemistry lab instructor, until the pandemic put an end to that in 2020.  He’s delighted to be back.  Living in the Pacific Northwest, John got his first dog, Tiger, with whom he hunts for Oregon truffles during the wintertime.