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A Gift


Pictured Above: Margaret Gray with twelfth-grade Violin major Ashley Leung

If you’re a student at Idyllwild Arts Academy, you’ve heard of Margaret Gray. She’s one of the school’s veteran teachers, now in her tenth year. Margaret began her career at Idyllwild Arts as a ceramics teacher in 2004 and is now teaching a variety of literature classes to freshmen, juniors, and seniors. Her husband, Daniel Gray, is the Academy’s Director of Student Life. Daniel first introduced her to the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program when they were studying at the University of Redlands, just over an hour from Idyllwild, and now she is teaching at the Academy full-time.
“Once you come to Idyllwild and it attaches itself to you, you can’t ever really leave,” Margaret says.

She feels connected to the school as well as to the mountain itself. She also loves the school’s efforts to educate students to become artists because “I think artists change the world.”

Margaret is dedicated to helping her students absorb the information she shares in her classes, giving them the opportunity to discuss not only with her, but with one another about the texts they’re reading. One of her favorite books to teach is Toni Morrison’s Beloved because it’s “almost impossible not to have an emotional reaction” to topics like slavery and misogyny.

She considers teaching high school students a unique opportunity. Her students “keep me young,” she says, by teaching her about their ever-shifting culture, which, she notes, most adults stop paying attention to at some point in their lives.

Margaret wishes more adults could interact with high-school age students.

“As adults, we get so firm in our ideas and our boundaries, and we don’t want to change. But when you work with students you see things through their eyes, and see why certain things need to change. For me, that’s a gift.

Written by
Kalista Puhnaty

Twelfth-grade Creative Writing major