Math department chair departs after 17 years to care for ill mother

Upper School Math Department Chair Paula Evans will not return to teach next year.
Evans said she had anticipated leaving at the end of the school year; however, plans changed when her mother became extremely ill, requiring full-time care. Evans now resides with her in Northern California.

“[Evans] left a few weeks ago to attend to family matters and has made the difficult decision to stay there permanently,” Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts said in an email to faculty. “We understand, of course; at the same time, we are sad that we won’t be able to say good-bye collectively.”

Evans taught math and computer science at the school for 17 years and was appointed Math Department Chair in 2002. Prior to arriving at Harvard-Westlake, Evans studied and taught computer science at several colleges. She focused on developing expertise in the field of online and distance learning.

“[Evans] was a visionary leader, an expert manager and an outstanding networker,” Huybrechts said. “She realized early goals to vertically integrate Harvard-Westlake math and develop a robust and relevant Computer Science program.”

Throughout her time at Harvard-Westlake, Evans served as a scorekeeper for for the varsity girls’ basketball team and participated in the school’s all-night “Moby Dick” read-a-thon in addition to her duties as head of the Math Department. Evans was also a leader of HW STEMfest and Girls Who Code.

“Ms. Evans was one of the nicest teachers I’ve ever had, and it was an honor to be able to have her teach me my favorite subject,” AP Computer Science student Shauna Hannani ’18 said.

Since Evans left just a week before the AP Computer Science exam, a substitute teacher took over her classes during that time.

“We will miss [Evans] very much and are truly grateful for her genius, geniality and generosity,” Huybrechts said.

Suzanne Lee will replace Evans as Math Department Chair. Lee has been in training for much of the past year in order to prepare for Evans’ departure.

“I will really miss my wonderful students,” Evans said in an email. “It has been such a gift to be a part of their lives, and I always enjoy hearing about their adventures.”

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