As major transitions go, it comes with a mixture of emotions.
“I love my job, I love the people I work with, I love the community and I love the magic that happens on this campus,” Ms. Ridenour said “So for me to decide to leave at this point is bittersweet because I know what I’m leaving behind, but I also know where I’m headed.”
A native Dallasite, Ms. Ridenour had barely been born when her brother, Robert Joseph, insisted that her parents call her “Bunny”. They humored him, convinced it was just a cute nickname that would eventually go away. Instead, it stuck so well, Ms. Ridenour said, that a cousin of hers only recently learned that Lana was Ms. Ridenour’s birth name.
A product of Catholic schools, Ms. Ridenour graduated from Southern Methodist University before receiving her master’s degree from Amberton University. “I always wanted to teach but decided to pursue a business degree instead,” she said.
After spending a few years in the corporate environment, Ms. Ridenour decided to make the transition to the education sector, returning to her alma mater, Bishop Lynch High School. She started as the assistant to the Dean of Students, and before her departure eleven years later, she had risen to become the school’s Alumni Director. “Although I didn’t wind up in the classroom, I was able to engage with the students through Peer Helpers – their ambassador program; Drill Team moderator and then the alumni sector,” she said.
In a statement, Alcuin’s Head of School Walter Sorensen called Ms. Ridenour a trusted senior administrator, providing enormously helpful counsel to him and the school’s Board of Trustees.
“She has done it all, from working with parents and collaborating with board members, to raising campaign dollars for the 2005 Open the Next Door Capital Campaign, to even working morning carpool, delivering class lunches and being the de facto staff psychologist,” Sorensen said. “She will be missed but will always be a member of our Alcuin family.”
In 2005, Ms. Ridenour arrived at St. Alcuin Montessori School as the school’s Director of Development. In 2008, she became the Associate Head of School for Institutional Advancement. During Ms. Ridenour’s tenure, she played a major role in some of the most significant and transformational projects in school history. At the time of her arrival, the school had just acquired land on which the Underhill Building, the Galbraith Building and the soccer field would be completed. Ms. Ridenour helped bring those initiatives across the finish line. In 2013, she saw the school change its name to Alcuin School and helped update the school’s mission statement. Her role oversaw admissions, marketing and communication, database and website, the Health Office, the Front Office, After-School Activities/Summer, and served as the liaison for the Parents’ and Dads’ Club.
For Ms. Ridenour, the most enjoyable parts of her job have often been some of the simplest.
“Crazy as it sounds, I love carpool,” Ms. Ridenour said. “I love seeing those kids. It starts my day. It’s my java in the morning. I definitely have had a mixed plate of responsibilities, ones that have kept me on my toes, but also ones that have helped me see Alcuin flourish over my years here. Being at Alcuin has been a gift, one that I’m very grateful for”.
As she prepares for retirement, Ms. Ridenour imagines sipping her new morning java in locales such as the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, and Cape Cod. Still, having worked since she was 18 years old, she anticipates that transitioning to a life untethered by an alarm clock will be a bit odd.
“It’ll be weird,” Ms. Ridenour said. “I love working but now I have to shift that mental, physical and emotional focus to now it’s just me, my husband and my children and my grandkids.”
For more on this and other stories, check out our Summer 2021 edition of NOTES Magazine here.