For Blake Dorfman ’02, a deeply rooted love for all things Owl can be traced back to his days as a Middle and Upper School student at Laguna two decades ago.
Today, Dorfman is no ordinary alumnus. He’s a teacher and recently appointed Director of Student Life at Laguna Blanca School where he was recently honored with the 2019 Faculty Excellence Award.
While Blake Dorfman’s school spirit made him a standout Owl circa Y2K, it’s his deeply entrenched enthusiasm and commitment to Laguna Blanca that have recently earned him high marks with his former Laguna teachers—some of whom are still members of Laguna’s faculty.
“His contributions to the school are endless,” says Upper School Journalism Instructor Trish McHale. “He emcees the pep rallies, leads the Upper School Student Council, and teaches multiple courses in the Middle School. Blake is Laguna’s one-man pep squad!”
Dorfman’s energetic omnipresence includes his ongoing role of overseeing La Honda, the Laguna yearbook. In his newly announced role as Director of Student Life, he will help build and support a positive student culture in the Upper School while supervising student activities—including US advisory, Clubs, and Student Council—and handling Upper School discipline.
In a field of committed educators, Dorfman earned his 2019 Faculty Excellence Award laurels by blending his ceaseless knack for innovation with a contagious determination that enriches student life.
Audrey Murphy ’20 has experienced this firsthand as a member of student council. “Mr. Dorfman puts his heart and soul into everything he does at Laguna. His energy is palpable when he walks into the room,” she says.
More than a presence, Dorfman has a gift for becoming a positive enabler. “Mr. Dorfman responds to all of our crazy ideas with ‘yes’ immediately followed by ‘now how can we make this thing happen,’” notes Kiki Tolles ’20. “He’s creative, enthusiastic, and committed to not only the students, but also our endeavors.”
Dorfman graduated from Laguna Blanca in 2002, after which he attended the University of Southern California. There he earned his B.A. in Communication & Media Studies. Dorfman then entered the world of sports journalism, writing for the Santa Barbara News-Press and hosting a local sports radio show on AM 1290 KZSB. After covering local athletes at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, he moved on to co-found PresidioSports.com which reported on all local sports. He was also the radio voice of the Santa Barbara Foresters baseball team for three seasons.
In 2010, he returned to USC to obtain his Master’s in Education with a teaching credential in English. At Laguna, he has taught Middle School English, Geography, Critical Thinking, and spearheaded the Middle School Entrepreneurship program.
Looking forward, Head of School Rob Hereford says, “I know Blake will tackle his new role as Director of Student Life with joy and spirit. The insight he has developed over his years of experience at Laguna—as both a student and a faculty member—will be a huge benefit to all of us.” Dorfman is also thrilled to be sharing English 7 with Carol Nordgaarden, who was his teacher in Middle School and had a profound impact on him as a writer.
Dorfman and his wife, Laura, an educator in the SB Unified School District, are proud parents of two daughters: Emiko, 3, and Juni, who was born earlier this month.