Holly Maxon: The smile to greet you at San Domenico


San Domenico juniors Summer Jenkins and Charlee Dorhan show their appreciation for Maxon. Photo by Caroline Pirsch

Caroline Pirsch, Editor-in-Chief

At the front office, the area is a hurricane of bustling activity. Students jostle for space to pick up tardy slips and supplies, and maybe swipe some candy. In the eye of the storm is Holly Maxon. As the friendly face of the Upper School office, Maxon is responsible for guiding students to where they need to be early in the morning and providing a helping hand to anyone who approaches her office.

“I’m a liaison between the Administrative Office and the students,” Maxon says. “So when kids are signing out and signing in and needing to go to the nurse, and parents are dropping things off, all sorts of logistics come through my office.”

Maxon is new to the Bay Area, having grown up in Michigan and gone to school there through college. She studied communications, which led to internships in advertising, focusing on becoming a commercial producer. After moving to Los Angeles to pursue advertising, Maxon ended up joining her husband, Harry Maxon at San Domenico.

Although Maxon was new to San Domenico, she became immersed in the SD community fairly quickly. Maxon began with helping out as a parent with the Garden Fair alongside Shelley Flint, which progressed into working alongside Flint in an official capacity along with some substitute teaching. When Iphy St. Juste, the former administrative assistant, gave her notice, Maxon was asked to step in as a permanent position in the office. 

“Being able to come here and get to know all the teachers and all the students and really get immersed in the culture has been a real gift for me, because it’s made me feel a sense of community so much faster than I would have,” Maxon said.

Melissa Murphy, the Upper School Dean of Students at San Domenico, believed that Maxon was a great fit for the position and community.

“We knew when Iphy told us she was leaving that it was going to be tough to fill her position,” Murphy said. “We needed someone who had an extroverted personality but also someone who was super organized and could help us with all the systems that we have here like PowerSchool and attendance.”

Maxon’s skills as a communicator with prior experience in advertising were exactly what the school needed, along with her overwhelming compassion. Not only is Maxon appreciated by her coworkers, but she is valued by the students. She works closely with seniors particularly due to seniors coming in and out of the office checking in from senior privileges.

Monica Sanford, a senior, highlights her kindness to every student. Whenever Sanford comes back to the office after free period food runs, Maxon is always interested in what food she gets, especially the bagels.

“She always goes out of her way to be kind to the students and also gives us candy or mints which is awesome after lunch,” Sanford said. “Staff members sometimes don’t realize how much their kind actions brighten up our day, whether it’s just saying ‘Hi’ or putting candy out for us.”

Despite the amount of people coming through the office every day, both Murphy and Sanford mention her ability to connect with everyone coming through.

“Another thing is that Ms. Maxon knows a lot of people’s names and faces. When someone knows your name out of a school of almost 400 kids, it makes you feel appreciated,” Sanford said.

“It’s not like a blanket, I’m just a nice person. She truly sees each person, each situation, and its uniqueness. If you like sports, she’ll talk about sports. If you’re interested in reading books, she’ll talk about books. She’s really skilled in that way,”  Murphy added.

From the moment she entered the position, Maxon had already begun making positive changes at SD. Murphy mentions that Maxon helped her reduce the time necessary to go over data from PowerSchool, something that was normally extremely time-consuming to complete.

“In the first few weeks that Holly was here, she [suggested that] we carve out a couple of times a week and we’ll sit down and we’ll just do it together,” Murphy said. “She just sat with me and took my eight hours of work or my six hours of work and cut it totally in half.”

Maxon cares deeply about the students at San Domenico and this is evident in every action and word. The coveted candy that Maxon supplies in her office is clear proof of her genuinely kind personality. Maxon goes to Target at times to pick up the candy for students after she finishes work despite being an extremely busy person.

Maxon’s wish for students as she settled into her position was for students to feel comfortable in the office, a place commonly associated with being in trouble.

“For me, I would want the kids to feel like they can come here with anything that they can come ask me anything and talk to me about anything,” Maxon said. “Just feel like whatever they need in their day to feel supported, and have a great experience when they come here is something I want to help provide.”

It’s safe to say that Maxon has succeeded based on the glowing feedback from students and teachers alike on the positive change that Maxon has created. 

“Before, Iphy was already super loved and welcoming, and I’m so glad we have a new face that fills that job so perfectly,” Sanford said.