New Teacher Hattori Brings Star Wars Expertise


By Pa Houa Xiong ’18

Mr. Hattori, our new math teacher, comes to us from the city of Monterey. He spent his high school years at the Stevenson School, and played against Thacher during his time on his high school lacrosse team. After college, Mr. Hattori coached lacrosse at Stevenson for ten years, and found his passion in working with students. With a background in math and science, Mr. Hattori considered the teaching field and began teaching students in both science and math. When often asked which of the two he prefers, Mr. Hattori states that he has no preference.


What was it like moving back to California from Atlanta?

Mr. Hattori moved to Atlanta with his wife and spent seven years in the heart of the city. After having two children, they wanted to move back closer to home where most of their family were. When an opportunity to teach at Thacher opened up, it was the perfect solution. However, Mr. Hattori elaborates that adjusting to the small town setting of Ojai has been a challenge. He shares that even small changes have proven a large adjustment for his family. For example, they lived around the corner from a major grocery store back in Atlanta and used to walk to the grocery store, but now Vons is fifteen minutes away. Despite this, he shares that the the amazing weather Ojai has provided makes up for it.


What do you do in your spare time?

Mr. Hattori usually spends his time with his children March and Rower, and also shares that he has “been eclectic in [his] interests over the years,” ranging from his collection of carnivorous plants to crossword puzzles and movies. When asked about his favorite movie, he answers, “Star Wars holds a dear place in my heart.”


What has been your favorite thing about Thacher so far?

The students at Thacher have drawn most of his interest. Mr. Hattori tells us, “It’s part of what attracted me to coming to Thacher…when I visited I got to know a couple of the students just in the 24 hours I was here. I thought that they had good relationships with their teachers and that’s definitely been the case since I’ve been here. I’ve been here for three weeks and yet it feels like I’ve worked with some students for years, and I feel like I know them really well already.”


How have you and your family been able to transition into the community here at Thacher?

Although they are still only three weeks into the year and adjusting, Mr. Hattori says his kids love it. March loves older kids and the students feel like older sisters and brothers to her. For Rower, his younger son, the campus has been filled with wonders to satisfy his love for nature and the outdoors.


Fun fact: Located in his hometown in Monterey, Mr. Hattori’s favorite restaurant is the Whaling Station Steakhouse.

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