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The Wyatt Siblings: Megan ’96, Molly ’00, Andy ’04, and Jay ’04: Lifelong Learners and Explorers

“We are all really inspired by each other's roles. We talk about that at length. I love hearing about Megan’s role in early childhood education and the work she’s doing and how Andy’s involved with this gym that provides a purpose or outlet for so many young adults.” —Jay Wyatt ‘04
 
All four Wyatt siblings, all Bush lifers, work in education. Megan ’96 is the managing director of early childhood learning strategy and programs at the Bezos Foundation. Molly ’00 is a First Grade teacher at The Chapin School in New York. Jay ’04 teaches at Bush as the Upper School Outdoor Education Teacher, and Andy ’04 founded and runs the Seattle Bouldering Project, a community for climbers to learn and hone their skills in the sport. Notably, each sibling grounds his or her teaching philosophy in their experience at Bush, where each was allowed to flourish and grow as an individual. “We’re all very different learners,” says Molly.

What all four do have in common is perseverance, a love of leaning into challenges, and reverence for education. They credit Bush and their parents with forming who they are today. Megan ’96 explains, “Our mom is a lifelong student. Once she went out and got a degree in horticulture from Edmonds Community College because she wanted to start a landscape business, and now she’s taken up photography.” She says of both her parents: “They loved what they did and that really matters.”

Their father, Scott, discovered early on that a career in architecture was the perfect combination of his passions and purpose. “Our dad was really really good at art and really really good at math so... the principal sat him down and said, You should be an architect. Because it’s the combination of the two things you’re good at. He ended up studying architecture and that’s been his career. And I think it was totally a result of a critical conversation and the support he had when he was in high school.”

For Megan, these types of critical conversations are a key foundation of her educational philosophy. She believes that great education instills purpose in young people, and it takes independence and agency to enable that kind of growth. Her work in early childhood learning through the Bezos Foundation empowers parents to help their child grow and learn in early years. The Foundation’s initiatives help parents know that what they do truly matters and promotes learning. The goal is to create a cultural shift, to empower parents  to use the time that they have—diaper changing time, time on the go—as brain-building time.

“Bush is rarified,” says Megan. It’s not the experience that most young people get in this country. And so I really am motivated to think about how we can replicate the Bush experience at much greater scale. As someone who has worked from outside the system to try to improve the system—as a funder and a creator of initiatives—I think it’s important to know what you’re striving for, to be able to hold Bush as the North Star. I draw upon my experience at Bush daily.”

Megan enjoys talking about her siblings’ successes. She speaks with awe of her brother Andy, who started the Seattle Bouldering Project with friend Chris Potts, right out of college, during the height of the recession. Andy saw that climbing was gaining popularity, yet there was no centrally located gym in the city. “As soon as I realized, oh, this is obvious that this needs to be done,” says Andy with a shrug, “I thought, I’m going to do that.” As Megan puts it, “You were totally pioneering. I think there was something about leaning into a challenge that Bush instills and that played out in huge way.”

Five years after opening, Seattle Bouldering Project offers daily classes in fitness, yoga, and climbing, hosts schools (including Bush) teaching climbing electives, and offers a special children’s section. Andy says that his key personality trait is seeing everything as achievable, and it’s hard not to make the connection to climbing—a sport that teaches perseverance, problem-solving, and interdependence within groups. When asked what Andy learned at Bush that he carries with him now, he answers, “A desire for challenge and being really ambitious towards taking on fun, exciting, and inspiring projects. A sense that I can do anything that I want. Just tireless excitement for projects that I believe in.”

Andy shares his love of the outdoors with his twin brother, Jay, who brings his expertise back to Bush as the Upper School Outdoor Education Teacher. For Jay, wilderness experiences at Bush were formative. “I wouldn’t have survived a traditional education as an adolescent. I wouldn’t have been able to fit inside the box of sit, listen, and learn. I was able to learn through doing, experiencing, and building relationships with classmates and teachers.”

For Jay, there were many coaches and outdoor trip leaders who made a huge difference in his life. “Teachers at Bush allowed me to find my truth and purpose,” he says. “The people who made a difference were the people who had trust in me and allowed me to make my own choices. They also helped me understand my actions and what I was doing. And for me, this always happened outside the classroom. I wasn’t necessarily a classroom student.  I was a relational, experiential student.”

Molly, like her brother, is also a teacher. While Jay teaches Upper School back at Bush, Molly teaches First Grade at The Chapin School, an all-girls K-12 progressive school in New York. However, her journey which led to teaching wasn’t as straightforward. After graduating college with a BA in English, Molly found herself working in the creative department at Clinique. She then  worked for a photographer in New York, running his studio and scheduling photoshoots. “I felt like a pretty well-rounded kid. Very curious, good at a lot of things, but not excellent at one thing.”

When she was ready to take the next step in her career, Molly followed her heart, and pursued teaching. She landed a job as a teacher’s assistant, simultaneously pursuing a graduate degree in teaching at Bank Street College of Education, an influential progressive school in New York City. Now, she says she loves teaching at Chapin, a school with confident, female leadership. Like her siblings, her guiding principles in education stem from her time at Bush. “For people to learn, what they’re learning has to be meaningful. It has to be important to them, and interesting. You have to have some fun. You have to feel like it’s significant to you, and you are significant to the learning.” Additionally, she says, knowing where students are coming from and who the students are is important. “That’s something that was really fluid for me and my siblings. Home, school, all of those values, that language, it all was the same. So we could just be who we were . We were celebrated for our individuality in all of our different little worlds.”

Though the Wyatts have taken different paths, they remain close. The three who live in Seattle—Megan, Andy, and Jay—spend a lot of time together, and with their parents. Though they are each quick to let you know about their differences, the Wyatts also say that their shared experiences at Bush helped form who they are. Molly explains, “We are all really good problem-solvers. We are  all really perseverant, and that is partly from Bush. Bush taught us how to read the information, analyze, and think creatively.  We learned how to determine what we want to do next, and you need so much of that to be in education. Education is absolutely not a come-in-and-do-the-same-thing sort of job. None of us would be happy with that life. None of us would be happy sitting still, physically or mentally. We are constantly wanting a new challenge, constantly wanting to do more. We are truly lifelong learners and explorers.”
 
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