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Mike Downs '73

February 2023

I left Gilman in June of 1971 for the Baltimore Experimental High School, about as far from Gilman in spirit as one could possibly travel, though I continued to live on the Gilman campus in faculty housing, at the home of my father, Gilman teacher A.J. Downs. (Childhood playmates were Gampers, Tickners, Thompsons, Andrews, Spencers, etc. Next-door neighbors were Woodwards, Garvers, Chandlees, Hilliards, Greens, etc. Finney house was in deep right field of what dad called Gamper stadium, i.e. Gamper front yard.)

After a post high-school gap year working for a land-survey company, I spent a year at Goddard College in Vermont, then seven years in LA, graduating from UCLA with an MFA in directing for the stage. Marriage to an Israeli musician led to seven years in Israel, working as a teacher/director at Israel's version of Julliard. An administrative position as an arts director at an independent school in Tulsa Oklahoma led to eight years there, the last two of which were as Middle School Director. Then three years as Assistant Head of Blake School in Minneapolis, followed by 11 years as head of Mounds Park Academy in St. Paul. A year as interim head of a school in Seattle was followed by five years as head of the American International School in Israel.

I have a son by the first marriage and a step-daughter in the second. My son lives in Brooklyn and supports himself behind various bars while doing stand-up on a regular basis. I live in Munich, Germany, with my second wife, who is deputy head of an international school here. We will move this summer to Belgrade, Serbia, where she will serve as head of the international school there and I will serve as a utility infielder wherever she needs me.

When coming to attend the reunion this April, I will pay one of my regular visits to dad, who at 98 still rattles off long soliloquies from Hamlet in character when you feed him the opening line.

photo: Three generations of Downs: Yoni , AJ, and Mike


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