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Who Are Paul and Rhoda?

Rhoda Makoff, PhD

Rhoda is Crossroads’ co-founder and led the School as its first director, serving from 1971 until 1974.
A Los Angeles native, Rhoda received her PhD in Biochemistry from UCLA Medical School. When Paul met her at a dinner party in 1967, he was struck by Rhoda’s deep interest in education and how much they had in common in their thinking about what a progressive school might look like. Three years later, when Paul accepted the job as headmaster at St. Augustine by-the-Sea Episcopal School, he called Rhoda and asked her to join him as assistant head.  After a year together at St. Augustine, Rhoda, Paul and a group of dedicated parents founded Crossroads.
Leading the school through its first three years, Rhoda navigated the complicated process of putting educational philosophy into practice as well as the managing the vast amount of daily work involved in starting a school. She was loved as a science teacher and administrator by students, who called her “Doc’. As the 1974 yearbook dedication put it, “The force of her personality holds the whole operation together”.
Rhoda stepped down at Crossroads to return to her career as a scientist. She was a research endocrinologist and adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at UCLA Center for the Health Sciences from 1976-1985. In 1983, she founded Makoff R&D Laboratories to develop, market and distribute specialty pharmaceutical products for the renal (kidney) disease market. She went on to receive numerous awards and honors as Chairperson, President and CEO of R&D and became a popular speaker at scientific and professional conferences worldwide. Makoff R&D Laboratories developed and got FDA approval of an intra venous iron product, Ferrlecit, in 1999 and the company was sold to Watson Pharmaceuticals in 2000.
Rhoda and her husband, Dr. Dwight Makoff, live in Santa Monica and have four children and ten grandchildren. 

Paul F. Cummins, PhD

Paul is Crossroads’ co-founder and was headmaster from 1974-1993.
Paul received his BA from Stanford University, his MAT from Harvard University and his PhD from the University of Southern California. He became headmaster at St. Augustine by-the-Sea Episcopal School in 1970, accepting the job on the condition that he could bring his progressive vision to the traditional school. With his assistant head, Rhoda Makoff, Paul transformed the School’s philosophy, creating a balanced, child-centered school with an integrated curriculum featuring the arts, social-emotional learning and community engagement alongside excellent academics.   
Paul continued to serve as headmaster at St. Augustine while he and Rhoda founded Crossroads in 1971. When Rhoda stepped down as director of Crossroads in 1974, Paul became headmaster of both schools, merging them 1982 to create a single K-12 institution. Paul’s vision and leadership laid the foundation for the School’s philosophy and identity.
Paul stepped down as Crossroads headmaster in 1993 to become the President of the Crossroads Community Foundation, a nonprofit arm of the school that focused on serving the greater community. He left Crossroads in 2003 to become president of the Coalition for Engaged Education (formerly the New Visions Foundation), an organization he founded, which is committed to creating opportunities for all children to have equitable access to quality education. Paul has been the founder or co-founder of a numerous schools, including Pine Ridge Girls School, New Roads School, Camino Nuevo Charter School, New Village Charter School and Tree Academy.
Paul has published four books on education, a biography, three volumes of his original poetry and two children’s books. 
He is the step-father of Liesl Erman ’77 and Julie Hansen ’78, father of Anna Cummins ’91 and Emily Polk ’94, and grandparent of Della Polk ’27, Dax Polk ’31 and Avani Cummins ’31. He lives with his wife, Mary Ann Cummins, in Santa Monica.