December 2018

Dear Parents, Faculty and Friends,
Four years ago I wrote the December letter in appreciation of becoming the new Head of School. Initially I had intended to serve in an interim role for one year to support the Board's navigation of multiple challenges. However, Stanwich folks can understand the sympathetic chord struck by my first visit to Stanwich. My rationally professional objectives soon gave way to personal commitment, and when asked two months later to continue in the Head position, I was excited to accept.
As stated in that letter, our community's strategic objectives were clear: " expanding facilities, increasing enrollment, enlarging the endowment, and expanding and enhancing the ... program." However, the means to those ends remained unknown. I also wrote of our advantages in achieving those objectives: "In a competitive and complicated landscape, Stanwich has a refreshingly unique, down-to-earth and easily definable education position that resonates with families of similar values."
In retrospect that occasion reminds me of Hannibal's alleged proclamation confronted by the Himalayas - " Aut inveniam viam aut faciam" - clearly we had to find a way or make one. Four years ago, I didn't fully understand the financial sacrifice of Stanwich families getting us to 2015 and the consequent degree of donor fatigue. Our supply lines to advance the mission had become depleted and overextended. As conventional approaches proved inadequate to the challenge, we sacrificed what was necessary and "made a way" to perpetuate our school culture and ensure the educational best interest of our students and our teachers.
As our science students can attest, everything ultimately comes down to physics. Newton's First Law of Motion states that a body at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it, and a body in motion at a constant velocity will remain in motion. In Stanwich's case the friction of securing permits, persevering with contentious approvals, and coping with unforeseen circumstances sufficiently slowed institutional momentum. An outside force from Old Church Road traveling in the same direction proved necessary to regain forward motion.
I am gratified that the community and curricular integration process has proceeded as well as, and probably better than, could have been anticipated at this time last year, and that the vast majority of Stanwich families look forward to next year's transition to GCDS. As 2019-2020 courses and enrollment become clearer, many Stanwich faculty members should have GCDS employment commitments as soon as Winter Break, with others contracted throughout the winter and spring months, as need be. The Stanwich location and property provide GCDS great strategic assets, but the human capital of great families and teachers is Stanwich's greatest gift to the enterprise.
I am proud on what we have accomplished together as a community in the last four years, and welcome the opportunity next year to - in the words of another great general - "cross over the river and camp in the shade of the trees."
As we prepare for 2019-2020, I want to congratulate Associate Head Rob Macrae on his recent appointment as Head-Elect at Louisville Collegiate School in Kentucky and Upper School Head Jerome Murphy on his appointment as Head-Elect at The Academy at Ocean Reef in Florida. Both leaders have made a positive difference and are ready for their next exciting career challenges.  I am especially grateful to Jerome who has been a shining example of the Stanwich Heart in action over the past 15 years.

As the time for a restorative Winter Break comes upon us, remember that PA dues provide holiday cash gifts to all faculty and staff. In addition, early next week I will send a letter introducing a joint GCDS/Stanwich community giving opportunity to recognize faculty, and to help make God's world a better place. Please resist the well-intentioned, but sometimes divisive temptation to give additional expensive gifts to favorite faculty. Kind words and cards are always welcome.  

Charles Sachs
Head of School