Dear Beaver Community,
What an exciting year 2020 will be!
Each week I grow more excited about kicking off my new role as the Head of School at Beaver. Peter Hutton and I have had frequent phone calls since October and I will have visited the campus five times by the time I move to Chestnut Hill in late June. We started by planning day-long visits in October and November, but quickly realized that staying for two days allowed me to take time to see classes and activities as well as have meetings with Peter, Board President Tomas Bergstrand P’19, ’21, and a variety of other school leaders and board members who will provide critical support in this very important transition.
Each phone call and visit provides another opportunity for me to learn more, and it builds my enthusiasm for this tremendous opportunity. Beaver teachers and students are innovators in education and I am deeply honored to have been chosen to lead the community in this important work. The people I’ve met, the campus I've experienced, the school's events and publications are enormously impressive and refreshingly authentic—expressing a clear mission of expanding the nature of school.
Beaver is an exciting place with so many things happening at any one time. There is much for me to learn and I want to get up to speed swiftly and thoroughly. My first few months will consist of a 'listening tour' during which I hope to gain a deep understanding of the school’s history and the exciting trajectory it’s on. I have LOTS of questions that require total immersion to answer fully. What are the cornerstones of this forward-looking institution? How do the New Basics translate into student experiences throughout the school? What are the biggest challenges teachers and school leaders face? What role should I play as the next Head of School in nurturing and protecting the start-up culture Peter has so successfully built? Discovering the answers to these questions will occupy most of my time in the first several months.
Beaver's guiding principles and practices in a new era of education correlate with those that have framed my work for the last decade. Re-designing school by staying focused on the core principles upon which Beaver was founded is helping us build the path forward for all schools. This work is inspirational because there is no option to fail. Will we make excellent mistakes? Certainly. But we are morally obligated to use the freedoms of our independent school and its resources in order to move this mission forward. Unfortunately, many similar schools are not doing this work because they are too afraid of change; and change is precisely what is necessary for improving the educational system. I am committed to providing strong and effective leadership as we do great things with our students, ultimately contributing substantively to the dialogue about the future of education.
We are now in the process of planning my May visits. I will continue to meet with a variety of people, learn about signature programs, and think strategically about what lies ahead. My transition will be fully successful if everyone at Beaver is able to continue doing what they do best as they inspire and mentor young people. I look forward to settling into the community this summer, ready to watch and listen carefully. As the year progresses I will understand better how I can merge my educational philosophy and experiences with the responsibilities of this exciting new position.
I am confident that next year will be terrific and that it will be the first of many wonderful years leading Beaver. We will plan several opportunities for constituent communities to gather with me next fall. I hope you will be able to attend one so that I can hear your voice in my early months on Hammond Street.
Future Head of School
Beaver Country Day School