For my school, as for my family, I seek the balance of intellectual, physical, creative, and moral energy that generates a life of thoughtful productivity. As we learn to balance demands on our time, our responsibilities, and our relationships, so do we learn to balance academic with ethical, thought with word, and word with action.
Samuel Johnson said that knowledge without goodness is dangerous; we all must use our abilities to make the world a better place for those who follow. I believe that we have a responsibility to the future neither to exhaust the world’s resources nor to squander our talents, rather to contribute of ourselves to the greater good. Adolescents and children are intrinsically idealistic; in school we convert that idealism to action. We do this by adding knowledge to goodness and by challenging the young to solve problems, to respect their environments and to contribute the best of themselves to the benefit of others. In this 21st century, students will need to collaborate and to use technology to its fullest. Experiential education will serve them best.
In learning, it is habits of mind that make a difference; if we are going to prepare our students for a world we cannot predict, we must first understand how history and heritage preserve culture - and then develop the confidence to change and meet the future. Global citizenship requires an understanding of the dynamic nature of complex systems and their modification over time; our students will be asked to understand and assume leadership in the effort to envision a sustainable economy, a sustainable planet and sustainable relationships including with those whose perspective is different from our own.
One of the things I have liked about being a head of school is the opportunity to work closely with so many constituents. I refer to the Board, the faculty, the students, the staff, parents, alumni/ae, the vendors, the townspeople, and the occasional determined lawyer. The work of the school is really of people, and I want always to be a builder of community, a natural healer, a mentor and role model. Some of a school’s groups meld easily, and others do not. At Masters, I ate breakfast on most Fridays with our Buildings and Grounds crew—they preferred this to the stiffness of an office meeting. However, when I asked Patrick, our head landscaper, to perform an Irish ballad at morning assembly, he was happy to do so. I value a community in which everyone is welcome and comfortable. I know how to bring a community together.
We know that people do their best learning within secure and safe relationships; the quality of these relationships is paramount. To live in a community of life-long learners is a rare privilege, and I have been blessed with this opportunity and ability to participate in such communities all my life.