Leadership Blog

On Being a Primary Source

Post date September 18th, 2020
In those fleeting moments when I have the audacity to look up and try to add a little perspective to all we’re experiencing today, I think about what students will be studying thirty years from now, when our students who are currently walking through the halls of Belmont Day are parents of a new generation of learners. I imagine that the conversations around the dinner table will revolve around questions like, “What was it like to live through the pandemic?” and “What was school like? Did you really all have to wear masks and stay six feet apart and get tested and…” Our children, and indeed,...read more

Class of 2020: Onward To Writing Your Own Headlines

Post date June 12th, 2020
Happy summer everyone! Nice to have made it through what will be the most remarkable stretch in school history. For many of us, the work continues as we plan for fall, but for everyone else, it is my sincerest hope that this summer brings rest, reflection, and an abundance of joy. Below are my remarks to the amazing Class of 2020 delivered at their graduation ceremony this morning: Class of 2020, I don’t know how much of the news you are watching or reading these days. If the answer is none, first of all, congratulations. I wonder if there is room beneath that rock for someone like me. If you...read more

Finding A Point on the Horizon: Sailing as a Metaphor for Fall 2020

Post date June 5th, 2020
My uncles were great sailors. My dad is one of eight siblings, and two of his brothers were born of the sea and at greatest peace on the water. In particular, my uncles loved sailboat racing, were fiercely competitive, and often they would recruit their own children or their nieces and nephews to serve as crew or, in my case, as ballast. Summer brings me back to them and the lessons they taught me on the water. This summer, of course, will be different; the way everything is different these days. But as I find myself answering an appropriately increasing number of questions from families...read more

Freedom Week and Life Itself

Post date May 29th, 2020
Education isn’t preparation for life. Education is life, itself. – John Dewey The democratic ideals of Dewey have long been at the heart of my ideology of education. Dewey’s quote opened the educational philosophy statement that accompanied my application to become Belmont Day’s 13th head of school. When moments in our everyday lived experience provide evidence of the truth of Dewey’s sentiment, I am inclined to make them visible for others when I can. After last week’s Capstone success, sixth graders took the virtual stage to unveil their civil rights projects this week. We have...read more

Capstone 2020: Tradition and Innovation

Post date May 22nd, 2020
When learning offsite began in March, and when it became clear that we would not be able to return to campus, my mind, like so many others’, turned to our eighth grade students and what it would mean for them to experience the rituals of closure from a distance. For many schools, of course, those rituals include experiences like graduation. Still, I do not know of any others whose rituals include something as meaningful and important as the Capstone presentations. In the past ten weeks, I have watched our eighth grade under the remarkable leadership and vision of Capstone Coordinator Jen...read more

Listening for the Lessons of Today

Post date May 11th, 2020
One of the things I enjoy most is listening. Whether listening to personal stories of adventure, discovery, or hilarity, podcasts about human behavior, science, and history, or the owl and other bird calls in my backyard, this spring offsite has afforded me many opportunities to practice what I love. As has been the case for us as educators this spring, when there is no road map or tested waters for a journey, listening and empathizing become key. While some of our senses may be dimmed or easily overwhelmed as we physically isolate ourselves, in our uncharted new teaching and learning...read more

What We Miss the Most

Post date May 4th, 2020
As we finish up week six of our offsite learning program, I am amazed at how much has changed since mid-March. As educators learn more about teaching and learning offsite, we continue to grow and refine our online teaching practice. The list of skills and competencies teachers need to quickly acquire while simultaneously teaching online is long. You would think that learning new teaching systems and methodologies would be the most difficult aspect of teaching right now. However, when I ask teachers what is the most difficult thing they are dealing with right now, teachers will all say they...read more

Mobilizing For The Unknown

Post date March 30th, 2020
Way back it seems now, my weekly meetings with Brendan consisted of discussing, planning, and executing a long list of tasks from big picture strategic issues to mundane, but essential, logistics. Three weeks ago that changed dramatically as the topic of the coronavirus took center stage. Over the next week, research began, and structures created. My beloved curriculum review work was set aside as we dedicated faculty meeting time to planning for a virus that hadn’t yet reached our towns or schools. Faculty leaped into the unknown with an energy that was palpable, designing developmental...read more

Studio Week

Post date March 6th, 2020
New and useful. That’s how we have come to define innovation here at BDS—ideas and practices that are new and useful to our students and our community. In recent days, when I have been able to pull my head up from coronavirus news, I have seen innovation front and center here at Belmont Day. If you haven’t yet perused the pages of the Belmont Day Magazine , I encourage you to explore this most recent issue centered around innovation. The articles highlight the places where innovation manifests in our program, reminding us that excellence in teaching and learning never rests. Additionally,...read more

Learning From the Complicated Legacy of Dr. Seuss

Post date February 28th, 2020
I haven’t yet met the person who can’t recall with vivid detail their earliest encounters with the joyful and lyrical language of Dr. Theodore Seuss Geisel, affectionately known as Dr. Seuss. His stories shaped the memories for so many of their earliest days as a reader and learner. They playfully tumble from the lips of parents reading Yertle the Turtle or Horton Hears a Who to their children. For me, the story of The Lorax—that curious and rather crotchety old orange creature that emerges from a fallen Truffula Tree telling of the perils of mistreating the environment—is more than a mere...read more