Leadership Blog

Offering Gratitude (Pandemic-style)

Post date November 19th, 2020
A year ago, in this space, I wrote about the tips I had learned from Priya Parker in her book, T he Art of Gathering , as we looked ahead to gathering with family and friends to celebrate all that we are thankful for. Since then, this invisible virus has tainted the idea of gathering itself, requiring us to weigh the merits of coming together in person against the health and safety of ourselves and those we love. So, what to make of this year's celebration? Knowing that it would break my parents' hearts, I nonetheless had to tell them that we'd rather be safe than sorry, and so we'll be apart...read more

A Valuable Message from an Unlikely Movie

Post date November 6th, 2020
I’m a big Morgan Freeman fan. The Shawshank Redemption is among my all-time favorite movies, period, and it is my all-time favorite ‘movie-for-which-I-would-stop-flipping- channels-to-watch’ movie. Something about the timbre of his voice, its resonance perhaps, feels comfortable, compassionate, and understanding. That may be why the creators of Evan Almighty decided to cast him as God. Granted, Evan Almighty does not come close to living up to the Driving Miss Daisy or Shawshank moments that defined Freeman’s career. However, during a week in which we here at Belmont Day faced our fair share...read more

Joy At the Center of Campus

Post date October 30th, 2020
Along with the many benefits of the addition of the Barn to our campus, one unintended yet meaningful shift has occurred for our community as well. Before the Barn, Big Blue was tucked neatly behind the Schoolhouse. Now, from a bird’s eye view of BDS, the locus of attention is drawn to the playground surrounded by the Schoolhouse, the Barn, and Claflin Field. I can imagine no better locus of attention for a pre-kindergarten to grade eight school than the physical representation of joy that Big Blue is for our students. During a year that has brought much change for students and teachers, the...read more

On What Would Have Been Friday Night Lights

Post date October 23rd, 2020
For the sports fans out there, the sub-narrative of the first months of the pandemic was the absence of the games we love. If you don’t know this about me yet, I am a rather rabid fan of sports. It was only during the pandemic—on nights when I couldn’t sleep that I found myself watching Korean baseball games or reruns of competitive cornhole tournaments—that I realized just how important sports are to my everyday life. (Yes, professional cornhole tournaments are for real; and, yes, I seriously found myself watching them.) The bottom line here: I missed sports desperately. Then, just as they...read more

Making the World More Beautiful

Post date October 16th, 2020
As a young and aspiring school leader, I was very fortunate to have a great mentor. He was the head of my previous school for 31 years–a remarkable tenure by any measure. Through that time, he always preserved the key ingredients in pre-k to grade eight leadership: the energy of a child and the ability to see possibility in each and every student. Among the many things I have taken from the years of working with him, I hope that I have managed to instill those key ingredients in my work at Belmont Day. Once a year, I have my own quiet opportunity to pay homage to his lessons by reading a...read more

Safety & Health: Reviewing Our Plans for a Positive Test

Post date October 9th, 2020
Throughout the summer, while we planned for the safe return of our students and faculty to campus, one refrain governed many of our conversations and decision-making processes: “The likelihood of a positive case in our community is more a question of when, not if.” So, we have planned and continue to plan for that “when.” As many of you will recall from the summer, we hosted a number of forums to update you of our progress along the way, what new health and safety protocols would be in place, and how we would keep the health and safety of our community at the fore with each and every decision...read more

Balancing Our Emotional Scales

Post date October 2nd, 2020
As we come to the end of week three, I offer here two articles that have been helpful to me as I consider words that folks–including myself–have been throwing around quite a bit this fall: flexibility and resilience. The articles, one from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, entitled “How to Help Families and Staff Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Outbreak” and the other from Tara Haelle of The Informed Parent entitled “Your ‘Surge Capacity’ Is Depleted–It’s Why You Feel Awful” both speak to how we might intentionally develop the neurological and emotional muscles of...read more

Justice Ginsburg's Enduring Lessons

Post date September 25th, 2020
The news of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing last Friday has provoked vivid memories of the spring of 2017. That June, members of the eighth grade class, now high school seniors, traveled to Washington, D.C., and had the opportunity of a lifetime—a personal visit with Justice Ginsburg. As educators of children in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, the students we guide to graduation are “unfinished,” and appropriately so. Yes, they have learned the critical skills that will be foundational for their future discoveries. And yes, the skills of problem-solving, critical...read more

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