A frequent question from prospective and new families, especially those with students entering sixth grade, is, “When will my child no longer feel like the ‘new kid’ at school?” Remarkably, children can often move through the ‘new’ stage more quickly than adults. If we asked those new sixth graders, they’d likely tell us that the feeling of newness has passed by the end of their orientation or, perhaps, by the time they return from their mid-September class trip to Thompson Island.
By Thanksgiving, new students are so well integrated and have discovered a groove in the classrooms, art studios, and on the playing fields that it is difficult to distinguish those who have been here for three months from those who have been here for three, five, or seven years. For all of us, welcoming new students to this community is a delight, and the sooner we lose track of how recently they started here, the better.
So, what is the experience of adults who are new to the community? This year, along with three new classroom teachers, we welcome two key administrators. David Gordon joined the business office in July as chief financial and operations officer. Dave lives in Framingham, and before joining BDS, he was the director of finance and administration for the Westborough Public Schools. He was also the CFO at the Tenacre School. Spend five minutes with Dave, and you will quickly realize two things: he understands and authentically enjoys the work of financial management, and he was made for a place like Belmont Day. Our meetings typically begin with this question: How is your family doing? Of course, we soon get to the meat and potatoes of it all, but only after checking in as members who share a love for community.
Dave’s name has already appeared in email inboxes attached to tuition invoices, and several Belmont Day parents have had the chance to see him out and about on campus. If you have the time and are so inclined, I encourage you to swing by his office at 37 Day School Lane. You will surely get a warm hello and find another friendly face at BDS.
Anthea Lavergne, our new director of the associate teacher program and director of curriculum, is the second new addition to our Strategic Leadership Team. Formerly the director of innovation and administration for Boston Public Schools, the founder and executive director of The Institute for Real-World Teaching and Learning, and a program supervisor at Lesley University, Anthea’s experiences are as diverse as they are singular in purpose: the advancement of best practices in teaching and learning. No small task before her, Anthea has approached her early days at Belmont Day with diligence and care in equal measure. When she arrived in July, we discussed the critical importance of the associate teaching program. Last year’s auction raised critical funds to support the Associate Teacher Program, in no small part due to the challenges that programs like these are facing nationally and locally. Anthea approaches her work with the associate teachers with a keen vision for the future of education and a warmth and care for each of them as they begin the greatest career there is, in this author’s humble opinion.
Meanwhile, we couldn’t have a better or more clear-eyed steward for developing and navigating our curriculum’s future course than Anthea. A woman who sets a high standard of excellence in her work, who holds her peers accountable to the same standard, and who has eyes on the full breadth of our work as an institution, Anthea has already dived head-first into aligning our scope and sequence to the benchmarks and standards we promised in our Strategic Plan. Also, an ‘open door’ administrator, Anthea, who hails from Houston and speaks with a welcoming southern drawl, is yet another Belmont Day community member who is eager to get to know you all and one who you should get to know.
Like our new students, it already feels like they’ve been here for years. Welcome to our two new strategic leadership team administrators, David Gordon and Anthea Lavergne!