I am an early riser. This morning at about 5:30 I was outside. The only illumination at this time, in mid-February, is provided by streetlights and security lamps. A wild wind was blowing, but it didn’t mask my presence, which startled a couple of adult deer on the island of lawn just inside the School gates. I haven’t seen deer around the school for a couple of months. This wind was a south wind, and warm. As I write this, in mid-afternoon, it is now twelve degrees and sunny outside. Last week at this time the title of my blog entry was “Frozen Victoria”. What a difference a week makes.
If School life were weather, then right now we would be describing it as similarly wild, windy and bright. Student life is whirling with activity, normal for this time of year. Sports are in full swing; the School musical, Spamalot, is a week away, and ticket sales have been unusually brisk. Teachers are deeply immersed in writing reports. We are busy interviewing for next year’s teachers. The Junior School is looking for a Grade 5 teacher, the result of some shifting of responsibilities as we add a new Grade Two class. We are also interviewing for a new Director of Academics: Denise Lamarche, who has been with us for three years, is returning to Vancouver for exciting family reasons, though if she could she would be staying. In the next few days we will also be interviewing for an Executive Director of Advancement, a new position that will assist with integrating our fundraising and helping with our significant capital project, a new Junior School. That’s what makes this season especially busy for me; I repeat often that the most important job I do is hire the best teachers we can find. I am rewarded in this work by the perennial feedback of parents and students that our teachers are the strength of our school. As it should be.
We will also be saying good-bye to a couple of teachers who are retiring this year. Robert Common came to us in 2001, has served as an English and Drama teacher, an Assistant in residence, and for a year also served as Director of Residence. Throughout his time at SMUS Robert was dedicated to his students, in class, on the sports field, and in boarding. Another colleague who is retiring is Senior School Math teacher, Ken Smith. At this time, Ken is the longest-standing member of the SMUS teaching faculty: in June he will have completed thirty-eight years of preparing senior Math students for their university careers. When colleagues who have been so much a part of the fabric of the School decide it is time to move on to the next stage of life, it is genuinely a bittersweet moment. We appreciate deeply the example of their dedication, professionalism and care for students, we are disappointed at their absence to come, but we wish them all possible best wish