As communications go, I can’t imagine a more bittersweet message for me than this news, that I will be retiring at the end of the 2016-17 school year. September begins my 22nd year as Head of St. Michaels University School, a tenure I did not imagine when I began in 1995. Nor did I imagine this tenure would be so rewarding.
Our School has a long and distinguished history, and it has been my good fortune to intersect with that history, and to carve a path with so many of your hands toward the future. I am grateful to have worked with committed and idealistic colleagues who have aspired to excellence in their own teaching, and in the fruits of that work – the success of our students. The Head’s efforts have been supported unceasingly by Governors who have sacrificed their time in the Board’s two-fold work of preserving the School’s legacy and pursuing its vision: they see that the future is a horizon that continually recedes as we move toward it, and that it takes resources. I have shared the seat of responsibility with close colleagues whose leadership has consistently honoured an educational enterprise which is much greater than we are.
“To learn, to lead, to serve; discovering the promise in our selves and the world”: this is the SMUS Vision; it is a phrase one can live by, and it remains inspiring even as I contemplate my final year. All human, organic things – schools especially – evolve, and that evolution is not only inexorable, it also leads to a richer, more enduring iteration of that organism. So it will be with SMUS. Besides – in practical terms, the waves of year after year of students will continue to make life relentlessly exciting, and compel us continually to seek what is best for these students. The St. Michaels University School story is a powerful one, a courageous one, with much heart and humour, and I look forward to watching that story unfold in coming years.
My wife, Joan, has shared the challenges and the far more plentiful satisfactions that have come with this journey. Mine is a role I could not have fulfilled without her. Her warmth and welcome are known to so many of you, and her embrace – literal and figurative – has been the outward show of the warmth our community plants inside us all.
It has been engaging and illuminating to understand the extent and attachment of the SMUS family, spread over many decades, and across many borders. It has been an exciting span of time at our School. I owe many, many people thanks for things that we all shared.