Greetings Chadwick Community,
As we close the 2021-2022 school year, it's fitting that I am penning this letter after the Class of 2022 Commencement. For those of you who don't know, my son, LeShaun, is a member of this graduating class. When I think of all the emotions wrapped up in that day, I can't help but think of what's natural for any parent when their child has reached a milestone. You think of the past, you think of the now, and you think about the future. Similarly, when I reflect on Chadwick as a whole, I think of the before, the now, and the yet-to-come.
Before: A year ago around this time, we were celebrating the Class of 2021 Commencement, and members of the Class of 2022 (who were juniors then) were leaving for their outdoor education trip. On its surface, it seems similar to today; however, the atmosphere was filled with uncertainty and concern, not only because the pandemic was still a significant impediment, but also because we had a crisis in leadership and we were in the process of making our way through it.
While no one would have chosen that situation, it did provide a backdrop to see how Chadwick as a community could come together to demonstrate its remarkable RESILIENCE. We did so by focusing on ending the year with in-person learning and innovating in order to hold safe year-end celebrations, doing so in ways many in the community truly appreciated. That being said, some still closed the school year questioning Chadwick's way forward, especially when it came to school leadership.
Now: I will take the liberty to define the "now" as the 2021-2022 school year. It is clear that the "now" has been filled with many positive experiences that I will characterize as rebuilding a sense of HOPE. Throughout the school year, we leaned into the leadership of Tom Sheppard as Interim Head of School with a clear two-year mandate; into a solid commitment to have in-person instruction and engagement while still recognizing the challenges of the pandemic; into community-building on-campus activities like the first ever CPA Fall Festival, homecoming activities, sporting events, and performing arts (to name a few); and into a commitment to reach out to and communicate to all members of the Chadwick community, including faculty and staff, parents, alumni and other past members of the community.
I feel the power of HOPE lies in our ability to embrace the core of what it means to be Chadwick. The sense of seeking that core was a palpable part of this school year's experience. Did we come to some clear point where we all agreed about what it means to be Chadwick? That is a work-in-progress, but we made important strides to get to a better place recognizing the power and strength of the legacy of this institution. I will add that our selection of Jessica Donovan as the new Head of School included this desire to become better at demonstrating the true essence of Chadwick.
Yet-To-Come: As we look ahead, I'm struck by a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "We must walk in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future." I see in this the word PROMISE. Because of all of you, we are re-establishing a sense of the greatness of this institution. Just as you need a solid foundation upon which to build or a solid seaworthy vessel before charting a course, honing the essence of who we are is sacrosanct as we look to forge our way forward in the future.
Far too often when we reflect on the greatness of Margaret Chadwick, we embrace what she did to establish this institution. It's also important to remember that above all she was a pioneer. So, yes, we should work to clearly establish the foundation of what Chadwick has been, but we do Margaret Chadwick a disservice if we don't also fully embrace her desire to chart a new course around education. So, we don't get clarity on the core essence of Chadwick to rest there. We get that clarity not only so we are resolute in who we are as we are charting a new course, but also because charting a new course is baked into who we are.
With all this in mind, you all know we embarked on a new strategic planning process during the year. While we have communicated much to you about the process so far and what lies ahead, I wanted to take a moment to remind you of our path ahead. Over the summer and early into September the Strategic Planning Committee will be focused on a deep dive into understanding the world in which Chadwick operates. It will be from that knowledge base, as well as clearly understanding what is core to Chadwick, that the Committee will select some areas of focus. Subsequently, the Committee will become members of Design Teams along with an expanded group of participants from the community to flesh out these strategic priorities. The work from these teams will be the primary inputs to the final strategic planning priorities and initiatives which will be shared with the Chadwick community in the Spring of 2023.
Those who know me recognize I took on this role only with the thought that I may be able to help Chadwick at a time when anxiety about the future of Chadwick was uncomfortably high. I also took on the role realizing this community has deep rich soil and though there are fallow spots on the surface, it would not take long or a herculean effort to see positive results from cultivating that rich soil. I'm sure we all know students are the primary "seeds" planted in that soil, but we all, especially faculty and staff, need that rich soil for our continued growth and sustainability.
I have been supremely privileged to lead 22 remarkable individuals who sit on the Roessler-Chadwick Foundation (RCF) Board of Trustees for this school year. At the beginning of the year, I said I would get strength from leaning into them, and I certainly have done just that. With that in mind, the role of Chair of the RCF Board is a one-year term and it's the purview of the RCF Board if I should remain in this position during the next school year. In our May meeting, the RCF Board voted for me to continue as Chair for the 2022-2023 school year (July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023). In addition, the RCF Board voted for Saskia Subramanian and Ian Eddleston to remain Vice-Chair and Treasurer, respectively. The RCF Board also voted for Paul Chen as Secretary, rounding out the RCF Board Officers for the 2022-2023 school year.
Finally, as we close the year, I want to sincerely thank the four trustees rolling off the RCF Board this year: Jared Felt, Nick Richardson, Velveth Schmitz and Matthew Wilson. I don't think it's possible for me to adequately describe the multi-dimensional way these four individuals have served the school. I will just simply say each of them has been indispensable. Thank you, Jared, Nick, Velveth and Matt for a job well done.
I will close as I started this letter. This weekend we reaffirmed the promise of Chadwick by transitioning 86 remarkable individuals from Chadwick students to Chadwick alumni. While this was especially poignant to our family with our eldest making that transition, I know it is not only poignant to the families of the 86, but also to the very life blood of the institution.
It's a time to reflect on the RESILIENCE, HOPE and PROMISE inherent in this educational journey. Yes, the world will be in good hands as they take the reins and Chadwick will continue to prosper as we collectively take its reins.
I wish you all a wonderful summer full of family, friends and fun. As always, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.