Head of School Summer Letter

Dear Students, Parents, Trustees, and Staff,

 

When I was much younger my family would spend a few days every summer visiting my grandparents on Lake Michigan.  I distinctly remember lying in bed waiting for the first chimes of the day coming from the large grandfather clock in the living room. At seven years old, eight chimes on the clock meant Fruit Loops, Woody Woodpecker on the black and white television, and a trip to the beach with my wonderful grandmother. The best part of those mornings, the point of my greatest anticipation, happened when I could hear the grandfather clock winding itself just before the first chime.

 

This summer I had dinner at a friend’s house with a local artist named Michelle Aldredge, who runs a terrific website for artists called Gwarlingo. When I asked her about the name of her website she told me that gwarlingo is the word for the rushing sound a grandfather clock makes just before it strikes the hour—the sound that captured the perfect moment of my youthful memories. If I could describe the sensations, sounds, and activity on our campus this August I can think of no more perfect term than gwarlingo! As we anticipate the arrival of 150 students in a few short weeks and the strike of the bell on opening day, I could not be more excited to welcome our families, new and returning, back to our beautiful campus with our outstanding staff.

 

Our admissions office invests a great deal of effort in identifying the right students to attend Dublin School; students who are not here to be shaped, but to be challenged, supported, and encouraged to grow and experience the joy of learning. We have a strong senior class ready to lead and help our faculty build a culture of kindness, exploration, resilience, and collaboration. Along with our new students we have a number of educators joining our faculty this summer. Tiye Cort recently received her master degree in teaching at Emmanuel College and has been teaching at Mother Caroline Academy in Boston. Ms. Cort will be teaching English, working with freshmen girls in Corner House, coaching and helping with the Admission Office. Stephanie Clark will be our new Athletic Trainer and will be living in Wing and Hollow. Ms. Clark graduated from Keene State College and has been busy building her experience at places like Florida Gulf Coast University and Phillips Exeter Academy. Originally from Peru, new Spanish teacher Evelin Gamarra Martínez brings thirteen years of teaching experience to Dublin School, most recently at Boston College, where she also received her second masters degree. Ms. Martínez will be living in Little House and coaching girls’ soccer this fall.

 

Spencer Fetrow has already been busy in our Admission Office after moving to Dublin from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he received his undergraduate and graduate degrees before working for the last seven years in their Admissions and Visitor Relations offices. Mr. Fetrow will be living in Tuttle House, and will coach lacrosse in the spring when not out on the road spreading the good word about Dublin.  Patrick Marr will also live in Tuttle House and enter Dublin as our new Musical Director. A presence on campus throughout this past spring, Mr. Marr recently graduated from Concordia University in Montreal after growing up in nearby Keene, NH.  Emily Cornell, our new Director of the Learning Skills Program, has moved into the Bungalow with her family after moving to Dublin from the Uruguayan American School in Montevideo. Ms. Cornell went to high school in Tokyo, graduated from Cornell University and received her Masters of Science in Teaching Students with Disabilities from Pace University.

 

Simon McFall and his family have moved into Valley House after a long drive back to their home state from Utah where Mr. McFall was working as the Dean of Students at Juan Diego High School. Mr. McFall has already been busy working on his transition into the Dean’s Office and will be coaching varsity boys’ soccer this fall. I feel fortunate to welcome such a wonderful group of educators who all seem excited to build relationships within the school community. And finally, we are thrilled that some familiar faces will be returning to Dublin School on a part time basis. Henry Walters will be teaching English and coaching basketball, Bill Farrell will be working on a residential team and coaching alpine skiing, and Dr. Bill Kennedy will be teaching in the Technology Department.

 

Over the last few months we have been blessed with a number of generous donations aimed at enhancing an environment of learning, growth, creativity and health on our campus. Following on the success of the crew program at the Scholastic National Regatta the Steele Family pledged a large gift to build a boathouse for our crew program. We have been working this summer to secure a location for the boathouse and have already begun the design process. We are humbled by the generosity of the Steele family and cannot wait to get our beautiful boats and hard working athletes and coaches into our first ever rowing boathouse (if you are interested in learning more about the sport I highly recommend the recent book The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown).

 

After an initial gift from alumnus John “Tom” Griffin ’46, two families stepped forward this summer to help us design and build a new Academic Support Center. Our tutors have been working in small offices spread out across the campus and we are excited to bring them all together on the top floor of the David Howe Administration Building (where the Alumni and Development Offices used to be). Construction began on Monday and we hope to complete the project in mid-September. Trustee Carl Von Mertens is building 16 desks and tables for the Center and for classrooms around campus. Paul Lehmann started Dublin School when he was tutoring the children of the Henry James family so it seems fitting that our excellent tutorial program and new Director have a beautiful space to help their tutees develop important academic skills and confidence in themselves.

 

For years we have been trying to solve the problem of consolidating our music spaces, which recently have occupied three different buildings. With the creation of a new robotics space last year we are converting the old “bot cave” into a new music classroom. With the addition of large windows the space is no longer a cave and works well with the adjacent recording studio and practice rooms. Our hope is that the new space will be open for Mr. Marr and his students on opening day. English teacher Henry Walters and trustee Carl Von Mertens have recently completed construction of a new writing cabin on Beech Hill. Mr. Walters hopes to use the cabin to teach writing, to host various performances, and to teach the power of metaphor. Take a five minute walk up the Imhoff Trail behind the Outing Club to check it out!

 

Our Buildings and Grounds staff, led by Andy Hungerford and Business Manager Jennifer Whitesel have also been busy on a number of smaller projects. We have been working to enhance dormitory spaces, renovate the School House, build storage sheds, improve faculty housing, etc. We are clearing the brush from our new land below the Lower Field to create a beautiful meadow. Trustee George Foote continues to loan us his excavator so that we may repair our trails and enhance our ski slope. We are bringing water to the Upper Field to be used for irrigating the field and to provide for a small--scale snowmaking operation that will help our skiers in the early weeks of the ski season (thanks to trustee Judy Hoyt Goddard whose first husband was an avid skier at Dublin). Speaking of skiing, we received a $30,000 grant from the state of NH to help towards the purchase of a grooming machine for our trails—which are open to people in the state. I thank Director of Development Erika Rogers and her staff for working tirelessly to improve the campus and its resources for our students and faculty.

 

Academic Dean Sarah Doenmez and the faculty have been hard at work setting up our new Senior Project initiative. A group of seniors will be pursuing independent projects with mentors throughout the year as part of a new course of study that stemmed from our ongoing curriculum review process. Also on the Academic Front, we have created a brand new Technology Department that will offer a number of new courses during the year to fully prepare our students for life and learning in the twenty first century. Incoming freshmen will take a brand new science course aimed at developing their research, inquiry, and observational skills.

 

At our beautiful graduation ceremony in May, our brilliant Commencement speaker Tim Clark quoted physicist Heinz Pagels revealing that “[t]he capacity to tolerate complexity and welcome contradiction, not the need for simplicity and certainty, is the attribute of an explorer.” Learning and growing requires effort and commitment, it requires that we acknowledge our own shortcomings and our ignorance, and most of all, it should be a thrilling adventure! I hope you will join with me as a fellow explorer as we push, challenge and support one other for the next nine months on a compelling journey.

 

I wish to thank Board Chair Peter Imhoff and the entire Dublin School Board of Trustees for their leadership and vision in working toward our goal of making Dublin the very best small boarding school in the country. The Bates Family and our entire faculty and staff will be excited to see you all back on campus in a few short weeks.

 

Sincerely,

Brad Bates