Dear Parents and Guardians,
I hope you are enjoying the beautiful month of August wherever you might be when reading this letter. I am looking out of my office at our beautiful green quad, the majestic trees surrounding us, and the mountains and hills that frame our breathtaking views. I truly cannot wait for your student to arrive in just a matter of days! I like to write to our families every August to share what we have been working on over the summer and talk about some of the programs and people that will be a part of your student’s education this year.
I thought I would focus this letter on some of the programming we will be offering this year since parents and guardians do not always hear from their student about some of these “extra” things that are taking place on our campus. I am finding that we are living in an age when it is very difficult to be a teenager in high school. Our goal is to find the right balance of supporting and challenging our students so that they grow, develop healthy relationships, learn about people different from themselves, find ways to deal with and harness their stress, and find joy in learning. The more I learn about teenagers today, the more I realize how important the mental health of our students is. In fact, it may be the most important thing for us to think about and work on together as an extended community. With that in mind, I have asked Arts Department Chair Jenny Foreman to lead a health and wellness task force this year so that we can study this issue carefully and come up with action items to support the emotional health of our community. While we may be doing many positive things right to support the mental health of our students, I am confident that we will learn there is much more to be done in this area as our students deal with ever-increasing pressure on them. I look forward to engaging with all of you in this process.
We have put together an extensive schedule of outside speakers and internal programs to help our students as they grow into adulthood. This coming year we will have your student work with outside presenters on a variety of important topics including: how to have difficult conversations and effective communication, drug and alcohol education, nutrition, and sexual health and healthy relationships. We will continue our internal programming around issues of equity and inclusion and training in consent. The ninth and tenth grade will have special orientation programs throughout the year to help prepare them for the transition to Dublin School and beyond. Our Friday night INSPIRES Series has an exciting schedule of visiting speakers presenting and performing on a variety of topics including history, poetry, dance, politics, music, and food. And don’t forget our annual Tooth and Porridge Radio Show! We have a terrific slate of speakers participating in our Writer’s Series and great events and presenters planned for both Hispanic Heritage and Black History months. I know that our daily Morning Meetings will be packed with entertainment, world and national news, senior presentations, guest speakers, and hopefully lots of laughs!
Last year I spent a good part of this letter talking about the completion of our four major construction projects. This summer we have been focused on smaller projects on campus and the construction of a snowmaking system at the school’s Nordic Center. Last year the Board of Trustees determined that snow sports were an important part of the school’s past, present, and future and that snowmaking would be critical to these sports’ future existence. Michael Lehmann (son of the school’s founder) and trustee George Foote, along with a few other donors, have provided the funds to make sure that the snowboarding, alpine skiing, and cross country skiing teams have snowmaking facilities ready to go this fall. We have also received a significant grant from our utility company due to the fact that we are purchasing some of the most energy-efficient equipment on the market. In fact, we hope that by reducing bus travel for our athletes will actually use less energy overall and save more of our students’ precious time. With a World Cup level trail system and our proximity to Boston, we anticipate significant demand for the rental of the Nordic Center for training and racing (we have already partnered with Harvard University and four other clubs and schools). Our hope is that the operations of these venues will pay for themselves and provide revenue for the school in the near future. It is exciting to carry on the tradition of celebrating the out-of-doors that the Lehmann family started back in 1935.
We have just welcomed a great group of new faculty and staff members to the school. As I write this letter I can see them going through their three-day wilderness first-aid and CPR course out on the quad after a week of academic and residential life training. They have already brought great energy and exciting new ideas to our community. I hope you will give them a big Dublin welcome when you see them!
Jackie Kenney joined our admission office team in July and will also work on a residential life team and coach snowboarding. Jackie was a four-year varsity athlete at Penn State University and worked at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences last year. Jackie will be living in Little House.
Jennifer Green has joined our communications team and will be working on a number of projects including our newsletter and social media. Jennifer also works for Camps Newfound and Owatonna in Maine.
Baran Doenmez ’07 will be coaching boys’ soccer and working on a residential life team. Baran holds Dublin’s record for most goals scored in soccer and played Division One soccer at Hartwick College before playing professionally in Switzerland.
Christopher Young will serve as our athletic trainer and assistant Athletic Director. Christopher has been a trainer since 1998, working most recently at Castleton University, and will be living in Lehmann House.
Cielo Perez, an astrophysics major from Williams College, will be teaching Physics and math, working with the dance program, and living in Hill House. Cielo served as a teaching assistant in the Math and Physics Departments at Williams while also serving as the student leader of the College Planetarium.
Julie Venne will serve as our Math Department chair, coach sailing, and work in residential life after a very successful career at Pine Crest School in Florida. Julie will be living in Corner House and enjoying all the hiking, skiing, camping, and kayaking that New Hampshire has to offer.
Evan Kendall joins us from Berwick Academy in Maine and will teach math, work in the Learning Skills Department and coach cross country running and skiing. Evan graduated from St. Olaf College, where he majored in math and competed in skiing and running, before receiving his Masters in Teaching Secondary Mathematics from Boston University. Evan will be living the Monadnock Dormitory.
Alan Weathers, who taught at Dublin from 1995 to 2001, returns to Dublin to teach history after an award-winning career as History Department Chair at Miss Porter’s School.
Erik Schmitt has been named the new Director of the Perkin Observatory at Dublin School. He will also teach Astronomy, coach Robotics and help in Sadie’s Maker Space.
Andrea Allbee is filling a new position to the school and will serve as our Controller. Working with new CFO Peter Imhoff, Andrea has already done great work on our audits and budgets. When not punching numbers, she loves riding bikes and horses.
Doug Wilcox worked in a variety of roles in theater, public health, and outdoor education in places like Oregon, Zambia, New York City and most recently at Keene State University. Doug will be serving as a Learning Specialist and running our English as a Second Language Program.
I love looking at the variety of courses we offer over a given four-year period at Dublin. I thought you might want to see what your student might be studying this coming year. Here is a list of some of our brand new courses for this year: History of Psychology, Psychology of Learning, Psychology of the Self, History of West Africa, Human Rights, 20th Century Genocides, AP Statistics, College Algebra, Harvesting Energy Through Motion, Infrastructure and Off-Grid Power Design, Solar Energy and Its Applications, Sports Science, Combat Robotics, Fablab Projects, Advanced Spanish Through Literature and Film, History of Western Music, Instrumental Ensemble, Acting Shakespeare, Frankenstein (interdisciplinary), non-AP Physics, and Woodworking Portfolio. And based on student requests we will have non-credit courses in Personal Finance and Human Sexuality Studies. Anyone want to be a student again?
We are looking forward to the arrival of the students next week. We have designed the opening two weeks of school to help orient your student to our community and create as many different circles of peers and adults in order to acquaint them with as many people as possible. These circles include their camping trip groups, advisor groups, dormitories (which day students will join for the first time), class meetings, Work Gangs, academic classes, afternoon activity groups, and many more formal and informal circles. A recent Dublin graduate visited us this week and told us that Dublin prepared them to thrive in college because they knew how to meet people different from themselves, talk to their professors, study thoughtfully and seize opportunities. Getting to a point where a student is ready to navigate our increasingly complex and confusing world, like this young graduate, is a long, difficult, exciting, and rewarding process. I think I speak for all ninety faculty and staff members of the Dublin Team when I tell you we are honored, humbled, and inspired that you and your student have chosen to partner with us on this journey.
See you soon,