Dear Holy Child Community Members,
As the saying goes, "all good things must come to an end," and so it is with mixed emotions that I share with you that the 2022-23 school year will be my last leading this wonderful school.
On July 1, I will begin my seventeenth year at Holy Child School at Rosemont (it was Rosemont School of the Holy Child when I came here in 2006!) and my tenth as Head of School. The latter will make me the second longest-serving Head in the history of the School and I am proud of that achievement.
I am, in fact, proud of so many things we have accomplished together and the ways that the school has grown. These include the Campus Expansion project we just completed, the ways we have grown and enhanced the academic program, the rebranding initiative eight years ago that changed the name of the school and re-emphasized our "Holy Childness" as our biggest differentiator in this crowded school market, the strength of our enrollment in the midst of declining enrollments in most elementary and Catholic schools, setting fundraising records for six years in a row prior to COVID, and faculty and staff (at this point, I have hired most of them) who are dedicated to the mission of the school and to each child in their care.
But of all the ways that the school has grown and developed in my time as head of school, I am most proud of three things in particular:
- First is the way we turned on a dime in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how hard we worked that summer, and throughout the ensuing year, to provide in-school instruction — safely — when many other schools did not.
- Second is the almost 100% increase in students and families of color who have enrolled here since 2013. It warms my heart now to look at a school assembly or a grade-level prayer service and see not just a few students of color, but many students of color and, more importantly, how welcome and included those students are in our school community.
- Third is the creation of our affinity group for single mothers. I am proud that we have created space and a welcoming environment for them to meet and support each other. It is not easy to be a single mother — here or anywhere — so I am thrilled that ours find comfort and support in this "corner" of our community.
So why retire at this point? I have been pondering this decision for a while now. The school is in great shape financially and programmatically, and we have tackled virtually all of our deferred maintenance, which is not at all glamorous but is terribly important. It feels to me that at this point in its history, the school would benefit from a fresh perspective and new ideas. I do not have any plans other than to take a year off, hopefully travel a little bit with my wife Disty, and possibly do some consulting and volunteering.
The work is hard, very hard at times, but rewarding. I want to thank Arnie Schneider, the Board of Trustees, and the previous Board Chairs — Gordon Cooney and Bob Shields — with whom I have worked. Arnie, Gordon, and Bob were terrific thought partners with me and deserve a great deal of credit for the school's success. I very much look forward to working with Judi Taylor through next year and am excited to partner with her; like Arnie, Gordon and Bob, she is a dear friend and confidant.
I want to thank the faculty and staff for their hard work and dedication, especially the members of the senior leadership team who deserve special recognition — Robin Beaver, Jeanne Marie Blair, Brenda Cole, Christine Dymek, Jill Gregori, Diane Hren, and Rita Smith — and don't get nearly enough credit for the school's success. Their leadership, dedication, devotion, and hard work have been key to anything and everything we have achieved in my time here.
Lastly, and most importantly, I want to thank my wife Disty, who has supported me in this ministry unconditionally. Through crises and challenges, incredibly busy schedules and commitments, she has been a rock of support, guidance, and love. I very much look forward to having time to spend and enjoy with her while we are still relatively young and in good health.
It is altogether fitting and proper to end by quoting Cornelia Connelly. Of her many, many words of wisdom, the following seems apt both as a summary of what will be my 42-year career in education, and as a reminder for the work remaining over this next school year:
"Remember, of yourselves you can do nothing, but, in God, and for God, and with God you can do all things."
Sincerely and gratefully,