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Principal's Perspective

Principal's Perspective - May 2018

Laurel Hall School 2018 Year in Review The 2017-2018 Laurel Hall school year has been a year of growth and transition. In fact, this year’s school yearbook has been entitled, New Beginnings. It certainly has been a year of change, and a year of success. As we prepare for an accreditation visit in the spring of 2019, it is apropos that this year has been one of self-study, both for the organization and for me as the new educational leader of such a fine institution. My tenure began in earnest prior to the official July start date and continued throughout the summer with a series of one-on-one meetings with the entire LHS teaching staff, a number of parents, and many devoted community members. This mission of discovery became the catalyst for many growth opportunities that began to take shape in mid-July. The initial and immediate positive changes included facility upgrades and revisions to policy, practice, and procedures. The earnest conversations held with so many…

Principal's Perspective - March 2018

Many years ago, as an elementary school teacher after finishing some afternoon basketball with a group of fifth and sixth graders, I sat down on the bench to catch my breath. Looking upward, basking in the warmth of the California sun, I recharged under the rich blue sky and white billowing clouds. It was the perfect setting to another glorious day of teaching. Then, it got even better after being nudged by the tiny hand of my favorite third-grade student, Natasha. There she sat, giant brown eyes, rosy cheeks, special smile and all. “Mr. G,” she said. “Last night I had a dream that there was a big hole in the sky because all the grown-ups were smoking so much they polluted the sky. I tried to get them to stop, but they wouldn’t. I knew the hole had to be fixed, so I got all my blue jeans from my closet and sewed them together. Then I got my dad’s really tall ladder and put it in the back yard. I got my blue jeans and my sewing kit, and I climbed up to the hole in the sky and I…

Principal's Perspective - February 2018

The other day, I watched one of our teachers do something simple, yet, so very extraordinary. She comforted a child who was hurt. Watching a child's tears turn from fear to gratitude because of the actions of a caring adult brought me back to my own youth, when my destiny was shaped by one who simply acted kindly and attentive. At a time of great turmoil in my life, he accepted me not only for the person I was, but for whom I could, and ultimately would become. He was a man not larger than life, nor remarkable in any sense other than possessing a propensity for empathy and understanding. His name was Mr. Gillis. We called him, "Mr. G." He was my science teacher, freshman year of high school. When I studied to become a teacher, Mr. Gillis was my inspiration. I could only wonder and hope that I might someday be the Mr. G in the lives and hearts of my students, the way I was touched by him. As fate would have it, from the beginning of my career my students had a difficult time…

Principal's Perspective - December 2017

I am truly inspired by those with whom I am surrounded each day. This evening, as an audience member, I sat transfixed upon the church sanctuary, spellbound by the melodic holiday voices of the Laurel Hall elementary students. Truthfully, I shed a tear of joy or two as I enjoyed a heartwarming Christmas performance. When I arrived home, I found my way to the den and retrieved a copy of some memoirs I had written over the years. Tonight’s performance and these marvelous children inspired me to share one of those stories with you. It is a Christmas reflection that I penned after a seemingly random set of events, while shopping during the holiday season. Pulling into a store parking lot last week, I came upon a disheveled soul with outstretched hands and shattered hope. As usual, I did what I most often do. I ignored this particular beggar, lest he be operating some sort of holiday scam. So, I callously drove by him, parked, and entered the store to finish off a growing and…

Principal's Perspective - November 2017

The other day, a scroll was slid under my door. In the safety and comfort of my secure office, I carefully began to read: “General Washington, it appears that recent attempts to kidnap and poison you have failed. Thanks to your direction and the bravery and dedication of the Patriot spy ring, the Hessians’ plot has been exposed and contained. The British have been defeated at the Battle of Yorktown and Patriot victory is at hand. The mission has been successfully completed. It has been a pleasure serving under your command. In the words of John Dickinson – ‘then join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, dividing we fall.’ Until Next Time, The Culper Spy Ring (Agent Z)”
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