Exhilarating Possibility – Starting My Next Five Years

Exhilarating Possibility – Starting My Next Five Years

Last week I felt like a 6th grader. No, I was not worried about whether my new shoes would be considered cool, and no I was not annoyed at my mom for any number of reasons. Instead, returning to school after vacation on Monday, August 2, I felt a palpable blend of comforting familiarity and exhilarating possibility. 

Like a returning 6th grade student, I know Mount Tamalpais School. The halls will soon largely be filled with people I know, both adults and students. I am also confident that I will quickly get to know those new faces on campus; this is one of the many advantages of our small, close knit community. Like a returning 6th grade student, there are events that I am already looking forward to; our first all school Gather, Buddy Bear Day, and Halloween. There is comfort in this familiarity.

While familiar and comfortable, this year feels different. For a rising 6th grader, the entrance to “middle school” marks a transition. Yes, MTS is the same, but it feels a bit more serious. There are new expectations of me, a sense that the bar may have been raised. With the strong foundation of the elementary years under her belt, the rising 6th grader feels a sense of possibility. At times exciting, at others nerve-wracking; exhilarating.

Last week, I started my second five years as the Head of School at Mount Tamalpais School. Like our new middle schoolers, I feel well prepared with five years of MTS behind me. And, like those same students, I sense possibility. What does the next five years hold for Mount Tamalpais School under my leadership? What worthwhile and exciting things can we accomplish together? How will we, together, raise the bar? I am filled with exhilarating possibility.

Having slightly more prefrontal cortex development than most 6th graders, I am doing my best to make the most of every day of these next five years. Earlier in the week I spent time reflecting on my performance from the past five years. I reread my end of year evaluation from the Board of Trustees (perhaps you can use this fact to encourage your rising middle schooler to review their “next steps” on last year’s report cards later in August). I brainstormed a list of things to “keep doing” and “change up” as a leader. I reviewed notes from conversations with longer-tenured mentors about how they run a school. I now have a set of draft goals for the year and am compiling a set of new behaviors and routines that I hope will let me lead Mount Tamalpais School to even greater places. Just as your middle schooler might ask for a new backpack or rearrange their room later this month, I even changed up my office layout to signal a fresh start. Like our middle schoolers, I want the years ahead to be both familiar and exhilarating.

While excited about possibility, I am optimistically confident about our future success. Like our students on campus, there is an entire community behind our achievement. Each spring we graduate young men and women who are well prepared for their future at outstanding high schools around the country. Those students are proud of their accomplishments, and quick to recognize the tremendous impact their teachers – and even their parents – had on that success. I trust that in five years I will be proud of what we – educators, students, parents – accomplished at Mount Tamalpais School together. Like those rising 6th graders, there is a lot of hard work between now and then; I am excited. Let’s get going and create our exhilarating future together.

- Andrew


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