Guest Contributor: Our Next Head of School, Leah Musico
“I’m looking to fall in love.” It was a rather awkward comment to make in a formal interview. I wondered, when I said it, if I had just blown my shot at my dream job.
Professionally, I have known for a while that I wanted to find a small school community - one where I could truly know all of the students and their families, and one where it’s possible to stay deeply connected to the day-to-day business of teaching and learning while also promoting a collaborative vision with all constituent groups. I have been looking for an early childhood school that celebrates the process of learning, promotes creativity and thinking, and believes in treating all students with great respect. I am ecstatic to say that I have found my dream school!
Walking the halls during my visit to Harbor two weeks ago, so graciously hosted by Eileen Pennington, I was struck by the sense of community, the well-resourced classrooms and colorful walls, and the joyful learning happening in every corner of the school. Preschoolers gleefully explored gross motor skills using hula hoops in every way imaginable. Junior Kindergarteners spoke confidently about their bead designs. First graders practiced phonics patterns in shaving cream on their desks. I was delighted by the school-wide 100th Day celebration (and what a celebration it was!) and even bought a couple of Valentines Day cards from some second grade entrepreneurs who were selling them in the hallway (talk about student agency!). I met with parent groups, nearly every teacher, the Board, and administrators. In every classroom and in each meeting, I was impressed by the professionalism, warmth, and incredible commitment of the Harbor community.
It is clear to me that the Harbor teachers understand how important social and emotional learning is in early childhood education. They connect with each student individually and act on the belief that students thrive when they are empowered in their own learning. This is not just something that comes through on the website; it can be felt in the presence of the children - and the adults who support and challenge them. It’s why, ahem, I’m falling for Harbor.
Over the coming months and into the next school year, I look forward to getting to know each and every Harbor student and family well. I am excited to collaborate closely with Andrea and to establish a strong relationship with Kameha and the Board of Trustees. Likewise, I am eager to work with Dana, Maureen, and all of Harbor’s talented and professional teachers. I am keenly aware that the school’s rich history has made the school the beautiful learning community that it is. It is my honor and absolute privilege to build upon this inspiration to lead us into the next phase of growth for The Harbor School.