LOVING THE WORK: A Week in the Life of a Head of School
March 7, 2019
Dear Harbor Families,
When I first learned of the Head of School opportunity at Harbor, the consultant who was leading the Head search (whom I had known for a few years) put me in touch with a new Head of School, so I could have the opportunity to hear about her experience, ask questions, and reflect on the role. Jen Danish and I met at Le Pain Quotidien one evening that fall after work for about an hour; that conversation was so impactful for me that I think I can recall every word. Jen is the Head of School at Grace Episcopal School and had just finished her first year. She is wonderful and we connected immediately. As part of our conversation, Jen recounted everything that she had done that day, from arriving to school until the moment she met me for a coffee. She described each varied and diverse aspect of the role vividly, and with great enthusiasm, she said to me, “I really love this work. I have a feeling you will too.”
Fast forward a year and a half and she was right - I love this work, with a passion. Even during those weeks between the new year and spring break, a time of year that can feel a little long for us educators, the weeks at Harbor are filled with vibrant and exciting learning, community events, and new challenges - never a dull moment. So this week, I share with you a few of my tasks, meetings, experiences, and responsibilities - just this week:
Greet smiling children with high fives and fist bumps as they come in to the school building (almost always, the absolute best part of the day)
Meet with prospective parents
Host evening parenting workshop on Screen Sense
Lead our all-school morning meeting - singing songs, building community, and celebrating learning with the students
Host Head from local micro school, and learn more about their model of education
At faculty meeting, facilitate a collaborative exercise to identify the criteria for excellence in teaching and learning at Harbor
Meet with individual teachers about supporting student learning
Lead opening and closing songs with toddlers and their caregivers at our first Little Sailors class (and as a bonus - participate, as a mom, with my two year old son)
Read a chapter of The Head’s Handbook
Connect with one of Harbor’s former heads of school as well as one of the school founders about fundraising plans
Plan professional development on diversity and inclusion topics for the spring
Observe workshops in theater and expression in our classrooms with InterAct Story Theater
Enjoy a slice of king cake as part of a grade two celebration of Mardi Gras
Meet with potential consultants to discuss professional development and support for next year
Write and send newsletter for faculty
Order a 20s-themed dress to wear at the Auction
Connect with Board Chair regularly
Host welcome event for our newly accepted families
Answer lots of emails!
Introduce InterAct Theater performance on the theme of bullying in an all school assembly
Teach yoga class to faculty
Cheer on our Odyssey of the Mind team at the Maryland competition (woohoo!)
Coordinate shared space with the Greek Preschool Director
Work with our terrific administrative team on all of the above!
Reflect, think, plan, question, and wonder.
All in a week’s work at Harbor! In looking at this list, it’s no wonder that I love this work - just as Jen told me I would. Nearly everything on it involves connecting with the people in our school and wider community, with the goal of supporting and uplifting our mission to know and teach children as unique individuals. What an honor and pleasure, every day.