Two Of Three Candidates

02.10.10


The search for a new Headmaster is an agonizing one. For the next week and a half the kids’ school will continue to be tense and divided. Candidate interviews include questions that begin with, “you know we love you…” and parking lot chat has a number of parents vowing to leave the school should things take a turn they are not prepared for.

I’ve had one foot out the door for some time. During the summer of 2008 I noticed a faculty member on facebook drinking from a beer bong in a bikini and simulating oral sex while partially clothed. Naturally this all included links to the school. When I contacted the head of school, shaking, she told me that I was a computer hacker and noted that the dress I’d worn to the Major Donor’s Dinner was very low cut.

I haven’t been a major donor since that conversation.

In July of 2009 that head of school left. I don’t know if she was fired, or if she resigned. I don’t really care. She’d spent an entire year not speaking to me, and her allegiance was never to our children. It bothered me, but the teachers at the school are so spectacular, so gifted and so devoted that I couldn’t bear to think of moving my children anywhere else.

I’m not one to cut off my nose to spite my face. I will also do anything it takes to give my children a great education. Education is the only gift I can give them that can not be taken away.

When the Head of School left I was enormously relieved, but, like many other parents, concerned. Who would take her place? What would happen next? Would the school stay on course, or could there better a better tack? I was so busy celebrating her departure that it never dawned on me that a search could be complicated or antagonistic. It was like Dorothy landing on the Wicked Witch. Color after a storm.

I met one of the head of school candidates in a forum. I didn’t realized how anxious this process had made me. I stood there and cried, because it’s been almost two years of feeling like no one in any part of the administration was on my kids’ team. Now I realize that the search committee (the group charged with finding a new head of school) will find someone wonderful, someone who loves learning, who loves nurturing children, and sees education as it’s own reward. I’m trusting the school again, I’ve always trusted the teachers, and I’m excited at the prospect of trusting the administration as well.

If all goes well, my family won’t have to find a new place to live and learn. My children will get the greatest gift that I can bestow on them, and the community that surrounds them will share a love of learning, revere and respect childhood.

I didn’t realize how unhappy I was until I was happy.

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3 responses to “Two Of Three Candidates”

  1. April says:

    I want to cry for you after how that woman treated you!!
    I’m just relieved that things will be changing soon.

  2. Karen Bannan says:

    My big girl goes to private school right now. I was so happy last year. This year I vacillate between happiness and a feeling of eh. Last year’s teachers (each class has two teachers) were really strong personalities. This year we’ve got two very sweet women. There’s no mean cop.

    Anyway, I totally get how you feel. School is so important. It shapes who we become. (For example, just read my October 12 post about the teacher who made another student pull my hair to get me to stand up straight.) I’m glad you’re getting new blood in your school.

    And FWIW: I would have complained about the beer bong/oral sex thing, too.

  3. We’re lucky enough in Milwaukee to have public Montessori schools, and so far so good, but I’m starting to worry as I look down the road a little. One of the things about Montessori that is interesting is you stay in a mixed age classroom for three years. If you get a good teacher it’s a great thing, but if you get a bad one…. The word among the parents is that the upper elementary teachers all have problems, so I don’t know what to do. Do I believe everything I hear or wait and try one of these teachers out on my kid and regret it? How important is it really, as long as I make sure my children are learning enough? I put time in with some pretty incompetent teachers as a kid and frankly they are the ones I remember best. I learned some odd lessons about how not to do things that have actually served me well. It’s hard to know what to do, because when it comes to your kids you don’t want to make any large mistakes.

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