Three times a year, Proctor’s Board of Trustees, a dedicated group of 30 volunteers who guide Proctor’s long-term vision and sustainability, meet to discuss budgets, learn about issues impacting the school, and plug into the Proctor community.
This past weekend’s Board of Trustee meetings included the usual committee meetings, report outs, and general discussion on the state of Proctor. It was through the celebration of out-going Board Chair Tom Healey P’16, ‘17, ‘19, ‘21 on Friday evening and a panel discussion with students and faculty about Proctor’s academic model on Saturday morning that we were reminded of the impact of our collective work delivering and supporting Proctor’s mission.
When Laura Anker ‘00 shared words of appreciation for former Board Chair Tom Healey, she described Proctor as a giant safety net that transforms young people’s lives. She spoke about her own experience as a student, as well as a Trustee, and the constant, never-wavering support from those around her. Tom was that for so many of us in the community - a passionate, dedicated, ever-present voice of support as we sought to do our work to further Proctor’s mission. While we think of safety nets as a safeguard against risk, they actually have the opposite impact on us. Because we know they will catch us when we fall, they provide us the confidence to take additional risks. And guess what? Usually we do not fall. Instead we find successes in endeavors we never would have otherwise had the confidence to pursue. This is what Proctor does. The very existence of support - academic, emotional, social, intellectual - springboards our students into transformative experiences because they have the freedom and confidence to do so.
The same goes for our educators. We have the same safety net around the educators who are designing curriculum to challenge and push and motivate our students to do their best work. As Bill O’Brien (Math Department Chair) and Sue Houston (Chemistry Faculty) shared their curriculum redesigns with the Board of Trustees on Saturday morning, they discussed how their goals have evolved to teaching core principles that will serve as a foundation for future learning at Proctor and beyond. Sue noted, “When kids’ circuits light up, they learn.” Likewise, when faculty circuits light up, we learn. When this happens in synergy, the community’s curiosity and pursuit of knowledge lights up as a whole.
Studies have shown that when we perceive purpose in our lives and our jobs, we are happier, more motivated, and more willing to take risks. Sometimes in the midst of the busyness of the academic year, we have to pause and remind ourselves why we do what we do. As complicated and multifaceted of a school as Proctor is, our purpose is really quite simple: teach young people the importance of being contributing members of society, good humans, and global citizens committed to spreading good wherever they go.
Our work is about that multiplier effect, about sending young people into the world who will amplify Proctor’s values everywhere they go. Our Board of Trustees are essential partners in this mission, and we thank them for engaging with us in this hard, good, never-ending work.