Each day, we watch the sunrise over Gannett House and the east end of campus and track across the sky until it sets over the Farrell Field House. These summer days are filled with a balance of planning, meetings, problem solving, fun, and adventure, as well as time to reflect on the trajectory of a school over time and our place in that arc.
David Fowler shared his first Headmaster Letter in 1971 after succeeding Lyle Farrell as Head of School. Over the fifty years since he wrote the words below, Proctor has morphed and evolved, and yet the work we do today honors those who came before us, while building upon a firm foundation for those who have yet to call Proctor home:
I see a process of renewal taking place -- a rejuvenation of positive activity. We are all part of a continuous process of renewal that takes place in an institution. Embodied in the present renewal is a new level of participation by everyone in the community. I, frankly, have never been associated with a more dedicated group of teachers. There is absolutely no way I can put any kind of price tag on the hours they put into their jobs...Even though I tend to be talking to many of the same people, the opportunity to speak freely is there. As long as we can keep communicating and showing an awareness and understanding of each other’s successes, failures, strengths, and problems, we will have the capacity to continually rejuvenate ourselves and our school. If we believe that together we can build an outstanding learning environment, we will. What we believe becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we don’t, we won’t. - David Fowler (1971)
With any transition in leadership comes a time of reflection, a subconscious process of grasping for the roots that make up your community and affirming your collective being as an institution. This process has unfolded over the past year during the search for our new Head of School, and continues this summer as Brian begins to get to know this community.
We think of ourselves as an entrepreneurial school, one that has consistently responded to crises with ingenuity and grit. How will Proctor keep up, dare we say lead, in this rapidly changing landscape? How do we leverage all we've learned, and yet ensure that in our continued evolution we do not lose the “magic” that is Proctor? How do we embrace on-going disruption, fluidity of strategic thinking, and the normalization of change and yet stay rooted in our past?
This is our challenge as we move into the year ahead: to honor Proctor’s history through our work as we move this school along its arc of existence. We each play a role regardless of our titles -- teachers, coaches, maintenance staff, housekeepers, our dining services team -- and we each shoulder a responsibility to simultaneously do the hard work of building and sustaining community.