I woke early this morning in the midst of the most vivid dream. A mentor of mine went out of his way to help me, making extraordinary personal sacrifices to reunite me with my family. It was one of those dreams where you feel like you are having real conversations, can physically feel yourself walking, touching, navigating your surroundings. I have not dreamed much the last two weeks. My mind has been full, anxiety high, to-do list long. But last night’s dream provided a wave of calm in what otherwise has been a stormy few weeks. I started the day with new hope.
The last two weeks have served as an incredibly powerful reminder of who we are as a community, not only at Proctor, but within our local towns and immediate families. Our hearts go out to all who have lost something in their lives due to the coronavirus outbreak: loved ones, jobs, homes, interactions with friends, and, for our faculty and students, an opportunity for a typical Proctor spring.
The sap drips feverishly into buckets around campus thanks to an uncharacteristically warm 60 degree sun pounding down on campus, while global stock markets plummet and COVID-19 fears begin to have a real impact on each of our lives. The uncertainty in the air is palpable, and we thought it quite appropriate to share a little good news!
The very best moments in our lives are rarely those we spend alone. They are those we share with others, often small groups of friends or teammates. Moments that defy logic and surpass expected reality. Moments seared in our memory as a perfect confluence of internal and external factors leading to a magical experience. We cannot predict when they will happen, nor can we describe why. We simply know when they do.
Proctor is not one of those schools that can afford to swagger. We don’t have hundreds of millions of dollars in an endowment; we have about twenty-nine. We don’t have fifty applicants for every opening in admissions; we have about six. We have had to hustle as a school for a long time, and we will have to hustle for years to come. I hope we never lose the hustle. Even if the endowment does become as large as some of our peer schools and we have as many applicants as some of our southern neighbors, we can’t lose it. Hustling keeps you humble, It keeps you competitive. It keeps you evolving. It keeps you from slipping into hubris.
Bonus Weekend falls in the middle of a Winter Term that operates at breakneck speed; every moment filled with some sort activity - an extra help, a practice, an open studio, a dorm meeting, a research paper. This four day respite affords us a chance to breathe, to slow down and recenter ourselves before we enter the final stretch of winter that is equal parts exhilarating and exhausting.
There’s no real easy way to do this, to make this announcement. I have wrestled it, spent time journaling, talked with a few folks in a very tight circle, but it simply comes down to this: the 2020-21 school year will be my last as Head of School at Proctor Academy. It is a decision that I have come to in consultation with the Board of Trustees, and it is a decision that I have moved towards over the last six months. It is not an easy decision, but I have made it with a full measure of pride in the accomplishments of this community and complete confidence that the school has the leadership and the wisdom to continue on with its current success.