A Final Farewell

Dear USM community,

It is with a complex set of emotions that I write my farewell to all that is USM. This finality is a bit surreal
as the chaos of COVID-19 completely changed what would otherwise have been a spring filled with personal good-byes and the opportunity to thank each and every one of you. Instead, I will try to express in words how grateful I am, but fear I may fall short.

Many of you know that USM provided the opportunity for me to come home to Wisconsin, live and work in a large co-educational school once again, and actually live in the same place as my husband and children! This gift alone is one I have not forgotten as it has meant so much to our family. Returning to Wisconsin was more comforting than I had ever anticipated. It was amazing to reconnect with the traditions of my youth, and there is something about your roots that is familiar and stabilizing in ways that are almost unimaginable. Layer on the ability to lead this tremendous school and the perfect opportunity was created for us early in the summer of 2011.

One paragraph is not enough to reflect on the myriad events that have been my touchpoints over the past nine years. When I try to get my brain to coalesce around something significant, there is just another situation that comes to mind and pushes its way in. All-school community activities definitely rank amongst my most joyful memories: Commencement, opening day ceremony, all-school pep rallies, senior send-off, holiday sings, Arts Live, ground-breaking ceremonies, etc. A close second would be the times I have been able to connect directly with students: mentoring capstone projects, athletic events and arts performances, surprise visits from the Preschool, etc. The moments of connecting and the friendships formed with my administrators, faculty, and staff have provided relationships I will treasure always. It is a wonderful gift to work with smart and dedicated, not to mention funny people.

Working with the Board of Trustees—especially the relationships I forged with Board Presidents Mike Roth, Dick Seesel, Andrew Petzold, and Steve Guy—was the most stimulating opportunity of my professional career. These people, especially in problem-solving mode, are literally inspirational. Their dedication to and stewardship of this school and the number of hours of energy they selflessly provide are truly remarkable.

Most recently, I am grateful for the many hours of conversation I have had with our new head of school, Steve Hancock. We have tried to discuss everything related to USM and, in the process, have gotten to know each other as educators and personally through this process. We are truly blessed to have recruited such a thoughtful, kind, and qualified head of school. USM will surely flourish under Steve’s leadership. I am confident that he is inheriting the best administration, faculty, and staff in the country. They will guide and teach Steve, as they did me.

As I say farewell to all of you, I would like to say that there is no other place I would have chosen to spend the last years of my career, and with no other people.

Respectfully,

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