Over the course of the past 30 years, I have walked through the process of retirement with many colleagues. While I always tried to understand and empathize with the myriad emotions associated with this pivotal moment in one’s life journey, like most things, it is next to impossible to grasp until you have walked your own path. Following the announcement in January of my plans to retire at the end of this upcoming school year, I have experienced mixed emotions, ranging from bittersweet to curious to a deep sense of satisfaction and peace, and I am looking forward to my final year at University School and the completion of a lifetime career in education.
As is always the case in major life decisions, there have been many conflating reasons why I believe this is the right time for me to retire, both for the school and my family. First and foremost, I feel University School is in a remarkable place. We have achieved the objectives of our strategic plan. We are on the cusp of surpassing our overall goal for the Our Common Bond campaign. We recently completed the construction of the new Jack Olson ’67 Commons, Abert Tooman Center for the Arts, Lubar Center for Innovation and Exploration, and Lee Community Room—and, prior to these projects, we raised resources for turf fields, a major hockey rink renovation, and many internal space renovation projects. I am convinced we have the strongest faculty, administrative team, staff, and board in the nation. But most importantly, our students are being schooled in the skills, knowledge, and habits of mind necessary to become lifetime learners, ethical leaders, and global citizens, and the results they continue to produce are incredible.
My husband, Tom, and I have been grateful to spend nearly a decade at this wonderful school. I knew when University School made the decision to hire its first female head of school, and then allowed us to create a modern version of work/life balance by providing a career opportunity for Tom, that this was truly a progressive and insightful educational community with a big heart. Now, we are looking forward to spending more time with our six children (and two grandbabies!) as they continue in the various stages of their educational and professional journeys.
As I look back over the course of my career that evolved from science teacher to department chair to division head and ultimately 13 years as a head of school—including nine here at University School—there really is nothing I would change. To live and work with smart, interesting people who have a passion for similar goals and a mutual alignment of value systems has been enormously satisfying. I grew up in an education-minded family, had wonderful opportunities to become educated, and spent my career working toward providing the same possibilities for thousands of students, including my own children, and it really just doesn’t get any better than that! I feel professionally satisfied and blessed.
We are forever grateful to University School for providing us the opportunity to live, work, and grow this school into an unparalleled educational institution. The dedication of this community to raising strong, educated, and ethical young adults is exactly what has supported us in achieving the successes of recent years. I look forward to our final year together and the path ahead of the final leg of my own journey toward retirement.