A Message from Steve Hancock: Spring/Summer 2019-20

Respect. Trust. Honesty. Fairness. Kindness.

When I first read these words on the USM website, I was immediately drawn to the school. These qualities have been the foundation of my personal belief surrounding education for decades. As I read more, I learned that the Common Trust ignites a passion for learning, leading, and serving throughout an
extraordinary community. Six months after hearing about the head of school opportunity at USM, I found myself in front of the search committee learning even more about the school’s mission and philosophy, and sharing the story that led me to that moment.

I grew up in Waukesha, just a 40-minute drive from the gates of our school. My beginnings were humble, as my dad worked second-shift operating a printing press, and my mom worked in the mailroom of an insurance company. We led a simple life. Yet, like most parents, they sacrificed for me to experience life to the fullest. They encouraged me to study the violin, play competitive tennis, and serve my community. Fishing, camping, canoeing, and hiking filled many of my weekends. Trips to Milwaukee for violin lessons and youth symphony filled my weekdays. Above all, education was the highest priority in our home.

I felt a true call to the education profession during my senior year of high school. My path led me to
Lawrence University, where I studied both violin performance and music education. I started my
teaching career as an orchestra director. Over the past 30 years, I have taught and led thousands of students in Naperville, Atlanta, Princeton, and Memphis. I expanded my teaching “repertoire” to
include music theory, humanities, and math at some of the most influential independent schools in the
nation. Each experience has taught me a great deal about myself and others. I am certain the opportunity at USM is the perfect fit for my family and me. We can’t wait to be a part of this inclusive community and re-engage with the fantastic people of Wisconsin.

Over the past nine months, I have learned so much about the rich history of USM and the tireless efforts
of those who have led this school. I would not be here if it were not for the stellar leadership of the Board of Trustees. These men and women love USM like no other, and they have looked out for the school by being fiscally responsible for generations. Now, USM is the envy of schools around the country. The transition committee has worked tirelessly to help our move to Milwaukee be smooth and easy. From dog groomers to biking trails, they have provided answers to everything.

Finally, Laura Fuller has led USM with vision and passion for the past nine years. She has been available
to me to answer questions, both big and small. She loves this school and wants to see it continue to thrive. I now get to stand on the shoulders of giants as I take the reins of USM, and Laura and the trustees have helped at every step of the way. I look forward to starting a new chapter for both my family and this extraordinary school, and I am so thankful for this opportunity.

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