Visiting former Head of School Les Larsen on Guemes Island

This July, I took the ferry to Guemes Island to spend some time with former Head of School Les Larsen, who played a major role in shaping The Bush School. Les has a substantial legacy at Bush—he started the tradition of Convocation, saw Bush through the transition from all girls to co-ed, and launched the Action Module Program (AMP). Along with my daughter and her friend, we explored the island with the Larsens. I even got the chance to visit Mary “Sis” Pease’s place in Seaway Hollow.

Bending Towards Justice in Independent Education

On Monday, I had the honor to walk alongside 35 members of The Bush School community–parents, teachers, staff, administrators, Trustees, alumnae/i, students and Friends of Bush–from Garfield High School to the Jackson Federal Building in Seattle’s annual MLK March. The march, now in its 35th year, honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who would have celebrated his 88th birthday on Sunday. The theme of this year’s march was “Stop the Hate! Come Together” and was open to “everyone who honors the goals and methods of Martin Luther King, Jr.”
Dr. King’s goal of securing racial equality through peaceful, nonviolent resistance is almost universally accepted today, and Dr. King remains one of the most admired figures in American history. In 2011, Dr. King boasted a 95% favorability rating, with over two-thirds of respondents indicating that they thought highly—rated 4 or 5 on a five-point scale–of the slain civil rights leader. Clearly, the country’s feelings toward Dr. King have evolved over time. Largely beloved and revered by Americans today, in 1966, only 37% of Americans had a favorable opinion of Dr. King, and 44% held a strongly unfavorable opinion him. Why has Dr. King’s message grown more resonant with the passage of time?  Continue reading “Bending Towards Justice in Independent Education”

Why Baseball Matters in the Classroom

Watching the 9–3 Chicago Cubs victory over Cleveland reminded me how compelling America’s Pastime can be. Baseball has the power to elevate an ordinary player to hero status with the swing of a bat, an exceptional catch, or a remarkable 9th inning save. Baseball is a statistics-driven league. Historians and statistics geeks love to compare players within seasons and across eras to determine their relative value. In the drawn-out 162-game baseball season, there are few anomalies and a player’s worth is easily measured by his stats—often in averages. Good hitters average more than three hits every ten at bats. Great pitchers average fewer than two runs per nine innings.  Continue reading “Why Baseball Matters in the Classroom”

Convocation Speech 2017

Opening of School, September 7, 2016

It is my pleasure to welcome our staff, teachers, parents, guardians, friends, and students—especially the Class of 2017—to The Bush School’s 2016 convocation.

I am standing in front of you today at the beginning of my 19th year as an educator in independent schools. I find myself here, after almost two decades in education, because school has always felt like home to me. It is the place where I feel most comfortable, most at ease, in the company of scholars, counselors, grammarians, historians, storytellers, fact finders, and and truth seekers. The men and women who plan meticulously to make a lesson thorough, resonant, compelling, and engaging were and still are my heroes.

I was a curious child, a dutiful student. I loved school and I wanted nothing more than to discover something new, to meet and exceed my teachers’ expectations, and to hopefully become one of them. I aspired to do what they did, to cultivate students’ natural talents and share my love of the written word, analysis, reason, and TRUTH with a new generation of aspiring scholars. Continue reading “Convocation Speech 2017”