From the Head of School: A Day in the Life

One of the things I love most about Moses Brown is being part of such a vibrant community. Every day is different, and every day I see signs of people – faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, board members – engaged in exploration. Whether in classrooms, studios or conference rooms, whether on playing fields or stage, the continuous striving for knowledge, growth and achievement – for excellence – is tangible.

Wednesday, October 20 was a vivid example.

7:45 am

My morning began with a meeting of MB’s Governance Committee, a group of committed volunteers who coordinate the work of the Board of Trustees. Although the group’s work takes place almost entirely behind the scenes, it’s essential for the effective functioning of the school.

10:30 am

Mid-morning, I met with OJ Marti, Head of Lower School. Our bi-weekly meeting offers a chance to discuss issues impacting the experience of students. This year, the entire Lower School has moved into temporary quarters during the ongoing renovation, and OJ is constantly communicating with teachers and making adjustments where necessary to support students’ learning. This fall, OJ and I are also working to finalize plans for the new Lower School playground, and we met with our architect later in the day (4:30 pm) to provide feedback on her design. We can’t wait to bring this project to completion!

11:15 am

A highlight of my day was visiting an Upper School English class taught by Matty Bennett, who is new to teaching at MB but a veteran coach of our track program. I love visiting classes and seeing teachers and students in action. In this session, the level of curiosity, scholarship and engagement was palpable. While a student (Phoebe K.) led an insightful discussion of a chapter of the novel Sing, Unburied, Sing, Matty deepened the conversation with probing questions and made sure everyone participated. As I shared with the class, I felt like I was watching a graduate seminar, not a 10th grade English class.

1:00 – 4:00 pm

Much of my afternoon was filled with Zoom meetings. One of the unforeseen benefits of the pandemic is the way tools like Zoom have brought about new levels of collaboration among school leaders. After a monthly check-in with local leaders, I spoke with Molly King, Head at Greenwich Academy, who’s leading a team to assist in re-accrediting MB this year. Having recently spent a day at the school, she shared her admiration for the many people, programs and practices that allow MB to operate smoothly. Afterward, I joined school leaders from around the country in a webinar focused on caring for one’s community during the ongoing pandemic.

4:15 pm

I found a few minutes mid-afternoon to enjoy one of my favorite activities (almost a ritual): getting a coffee from the Woodman café and watching soccer on Wasserman Field. Our girls team won a resounding victory over Mt. Saint Charles, and my only disappointment was that I missed seeing junior Janiya O. score two goals, and the stunning goals of several of her teammates.

6:30 – 8:00 pm

The day concluded with the monthly meeting of the Parent Diversity Committee. After hearing about upcoming workshops, speakers and book groups, participants shared ‘roses and thorns,’ powerful stories about the ways that identity – e.g., race, gender or socio-economic status – can impact one’s experience at Moses Brown. I found the wisdom expressed, the honesty and vulnerability, and above all the care for our community to be inspiring. MB is a better place for everyone because this group, and others, are actively exploring ways to make our community welcoming and inclusive.

Not every day puts me in touch with such a broad cross-section of the MB family. But days like this one remind me of what a special place MB is, filled with smart, motivated and caring people united in a common purpose: to inspire the inner promise of each child and instill the utmost care for learning, people and place.

Matt Glendinning