From Matt: Celebrating Bruce, Randy, Kristin, Tom, and Kevin
Dear Moses Brown Community,
As I near the end of my tenure as Head of School, it has been immensely gratifying to reflect with many of you on the stories, memories and accomplishments of the past 13 years — and I look forward to sharing more in person at our community celebration on May 20.
Whatever success we have achieved during that time has been due in large part to the 165 MB faculty and staff who work so hard and so brilliantly every day. Despite the challenges of the past few years, they have done incredibly well in ensuring that Moses Brown remains a place of joy, safety, creativity, and thoughtfulness. I hope you’ll take a few moments to acknowledge and thank them in the coming weeks.
I’d like to do so now, actually, by celebrating five faculty and staff members who will be retiring at the end of this year. Giants in our community, these colleagues have contributed a collective 189 years to Moses Brown! While it’s impossible to cover their import in a few sentences, I hope what follows will give you a brief sense of the impact they’ve had.
Bruce Shaw came to MB in 1974 and has taught math, physics, computer science and served as set designer for many plays. While I’ve known Bruce for only 13 years of his long tenure, I’ve always been impressed by his versatility as an educator and willingness to step in when there is a need. He’s worn a number of hats during his time here, including coaching track, rowing, and sailing, and serving as Chair of the Math and Performing Arts Departments, Dean of Students, Academic Dean and Acting Head of Upper School. One of my most powerful memories that I associate with Bruce is seeing the set for the musical Rent a few years ago – it looked like a Broadway show, and I beamed with pride to see what he and our students were capable of creating.
Randy Street joined MB in the fall of 1979. Teaching Woodshop to students across eight grades of their MB careers (K-7), Randy has had a profound and lasting impact on thousands of students. Countless alumni speak fondly of the evocative scent of wood that permeates the 120-year-old Three Oaks Studio, and recall in detail the various masterpieces created under Randy’s tutelage, from spoons and bowls, to bug catchers, toolboxes, and benches. Teaching in general is hard work; teaching woodshop to children ages 5-13 is a small miracle, and I’ve always thought that Randy must have eyes in the back of his head to be able to keep students organized, engaged and safe on a daily basis.
Kristin Street came to MB a year later, in 1980, and has taught Photography, Painting, Sculpture, Book Arts and many other subjects. A practicing artist herself, Kristin is the person chiefly responsible for preparing and hanging all the incredible student artwork on display in MB’s hallways and galleries (and for refreshing those displays on a regular basis). In the classroom, I have been impressed by Kristin’s intentional pedagogy – whether creating toys from scavenged electronics or designing and sewing new clothing for exhibition in a fashion show, Kristin’s students learn about form, function and aesthetics, and they develop collaborative problem-solving skills that will serve them well no matter what they choose to do after Moses Brown.
Since joining the faculty in 1987, Tom Andrew has cared for and engaged with this community in numerous ways. In addition to teaching English courses such as Fiction into Film, Tom has served as Department Chair, Class Dean, Discipline Committee member and Secretary of MB’s chapter of the Cum Laude honor society. Tom and I share a passion for soccer, and I have always enjoyed his irrepressible enthusiasm, whether he’s coaching at MB (which he did at the varsity and middle school levels for 30 years), traveling to the quadrennial World Cup tournament, or organizing a team of MB faculty and staff to participate in Project Goal’s annual round-robin. The fact that MB’s historic campus is now formally credentialed as an arboretum is entirely due to Tom’s commitment to environmental sustainability, and in sharing that passion with students Tom has championed a central tenet of Quakerism, stewardship.
One of my fondest memories from my first summer at MB was having Kevin Perry, our Plant Manager since 1997, tour me through every nook and cranny of the school, including some that are underground. In his time at MB, Kevin has overseen a transformation of nearly the entire campus, including construction of interior roadways and parking lots, a fieldhouse addition, Ross House, the Operations building and renovation of Bready and Hoffman houses. In more recent years, Kevin helped lead the construction of a new Head of School residence as well as the Woodman Center, the Y-Lab, the Gorgi Squash and Education Center, a new heating plant as well as the renovation of Jones Library, the Lower School, and facilities for baseball, soccer, tennis, softball, and strength & conditioning. It’s literally true that MB would not be the same place today without Kevin’s expert guidance over the years.
To me, Bruce, Randy, Kristin, Tom, and Kevin exemplify what it means to work at a school. Blessed with energy and creativity, they have worked tirelessly in support of children and their learning. Lifelong learners themselves, they are versatile, and they draw on an ever-growing set of skills and experiences. Their diverse passions and interests lead them to playing multiple roles within the community. And they are all empathetic and caring people who have invested themselves fully over the years in the growth of others and the institution as a whole. They leave big shoes to be filled, even as they have inspired others to walk in their footsteps.
May the next two months be ones of gratitude and joy as we wrap up our time together.
Head of School