Dear CLA Family:
While I realize the school year is soon coming to an end and everyone will be ready for a well-deserved summer break, for me it is about a new beginning. I am eager to get started learning more about the school and all of you. In fact, I do not recall ever feeling the same level of excitement and enthusiasm as I do now with the opportunity to become part of Coastal Leadership Academy. The school and those who have supported its early success deserve a great amount of respect and appreciation for laying a solid foundation for us to continue building upon, and we owe it to them to do so with the same class and conviction. My commitment is to bring an ethic of excellence that honors the vision and values of CLA.
Schools today exist at a challenging time. We are all living now in a world that many historians claim has experienced more changes in the past 40 years than the previous 4000. It is predicted that many of the vocations our current CLA students will go on to study and train for have not even yet been created, therefore making our task of preparing them complicated, and in many ways, impossible. As a school aimed at fostering/modeling leadership we are therefore charged with and must be driven to be creative and courageous in supporting our young student-citizens to navigate this boisterous sea of uncertainty. The question becomes what is it that we should be teaching, especially if it is unclear what knowledge and abilities our students need to learn to be skilled and ready for the future jobs that await? Together, we will need to explore and address this and other questions in order to chart a sound and solid course for the school’s future and its students’ needs.
In doing so, we need to consider the problem that has most of our conventional school models still in the business of trying to teach young people what to know instead of emphasizing how to know—how to think. Among my hopes is that when any of us associated with the school are asked by others what makes CLA different and unique we can all confidently respond knowing what distinguishes us as a learning community. For me, I will want to be able to say: We are different because we believe young people can and should be trusted to make decisions that affect their learning and their lives. We are unique because we value allowing students to apply their learning in real hands-on and meaningful ways that make a positive impact. And we are different because we believe that knowing how to think critically and creatively, and how to ask the deep and sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes unpopular questions is at the heart of being an educated and active citizen.
Thank you for inviting me into the CLA community--one I am both honored and inspired to be joining. I look forward to meeting everyone soon, and then working alongside you in further nurturing a school that we all are proud to be a part. My hope is that we are and continue to be a school that we feel makes our collective lives happier and more purposeful. And further, I wish for us to carry forward this joy and generous spirit we share to other important relationships and communities that help shape who we are.