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A Letter to the Lighthouse School Community

Posted on: Wed, January 16, 2019 at 8:06

Dear Lighthouse Families and Friends,

Over the past seven years, I have had the honor of serving as Nantucket Lighthouse School’s head of school. Working with an outstanding team of faculty, staff, families and board members, I have watched a beautifully adolescent school mature into adulthood. Next year, Nantucket Lighthouse School will celebrate its 20th year, while also celebrating tremendous organizational growth and success: increased financial sustainability, a talented and dedicated Board of Trustees, partnership with myriad island organizations, school vans for easy transportation to venues across the island, a growth-focused faculty and staff participating in myriad professional development offerings on and off-island, increased financial aid and Head, Heart, Hand Scholarship funds and an expanded campus that includes a beautiful garden and greenhouse, the adjacent property and cottage, natural spaces around the island, as well as Nantucket Boys and Girls Club for middle school.

During this time, we have also added a number of educational programs, including the Russell Morash Chair in Childhood Horticulture, Mimi Beman Lending Library, little lighthouse, Nantucket Lighthouse School’s Educational Speaker Series, physical education classes and school-wide literacy coaching and instruction with long-time Lighthouse teacher and reading specialist Sandy Mitchell. Our talented and collaborative team makes the most challenging ventures seem possible and easily accomplished, and I am so thankful for their ingenuity and hard work. What is so remarkable is that, with such rapid growth and development, Nantucket Lighthouse School has never lost sight of the children it serves. This is a testament to the Lighthouse community’s strong commitment to its child-centered mission.

While serving as Nantucket Lighthouse School’s head of school I have gathered a breadth experience in all realms of independent school education, as well as an opportunity to participate in the education of so many remarkable children. For this, I am forever rewarded. As the school continues to grow, and prepare for its next stage of development, I have taken some time to consider the progression of my own career and my strong desire to return to work that focuses more exclusively on teacher development, student learning and curricular and pedagogical practices.

After much contemplation, I have decided to shift gears and conclude my tenure at Nantucket Lighthouse School at the end of this school year. On July 1, I will begin a new position at Brimmer and May in Chestnut Hill where I will serve as their head of lower school. Although a larger school with 400 students in preschool through twelfth grade, Brimmer shares many qualities with Nantucket Lighthouse School, most notably its warm community and student-centered approach. Until my departure at the end of June, I remain firmly committed to Nantucket Lighthouse School and to ensuring a thoughtful and positive transition for students, parents, faculty, staff and the board.

Nantucket Lighthouse School is a very special school with an incredibly bright future. With a strong team in place, it is beautifully poised to hit the ground running in July and set to work on an exciting next chapter. I am thankful for all that I have learned and the many ways I have been supported and encouraged by the wise, kind people with whom I have worked for the past seven years. Saying goodbye to my Lighthouse family in June will be very difficult, but knowing the school is in such excellent hands is cause for celebration and great excitement for the wonderful opportunities that lie ahead.

Nantucket Lighthouse School will always remain in my head, heart and hands, and I am grateful for the remarkable families and colleagues who have nurtured me, our students and our wonderful school. Thank you.

With love and gratitude,

Emily