It might sound funny, coming from a school head, but I never aspired to leadership. The leadership I experienced, such as growing up the oldest of five boys, being elected captain of high school sports teams, or serving as a sports editor of my high school paper, seemed the result of being in the right place at the right time. I never thought of myself as either a natural or skilled leader.
But I always loved being part of a team, especially feeling I made important contributions to the team. Being valued as a teammate felt great, more than sufficient for my confidence and identity.
From Director of College Counseling at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire to the same position at Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut, throughout my independent school career I’ve been part of the team. From an Assistant Director of Admissions to Dean of the Freshman Class, from history teacher to varsity baseball coach, these moments have made me who I am today.
Looking back, it’s clear that my experiences—teacher, advisor, class dean, coach and more—were leadership experiences. It turns out I like being a leader and moving my community forward.
My path to leadership took me by surprise. Now I’m Head of a school were students, beginning in fifth grade, are intentionally guided to find their voice and make a difference. There is no cookies cutter approach, but every student learns they have something to give, they have power. There is a leader inside—waiting to be unleashed.