More Great Reads

Godfrey Library BlogIn case the “great reads” resources in my last post were not enough for this community of voracious readers…Make sure to see today’s blogpost by St. Luke’s librarian Elizabeth Nelson. She shares several recommendations including Young Adult literature reviews provided by our own eighth grade students. You can find it all on our  Godfrey Library site–a wonderful space to explore.

Please remember to sign up  for the  second annual  PA Book Chat on February 6, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. in the Fireplace Commons. English teacher Susan Doran and history teacher Hunter Martin will guide a discussion of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  The PA is in the midst of planning a delicious, light dinner to kick off the evening. I hope to see you there.




Happy New Year St. Luke’s

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

                                                                                              — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hello 2014. We greet you invigorated by a long break and much-needed downtime. With Mr. Emerson’s advice in mind, I embraced vacation as a series of “best days in the year.” And following my own recent advice, I strived to be present and grateful.

Frankly, it wasn’t too tough given that we spent much of our time in both Dallas (where we visited family) and Vermont where we spent much of our time watching bowl games and reading by the fire.  I especially enjoyed Creating Innovators (Tony Wagner), the short stories of Junot Diaz in This Is How You Lose Her, and That Used To Be Us (Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum).

Speaking of engaging authors…I recommend Great Reads of 2013 by NPR. It’s a clever, comprehensive compilation and the kind of thing that makes me wish I read faster, or the days were longer, or both.  I’d love to hear about books on your personal “Great Reads” list. Please use the comments tool (speech bubble at top right) to share.

A last word on books: If you are interested in feeding your mind and your belly, please join me and the Parents’ Association for the second annual  PA Book Chat on February 6, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. English teacher Susan Doran and history teacher Hunter Martin will guide a discussion of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. (I’m in the middle of reading that classic, as are Mrs. Doran’s Honors 10th Grade English students, as I write this post.) We gather in the Fireplace Commons and start with a little wine and a light supper. It’s a tasty, warm, and rewarding evening, whether you’ve read the book or not). I hope to see you there.

Happy New Year St. Luke’s families. I could not ask for better company on the journey into 2014.  Below is Emerson’s wise poem in its entirety…

Write it on your heart

that every day is the best day in the year.

He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day

who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every day and be done with it.

You have done what you could.

Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.

Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;

begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit

to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

The best part of

One of my “best days” of vacation.

This new day is too dear,

with its hopes and invitations,

to waste a moment on the



NAIS: Think Big, Think Great

Ever since returning from last week’s National Association of Independent Schools’ (NAIS) conference, I’ve tried (and failed) to find an hour to to sit down and share some of my key take-aways with you. Aptly themed, Think Big, Think Great, this year’s conference featured remarkable speakers, including Jim Collins, author of many leadership books such as my personal favorites Good to Great and Great By Choice.  Just as I prepared to try and distill the big, great thinking I heard over my three days at NAIS, I came across Beth Yavenditti’s post on the Center for Leadership blog and found that she’d beat me to the punch (hallelujah!).

Enjoy Beth’s Reflections on NAIS. Her excellent summary made me think of one of Collins’ well-known sayings: “Make sure you have the right people on the bus.” In other words, surround yourself with smart and dedicated people, in the right jobs, and you will be poised for greatness.

Welcome Back to the Hilltop

Happy New Year St. Luke’s. We had an emotionally exhausting end to 2012, so I hope  each of you found the break rejuvenating. The Davis family spent much of the break on a plane but all in the name of family. After a pre-Christmas visit from son Matthew, we visited Elisabeth’s parents (whom I adore) in Tuscon and then had five wonderful days with son Michael and Elisabeth’s sister (Sara) in Dallas.

Even our Christmas Day travel nightmare (eight and a half hours sitting on the plane at DFW for de-icing during a rare Dallas snow storm) was a blessing in disguise. Between flying time and all of those hours on the tarmac, I finished reading Eisenhower In War and Peace and read all of Law Man: My Story of Robbing Banks, Winning Supreme Court Cases, and Finding Redemption – both superb.  I also squeezed in Trevanian’s The Loo Sanction over the break – the New York Times called that thriller a masterpiece and I could not agree more. How rare to have the gift of so much time to read.

We have so much to look forward to in 2013: Plays, concerts, declamations, scholar presentations, sports events, service activities, dances, Spring Gathering, and though it seems so far…Graduation Day for our seniors. The struggles and tremendous losses of late will make these moments all the more precious.

I am grateful to be back on the Hilltop with my colleagues and our students. My best to you all.