"The 'Mane' Idea" - February 2012
Posted February 27, 2012
“The ‘Mane’ Idea”
Reflections by Head of School Wanda M. Holland Greene
February 27, 2012
Sleepless in Seattle
I write this reflection as we teeter on the edge of February; it has been a short month, despite the addition of one day, yet we have accomplished a great deal at Hamlin:
California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) Re-Accreditation Visit:
A five-member team of educators arrived at Hamlin on Super Bowl Sunday and spent four tightly scheduled days on campus; the team’s primary goal was to observe school life, to absorb school culture, and to meet with students, teachers, faculty, staff, administrators, parents, and trustees to learn more about Hamlin’s mission and educational program. The oral report that was read to the faculty and staff and members of the board at the end of the four days was filled with clear affirmation, numerous commendations, and several recommendations for the school’s close attention. I will be informed of our accreditation status in the late spring; given the success of the visit and positive content of the oral report, I have every reason to believe that Hamlin will be accredited for another six-year term. I look forward to sharing the details of the written report with the entire community when it arrives.
Teach With Africa Interns:
We welcomed two passionate and dedicated teachers-in-training from South Africa, and they concluded their three-week internship at Hamlin in mid-February. I can say with joy and confidence that Lindelwa and Victor touched the girls’ lives and our Lower and Middle School classrooms in a meaningful way during their time in San Francisco. The girls learned a great deal about what Africa is and what it is not, and they were a part of powerful and engaging conversations about culture, race, equity and justice, and public health. Thank you to the many Hamlin families who graciously volunteered to host the interns in their homes. I have your names on a list for the future! I am excited to see our expanding commitment to global education and partnerships through programs such as Teach With Africa.
Preparations for 2012-13:
Making admissions decisions about next year’s Kindergarten and transfer students, re-enrolling current families, advocating for our Middle School girls in the high school admissions process, and gearing up for hiring season are all significant tasks which warrant the head of school’s full attention during the month of February. I am proud to say that Hamlin continues to be a school in high demand for Kindergarten and other grades as well, and we have many, many more applicants than spaces available. We also know that high schools are very attracted to our graduates because of their thorough academic preparation, strong leadership skills, citizenship, and self-confidence, and our school’s reputation as a vibrant, inclusive, and stimulating place to teach and lead draws excellent candidates for employment to us. High admissions demand, robust placement into competitive day and boarding secondary schools, and excellent job applicants are all important indicators of a school’s strength and success.
Sleepless in Seattle:
A few days after Hamlin’s CAIS re-accreditation visit, I departed San Francisco to serve on a CAIS Re-Accreditation team at the Foothill Country Day School in Claremont, CA. It was fascinating, engaging, exhausting, and highly meaningful work, and I felt a deep sense of satisfaction in being able to offer my time, wisdom, and expertise to another independent school immediately after so much time had been devoted to Hamlin for its re-accreditation. All heads of independent schools in California are required to serve on re-accreditation teams, and though I missed being away from my own family and Hamlin, I am grateful for all that I gave and received at Foothill.
After a week of precious family time, I have left San Francisco again—at present, I’m a bit breathless and sleepless in Seattle. I am here for a full week of work, and I regret that I am not be able to welcome everyone back to school in person today. The National Association of Principals of Schools for Girls (NAPSG) and the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) are convening their respective annual conferences this week here in Seattle. The NAPSG conference will focus on the “New World of Work” and the challenges and opportunities that heads of girls’ schools face; in addition to excellent speakers from Stanford’s Design School and other independent schools, the group of educators will also enjoy a private tour of Microsoft. Speaking of Microsoft, Bill Gates is the keynote speaker for the opening session of the NAIS conference on Thursday morning, and Amy Chua (aka “tiger mom”) will close the NAIS conference on Friday afternoon. The theme of this year’s NAIS conference is: “Innovation: Imagine, Invent, Inspire, Dream.” In addition to listening to these dynamic speakers and attending my NAIS Board of Trustees meetings (a huge source of delight and inspiration for me), I will give two presentations: “How Has the Headship Changed?” and “How Leaders Inspire Innovative, Collaborative Teaching.” I look forward to sharing insights with all of you when I am back on campus.
I will return to Hamlin on Monday, March 5th, and I will be eager to reconnect with the Hamlin community at that time. Please know that Hamlin is never far from my head and heart, even when I am away.
Wanda M. Holland Greene
Head of School
P.S. As February turns into March, I can’t help but think of one of my FAVORITE evenings of the school year! The Hamlin Gala and Auction on Saturday, March 17 is the most important fundraising event of the year, and all funds benefit professional development for faculty and staff and financial assistance. If you haven’t yet bought your ticket to The Emerald City, please do so today! Click your heels three times and say, “There’s no place like Hamlin!”