August 31, 2019
As mornings begin to cool and summer nears its end, it is time for the Shipley community to gather once more. Time is a funny thing. Around Labor Day it seems to have moved quickly, yet reflection helps us recall moments this summer when it slowed to a stop. Since June, we have experienced growth and loss, change and celebration. That full range of emotions is what makes us human, sharing them makes us a community, acknowledging their importance and the importance of sharing makes us Shipley -- a community attentive to its culture and to others’, and a community committed to the wellbeing of our members and of others.
What a gift it has been for Meredith, Maggie, Fran, Augie, and me to have been welcomed so warmly into such a community. We are eminently grateful to be home in the Philadelphia area, surrounded by family and friends, old and new. Embracing that spirit of gratitude, I would like to pass along that warm welcome to others new to the Shipley family. To our new students and families who know change can be challenging and invigorating, please know empathy and help sit not only in the Head of School’s office, but all around you. Welcome, and please let us know what good help would look like for you.
Another welcome to fellow new colleagues. I am grateful not only for the skills, knowledge, and varied perspectives you have to share, but also to those who helped make it possible for you to be with us -- colleagues involved in the search, and those who taught and trained you. We owe them all a debt. My (and others’) gratitude continues to abound:
- to colleagues who prepare our physical plant, continuously tweak and enhance our curriculum, and ceaselessly prepare themselves both in their professional skills and understanding as well as their personal wellbeing to ensure they are well grounded to help students do the same,
- to students who prepare for learning by flourishing throughout the summer (and completing their summer work), and of course,
- to families who each day embrace the joys and struggles of raising remarkable young people and partnering with Shipley to aid in that glorious endeavor.
Awareness of and gratitude for all of this care and work, present and past, secures my appreciation for what a privilege it is to be Shipley’s Head of School. Such reflection also helps me remember how fortunate I have been to benefit from such remarkable educators, communities, and family throughout my life. This gratitude and recognition of privilege carry with them a deep sense of responsibility. Among the many responsibilities of a head of school is to ensure that the community, most importantly students, share in and benefit from these feelings of and causes for gratitude, privilege, and responsibility. One way to do this is to honor the full range of personal journeys from others both inside and outside of our community.
So beginning with next month’s community letter, I will use the privilege of my position to pass the microphone (or in this case the keyboard) to someone else so you can learn from their Shipley story. If you have something to share, which I’m sure you do, please share your Shipley story with me. You can call (610-525-4300, ext. 4122), email email@example.com, or tweet (@pupturner) me, or of course, simply stop by when you are on campus.
And so we begin together to write the story of Shipley’s 126th year, the most important year in its storied history -- most important because it is the one with us now, just as next year will become the most important year. It is a story we will write with appreciation for the work that has come before and a sense of responsibility to be caretakers of what is to come -- to borrow from our motto: with courage for the future and gratitude for the past.
With appreciation and anticipation,
Michael G. Turner
Head of School