Camino Santiago Trail

Journey of Renewal

June 06, 2018 in Inside SWS

I am writing to share that next fall I will embark on a solo journey as I walk the Camino Santiago across northern Spain. Two years ago the Board of Trustees generously offered me an eight-week leave for renewal, and I will take this wonderful opportunity for reflection in September and October.

Many have asked why this journey, and I honestly cannot tell you, other than it came into my consciousness a year ago and its pull has only grown stronger in the ensuing months. It is not a coincidence that I am making this pilgrimage following my seventh year of leadership at SWS, and at the midpoint of the 7-year cycle (ages 56-63) that Steiner called “The Crossroads.” This period is often distinguished by greater clarity of purpose and devotion of oneself to a mission greater than personal need and ambitions. I am overwhelmingly grateful for this gift of time, space, and solitude.

I can take this time away thanks to our exceptional faculty and staff. During my absence Nettie Fabrie will continue in her role as Director of Pedagogy and fill in as acting Head of School. A capable senior administrative team will oversee the daily operations and our pedagogical leadership will provide strong guidance for faculty. We are fortunate to have a breadth and depth of talent across all our campuses that is larger than any single individual and affirms the health of our school.

While I am beginning to lift my gaze toward next fall (I bought a pack and hiking shoes!), I am fully engaged in bringing this year to a close. I will be honest — this year has been hard. It has been marked by grief and loss, some anticipated and some wholly unexpected. Closing the Three Cedars campus is extraordinarily difficult and painful. I continue to mourn the untimely passing of our Board president and high school parent Sharlyn Turner. The ongoing violence in schools across the country is heart-wrenching. Nonetheless, the joy and wonder I observe in our students each day fills me with hope. As poet John O’Donohue wrote, “When our eyes are graced with wonder, the world reveals its wonders to us. There are people who see only dullness in the world and that is because their eyes have already been dulled. So much depends on how we look at things. The quality of our looking determines what we come to see.” We are indeed graced with an abundance of wonder and joy at SWS, and I am immensely grateful to continue to serve this community.

Wishing you all the wonder and joy that summer will bring!