Sandy Spring Friends School

 

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Open Letter from Head of School Tom Gibian to Rodney Glasgow, Head of School Elect
Tom Gibian

Dear Rodney,
 
When I was named Head of School in 2010, Ken Smith, my predecessor, told me (not for the first time) that it was the best job in the world.
 
He was right.  
 
Imagine working some place where everyone agrees that respect is the coin of the realm, and that kindness and generosity of spirit matter.  Where continuing revelation is routine.  Where our professional lives feel like a journey complete with surprises, discovery, personal growth, mentoring, and a sense of calling that, when spoken about, elicits knowing nods.
 
Imagine arriving somewhere and you find the expectation that you will be your best self, fully and wholly authentic, to be part of the job description, and that fulfilling this need is both easy for you and reciprocated by others. 
 
Imagine being part of a profession that is continually reinvigorating itself with an increased understanding of how to teach, learn, and meet every student where they are so that they can be successful, based on scientific data and new insights as to how the brain works.  That-- paired with 325 years of Quaker wisdom applied to Friends schools in general and 60 years of Sandy Spring Friends School being Sandy Spring Friends School in particular.
 
Imagine a job where you are surrounded by incredibly smart people and the norms are to collaborate in the search for the greater good, come to meetings on time, listen actively, weigh points of view not initially your own, start meetings with a moment of silence, see the Light in others, and poke fun at yourself.
 
Imagine being incredibly proud of where you work, knowing that this is where lives are transformed, great natural talents are discovered, challenges met, differences celebrated.
 
Imagine a school where students speak truth to power; where Question, Reflection, Action is woven into its DNA; where hope is an essential ingredient and the creation/recognition of beauty is central to the experience.
 
Imagine a community where defensiveness is abhorred, mistakes owned, risks taken.  Some place where you are not expected to be perfect, and the default setting is to assume the best in each other.
 
Imagine a school built around the student experience, where teachers are mentors and families are in partnership.
 
Imagine loving a place and the ideals that the place represents so much that when you step aside and the new person who takes the best job in the world is the best person for that job, you couldn’t be happier. 
 
Imagine that.
 
Tom