About
About
From the Head of Schools

Taylor Stockdale's Recent Letters

List of 20 news stories.

  • Welcome to Our 97th Year!

    Taylor Stockdale

    It’s my great pleasure to welcome you to Webb’s 97th school year. As we immerse ourselves in campus life and begin the first full week of classes, I wanted to share some exciting news from our summer here on campus—and tell you a little bit about the year ahead.
     
    At Webb, since graduation last June, the campus has been buzzing with activity. Our Junior Scholars Summer Program for rising 7th, 8th and 9th graders, a boarding program with four separate tracks over two sessions (paleontology, science and engineering, digital arts and leadership), was once again fully enrolled with over 160 students from across the country and around the world. A number of capital projects were also completed in dormitories, classrooms and faculty residences. And work began on the complete re-imagining and renewal of the Hooper Community Center and Centennial Plaza. Our new Hooper Center will include large and small gathering spaces with new technology, a community café, a student services center and more. This major construction project will be completed next summer and officially opened at The Centennial Years Kick-Off Celebration on October 2, 2020. I know it’s more than a year away, but please save the date!    
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  • The Webb Schools of Moral Clarity

    Taylor Stockdale

    Like many of you, I have to admit, I have scandal fatigue. The daily headlines continue to shock and disturb, and recently hit very close to home. The college admissions debacle that rocked the world of higher education last month, also shook the world of secondary prep schools. Several editions ago, in the WEBB magazine, I referenced the selective college admission process in America as a game of sorts. Not a fun game or in any way positive, but rather as an insidious game of rankings, superficial bolstering, all with high-minded applicants hanging in the balance. Many people responded to me that they agreed: there must be a better way.
     
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  • Our Radically Traditional Webb

    Taylor Stockdale

    As we begin to plan our final push toward The Centennial in 2022, I’ve become increasingly intrigued by the idea of permanence, particularly organizational permanence. What makes some institutions stand the test of time and others simply vanish?
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  • Honor, Civility and Community

    Taylor Stockdale

    Now that regular classes are officially underway and we are beginning to settle into our regular routines, I am sending out my annual reminder of some of the small but important rules which relate to deportment, respect for one another, and overall civility. Webb prides itself on honor, trust and community. As such, please keep the following in mind as we set out to build our community for the 2018-19 school year.
     
    Honor Each Other
     
    I understand that the use of electronic devices is everywhere. But please, let's say hello to one another when we pass each other on the quad or on a pathway, or wherever we see each other. Let's not forget the power of personal conversation. And let's respect each other enough to drop our phones—if even for a moment—to say hello, and to mean it. Let's also put phones away when in the chapel, and whenever we are an audience. 
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  • Opening Days -- Remarks

    Taylor Stockdale

    Good afternoon everyone, I’m Taylor Stockdale, Head of The Webb Schools, and it’s my privilege and pleasure to officially welcome you to Webb. I’m delighted to kick-off the school year with you today in this atmosphere of such palpable optimism, energy, and anticipation.
     
    From the time I arrived at Webb over 30 years ago, I have only deepened my admiration—and my love—for this extraordinary institution and this remarkably beautiful place. There’s always a distinctive flavor to any Webb gathering—whether it’s today’s new parent and new student orientation, or our Parents Weekend, or our Affiliates fundraiser and dinner party. I must tell you, too, that the same distinctive flavor is evident even on many of our most ordinary days here on campus. 
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  • This Crazy Game We Play

    Taylor Stockdale

    Recently, when on a conference call with fellow board members of the World Leading Schools Association, we were asked to brainstorm a theme for our upcoming conference in Prague in the summer of 2019. There was a small but important group of educational leaders from all over the globe on the call representing schools such as Harvard-Westlake and Webb from the west, Groton from the east, Eton College from the UK, and top schools in China, Africa and India. As we started to bat around ideas for the world educational summit, we talked about the changing nature of the workplace given advanced technologies; what it means to be a global leader; how to retain school culture while embracing this new world. These were all rich topics we agreed, and ones we should and must be addressing. But then the conversation took an interesting turn.
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  • Building Bridges

    Taylor Stockdale

    I don’t know about you, but when I graduated from college I felt lost. I put up a strong front. I had a degree in history and political science—which, suffice to say, didn’t lead to corporate recruiters kicking down my dorm door and hiring me on the spot. And while I had a plan that at least set me on a course for getting started with my professional life, I knew deep inside that I really had no idea what I wanted to be or ultimately do. I had a job offer from Bank of America in San Francisco, so I took it. It was something.
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  • Webb Completes CAIS/WASC Accreditation Process

    Taylor Stockdale

    Taking stock. This is how it begins—simply though completely. After more than a year of planning, gathering data, meeting, discussing, writing and rewriting—and after a four-day campus stay by our CAIS/WASC visiting committee (California Association of Independent Schools / Western Association of Schools and Colleges)—the evaluation work is done. 
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  • Can China and America Escape Thucydides’s Trap?

    Taylor Stockdale

    Statecraft is risky business. In fact, at times and for some, a matter of life and death. The fickle fortunes of city-states and nations, their rise and fall throughout history, can seem both destined and accidental. 
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  • Taking Care – September 11th, 2017

    Taylor Stockdale

    I wanted to write you and reflect a bit on this important day, and also share some thoughts on the times in which we live.  As I looked out to the flag pole this morning and saw the flag at half-staff, I was reminded of that unforgettable morning 16 years ago. 
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  • Welcome Back !

    Taylor Stockdale
    As we return to campus and settle in to begin Webb’s 96th school year, I am hopeful everyone in the community had an exciting, yet still restful, summer. As for me, I was busy early on with a great deal of travel—visiting alumni and parents across the country and around the world, from Florida and Northern California to Shanghai, Hong Kong and beyond. 
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  • I'm glad...you lost.

    Taylor Stockdale
    In the summer of 1980 I was on top of the world. I was heading into my senior year of prep school. I had an interesting summer job working at a gas station on Cape Cod. And I was getting in shape for my final year of football, a sport I loved.
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  • Thomas Friedman: Fear and Loathing (and Hope) in the Age of Acceleration

    Taylor Stockdale
    As an educator of more than 30 years, reading Friedman’s book reinforced my deeply held belief that how we think, interact, learn and teach in the next 100 years will be both fundamentally new and radically old-fashioned.
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  • Ultimate Questions of Epictetus

    Taylor Stockdale
    As the son of a man whose sense of self-worth rested on such knowledge, I am once again reminded of the importance of Webb’s mission.
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  • Attention Needs Somewhere Good to Go

    Taylor Stockdale
    I consider myself lucky to have known and been a student of the great thinker Peter Drucker.
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  • Service Beyond Self -- Another Look at Annual College Rankings

    Taylor Stockdale
    Beginning in 2005, the Washington Monthly began publishing an annual issue devoted to college rankings of a new type—a ranking based on public good, or more specifically what colleges and universities are “doing for the country.”
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  • Opening Weekend: We Begin!

    Taylor Stockdale
    Each August, as Head of Schools, it is my privilege and pleasure to welcome our new students and families to the Webb community. Our opening days always begin in an atmosphere of such palpable optimism, energy, and anticipation.
    Read More
  • Welcome Home

    Taylor Stockdale
    While you were away…

    Seldom has an ellipsis portended so much!

    While you were away from Webb this summer, we’ve been hard at work building, renovating, and renewing your campus home. More on this whirlwind of activity in a minute.
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  • Wet Clay

    Taylor Stockdale
    Recently while attending a Webb reception in San Francisco, I spoke with alumnus Dan Murray ’89 for some time. Dan, now in his 40s, was one of the original students I met when interviewing for my first job at Webb in 1988. While we were reconnecting, Dan described for me his feeling that being at Webb felt to him like being made of wet clay. Meaning, as a high school sophomore, he felt he was still very much developing as a person—and he knew that the faculty at Webb at the time were playing a huge role in shaping him.
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  • Looking Out, Over and Beyond*

    Taylor Stockdale
    Several times a week, I get up early and hike the beautiful trails in the mountains above the school with my dog. It’s not only good exercise, but it’s also good meditation. My dog is excellent company – he keeps the bears away and never disagrees with anything I say. From the summit on a clear day, I can see as far away as downtown Los Angeles, the adjacent cities beyond Claremont, and clear down to San Bernardino and Riverside. Looking out, over and beyond I have a complete picture of the Webb campus - the football field, the museum, the pool, and of course our beautiful chapel. What a sight! It all gets me thinking about our learning community in this unique and truly dynamic part of the world.
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