About
About
From the Head of Schools

Taylor Stockdale's Recent Letters

List of 28 news stories.

  • 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.
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  • 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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  • Heavy on the Secret Sauce

    Taylor Stockdale
    I was recently back at my childhood home in Coronado, Calif., taking care of my mom who still resides there. We love to tell stories of when we were young and growing up in that enchanted town in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Back then it was a sleepy beach community with only a ferry connecting the island to San Diego. There was very little development beyond the iconic Hotel del Coronado, rows and rows of Craftsman homes, and a few stores lining the main street of Orange Avenue. There were no fast food restaurants allowed in Coronado at the time, and the concept of “fast food” was still relatively new.


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  • Honor Symposium Welcome Address

    Taylor Stockdale
    It is no accident we are celebrating our Honor Symposium this year on the occasion of Martin Luther King Day. From the very beginning, we wanted to showcase the virtues of moral courage and honor through the teachings and life examples of this truly great American hero.
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  • The Phone Plate

    Taylor Stockdale
    I always smile when I see T-shirts made by student clubs or classes with terms and acronyms only Webb students would know such as Webb Day, Peccary Trip, CBO, ASB Ball, or Theme Nights. As of this fall, you can add another phrase to the list of Webb-only terminology...The Phone Plate.
     
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  • Webb's Pew Research Center

    Taylor Stockdale
    Several weeks ago in Sunday Chapel, one of our highly talented and devoted faculty members gave an address to the students that I thought was particularly moving.
     
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  • Memo to Applicants: Character Above Everything

    Taylor Stockdale
    It’s hard to believe the Webb admission season is upon us. Our admission team has been covering the country and world in search of the very best for Webb’s incoming class next fall. This annual process of combing through hundreds of applications has got me to thinking about Thompson Webb – and his approach to selecting his students in the school’s formative years.
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  • Our Moment in Time

    Taylor Stockdale
    Early on in his quest for fossils, our beloved Ray Alf set up a small museum in the basement of the Jackson Library with the purpose of telling the story of life. He created a time spiral made out of heavy wire along which were marked various events in the history of the planet. First, an oxygenated atmosphere created a basic prerequisite for life. Then came nucleated cells and sea creatures, followed by amphibians, dinosaurs and eventually mammals.
     
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  • A Beautiful Failure

    Taylor Stockdale
    While on a plane this fall, I was skimming CNN’s Money when I came across a story entitled “Hosain Rahman’s Beautiful Failure.” The headline grabbed me. Earlier that day, I had had a conversation with the Freshman Dean at Harvard about the essential qualities needed to succeed in our nation’s most selective colleges and universities. Resiliency, inner strength and moral courage were three of the top characteristics mentioned. It got me to thinking.
     
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  • Lincoln's Moral Courage

    Taylor Stockdale
    I just saw Spielberg’s Lincoln. It was a movie I long anticipated, and it did not disappoint. At the same time, I am currently rereading Larry McMillin’s wonderful account of Sawney Webb (Thompson Webb’s father). The Schoolmakeris a work of art, and in it, Mr. McMillin describes in detail Sawney’s war years as a confederate soldier from 1861-1865. Sawney’s school making years were preceded by hellish times in the trenches of battle.
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  • The Measure of Our Success

    Taylor Stockdale
    This spring a series of ranking lists for U.S. high schools once again set the news media abuzz. The three most prominent rankings released were compiled by U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek/The Daily Beast and The Washington Post.
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  • A Letter to Senior Parents

    Taylor Stockdale
    Years ago when my kids were young and Anne and I were shuttling from play dates to soccer matches, my mom said something to me that stopped me in my tracks. She said, “As busy as you are, savor these times. Raising kids is all about long days and short years.”
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  • Plain Living and High Thinking

    Taylor Stockdale
    Recently I had lunch with a Webb graduate from the 1940s, and we got to talking about Thompson Webb – the man, the husband, and the school founder. He told me a wonderful story of how he and his buddies, when they were caught causing mischief around campus, were assigned work crews which consisted of helping Dr. Webb lay the adobe bricks for his chapel.
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  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a Global Economy

    Taylor Stockdale
    Dr. King is remembered today and every day for struggling against the cultural legacies of American race-based slavery. He is also remembered for advocating the inclusion of equal rights for all people in the Declaration of Independence, the document that began the United States of America.
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  • My Contribution to the Daily Zettabyte

    Taylor Stockdale
    When I first heard the term, I thought it must be something in our paleontology museum – some type of an extinct marine fossil such as a Trilobite. But as it turns out, a zettabyte is a term used to define enormous amounts of data on the web. Several steps beyond a terabyte, a zettabyte represents roughly ALL of the content on the World Wide Web from the beginning of the Internet until 2010 – a staggering amount of information by any measure.
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  • Remembering 9/11: A Chapel Talk

    Taylor Stockdale
    As the ten-year anniversary of “9-11” approaches, it is important to reflect upon that event and its meaning as we look toward the future. Not to do so is to lose our perspective and our vision, both of which are needed to be good Americans and fully human.
     
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  • Dies Mulieres and Men in the Arena

    Taylor Stockdale
    As the week draws to a close, I wanted to reflect a bit on the powerful days of learning which took place on Monday and Tuesday. Most of you know that during these two days, Webb celebrated some important traditions: Men in the Arena for the boys’ school and Dies Mulieres (Day of the Woman) for the girls’ school. To the casual observer, these days might seem a little odd. Why does the Webb community devote itself to honoring the formative differences between boys and girls? How do days such as these contribute to our unique single sex/coeducational community?
     
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  • Webb as a Global Enterprise

    Taylor Stockdale
    Recently I attended a fascinating lecture by Dr. Yong Zhao, Associate Dean for Global Education at the University of Oregon. For those who are not familiar with his work and research, Dr. Zhao is one of a growing number of scholars who challenge the notion that the United States educational system is woefully inadequate when compared to the hard charging, intensely rote schooling systems found in China, India, Korea and other emerging nations. 

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  • What a Great Education Means to Me

    Taylor Stockdale
    A good education is important – vitally important. It allows you to reason, to calculate, to think creatively, to understand, and have perspective. Grounded in the liberal arts, it can provide the historical context to evaluate and detect patterns, to judge and formulate sound self-government. Pursuits in the arts drive the heart of our language and culture. Studies in science and math are the very foundations of medicine and engineering which of course lead to innovation, product conceptualization, design, and manufacturing which eventually leads to economic growth and development.
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