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. Still, Anne and I did manage to steal away to our hometown of Coronado for a solid week of rest and relaxation.
I know we all begin this year filled with pride and gratitude. I am so proud of our community’s many and varied accomplishments over the last several years, and so grateful to everyone who continues to make Webb’s bright future possible. As you may know, we had an amazing 2016-17 in so many ways, including in philanthropy. We received more than $5 million from alumni and parents in support of capital projects, endowment, and The Webb Fund. Also, we are again blessed to start the year with a full school (412 students), and of these, 125 new, eager and wildly talented young people ready to begin their Webb careers. You’ll be hearing a great deal more about them (and from them) in the weeks and months ahead. But, again, for all of this and more we are so grateful!
While most of us were away over the summer, our campus home was still a hotbed of activity. We hosted a widely popular/totally booked summer boarding program for middle school students led by Director of Experiential Learning, Sally Mingarelli. We completed a variety of important campus infrastructure projects and readied four new faculty residences. All of this work and more enhances the campus and provides needed support for our teachers and students. Again, none of this would be possible without the extraordinary generosity of alumni and parents spanning the eras.
Away from campus, many of our teachers were busy as well—working to expand their knowledge and expertise through profession development. Dr. Tracy Miller and Jess Fisher presented on our new humanities curriculum at the National Coalition for Girls’ Schools Conference in Washington D.C.; Ben Farrell took a course sponsored by the International Boys’ School Coalition, “Building Leadership in Schools for Boys”; Tom Jurczak began his MA in Independent School Leadership at Peabody College at Vanderbilt; Sally Mingarelli began her EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership at USC; Yao Hong participated in an AP Chinese Language and Culture seminar at Stanford University; Brian Caldwell attended the Anja S. Greer Conference on Mathematics and Technology at Phillips Exeter Academy; Leah Rogstad participated in language immersion programs in Cuba and Montreal; Kevin Quick attended an IB Diploma Teacher Training Workshop centered on Sports, Exercise and Health Sciences in Lake Tahoe; Katherine Crowley and Claire Abisalih continued graduate study towards an MA in English through Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English, and many others as well.
And, while I’m highlighting our hardworking teachers, let me take a moment to introduce to you our newest colleagues joining Webb this year:
Dr. Ingrid R. Leventhal joins World Languages and Humanities with a BA in French studies and minor in Spanish studies from the University of Delaware. She has just completed her PhD in French literature at the University of Southern California. Dr. Leventhal has taught French at the college level in both the United States and France, including Paris and Normandy.
Mr. Stephen Caddy joins the Math Department from Canada where he taught at high schools in Alberta and British Columbia and even served on a regional government task force developing a new math curriculum. Most recently, he has served as math and physics teacher and math department chair at Immaculata Regional High School in Kelowna, British Columbia. Mr. Caddy has a BA in mathematics from the University of Alberta in Alberta, Canada.
Ms. Katherine Crowley joins our Humanities Department with a BA in American studies from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA, and is currently working on her MA at the Bread Loaf School of English in Ripton, VT. Ms. Crowley has spent the last four years living and working at Saint Andrews School in Middleton, DE, where she taught English, coached a variety of sports including basketball and soccer, served as a dorm head, and more.
Dr. Erik C. Wade joins us for the fall semester as a visiting scholar. Dr. Wade has a BA in history from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida and an MA and PhD in American studies from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He comes to us from Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, where he has taught history, been Director of the Washington Intern Program, served as a dorm head, coached basketball, and the list goes on. Dr. Wade is working on a book manuscript, and part of his year will be focused on that project.
Ms. Jackie Leishman joins our Fine Arts Department with a BA from the University of Georgia in Athens, GA, and an MFA in photography from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, CA. Ms. Leishman has taught studio arts at the Utah Valley University, Claremont Colleges, and other higher education institutions. Her work has appeared in solo and collaborative exhibitions at galleries around the West.
Mr. Malick Mbengue joins our World Languages Department as a French teacher. He comes to us from The Park School in Baltimore, MD, where he taught French language, culture and cinema since 2010. Mr. Mbengue is a talented soccer player and beloved coach of The Park School's girls varsity soccer team. A native of Senegal, Mr. Mbengue holds a BA in modern languages from the University of Dakar, an MA in French from the University of Louisville and he pursued doctoral work at the University of Wisconsin.
Finally, then, as we begin the new year, I’m pleased to share the good news that our own Dr. Theresa Smith has assumed her new leadership role on campus as Assistant Head of Schools. Theresa, who joined Webb as Director of Academic Affairs in 2011, will now lead a team that oversees both academic and residential life on campus. She will also act in my stead when I’m away from campus working on behalf of the schools. Her new team includes several leadership promotions as well: Dean of Vivian Webb Schools, Sarah Lantz, Director of Campus Life, Rick Duque, Director of Studies, Dr. Tracy Miller, and Dean of Faculty, Michelle Gerken. Working together with others on the Educational Leadership Team, I am confident we will expand our excellence inside the classroom and out.
In closing, please know that Mrs. Stockdale and I feel so grateful to be at Webb doing this work. We look forward to another wonderful year—especially as The Centennial appears on the horizon. To returning parents and students, we look forward to seeing you again and continuing our partnership, and for our new parents and students, we look forward to getting to know you all. While we will no doubt have a great deal of fun on our journey, we also believe that what we do here is deeply important and serious. Together we strive to live our mission every day: to think boldly, mindfully and creatively, to act with honor and moral courage, to lead with distinction, and to serve with a generous heart.
Head of Schools