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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.