It is an honor to welcome you to Collegiate School. I myself am also new to Collegiate, having started my tenure on July 1st. Like those who are starting to explore our school as a place for your family or a place to work, I, too, am in the process of learning more about the oldest school in the country and what distinguishes it from other excellent educational options in New York City.
Given the extraordinary times we are in and the challenges related to opening schools this fall, I have already engaged in a crash course in all things Collegiate. That is to say, I have had the pleasure of spending significant time with the people who make the school what it is and have been collaborating extensively with faculty, administrators, and trustees far sooner than a new Head of School normally would during a transition. While there is still more for me to learn, I share these observations now, which will hopefully compel you to look further.
The people here love Collegiate, speak of it with passion, and are dedicated to ensuring the excellence of our academic program. Like any great institution, Collegiate balances a respect for its past with the need to always improve, reinvent, and reimagine. The discussions we have already started about how we can be even better are driven by a deep commitment to providing the finest possible education to our students. Collegiate students will work hard, engage deeply with their courses, and build essential skills and habits for a lifetime of learning.
The relationships between and among the members of our community, especially between students and teachers, is the fuel for the hard work that defines a Collegiate education. Discussions about content and pedagogy are important, yet they depend on strong, authentic, lasting relationships that develop during the shared pursuit of rigorous learning. I have read and heard alumni speak with deep fondness for their teachers, and alumni and classmates speak of lifelong friendships forged during their years here.
Collegiate’s values, its commitment to a rigorous life of the mind, and its history of resilience, have prepared us well for the extraordinary challenges we are all facing. Saying that we are the oldest school in the country does not mean much if we do not use our experience to prepare us to face these challenges with determination, grit, thoughtfulness, creativity, and courage. I speak of the devastation and the continued uncertainty of the coronavirus and of our national reckoning with racial injustice that has revealed how Collegiate can and must be a more equitable place. These are uniquely difficult issues to confront, and I am proud that our community is leaning into solving them.
Again, there remains much more for me to learn in the months ahead, and even if from a distance, I am looking forward to the many conversations with those in our community and observations of the teachers and students in action. I invite you to learn more alongside me and hope that you will reach out to me with questions about Collegiate. I am honored to be part of this school and hope that you will be as well.
David S. Lourie
Head of School