A Message from Headmaster Lee M. Levison

Dear Members of the Collegiate community,
 
The 2019-2020 academic year, my fourteenth, will be my last at Collegiate.

There, I wrote it. No easing into it with a prolix prologue. Short and to the point. Of course, such a decision is anything but straightforward. The word “retirement” provides clarity, but my intention is to continue to work in some capacity other than as a school head, which will have been my professional title for 28 years in June 2020. Barb and I look forward to beginning the next chapter of our lives in Maine. I believe that the time is right for the school to do the same—to commence the next dynamic chapter in its storied history.

I want most, in this letter, to express my gratitude:

To the three Board presidents I have had the good fortune to work with since 2006: David Forer ’69, Gar Bason ’72, and Jon Youngwood ’85. Their selfless service to the school cannot be adequately described but to say that their wise counsel, unstinting support, moral clarity, and beneficent leadership were—and are—indispensable to the life of the school. Gar Bason’s decade of extraordinary leadership and service to the school defies any suitable expression of gratitude. My life was enriched immeasurably by this partnership.

To all who served on the Board of Trustees since 2005: Thank you for your genuine commitment to and hard work on behalf of the school. Your service enables the school’s continual evolution and improvement.

To my colleagues on the faculty: Your efforts to inspire your students to know and understand are the heart of the school. Your intellectual commitments and your respect for the boys are palpable and paramount in their lives. Your generous commitment of time to your students beyond the classroom is absolutely appreciated by your students and their parents. My colleagues on the senior leadership team (i.e., Admin) demonstrate every day their resolute commitment to fulfilling the commitments made in our Statement of Beliefs. More personally, their counsel to me is much appreciated—and essential.
To the staff: Your dedication to the school and your hard work are vital in shaping the culture of pride in our community. You care and that caring imbues everything you do and how you do it.

To the students: Your curiosity, ambition, joy, and energy nourish your teachers. Your devotion to one another and to the school makes Collegiate a most special community. At your best, you make each other better in all ways.
 
To parents: Thank you for your faith in and tireless commitment to the school. Thank you for embracing Collegiate’s values and goals.
 
To alumni: I recognize that affections for one’s school change over time, but what is clear to me is that, regardless of where one might fall on the “Collegiate devotion scale,” the fervent feelings of alumni about Collegiate and classmates breathe an indispensable and sustaining energy into our community. In addition, the ongoing interest in and commitment to the school demonstrated by your parents through the Parents of Alumni group are remarkable and, of course, meaningful.

To Ben, Sam, and Liza, my children: You keep me humble and make me proud. Thank you for your gracefulness in navigating the sometimes complicated moments during your school years due to my work. Your love and support mean more than you will ever know.
To Barb: My best friend and indefatigable support. You believe in me when I am filled with doubt. I could not have done this work without your love and support. Period. Thank you is completely insufficient.

It has been a privilege to be a part of the Collegiate community. I have been blessed to do work that I love, even on days when love is not necessarily in the air! I am honored to be a member of the Collegiate faculty and community. My focus during the next 18 months will be to work with my colleagues to narrow the gap between what we say in the Statement of Beliefs and what we do each day. My hope is for us to live those 106 words, making them part of who we are and what we do at school—and beyond 301 Freedom Place South.

Thank you. Thank you for your many kindnesses to me.
 
With deep appreciation,

Lee M. Levison

A Message from the President of the Board of Trustees

Dear Members of the Collegiate Community,
 
I write on behalf of the Board of Trustees concerning Dr. Lee Levison’s announcement that the 2019-20 school year will be his last as our Headmaster.  Joining us in 2006, Dr. Levison is the only head that our present students, and most of our current parents, have ever known. He has and continues to work tirelessly on behalf of our boys, our faculty, administration, and staff, as well as our broader community.
 
There will be many opportunities between now and June 2020 to fully recognize and celebrate Dr. Levison’s many contributions.  First and foremost, he has been an exemplary steward of our mission, fostering the energy, respect, and curiosity that our faculty and students share with each other every day.  Dr. Levison embodies the character of Collegiate and our embrace of respect, kindness, humility and integrity.
 
Any discussion of Dr. Levison’s tenure would not be complete without reference to our magnificent new home at 301 Freedom Place South.  His leadership enabled the School to move not just its address, but its soul. The vision, courage, and pure grit necessary to move our community from its home of more than a century to our modern building speak for themselves.  We now have a state-of-the-art, flexible K-12 facility that will be a home for our boys for many decades to come.
 
On a personal note, I am grateful to Lee for the time and guidance he has offered to the Board (past and present), and to me and prior Board presidents.  His wisdom runs deep.
 
In announcing his plans now, Dr. Levison has given the Board ample opportunity to conduct a thoughtful and successful search for his successor.  We are in the process of forming a Search Committee, which I will chair and which will report to the full Board and its Executive Committee.  The Search Committee will consist of other board members, parents (current and former), alumni, and faculty.  It will be assisted by an experienced search firm.  We expect to select our next Headmaster before the end of 2019, allowing for an effective and smooth transition.  Our work will be informed by input we seek from all of you.  And, within the confines of what at many times will need to be a highly confidential process, we will seek to provide appropriate communication and, when possible, transparency.
 
The transition from one longtime head of school to another is necessarily a time of reflection and, potentially, inflection. As with any moment of change, there will be aspects of uncertainty. The process the Board is putting in place will be a deliberate one.  The search is an opportunity for us to recognize who we are today and to explore where we need to go.  We will focus not only on our deeply rooted strengths and proud tradition, but, as importantly, on new educational goals for the world in which our children will live.
 
Our Statement of Beliefs, reformulated under Dr. Levison, reflects our priorities.  We believe in a diverse and just community that fosters purposeful and spirited engagement. We strive for education that prepares our students to be citizens who act with conscience, courage, and compassion.  That is Collegiate School at its best, and that is the school we will continue to be.
 
The Board and I look forward to working with the entire community in the months to come.
 
Sincerely,
 
Jonathan K. Youngwood '85
President, Board of Trustees

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