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Community Thanksgiving Letter from the Head Of School

Photo of 2018 Seattle Academy End of Tri Community Event

During this week of Thanksgiving, I want to take the opportunity to express my appreciation for all the ways we’ve come together as a community this Fall.

So far this school year, we’ve experienced countless examples of students finding their voice, overcoming obstacles, and coming together. Those examples played out in places as varied as in the science labs, on the volleyball court, in Socratic seminars in the humanities, and on overnight retreats and trips.

We've also seen it in ways less public, but no less powerful: students who seek and befriend new classmates who sit alone at lunch; students who stand up for what they believe in, even when it's difficult; and students who tackle challenges with a level of grit, determination, and humility that many of us adults would do well to emulate.

Many of us witnessed the power of creativity, collaboration, and healthy risk-taking at End of Tri performances on Tuesday. Performer after performer took the risk of putting themselves out there on stage. The audience responded in kind, cheering on the courage and commitment of the performers.

And every inspiring moment onstage is supported by corresponding efforts occurring offstage. Long after the audience departed from End of Tri and Open House, the same staff who set up the chairs and stage were there taking it back down and getting the gym ready again for athletics practices and PE classes.

This Fall, the college advising team and faculty worked behind the scenes to support seniors going through the college process. And a similar mix of dedication and empathy has been the hallmark of the advisors, coordinators, counselors, and learning support teachers who provide insight and guidance to their faculty peers, to students, and to parents.

We've seen generous commitments and time and energy from parents who volunteered at Open House, who supported the Annual Fund, who stood in the rain to cheer on our athletes at cross country meets and soccer games, and who attended arts performances night after night.

And all of us came together this Fall to open a new Middle School. We demonstrated what a community can envision, build, and bring to life. The community’s commitment and generosity took many forms, from the contribution of ideas and questions to the investment of resources and expertise.

And I want to extend a personal thanks to the community for your support, patience, and feedback in my first year as Head of School. It’s a humbling, daunting, and energizing adventure.

I’ve been so fortunate to have benefited from the ongoing mentoring from past Heads of School Jean Orvis and Joe Puggelli, from the wisdom of past Board Chairs and current Board Chair Donna Bellew, and from the guidance and dedication of such a stellar team of leaders and educators at Seattle Academy.

Experienced coaches recognize that their most important coaches are their players. So to all of you in the SAAS community who have been my coaches – students, colleagues, parents, and alumni - Thank You.

Your contributions are many and varied, they are meaningful and lasting, and they are all greatly appreciated.

Thank you, and Happy Thanksgiving,


Rob Phillips
Head of School
Seattle Academy

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