September Head of School Letter: 40 + Forward

Friday, September 1, 2017


The 2017–2018 school year marks the 40th anniversary of Glen Urquhart School. Originally founded by Lynne Warren as the North Shore Middle School in 1977, the fledgling enterprise moved to our permanent home in 1982 and soon thereafter became Glen Urquhart School. GUS has inhabited our campus since then, transforming into a school what had been the Spaulding brothers’ formal gardens (1907–1916), the Burrage greenhouses (1916–1939), and the Halifax Garden Company’s Orchidvale (1939–1981).

I’m very excited this year to look back with you and celebrate four decades of GUS and, at the same time, look forward to the school’s future. The students’ world is arguably a more complex place in many ways than it was in 1977: faster, more connected, more diverse, less predictable. Still, the fundamental truth about GUS endures: hands-on learning in a warm, creative community allows children to grow in knowledge and wisdom about themselves and the world around them.

It’s clear that so much of what is distinctive about Glen Urquhart School remains unchanged: the traditions of Grandfriends’ Day, Bread Day, Solstice, May Day, and Evening with the Graduates, for example. The value we place on authentic learning endures, as do the critical roles that the visual arts, music, drama, creative writing, and dance play. The joyful spark of school community that has always been central to the life of GUS continues to burn bright. And dozens of dedicated teachers remain invested head, heart, and soul in this place. We are all lucky to be part of a living, thriving institution of learning.

This summer, I read through all the old yearbooks and many scrapbooks collected by former GUS math guru Merelyn Smith, who stopped by on vacation from teaching in China, where she now resides. We talked about what makes GUS so special. Merelyn and I agreed that the respect accorded to each child as unique and worthy of the time and energy that a growing child deserves is part of the GUS magic. We value each and every student here, and each boy and girl feels that. We also challenge children in optimal ways, not only providing an exciting and rich place- and theme-based program, but also allowing them to discover the ideas that can let their imaginations soar.

This fall, I look forward to hearing your GUS stories and reconnecting at potlucks and other school events. It promises to be a busy and exciting year!

40 + Forward,

David Liebmann
Head of School

Whitney Buckley