One of the best things about being Head of School is witnessing the transformation of the children each year. When I arrived at MSD with my own children 20 years ago, they were of the typical age when young families join the MSD community. With my five year old, three year old, and six month old in tow, I thought that the school I had found, on the corner of Florida and Holly, was amazing. Not just because of the educational philosophy, but also because it wasn’t just one building, but a whole campus!
Back in 1993, MSD looked vastly different, with its two carlines: one that ran in the front of the school and one that ran in the back, with a playground right smack in the middle. The school’s enrollment was 240 students with a small Upper Elementary program that included third grade. Lower Elementary was just two classrooms. All extra programs or specials were located in an old Masonic lodge, dubbed the Community Building (now the Upper Elementary/Middle School Building). I remember my first Back to School Night, sitting in a circle, in red velvet chairs, looking directly at the parents across the way, while the Head of School at the time stood in the center like a ringmaster. The area that is now our new Foreign Language room was fondly referred to as the hall of many doors, because it housed at least ten small closets where the Masons would go to change into their robes. The church next door (now the site of our fabulous new Arts and Athletics Center) was a thriving congregation of patient neighbors, who tried very hard not to think mean thoughts when MSD parents would “steal” parking in the “Church Parking Only” spots, when spaces were scarce during drop-off or at special events.
Over the next several years, the school grew and changed and so did my children. The year that the Community Building underwent the first round of renovations, my son Jamie turned ten years old. The year we built the library in 2003, my son Conor turned thirteen. The year we added drama as a special in 2008, my daughter Allegra turned fifteen. Now, in 2014, as we are knee deep in our transformational Master Plan, they are all grown up.
The children who were three years old when I became Head of School fourteen years ago are now seventeen and no doubt applying to college. The transformation that has taken place with these children and my own brood is as awe-inspiring as the transformation that has taken place at MSD.As the new MSD campus nears completion, this moment in time will be marked by the transformation to come of our 300 children who currently run and play within.