As the Clerk of the Board of Trustees, I write to announce that Tori Jueds will step down as Head of School at the close of the 2020-21 school year. Tori has accepted the opportunity to lead the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, a Nursery through Grade 12 day school founded by progressive educator John Dewey. I would like to convey our deep gratitude for Tori's passion for Westtown's mission, strategic thinking, and deep commitment to respect, equity, and inclusion. We wish her the very best in this exciting new endeavor. She will continue in her role at Westtown until June 30, 2021. The Board of Trustees will immediately begin the discernment process for the timetable and search for the next Head of School.
Notwithstanding the relentless winter weather, it is time to look ahead to warmer days! This letter describes our current thinking about pandemic mitigation, academic preparedness, and social-emotional wellness for the 2021-22 school year at Westtown. Although much remains unknown and unpredictable, we see many reasons for optimism. We hope that the following information will be useful to your family's planning and conversations, especially as we partner together in support of your children.
The start of the new year has been filled with so much good work. Our goal of working to become an Anti-bias Anti-Racist community requires all of us doing our part in our respective classrooms, offices, divisions, and departments. 2021 opened with the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, a historic inauguration of the first BIPOC woman Vice President, and our community honoring the legacy and life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
On January 6, 2021, citizens of our country, including school children, witnessed an armed insurrection against our nation’s Capitol building; an insurrection led by individuals who chose to fly the flag of white supremacy and anti-Semitism in order to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power from the current President to the duly-elected President Elect. The insurrection was characterized by violence, disregard for norms of good citizenship, and the use of language and symbols intended to do harm.
Perhaps the greatest wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was about our relationship with the future. From the earliest days of his ministry, Dr. King celebrated changemakers who feel "a sort of divine discontent" with the injustices of today and pursue a better tomorrow. He exhorted listeners never to confuse "the 'isness' of an old order with the 'oughtness' of a new order."1 Dr. King understood that calls for freedom are the work of every generation, predating even Moses. And yet he kept listeners and followers primed for change and oriented towards tomorrow. His final book, written in 1967, placed the American Civil Rights movement in the global context of a worldwide "freedom explosion." He included this warning for those who wish to cultivate a better future: "Nothing could be more tragic than for men to live in these revolutionary times and fail to achieve the new attitudes and the new mental outlooks that the new situation demands."2