I am very excited to welcome everyone back for the start of a brand new school year. This year represents a personal renaissance for me as I begin my tenure as your principal. I am humbled and gratified to collaborate with all the wonderful members of this very special school.
Teaching and learning are acts of discovery. This means (and it may seem counterintuitive) that teaching often consists of listening, and learning often proceeds through talking. It means students uncover ideas more than teachers “cover” curriculum. Learner centered instruction is accordingly the hallmark of a Shepaug education. Under the aegis of this mindset, students find a safe space for introspection, inquiry, innovation and rites of personal passage. Teachers discover incipient talents and passions among their students, like the bellows on a spark, bestowing one of the greatest gifts any teacher can ever give a student - ignition of the self-awareness that comes with discovering one’s own previously hidden potential.
Our core values privilege this discovery, and create a road map for the journey. Shepaug students learn to value curiosity, develop skills to locate evidence-based responses to their questions, become adept at publishing and defending their responses, and intervene in important debates by broadcasting their ideas, conclusions and innovations to the community beyond the school. As the culmination of that process, our students intervene and take action in our world through capstone, SAE and FFA projects, and many other community oriented public service opportunities. The foundation underneath this process - whereby students become skilled and critical consumers and producers of information, and become innovative, solution-oriented problem solvers - rests on compassion, empathy, civic virtue and a sense of connection to the local, national and global communities which circumscribe our lives.
The continued education, growth and wellness of students (and all our stakeholders) are my highest priorities. Please visit me any time to share your thoughts and insights, helping me enact my simple but earnest motto: “tell me more.”
Donald R. Schels