My Three Banners

There are a number of long blue banners with various aphorisms hanging around the Crystal middle school. They are meant to inspire and give a little character to our cinderblock walls. While I often repeat these quotes–‘We are all works in progress”–none of them are my words. In this final TGIAM essay of my Crystal […]


Over the past two weeks I have spent quite a bit of time in conversation with a former business partner of my father. Yesterday he was on campus so that we could talk through the final details of a project we are doing together. As I was discussing my move to Mill Valley and how […]

Window and Mirror

The first classroom I could call my own as a teacher was, decades before, a bedroom in a Flood mansion on Broadway Street in San Francisco. It had a gorgeous chandelier, an antique mirror above a fireplace and windows that looked out onto Broadway. Preparing for the first day of class I used painter’s tape […]

Learning to Climb

A middle school parent forwarded me this wonderful essay titled, “The Letter Your Teenager Can’t Write to You.” I loved reading it and am going to save it for my own parenting challenges in the years to come. One metaphor in the piece is that of adolescent as beginner rock climber: “I desperately need you […]

I Almost Cried

While your child was, I hope, catching up on sleep last Friday morning, I was trying not to cry. Having walked in a few minutes late to his talk and finding standing room only in a 5,500 seat auditorium at the National Association of Independent Schools annual conference, I was immediately moved by Bryan Stevenson. […]

Let it RAIN

On far too many nights a week Harrison, my three year old son, reappears in our kitchen five or ten minutes after we put him to bed. It drives me nuts. At that point Robin and I are just sitting down to our own dinner and are having a chance to talk without simultaneously playing […]

Tabula Rasa

When students return to campus on Tuesday things will feel largely the same. ┬áMost classes will continue on where they left off on Thursday. The year will not be “new” as it was in August or even earlier in January. There is an important change that happens, though, over this four day weekend–the semester ends. […]

Maintenance And Mission

Early this week I spent time drafting the job description that we will use to hire the next Head of Middle School at Crystal. As I reflected on my job responsibilities, I realized that they could all be categorized as either maintenance-related or mission-related. Week to week and month to month, I do certain things […]

Teachable Moment

On Wednesday morning I told the middle school students that I will be leaving Crystal at the end of this school year to be the Head of School at Mount Tamalpais School (MTS) in Mill Valley. After briefly describing the school, I used the gathering as a moment to share three things that I have […]