Words From the Rector 2014/2015
Greetings from Chatham Hall,
I hope summer is treating you and your loved ones well. My family and I have finally arrived to campus. We are thrilled to be here! Halsey (who is 8) can be seen racing by on her bicycle. Should you see her purple two-wheeler parked, it’s typically in close proximity to a horse. My husband, Johnny, has already navigated the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, no small feat! I’m settling into the office and have loved meeting our loyal alumnae, dedicated parents, and our talented faculty and staff. It’s only been two weeks, but already Chatham Hall feels like home.
As the new leader of Chatham Hall, I’m sure you have questions about me. I would imagine you are curious as to what I will do and how I will do it. You might wonder as to whether Chatham Hall will change under new leadership. At the core you might be asking whether our new leader will “get” Chatham Hall and all that the school stands for. These are all valid concerns and can be unsettling. I sincerely hope to put your mind at ease by answering these questions transparently. I have two goals that were established in collaboration with the Board of Trustees. These are stated most simply:
1. Get to know Chatham Hall.
2. Ensure her legacy for subsequent generations.
So, let’s start with getting to know Chatham Hall. I realize there is much to learn. A modern day Margaret Mead, I will be a participant anthropologist learning the landscape and culture of this community. There are rites, rituals, and language to master. There are unique systems within this society that I must understand, relationships to navigate, and ultimately, to foster. People are the heart of Chatham Hall and I can’t wait to engage in the work of human connectivity. I look forward to getting to know all who make this school so special and the culture they have created.
As part of my process of fact-finding and observation, I solicit your help. Would you be so kind as to share your thoughts? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @Suzanne_W_Buck. Tell me why you value Chatham Hall. I eagerly look forward to reading your experiences, memories, and reflections.
Ensuring Chatham Hall’s legacy is a critical charge. I will need to know the ins and outs of the school before I can construct or best nurture existing systems of success. There will be a lot of analysis and strategizing, none of which will be done in isolation. Working together is the most effective means of fortifying our institutional sustainability. How excited I am to partner with you!
In my first chapel service last May, I introduced the school community to some of the aspects of my leadership style about which I thought they might be curious. In the spirit of openness, I share a few of these with you, too.
I believe that relationships are the foundation of all that we are and do. Strong relationships are built upon trust, active listening, and continued engagement. They require work.
One might not always like the decisions I make, but she will know the reasons why a decision was made, the factors that were involved in the deliberation, and that her voice was heard in the process.
I am competitive, but I am also compassionate. I will work most determinedly to achieve success, but will not do so at the cost of unwarranted sacrifice to others.
I echo the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
I can’t wait to meet you in person. While I will be spending the majority of my time on campus, please check the website to see when I will be traveling to an area near you. In the meantime, know that I am elated to be a part of the Chatham Hall community and to share my professional skills and energy. Thank you for welcoming my family and me with such open arms.
Suzanne Walker Buck