January 23, 2019
Dear Flint Hill School Families,
I hope everyone had a tremendous long weekend and a chance to reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s commitment to service. While I know it was cold, and many of us may have spent the holiday clustered inside or at home, I found myself thinking through Dr. King’s commitment to others and the need to bring people together. That concept led me to become fixated on the word “team.” Whether it is working as a team to provide service in some charity work, belonging to groups that we have here at school, at our places of worship, or the athletic teams, I feel that everything we do keeps coming back to the idea of teamwork.
The terms “team” and “teamwork” cover a lot of ground, but the concepts are straightforward; I identify with them at all times. Maybe these words resonate with me so much because of the many years I spent as a coach. In fact, Head Varsity Basketball Coach and Director of the Upper School Rico Reed often says that “teamwork makes the dream work.” I know I have always valued quotes and comments that bring these ideas to life. It was Michael Jordan who once said, “Talent wins games, teamwork wins championships.” And Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”
Here at Flint Hill, teamwork and collaboration are embedded in everything we do. For example, when we tell the story of why the husky is our mascot, with its nod to the Iditarod race and all that it entails, or when we light the lantern at the beginning of school year, all of these stories center around the concept of teamwork. In all three divisions, we talk about how we are all “pulling the sled” together. And with that process comes an enormous responsibility — the responsibility for each member, the responsibility to work together, and the responsibility to value what each teammate can bring to the table.
We see this mindset at work here on an everyday basis, from group projects in our classes and athletic teams to faculty meetings and music groups. We take great pride in cheering our teams on, and we love to follow and support them. We scream “Go Huskies!” as we enjoy watching members of our team, our extended school family, perform. Many years ago, Andrew Carnegie stated, “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” Here at Flint Hill, we talk about our vision all the time — when you combine that with our emphasis on teamwork, the result is success on so many fronts.
This weekend, we will have a chance to see and hear about a lot of teams. Winterfest gives us the opportunity to cheer on our basketball teams. Here is a link to the full schedule of the day. We also will have activities for our young Huskies, lots of food, special events, and see our collective teamwork in action, with a special announcement at 6:00 pm. We are going to make Flint Hill history on Saturday night! A great deal of work has been put forth already by so many people, and while there is still work to be done, we are excited to share some great news with our entire school community. I hope that you will join us. Saturday night will be one of those times that we all look back on and remember as a significant moment in Flint Hill’s journey, and we are going to do it as a team!
So join us on Saturday! Let’s all think about the word “team” and what it means to us as a school family. I look forward to seeing you this weekend. I thank you for being a part of our team, and I look forward to the excitement as our team reaches new inspirational, transformative heights.
Best wishes to you!
John M. Thomas
About the Headmaster
Since 2005, John Thomas has served as Flint Hill’s Headmaster. He is a graduate of the McDonogh School in Baltimore, Maryland, and holds degrees from Randolph Macon College and Towson University, with a certificate in school psychology from the State of Maryland. He is the co-author of “Psychodiagnostic Evaluation of Children: A Casebook Approach,” and has articles published in the book “Parenting Teens: Collected Essays by Independent School Educators,” published by the Secondary School Admission Test Board. John has served on the Board of Trustees for the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS) and the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington (AISGW) and is a current Board member for Emerging Scholars. He and his wife Emily, a former teacher, have three grown sons and five very energetic grandchildren.