[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Dear Flint Hill School Families,

Earlier today, we engaged in one of the most important all-school gatherings of the year. With the entire student body and faculty and staff from all three divisions, we held our annual Founder’s Day. This event provides an opportunity to focus on the individuals who have made the School what it is today, in the past and, in some cases, in the future. It is always exciting to see the Upper School students come to the Lower and Middle School Campus, so we can all gather as a school family.

Today also marked one of those special days when our Seniors spend time with their Lower School Buddies. Then, led by our Lifers, they walk into the gym in front of the entire school community; our youngest and oldest Huskies together. Our Seniors have done an excellent job this year in setting a healthy tone, and it is in moments like this that we can share that experience with them.

This annual event has several significant moments. The first is to take time to remember those who cannot be with us today — the alumni and former faculty and staff members who have passed away during the past year. We recognized them during a special ceremony during this gathering — the school bell was rung in remembrance, respect and honor of each one of them. We also briefly talked about the tremendous fall season we have had so far this year. Three athletic teams won state championships in the fall, and there were some amazing accomplishments in the Arts, Classics, Robotics, and Cyber Security programs.

We also took time to recognize faculty and staff who are celebrating significant milestones in their careers at Flint Hill. We invited those faculty members to stand, as we recognized them for their incredible efforts. Would you be surprised to know that 28 members of the faculty and staff are celebrating five-year anniversaries? Four are marking 10 years, one is in his 15th year, and 4 members are celebrating their 20th anniversaries at Flint Hill. As an annual tradition, faculty and staff who have reached their 20th anniversary have their pictures taken and displayed in the Upper School administrative hallway and the Miller House stairwell. It is a way of remembering that significant milestone and their valuable contributions to our school. This year, we were able to honor:

  1. Chris Brown, Grades JK-12 PE Department Chair, PE Teacher and Head Varsity Boys’ Soccer Coach’ Varsity Soccer Coach
  2. Suzy Chiarolanzio, Director of the College Counseling Department
  3. Cathy French, Upper School Campus Receptionist and Admission Assistant
  4. Anne Young, Middle School Administrative Assistant

We shared some key facts regarding their lives and their time here to make sure that students fully understood the impact they have had on all of us. We also took time to recognize Upper School Science/Math teacher and Head Varsity Softball Coach Andy Krug, who is celebrating his 25th year at Flint Hill. Andy was recognized in more depth several years ago when he reached his 20-year mark, and his picture proudly continues to hang in places of honor on both campuses. We are fortunate that he is still teaching and coaching with us today.

The final aspect of the Founder’s Day ceremony is the Driving Spirit Awards. This program was initiated 12 years ago in honor of former faculty and staff members Hank Berg and Cathy Campbell. Students, parents and faculty nominate these recipients. The charge is very simple:

“The award recognizes current Flint Hill School faculty and staff members, who have demonstrated ethical leadership, diligent intellectual scholarship and a commitment to teaching, coaching and mentoring students. Recipients are recognized for their contributions to the ‘Driving Spirit,’ which makes our school the special and unique place we all value — a place that honors excellence while emphasizing the importance of honesty, compassion, respect and responsibility.”

These incredible professionals represent the enormous number of people here at school who truly could also receive this award. Thanks to your nominations and those from students and colleagues, this year we honored:

  1. Bridget Linzmeyer Kleintank, Third Grade Teacher
  2. Bridget Montagne, Associate Director of Advancement and Board Liaison
  3. Joey Starnes, Grades JK- 12 Innovation Department Chair, LS Innovation Specialist and Upper School Innovation Teacher
  4. Tom Verbanic, Director of Athletic Operations and Head Varsity Football and Baseball Coach

This ceremony is always festive, loud, part ritual, part ceremony, and all celebratory. We are fortunate to be engaged with a fantastic school family. That was clear today and at the recent Winterfest and all that went into the launch for Momentum — Campaign for Flint Hill. Ours is a school filled with thinkers and collaborators, caring and committed people who want to learn and grow together. People who stand out. They live up to our mission and vision as individuals who take meaningful risks, are themselves, and make a difference. Today was a great day at Flint Hill. If you joined us, you experienced a beautiful moment. If not, please congratulate the people who were honored today when you have a chance to see them.

Have a tremendous week ahead! Enjoy the change in weather…for now!!

Best wishes to you!


John M. Thomas