Cast your minds back to a time when we were still called EINY. Some of you may already know this, but the previous occupant of the Elementary & Middle School Building was the Elite Model Agency. Even though it’s been 15 years since we took over the space, notepads with the Elite logo on them still linger in our cabinets, and we still receive mail addressed to Elite’s models and agents. So you can imagine, during the first few months after EINY moved in, the number of beautiful young things who called at 111 E 22nd Street, dressed to the nines and cool as cucumbers, trying to land contracts as top models.

It was the first thing that crossed our then-receptionist’s mind when a tall, handsome young man buzzed at the door one morning–here’s another wannabe model who’s got the wrong address. Sorry, sir. Elite is no longer based here. Except this young man didn’t have the wrong address. He was looking for EINY; he’d heard the school was looking for an SLA and thought he’d be a good fit for the job.

The young man at the door was entirely right. He gets the job as SLA and works hard every hour of the day–even helping out with carpentry work during renovations. He’s extremely popular with the kids, and–fascinated by what he sees in the classrooms–he decides to go back to college and get the necessary qualifications. With a master’s in education in hand and the confidence of the entire team, he becomes a teacher equally adored by students and families and appreciated by his colleagues. From EINY to The École, he knows the whole story: the arrivals, the departures, the changes of buildings, and, of course, the legendary social gatherings, during which he doubles from time to time as a barman.

Those of you who know our Maternelle have probably recognized this young man: it is, of course, Ben. Ben from K West, Ben from “Ben et Manu.” Ben, who brings a smile to the faces of the students at 111 when he shows up on Tuesday for After-School Team Sports. Ben, who supported me so much when I first arrived here and whom I named Maternelle Coordinator in 2021.

For the past three years, Ben has juggled his teaching work and his coordination responsibilities. He arrives early in the morning and leaves late in the evening. He spends his vacations making sure everything is ready for his team when they come back because it’s a team he loves and admires, and he would do anything for them. It makes perfect sense for him to move on to the next stage of his career, and I am delighted to share with you today that he has accepted the position of full-time Maternelle Director. I am certain that you will all join me (even those of you who were hoping to have him as your child’s teacher next year!) in congratulating Ben on his promotion–if anyone deserves it, he does!

Ben will collaborate closely with Sophie and me on pedagogical matters and will be the go-to person for Maternelle families and colleagues on a daily basis. I know that on Ben’s watch, attentive listening, good moods, and happy children will continue to reign in Maternelle.