I’m back this week, just a little cranky about the 50-something responses Philippe had to his letter last week–my response rate is far, far lower! (Andria and I have a weekly squabble over the readership reports of my letter vs. her Memo–I beat her soundly every time, so that’s some comfort!) I do, of course, forgive you all because Philippe’s announcement was an important one and worthy of all the congratulations you sent his way. The announcement is, as I am sure you all realized, very good news for The École, especially as we are preparing for a new phase in our school’s history.

I write to you about all manner of things in these letters, but from time to time, it’s good to take a step back and measure the dynamic nature of The École. Since the start of the year, we’ve been brainstorming our new strategic plan–we are a tad behind schedule, but we are moving forward in our work with Humans Matter–we prefer to take our time rather than rush into anything. In September, as you know, we’ll welcome our new Primary Head in a newly created position, encompassing Maternelle and the Elementary role currently occupied by Benoît. Sophie and I will work together to put the pedagogical side of the strategic plan in place. The École also finds itself in a new situation–our classes are full, and we have long waiting lists for next year. It’s a situation that looks set to last and brings with it a slew of exciting new challenges: what students will we choose for what type of school? What are the pedagogical and budgetary implications? What new needs must we meet?

In the context of all this “newness,” Philippe joining the team in the (new) role of CEO not only represents an undeniable added value thanks to his expertise but is also a promise of continuity. Philippe and Laurence are reaffirming their support through this new commitment and the culture they have created–probably our most precious asset–will continue to inspire our actions and our daily lives. On a personal and professional level, I am thrilled by Philippe’s “arrival.” First because coming to work will be even more of a pleasure knowing that Phiippe will be here and Laurence even more present. And second, because I will be able to spend more time with my colleagues and with our students, visiting classrooms, reading, observing, and thinking.

It’s true that the past four years have been intense. The teacher trainer who led our professional development workshops on AI on Wednesday and Thursday last visited before COVID, and she confessed that the school she saw this week bears no resemblance to its previous incarnation. None of this happens by magic; it happens through hard work, by arriving early and leaving late every day. It doesn’t happen alone but alongside colleagues who are committed to giving their best. We do it out of respect for those who founded The École, Yves Rivaud and Clyde Javois. We do it for all of you and particularly for the children. We do it to honor the exceptional generosity of Philippe and Laurence. That they have decided to “move into” The École is one of the nicest gifts they could offer us.