It was before the winter break, which seems a long time ago now. A bit tired, but excited at the prospect of the two weeks of rest ahead of us, everyone in the Elementary and Middle School Building made their way to Baruch College to celebrate our last assembly of 2023. The plan was to give center stage to our students who take part in different activities and recess clubs. Tiera, the president of our student council, set the tone with a spirited speech about the values of The École and how she sees them incarnated daily by her schoolmates. We then applauded Rudolph’s choruses, Waylissa’s cheerleaders, the winners of Melissa’s spelling bee, and Sharon and Ferebory’s jump rope competitions, we named Marcel as the winner of the holiday card contest, and finally, Dara and the House Captains filled us in on the House points to date. In short, we celebrated, as we should, 4 months of working hard and laughing harder.

If I had to keep just one memory from the assembly, it would be when the junior chorus (composed of 2nd and 3rd graders) sang “Je vole,” hypnotizing us and making us cry for three solid minutes (you can see them perform on Tuesday, January 30 and Friday, February 2 during the Musical Mornings). Between my tears, I could make out the tall, slim silhouette of Benoît. He was emotional, like the rest of us, but I think that for him the words might have resonated even more strongly–it had only been a few days since he told me that he would be leaving New York at the end of this school year.

My time at The École is intrinsically linked to Benoît. We mutually chose each other. First, he chose me when he was a member of the search committee charged with finding a new head of school, and then I chose him as elementary head when I needed the support of a solid and competent colleague. Since then, we’ve had a fruitful professional and personal relationship. A relationship based on confidence and the ambition to make this school the best it can possibly be (and on two wives who’ve been thick as thieves since the moment they first met!) I would love today to tell you all the good I think of Benoît and of everything he’s done for The École, but the end of the year is still far off and there is plenty of work to be done before then–starting with recruiting a new primary head!

Thankfully, and in part thanks to Benoît’s work, The École is an exciting, attractive school, brimming with innovative projects. We are therefore very fortunate to have interested (and very interesting!) candidates from all over the world. Having completed the first round of shortlisting, the interviews will start next week and we should be in a position to announce the results to the community in February. We don’t know yet who our lucky primary head will be but we are already certain that they will be a qualified and experienced professional and someone who will inspire the community and lead us into a whirlwind of new projects. We also know that they will have a lot of students to get to know because our re-enrollment period has just closed and we already have more than 300 children enrolled for 2024-2025–a record for this time of year! Thank you so much for your trust and confidence. Finally, we know that our new primary head will arrive just in time to put the results of our newly launched strategic plan in place. Please take the time to complete the Humans Matter questionnaire as soon as you have the chance!