Though this is my last week at Founders Classical Academy and leaving is a very difficult thing to do, I am encouraged by the fact that the school will be in very capable hands next year. You already know all of the people who will be leading our school, and they know many of you and this place well. They love it as I do, and they understand what it is for.
One of the first people I met when I started the school was Mr. Doug Sowers. You all know him by now, and probably you think of him as “the discipline guy,” because he is the one who talks to (to give a not-so-hypothetical example) the second grade boys who have be throwing paper towels at the bathroom mirrors to see if they stick. What you may not know about Mr. Sowers is that he is the hardest working person at the school and that he has been behind me, supporting me and teaching me every step of the way, since the adventure began in 2014. He is the one who looks for the jobs that need to be done and takes care of them before I even notice that they exist.
Mr. Sowers does these things because he knows what it is like to be in my position. He has run businesses before, and he is good at supporting leaders because he is a leader himself. I am proud to tell you that he will be the new Headmaster of Founders Classical Academy. Mr.Sowers comes to the position with a great deal of experience in business and in management. He will be effective at articulating our mission, overseeing the staff, and ensuring that the school runs smoothly.
Behind Mr. Sowers will be Ms. Tabitha Loy, leading the academic life of our school. Many of you know her because she was your child’s fourth grade teacher in our founding year, and then their sixth grade teacher as they grew up. In the last few years she has been working closely with our faculty on classical pedagogy and classroom management. She is the one who helps our new students acclimate to academic life at Founders. She is the one who coaches the teachers day in and day out. She is an experienced teacher herself and has been working closely with me and Mr. Sowers for two years. She will be his Assistant Headmaster next year, and together they will make a very strong team.
Ms. Loy and Mr. Sowers will have the support of two new Deans, people who have been chosen for their excellent liberal educations and their deep knowledge of our school’s curriculum and mission. In addition to supporting the students and the faculty, all four of our leaders will be teaching at least one class next year.
Mrs. Julie Apel has taught 5th and 6th grade at our school, and she is the mother of three Founders students. She has long experience as a teacher and those of you who attended her talk about the importance of grammar in the fall know that she is an articulate and knowledgeable defender of classical education and a learned person. She will be joining us as Dean of the Grammar School and our Dean of Women next year.
Mr. Michael Berndt has been at our school since the second year. I was overjoyed when I met him because he can teach any subject in the upper school—Latin, Geometry, Logic, Literature, Astronomy, Physics, and so on. He has been an important member of the faculty for years, and among the students he has a very strong following. He will be our Dean of the Upper School and our Dean of Men next year.
Please join me in welcoming this new team and wishing them well as Founders Classical Academy begins its next chapter.