Written by Nancy Leaderman, Upper School Principal
“All beginnings are hard,” we learn in the Talmud. Endings, too, though, can be challenging, a truth that is on my mind as I prepare to transition out of my role as Upper School principal. It is bittersweet. I not only look forward to new challenges and exploring what are sure to be exciting paths but also feel the inevitable loss that accompanies saying good-bye, at least to my role as principal. As I take stock, I have much for which to be grateful.
First, I am so very lucky to be leaving our wonderful Upper School in such capable hands. Adam Shapiro, our department chairs and guidance staff, and our entire faculty have and will continue to provide outstanding leadership and professionalism. I know that they will both maintain the excellence that is the hallmark of our students’ experience at GOA as well as develop new and exciting initiatives and programs. I am particularly grateful to Flora Yavelberg and the entire Judaics faculty for their commitment and extraordinary efforts in developing our new curriculum. I know that they will continue to build, refine, and perfect this project and that our students will benefit for many years to come from their hard work.
Second, I am grateful for all that I have learned in my years here at GOA. Every day, I have had the privilege of seeing our students and teachers grapple with new ideas and take on new challenges. I’ve learned about how kidney dialysis works when visiting a science class and about the various laws and customs of making challah in one of our Judaics classes. I’ve reviewed trigonometry and learned (and then all too quickly forgotten) new vocabulary in Spanish. But for as much as I’ve gained in content knowledge, I’ve learned even more in other ways. I’ve been blessed to receive important lessons about resiliency and patience, and most of all, about the importance of community and connection. I hope that I have grown as a person and as an educator in my time here, and if I have, I have all the members of our wonderful community to thank for it.
Though the time when I spend almost every day here at GOA is rapidly coming to an end, I know that the important lessons and growth that I take with me transcend the particulars of time and place. Just as our graduates leave and take with them the internalized values, nurturance, and identity that they developed here, so too I leave with these intangible but invaluable treasures. I thank each of you for these gifts and look forward with excitement to seeing the growth that our school will continue to achieve in the years to come.