05-20-23: New Leadership Team Annoucements – A Letter From Dr. Skipper

Dear Field School Community, 
We are writing to share important and exciting news about leadership and next year at Field School. This is a letter to share context for an upcoming press release, of celebration for a Field School veteran, and to let you know of our continuity plans during our transition of leadership. 
Leo Connally has touched the lives of many generations of Field School students, and contributed to the growth and success of Field School in more ways than we can count. For the last six years, Leo has served as the Assistant Head of Field School, and in that time led our successful multi-year effort to earn VAIS accreditation, introduced and grew our restorative justice system, led our curriculum development project and faculty support program, taught classes, coached teams, and generally did everything he could to help the Field School community. One of Leo’s goals he shared when I arrived was to continue his growth as a school administrator and experiences to, one day, become a Head of School. Moving toward that professional goal, and taking on experiences to enhance his preparation, has been something Leo and I have been working on together for the last three years. 
Leo has been offered the opportunity to return to his New England roots, with a lot of skiing, and to join the boarding school world, adding a layer of additional experience with a different type of school. Cardigan Mountain School, an all-boy boarding and day middle school in New Hampshire has asked Leo to serve as their new Dean of Academics. It is a wonderful opportunity, and while it was a difficult decision to leave Field School, Leo and his wife Miranda will be joining the Cardigan Mountain community. It is no surprise that Leo was in demand in the independent school world, and while we will miss him and his contributions to Field School, we are thrilled for Leo and the new opportunity at Cardigan Mountain and wish him well. 
One of Leo’s great strengths and the role he played at Field School was as a linker, a bridge between students, parents, faculty, and community. That was true in many ways, but particularly so in his work as the head of our discipline and student life programs. He also led many of our community outreach programs. The linkages Leo provided are important, and maintaining and building on those community relationships was a primary goal in our planning for continuity and growth. 
The answer is that we are tapping the internal talents of the Field School community for continuity in some roles and tapping the talents of the larger Charlottesville community for other roles. Internally, Joe Smith will be leading the Outdoor Activities Club and Maureen Perriello will be leading our Student Activities Program including a new initiative to support our 8thgraders in preparation for the transition to high school. Bo Perriello will be stepping into Leo’s academic program role. Given Leo’s many hats, that still leaves the important roles of student life leadership and community engagement. 
One of the benefits of being a part of the larger Charlottesville community is the depth of talent around us. As you will see in the press release, we are excited to announce that Phil Stinnie will be joining the Field School community as our Dean of Student Life and Director of Community Outreach. Like Leo, Phil works closely and effectively with students and school families as a coach, mentor, and key figure in bringing diverse communities together. You will read more about Phil and his experiences in the accompanying release.
On a personal note, while I am stepping out of the Headship role, I will still be a part of the Field School community and actively engaged with the school as an advisor and resource.  My plan, prior to getting excited about helping Field School, was to work on a number of long-standing writing projects and work with schools on areas where I can make a difference. Continuing to help Field School grow and nurture its unique and important mission in service to middle school boys is something I am committed to. 
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve Field School and its wonderful young men and families. I look forward to the successes to come and to sharing in them with all of you. 
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