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Letter of Acceptance

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Dear Kelly and Members of The Little School Community,

What an honor it is to be offered the opportunity to lead The Little School into its next chapter! Every step of the interview process affirmed my decision to apply. I enjoyed my time with the community and learned so much about the deep and meaningful ways each of you cherish the school.

Since my visit, I have reflected on what makes the community and culture at The Little School feel so resonant for me. The energy and engagement of TLS’ students compel me. As I explored the campus, early elementary students invited me to imagine my life as royalty in a castle they designed in the Meadows Building. First graders passionately explained their engineering solutions for maze design, building off of one another’s ideas and describing strategies. Second and third graders employed new artistic vocabulary as they crafted sculptures. Up in the woods, fourth graders displayed their authentic connection to nature as they pointed out treasured coves and discussed traditions for play and collaboration. Fifth graders brought The Little School’s mission to life talking about the meaning they find in their learning and the ways their curiosity is ignited daily by teachers, friends and setting. There was a sense of magic at every turn.

Faculty, administrators, parents, guardians and members of the Board all shared the ways that children, family and learning energize your community. Each of you also asked me to imagine. How did I imagine your role during the next chapter of The Little School? How did I imagine the evolution of progressive education? How did I imagine leading beside you? Not only did you spark my imagination with your questions, you engaged my curiosity and interest as you generously shared observations and reflections. You each demonstrated care and intellect, compassion and drive. For me, it was, again, magical.

Columbia University Professor Christopher Emdin suggests that magic can be taught, that we can design the conditions to empower teachers and children to create magic in the learning and living that we do. I believe that The Little School’s shared commitment to progressive learning creates these conditions and that, together, we have the opportunity to not only create but capitalize on the magic that abounds in this community.

I am particularly excited to partner with you to ensure that our future community – our practices, spaces and programs– is shaped with purpose. It will be an honor to be the steward The Little School’s vibrant culture, and I will do my best to help us deepen and evolve our best practices in service of each other. I hope we will engage this together with purpose, care, curiosity, respect and humor.

I joyfully accept the position and look forward to meeting each of you.


Julie Kalmus