|Read Paula Carreiro's Announcement Letter |
February 15, 2012
"Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."
-- George Bernard Shaw
My first visit to Beauvoir occurred years before I officially unpacked and hung my coat in the closet as head of school. A conference brought me to Washington and I was eager to visit the school I had heard so much about from friends in D.C. It was love at first sight. The little school on the hill with its modest façade sheltered amazing occupants: the students, faculty and staff. I recall marveling at the light-filled rooms and the beautiful courtyard, which was the perfect setting for small turtles basking in the sun by their pond. The faculty’s commitment to experiential learning was inspiring, and the engagement of the students was palpable.
These are but a few of the elements which make this school so special and why this letter is written with such a sense of poignancy on my part. As I approach my twenty-first year at what I believe is the finest early childhood institution in the country, I write to say that I will be leaving Beauvoir in June of 2013. The timing of this transition is determined in large part by my belief in the strength of the Governing Board and its leadership, as well as in the ability of the faculty and staff to continue the growth and enhancement of programs at the school.
While dreaming big and innovating often, Beauvoir also cherishes its unique traditions. Members of our diverse community truly care for each other, creating a school environment unlike any other I have ever experienced. This is the reason I prefer to believe that I am not leaving Beauvoir but rather taking it with me. Whatever the future holds, I will always be inspired by the school’s spiritual ethos as well as by its “spirit of inquiry and joy in learning.”
Years after my first short visit, I came to know that which I had missed then but which still holds true today. Beauvoir possesses an extraordinary and talented Board dedicated to the school’s excellence. It has superb teachers who continuously work their teaching magic with our students. My colleagues in the administration and staff brilliantly oversee and support a complex array of programs at the school. I have enjoyed working with a wonderful parent body whose devotion to our mission and to the children in our care has been tireless. But my greatest affection has been, and continues to be, for the Beauvoir students who unfailingly amaze me on a daily basis with their intellect, honesty, spirit
and thirst for learning. A school is not a building but the sum of people who provide it with life. The people of Beauvoir have always made that life an adventure and a pleasure.
Every one of my days at Beauvoir has brought new delights. How I will miss my birthday celebrations with each and every child in the school. And so much more. Pizza lunches with third graders, school-wide community meetings, playtime in the Early Learning Center, breakfast with the head’s advisory team, worship in Saint Joseph’s Chapel, parent coffees, gym shows and sheep shearing. Our magnificent events in the Cathedral at the Great Crossing - Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Closing Chapel with the Maypole ceremony - are treasured, lifelong memories.
The next sixteen months will be exciting as we complete the much needed renovations of our outdoor educational environment. With help from the entire Beauvoir community, we will ensure that generations of children will grow and thrive in this new space. In addition, the search for Beauvoir’s fifth head of school will no doubt bring a gifted educator who will accept the “splendid torch” with great eagerness.
For twenty years now, it has been my pleasure to be a part of the successes and even the challenges of this remarkable school. I cannot conceive of not having been at Beauvoir during these years and all the many events. I cannot really imagine not being here. But growing up and leaving Beauvoir is something for which we seek to prepare our students. It is my time now. I have so many children and adults to thank for getting me ready. The coming year will be my opportunity to express my appreciation for all your love and support.
Paula J. Carreiro