by Miriam Przybyla-Baum P’22,’20, Chair of Language Department and Co-Coordinator of the IB Diploma Programme
Magical. It was a word used by Stephanie during our opening faculty and staff meetings in August. Stephanie evoked the magic that is present in this community. The fact that Stephanie picked up on that particular vibe and chose to weave it into her opening remarks is quite telling.
Hello everyone. My name is Miriam Przybyla-Baum. Let’s rewind to spring 2017. I was the faculty representative for the Head of School Search Committee. I wore many hats of two decades' worth of boarding school experience in that process - teacher, house parent, fitness instructor, adviser to student leaders, and parent to my own daughters at SBS. I was here when we began the middle school and when becoming an IB World School was just an Academic Dean’s dream. I felt the heavy task of making sure to represent the needs, desires, and priorities of my colleagues.
Of course, I had a highly vested interest in identifying the best possible candidate for our next head of school but was also provided the opportunity to share my love for this school and to express my respect for my fellow colleagues and the amazing work they do.
Magic happened for the search committee. Stephanie appeared. Out of thin air. The search consultants let the committee know they found a fabulous candidate. The day we interviewed Stephanie I had goosebumps just thinking about what a perfect match we made. When I learned she felt the same way, I was overjoyed. I will not soon forget what it felt like to share in the excitement surrounding the announcement of Stephanie’s hire!
Students will not soon forget that moment last May when Stephanie visited campus and we all watched her and then-head-of-school Sally hugging like they were dear old friends. Some call it chemistry. We might just call it “magic!” What it meant for our student population was a feeling of trust, confidence, and comfort during a time of transition. It meant they could count on having a head who would care about them as individuals, invest in their learning, and carry on the tradition of nurturing community values and inspiring passion.
Families in the audience, you have experienced these feelings first-hand when dropping students off that first day of school this year. I am sure that you, too, felt Stephanie’s warmth, wisdom, energy, and genuine concern for your daughter.
On behalf of Stoneleigh-Burnham faculty, I would like to extend a formal welcome to our Head of School. Stephanie - we feel how enamored you already are of this special place that you deem magical and look forward to working with you to realize the mandate from the Board of Trustees. At your first house meeting you looked at each one of us and said “You make it happen.” We heard you, Stephanie. Together, we will make it happen.