You are all familiar with the incredible teachers and staff who work with your children every day at school. However, you may have less visibility to the wonderful people who volunteer their time and expertise to the school as members of our Board of Trustees. Boards play such a critical role in the success of independent schools like ours, and we've got an especially wonderful one here at Explorer West. I want you to know more about what they do.
I think of the Board of Trustees as the body that safeguards our mission and values, holds our institutional memory, provides legal and financial accountability, and plans for a vibrant future for the school. The board is rarely, if ever, involved in our day-to-day operations, but it sets strategic goals and institutional direction that help us focus our work and provides me with excellent counsel. There are currently 13 trustees on our board: three current parents, six parents or guardians of former students, two alum students from our founding class, and two community members, including retired faculty member Sherman English. All 13 trustees share a strong affinity for the values that make our school what it is, but they bring a wide range of skills and experience to the group, and their questions and diverse perspectives help us continue to grow and evolve. You can see who they are, along with their connection to the school and their professional expertise, on our website.
This year, the Board of Trustees finalized a new Strategic Plan that outlines the school's direction over the next several years. I am looking forward to sharing the Strategic Plan with all of you this spring. One important focus area is strengthening our inclusive and diverse community, working harder than ever to ensure excellent academic outcomes and a solid sense of belonging for every student. Toward that end, our board spent last Saturday together with a few staff members for a mid-year retreat dedicated to exploring what it means to honor that commitment. We were fortunate to have a couple of former students (from the classes of 2017 and 2018) visit us via Zoom to talk about their experiences at EW as students of color in an environment that was predominately white. We also discussed an excellent book we'd read in preparation for the retreat, Blindspot, by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald.
We are very fortunate to have such a committed and capable group supporting our school. If you'd like to learn more about our board, see our website, or just get in touch!