Dear Windward Community Members,
On June 30 after 13 years as Head of The Windward School, I will be retiring from that position to become Executive Director of The Windward Institute.
Over the course of my tenure as Head of School, the Board of Trustees, faculty and administration, with support from the entire Windward School community, have accomplished what many said was impossible. Inspired by our credo “Save more children and protect the sacred,” The Windward School is now educating over 900 deserving students while remaining one school with one mission, delivering a research-based program expertly and consistently across 3 campuses.
Together we have accomplished a great deal, but there is still much to be done. At Windward, we are about helping children achieve what few thought they could -- by helping them to overcome seemingly impossible barriers and finding a new way forward. We are about restoring optimism, rebuilding confidence and unlocking potential; about academic progress achieved through hard work; about emotional growth that results from positive thinking; and about striking a balance in all these things. Our new Head of School Jamie Williamson is exquisitely well prepared to lead Windward to even greater heights, and I optimistically look forward to collaborating with him.
We are now at a critical reflection point or as Churchill put it: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” Guided by the success of the Proven Windward Way, we are clearly focused on the future of the School. However, we must guard against the illusion of greatness; we must earn greatness every day. I think about the future of our school all the time. While I am retiring as Head of School, I will be able to contribute to this future as Executive Director of The Windward Institute. To preserve the School's preeminent position in the remediation of language-based learning disabilities, the Institute will expand collaborations with colleges, universities and research institutions similar to our partnership with the Haskins Laboratories at Yale, participate in research projects conducted by partnering scientists and share the knowledge gained from this work with the Windward community and the broader educational community. The Windward Institute will continue to offer comprehensive professional development programs that are based on scientific research. I believe that increasing awareness of the effectiveness of research-based instructional practices has the potential to positively influence the way students are taught in public and independent schools across the country and impact educational policy at the local, regional, national and international levels.
Windward is nothing short of magical, and I could never fully express my undying gratitude for being a part of it. I look to the future with clear focus, steadfast commitment and an unwavering sense of purpose. Being the Head of The Windward School has been the most rewarding experience of my educational career. Thank you for making it so. The magic of Windward will continue, and I am delighted to be able to continue to play a role in it.
John J. Russell, EdD
Head of School