Mr. Jeremy Gregersen began his role as the sixth Head of School for D-E on January 1, 2023. Dwight-Englewood School then celebrated a major community milestone on May 7, when Jeremy Gregersen was officially installed as our new Head of School. (Please see above for video and photo highlights from the event.)
The Installation Ceremony was a wonderful, historic celebration that welcomed more than 400 guests to Leggett Field's "big tent" and which was made even more memorable thanks to picture-perfect sunny skies. The event's attendees included current students and their families, current and former faculty/staff members, Trustees and Trustees Emeriti, alumni of Dwight School, Englewood School for Boys, and D-E, and friends of the School.
The program was centered on the themes of honoring D-E's past, present and future, and commenced with the ringing of the D-E Bell, bagpipers, and a procession which included a clear crowd favorite: flags carried by students and family members representing all 15 of the School's class years (2023-2037!)
The appreciative audience was treated to nostalgic glimpses into the School's rich history and hopes for an ongoing legacy of learning, hearing from alumni, student and faculty readers and speakers, and executive officers of the Board including President Rob Miller and First Vice President Josh Peirez. Additionally, the program provided a fantastic showcase of our D-E student music ensembles: the All-School Orchestra, Upper School Orchestra, and Jazz Rock all were featured, the last of which provided a soulful performance of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."
A highlight of the ceremony was when Mr. Gregersen provided his Installation Address remarks. Mr. Gregersen spoke eloquently to the ideas captured in the D-E mission statement and his own vision for D-E going forward, as well as sharing personal reflections.
Having served as Head of School since January 1, 2023, Mr. Gregersen expressed sincere gratitude to all who have welcomed him and his family thus far to D-E and for "... truly making this year of transition a joy."
Then, thoughtfully weaving together his perspectives as both a poet and teacher as well as an experienced school leader, Mr. Gregersen spoke to the writers who have inspired him and prompted a recent family trip to Concord's Sleepy Hollow Cemetery... "Thoreau is buried there. So is Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott. And so is Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau’s friend and mentor. Their graves sit near one another and I imagined for a moment myself in conversation with them about this great school and about what I hoped it could be... And I thought of some lines of Emerson I’ve highlighted for my students for years:
'There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till.'
There is a moment, Emerson is saying, when we realize that what others do is simply that–what others do. We must carve out an independent path for ourselves. And I continued to think about Dwight-Englewood School in this light."
"I began to understand that all of my hopes for the school and its students were wrapped up in this notion of counter-culturalism. I’ve come to believe that a truly great school, a school like Dwight-Englewood School, can and must offer a counterpoint to every serious ill our society suffers. Indeed, isn’t the only way to truly “meet the challenge of a changing world and make it better” to stand as a counterpoint to the parts of our world that run counter to our values?"
Mr. Gregersen then went on to speak both comprehensively and meaningfully to how, through instilling leadership and defying "conventional notions"... as well as through DEIB work, the arts, athletics, and academic programs... "we have to remain consistent only in our consistent desire to adapt... in the years to come, again we will survey the needs of the students in our care and do what is right to prepare them to meet the challenges of a changing world that has changed, and will remain changing."
Mr. Gregersen concluded his remarks by quoting from poet Alice Fulton, and then noting "...Like poetry, like education, the building of a school unique as ours is never finished. Which means there’s no time like now to get started..."
Sincere congratulations to Mr. Gregersen and welcome again to him and his family!
And to all in our community who were involved in the Installation Ceremony, thank you for being a part of this important moment in the life of Dwight-Englewood School!