We write with important news. The first is bittersweet. I (Heather Nakakura) will be retiring from the director position mid-year but with the hope and intention of staying involved with the school in some capacity. It’s hard to believe the time has finally come after 27 years of WHEA. It has been an amazing journey watching the school progress and evolve into what it is today but I truly believe that it’s time for me to step down. It has been a pleasure serving the staff and students and WHEA will always have a place in my heart. I’m also very excited to introduce our new incoming Director, Joe Greenberg. Although we’ve just started working together I’m confident that he will honor our vision and mission and will continue to move WHEA forward.
I, (Joe Greenberg), feel both honored and humbled to have been invited to join this special school and am eager to get to meet and know our talented staff, impressive students and supportive families. Heather and I are both appreciative to our Governing Board for having the forethought to allow for an overlap period to allow the two of us the opportunity to work alongside each other and collaborate in the coming months with the goal of achieving as seamless and harmonious a transition of this leadership role for the school.
As a school, this year we are turning the page to a new chapter of the WHEA story. There are only a select few schools like ours that have stood the test of time and are still thriving the way we are, despite a steady flow of cross currents that have helped form what we have become over the years, including recently the unprecedented global pandemic. One of the reasons the school has been able to successfully sustain itself all these years is that it has seemingly always had the good fortune to attract and embrace a consistent core of dedicated staff and families that have proudly served as the keepers of the flame of the WHEA’s mission and roots as a purposeful progressive learning community. And as people have graduated or moved on, the school has grown and evolved by being open to welcoming new waves of people—teachers, students, and parent-caregivers—who inevitably bring with them new ideas that have allowed the fire to remain stoked and robust.
In her memoir Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now the wise and powerful Maya Angelou shares:
“Each one of us has the right and responsibility to assess the roads that lie ahead and those roads of which we have traveled. And if the future road looms ominous and unpromising and the road back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and carrying only the necessary baggage step-off that road to a new direction.”
Along the way, those involved with the school have led with a pioneer spirit and have learned many lessons while charting some of the bumpy terrain that Ms. Angelou alludes to. To be sure, the road is full of rich and wonderful memories. But there are still many open untraveled roads ahead ready to be explored, and even created, as only pioneers and trailblazers do. Ominous as the unmarked trail can be, know that taking leaps of faith and being open to the powerful learning that can occur for our students and ourselves as teachers and parent-caregivers is usually when the most impactful learning takes place. This attitude has always been the innovative lifeblood that has driven and distinguished WHEA over the years.
This is an exciting and important time to be part of the WHEA community with lots of new and fertile ideas and possibilities before us, but we also face any number of changes and challenges. These include continuing to responsibly contend with COVID-related safety concerns, as well as external academic performance framework mandates and requirements that we need to thoughtfully adhere to while at the same time ensuring our educational mission is honored and upholding our core beliefs and values. Collectively, it will be our responsibility to be deliberate and conscientious about what happens to the school this year and those that follow. In short, we must imagine the future those of us directly involved and invested want for our school. If not, we risk someone else envisioning it for us. As such, we are extending an open and heartfelt invitation to join in and get involved in the school in whatever way feels right--mentor for a student project, PTO member, or something else. The point is--we need you. And we thank you, in advance, for supporting the cause.
For now, we wish for you to continue enjoying this summer season and hope you and your family remain safe and well. In the coming weeks, we will be sharing detailed updates about registration and orientation days, as well as safety guideline expectations that will be in place to start the school year. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to us at the school with any questions or concerns.
In care and kindness,