Seeds of Wisdom

Making the transition to a new school isn't easy. Whether you are moving from a public to a private school or are an experienced private school educator looking to join a new school community, change can be difficult. In an effort to shed some light on what to expect, we asked a few Heads of School and Senior Academic Leaders in the Pacific Northwest to share some Seeds of Wisdom. Discussion topics include, transitioning from public schools, starting as a new teacher, Independent School culture, and the power of mentoring.


Percy Abram: Head of School, The Bush School

  • Successfully Transitioning as a Public School Teacher
    • I try to acclimate new faculty by helping them understand the culture of an independent school. One of the virtues of being an independent school is that the class size, the number of students you are working with on a daily basis, is often less than what you would experience working at a public or a charter school... Read the full conversation here


Ronnie Codrington-Cazeau: Head of School, The Evergreen School

  • Starting as a New Teacher
    • Being a new teacher you really have to learn the culture. Even being a new administrator. I’ve only been head for four years and I felt like if I had come in and imposed rules on this school, I would’ve failed. I used my faculty and administration to help me learn the culture. I used our board to help me learn the parent culture. Ask a lot of questions, don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.” If you come in and act as though you know everything, you’re going to fail... Read the full conversation here


Siri Akal Khalsa: Executive Director, Northwest Association of Independent Schools 

  • Independent School Culture in the Pacific Northwest
    • What attracted me to the Northwest was its amazing pioneer spirit. From the first moment I set foot here in the Seattle area, I felt this was a region that was not only young, but growing, embracing change and very welcoming of outsiders of every ilk. As someone who is a practicing Sikh with a full turban and long beard, I felt a kind of embrace in the culture and among our schools that I have never felt anyplace else in the country. Diversity is one of the core values of NWAIS. In fact, it is folded into our accreditation process. We hold schools to a very high standard for creating diverse, welcoming communities with as few borders and boundaries as is reasonable and possible...Read the full conversation here


Rafael del Castillo: Head of School, Bertschi School

  • Mentoring
    • Mentorship is really critical in order to be a successful educator at any level. Peer mentors are essential – especially for people who bring diversity and difference to the community. School leaders can mentor to a certain degree but there are moments where you want to ask a peer THAT QUESTION that will help you navigate the culture and gain cultural capital...Read the full conversation here



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