About This Blog


Bret’s Story

When I started high school I thought I knew what it took. I thought I knew what high school was, what success looked like, and what I needed to do to reach it. I was wrong.

I was really wrong, and my local public school couldn't help me understand that. It couldn't help me make the transition to success. So, in the end, I had to leave.

I got a second chance at an independent school. They understood me, understood education, and understood what I needed to do to get the most out of my education. My independent high school utilized best practices to move me forward and help me be successful.

As a teenager, I didn't understand the difference between the two schools. I couldn't. I was too young. But I knew there was a difference, a difference that was vitally important to my future.

Experiencing this life-altering difference convinced me that I wanted to be part of schools for the rest of my life. Over two decades later, I have dedicated my career to independent schools in order to help other kids have the same positive experience I had. Thus began a lifetime in education.

I am writing this blog so that everyone involved in education today -- parents, teachers, students, and administrators -- can take what I've learned on my journey and use it to help others to experience the success and the joys that I did.

I want all schools to build meaningful programs for college readiness so students graduate as happy, healthy, and successful adults.

Join me in the dialogue as we explore what it means to create excellent schools for our kids.


Jess’s Story

I am the product of an intense obsession with learning.

I come from a long line of educators and I grew up far from reality in the academic bubble of Western Massachusetts. My education was less than traditional: homeschooled after 3rd grade, started college classes at age 14, and graduated with an M.Ed. at age 21.

Shifts in my personal growth were obtained from even less traditional settings. An artist residency taught me how to be alone. Time in a business accelerator taught me to speak with confidence and network. A three-month road trip around the country taught me to talk to strangers and be vulnerable. Moving cross-country taught me to never trust my initial judgments. Meeting my husband taught me that I was capable of more than I ever imagined and that happiness was all around me. Becoming a mom taught me that I am stronger than I ever thought possible.

I believe that the desire to learn drives future possibility.

When I decided to become a teacher I wanted to add value to organizations with a culture of learning. I knew public schools were imperfect but knew I could make a difference. I did make a difference but I also burned out like a shooting star after 5 years.

From 2011-2013 I took a break from teaching to start my own business. During this time I designed ebooks, completed an artist residency in Spain, managed a blog with 27 authors, took that long road trip, designed and launched a web application, and participated in a business mentorship program.

When I went back to teaching, I soon got a job at an independent school. The transition was exceptionally challenging. I had to learn to prioritize relationships rather than rely on policies. I worked under the microscope of highly educated parents with even higher expectations. But as I adapted I also finally found the culture of learning for which I had been looking.

Independent schools have a unique opportunity to shape the future because most other schools do not have the capacity nor the support for the type of culture that truly cultivates learners.

My latest obsession with learning has led me to an MBA degree in hopes of unlocking the secrets of great businesses to apply to build great schools. My writing here is an open conversation about how the best practices in organizational strategy can strengthen independent schools.