At The Winchendon School, we are committed to providing each of our students with a highly individualized and engaging education – one that will help propel each student to his or her own greatest potential.
Since the School’s 1926 founding in Wassookeag, ME, then in its Newport, RI years, and for more than five decades in Winchendon, MA, this has been our mission. Thousands of alumni and their families have expressed how The Winchendon School’s distinctive approach improved their education and changed their lives. The school has gone through major transitions to adjust to societal and cultural shifts, but the focus, mission, and commitment have remained the same – no matter where the campus has been. After all, a great education is principally about the relationships between students, their peers, and their teachers – not the buildings in which they learn.
This fall, we embark on what should be the most exciting transition and next step in The Winchendon School’s history of evolution and innovation for nearly a century.
Many schools and colleges are facing the impact of fewer students and families being willing to commit to a boarding education, especially in more rural settings. Over the last five years as we have considered our long-term strategy based on the demographic and cultural trends, it resulted in us asking and ultimately answering the following question:
“Wouldn’t we be doing a much better job of delivering on our mission if we could bring our distinctive Winchendon School education to many more deserving students at a lower cost?”
After several years of consideration and planning, we have developed a strategy to open a series of satellite campuses of The Winchendon School in major urban areas – all of which will complement our flagship boarding campus in Massachusetts. These new campuses will:
- Provide additional opportunities for both our students and staff on the Massachusetts campus.
- Serve as “branding outposts” resulting in more students and their families learning about the boarding campus in Winchendon.
- Create access for students in major urban markets to a Winchendon School education that they would otherwise be unable to afford.
- Allow many more students across the country to benefit from our distinctive approaches and methodology.
We want to be clear that a vibrant boarding school community in Winchendon, MA is absolutely essential to the success of this satellite strategy. The team in Winchendon will provide everything from curriculum and professional development to administrative and financial services, to admissions and development operations, to college counseling and HR support for the satellite operations. We expect little change at the core of the Winchendon campus for students other than a stronger applicant pool in the coming years. There should be nothing but upside for both the students and adults here at our flagship campus.
In the near term, there will be changes in three leadership roles, all of which more accurately reflect the way that the School has operated over the last year or so. This past weekend at their annual meeting, the Board of Trustees approved the extension of John’s contract through 2023. As of October 1, John will assume the newly created position of CEO. In this role, he will continue to lead the overall Winchendon School organization. John will be splitting his time between the Winchendon campus and the satellite initiative.
This shift allows for the naming of Laurie Lambert as the Head of School for Winchendon’s Massachusetts campus. Laurie has effectively been training for this position for the last three decades. The culture, morale, and environment that she has created on our campus over the last two years is clear evidence that she is the best person to lead our flagship operations.
And, as referenced earlier, long-time faculty member Sean Duncan will be the Founding Head of School of The Winchendon School’s Brooklyn campus. Sean has played a key role in a number of our most important new initiatives over the last decade, and it is only fitting that he take “point” on this new strategy.
We are sure that you will have lots of questions. The best place to start is at brooklyn.staging-winchone.kinsta.cloud. We will also be holding a special session late Saturday morning of Family Weekend so that we can share more details on plans and the next steps forward for The Winchendon School. If you would like to learn more but are unable to attend that meeting, please send John an email at [email protected]org. We look forward to your feedback and thoughts.
Nulla Vestigia Retrorsum (No steps backwards),
Glenn Hunt, President – President of the Board of Trustees
John Kerney, Head of School