One of the privileges afforded to the President is the opportunity to participate in the myriad of Lower and Upper School events held on campus. This year, along with the Vice President of the Board Leith Barry, I attended Pansy Day, where we had the honor of listening to the remarkable words of Eileen Gu ’17, an Olympic Gold Medalist and international superstar alumna. Her speech was nothing short of extraordinary and will undoubtedly be etched in the memories of our 2023 graduates for years to come. Eileen eloquently delved into the values that form the foundation of the Burke's experience, painting a vivid picture of their profound impact on her life and that of her family. And if there was one part of her speech that resonated loudly with both Leith and myself, it was the question she faced during the Olympic Games: When presented with the choice between playing it safe after already achieving an Olympic gold medal or taking a daring leap never attempted previously, potentially impacting the lives of countless young girls watching worldwide, which path did she choose? She embraced the bold one of course. And where did she learn such audacity? According to Eileen Gu, right here, at Burke's.
It would be difficult not to come away from her speech without a surge of enthusiasm for the boundless promise and opportunities awaiting our daughters and how their experiences at Burke’s might support their future aspirations. The impact of her words left us inspired and deeply grateful that the cherished traditions, events, and celebrations that have been integral to the fabric of the Burke's experience for countless years have finally returned in full force this past year. Academic competitions, art exhibitions, and treasured gatherings such as Holiday Sing, Maypole, Fall Festival, Sports Night, and numerous others have regained their vibrant hues. It is truly a joy to see our community together and thriving and to see our children engaged in their learning and school life on campus. The full ‘Burke’s experience’ that so many graduates like Eileen have enjoyed has returned and one can only imagine how the world will be further impacted by its graduates in the years ahead.
We want to express our gratitude to Michele Williams and her dedicated team for their unwavering commitment to keeping our community united and safe while consistently advancing the education of our daughters. Despite the myriad challenges that have marked the past two years, Michele and her team successfully launched the Burke's 2022-2027 Strategic Plan
, the guidepost that ensures the continued fulfillment of our mission for years to come. This achievement serves as a powerful reminder of how fortunate we are in having Michele Williams continue to lead Burke's into the future. Michele, we congratulate you and remain humbled by your exceptional contributions to Burke's and the students it serves.
In close collaboration with the administration, the Board of Trustees remains dedicated to amplifying Burke's mission and prioritizing investment in the classroom. At Burke's, our educational program places equal value on joy and academic rigor, and this year, these two elements were showcased in our vibrant science labs, art and music rooms, bustling Makery spaces, dynamic classrooms, library, athletic courts, and outdoor areas. A key component of our long-term academic success lies in investing in our faculty. While the academic year drew to a close for students, our dedicated Burke's faculty and staff recently completed a week-long Professional Development Institute, reflecting on the past year and making preparations for the upcoming fall term. This commitment to ongoing professional development is instrumental in ensuring Burke's continued growth and the advancement of our students' education.
Furthermore, the Board maintains a steadfast focus on fostering a culture of belonging. Through the efforts of our DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) Board Committee, we have leveraged the return to campus as an opportunity to strengthen our culture of inclusivity and collective decision-making. We encourage you to click here to hear trustee reflections on our October 2022 Board Retreat
, which centered on deepening our awareness of practices and identifying barriers to equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging. We recognize that this is an ongoing journey, and we remain resolute in our commitment to actively nurture a culture that celebrates diversity and promotes equity for all.
We would also like to take a moment to express our heartfelt appreciation to the members of the Board of Trustees. As we bid farewell to the academic year, we would like to acknowledge the following trustees who concluded their service on the board: Clara Abecassis '92, Leith Brooks Barry, Lisa Farmer, Kimberly Fullerton '77e, Benicia Ganter, Ezra Perlman, Tod Sacerdoti, Yvo Smit, and ex-officio member Amy Norman, P.A. President. Each of these individuals has played a pivotal role in helping the school fulfill its mission. It is a tradition of the Board of Trustees to honor the accomplishments and contributions of those transitioning from the boardroom at the final meeting of the year. We extend our sincerest gratitude to each of them for their dedicated service to Burke's.
We would also like to express our gratitude to Rahul Chandarana, Star Moore, Muhammad Nadhiri, and Stephanie Withers, who have renewed their terms for another three years. Additionally, we are immensely grateful to Laura Bolling, Parents' Association President, and Darby Gaynor Glickman '98, Alumnae Board President, who will serve as ex-officio members of the Board of Trustees in the coming year. Their continued commitment and contributions are deeply appreciated.
We are delighted to announce the newly elected leadership of the Board of Trustees: Johanna Calabria, who will serve as President, Owen DeHoff, who will assume the position of Vice President, and June Kitagawa Sakamoto '88, who will serve as Secretary. Gabe Santos will continue in his role as Treasurer and they will serve on the Executive Committee along with at-large members Dawn Rosenberg, Rachel Skiffer '88, and myself.
On a personal note, I want to acknowledge what an honor and privilege it has been to collaborate with the exceptional group of individuals comprising the Burke's Board of Trustees during my tenure as President over the past two years. The camaraderie, dedication, and talents exhibited by each member have left a lasting impression on me. In particular, I want to express my heartfelt appreciation for Vice President, Leith Barry, the Executive Committee, and the multitude of administrative and faculty members at Burke's.
Our mission to educate, encourage and empower girls is an awesome undertaking and one Leith and I have been so thankful to play an important role in these past two years. On behalf of the Burke’s Board of Trustees we thank everyone for your support in this effort and wish you all a wonderful summer.
President, Burke's Board of Trustees