Board Announcement and Susannah’s Letter to the Community
May 5, 2022
Over its 90 year history, Miquon has benefited from the guidance of extraordinary leaders. This has most definitely been the case over the last seven years. It is therefore with appreciation and sadness that I write to share with you Susannah’s decision to leave Miquon at the end of the 2022-2023 school year. In addition to serving as Principal since 2015 and graduating one of her own children from the school, Susannah has been a member of the community for decades longer. A proud alumna, Susannah has personified the Miquon education in her approach to teaching, learning, and leading.
As with nearly every corner of society, much of Susannah’s energy over the last two and a half years has been consumed by navigating Miquon’s response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. From spending countless hours working with staff to reimagine Miquon as a virtual school, a hybrid school, and a primarily outdoor school, to navigating testing, applications for two PPP loans, and the formation of school policies to ensure the safest possible in-person learning and teaching environment, Susannah has been tireless in her commitment to students, staff, and the sustainability of our beloved school. It is in large part thanks to her efforts that Miquon is stronger as a school today than it was in February of 2020.
As Principal, Susannah has pushed our community to be reflective, proactive, and intentional as we continue to evolve. During her tenure, we restored the creek, navigating ways to make our campus more sustainable and more resistant to the effects of climate change. We developed and adopted a strategic plan, working as a community to identify growth areas and opportunities, and to solidify our identity as a leader among Progressive schools. We have added a Spanish program to our curriculum. We developed partnerships, first with the Progressive Education Network, and now the Independent School Teaching Fellowship, to be involved in the training of new Progressive teachers. Inspired by her own love of math and experience as a math teacher, Susannah invigorated our approach to teaching and learning math at Miquon.
In conjunction with the board, Susannah has led the Heart of Miquon campaign, which will finance the design and construction of our new library and two new classrooms in the center of our beautiful campus. Under her stewardship, Miquon has raised over $2.1 million toward our $3 million goal, hired Ground Reconsidered, a landscape architecture firm, and SMP, an architecture firm, and conducted a design charrette in April with a variety of community stakeholders as a key component of the building design process.
As I reflect on the many milestones and successes that Miquon has accomplished since Susannah joined us as Principal, I am struck by the depth of change and progress that she has ushered the school and community through, all while continuing to ground her choices in the needs of past, present, and future Miquon students. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I take this opportunity to express gratitude for the impact of Susannah’s vision for Miquon, and for her enduring love of this school and community, which will live on even as she and her family move on to other opportunities.
The Board of Directors has begun the process of assembling a search committee to guide the process of finding our next Principal. This committee will be co-chaired by Board Secretary, Miriam Rock, and me. Additionally, we have retained a team from the search consulting firm Carney Sandoe & Associates to assist us in the process. You will be hearing from Miriam and me soon with additional details about how that process will unfold over the next 14 months and opportunities you will have to participate.
During the remainder of her tenure, in addition to focusing on the goals of our current strategic plan and continuing to respond to concerns raised by the coronavirus pandemic, Susannah is committed to ensuring that the school is firmly on the path to successfully completing the Heart of Miquon campaign and the construction of a new library and two new classrooms. You can expect more updates on these projects over the rest of the school year. At this moment, however, the most important thing is to pause and appreciate Susannah’s many contributions. I look forward to working with all of you as we make this important transition, and celebrate Susannah’s extraordinary leadership in and service to our community.
Sincerely, and with gratitude,
Cerys St. John Richter
The Miquon School, Chair of the Board of Directors
It’s been a beautiful spring at Miquon, and we continue to feel lucky to be learning together on our beautiful campus. The past three school years have been full of change and uncertainty. Personally, I have felt fortunate and honored to spend them with our children, whose hope and joy has remained a constant reminder of why I work in education.
I have absolutely loved leading Miquon for the past seven years, and, after completing the 2022-23 school year, my eighth and last, I will have spent more time as Principal than I did as a student, from 1974-1981. During these fifteen years, Miquon has shaped, taught, humbled, and delighted me. I love it now as much as I ever have, and yet it is time for my next chapter. My two sons, Sam and Ben, will both be in college after next year and my husband, Douglas, and I see this as the perfect time to transplant our family to the West Coast. I’m standing at a precipice, ready to do something we encourage Miquon kids to do: I am letting go of something I know and love without the certainty of what comes next. It is an exciting decision that feels right for me and my family and, as hard as it is to leave such a wonderful place and community, I am thrilled for all the wonderful things that are ahead, both for me and for Miquon.
All this said, there is a lot to be done between now and June 2023! First among the projects I am determined to finish is the Heart of Miquon capital campaign. With less than $1 million left to reach our goal of $3 million, I am confident that we will succeed in funding a new building for our library and two classrooms, as well as an outdoor gathering space. This project will re-envision the center of campus — the Heart of Miquon — and help to position us for success for decades to come. We have already hired architects who are deep in the design and planning stages, and plan to break ground next year.
I also plan to continue our work on the 2019 Strategic Plan, focusing specifically on the ways we communicate the incredible value of a Miquon experience – both in how we share student progress with families and the ways we tell the stories of our important work with the regional community. As we all know, the foundation of that experience is grounded in the relationships built by the talented, dedicated, and joyfully fierce Miquon educators I’ve been thrilled and humbled to learn with and from, as I know we all have.
This year Miquon turned 90, and I am proud to have been a steward of this campus and community for what will be eight of those years. We talk often about the power of Miquon’s campus, and it’s true that the creek and the trees, the play spaces, and the classrooms are a special environment. But Miquon’s magic is also a feeling — of safety, of belonging, and of being known and loved for who we are — that those in the community carry with them wherever they go.
I have no doubt that the Board of Directors will find an excellent next Principal to lead Miquon from its 91st anniversary into the future. I look forward to welcoming the new Principal with the assurance that they are joining an unparalleled school community that values tradition even as it embraces change, that supports the school and each other through good times and bad, that has hard conversations together and listens to alternate perspectives, and above all, that cares about putting children first by listening to them and letting them explore the world with the kind of curiosity and freedom that is uncommon in many other learning environments.
I am honored to have been part of this amazing community and experience, not once, but twice, and am eager to follow the future stories as a very proud alumna with a lot of Miquon in my heart.
Thank you to all who have and will be part of this adventure with me.
With appreciation and gratitude,