Monday Notes, Message from the Head of School 11/13

"I am grateful for what I am and for what I have. My Thanksgiving is perpetual." - Henry David Thoreau

Dear Families,

It seems like each week I write to you, I am bragging about the week we just had or the incredible slate of events that took place over the weekend that we just finished - well, this email is no different! Last week, I was so inspired by the Annual Veteran's Day Assembly with participation from our whole school community. What a treasure that is! Hearing our guest speakers, Mrs. Withrow and Mr. Gray, welcoming the valley's oldest living WWII vet, Sy Kaplan, and the sweet voices of our student speakers and vocalists giving honor and remembrance to those that have served - no one could leave that gymnasium not feeling inspired, patriotic, and full of gratitude. It's one of my favorite days of the year! Thank you to the Faculty and Staff, Parents, and Student leaders who helped to make it all possible.
If you are a frequent visitor to our new website, you might have already noticed an update that happened this past week. As we enter into Open House and Admissions season, we wanted to make an effort to share more about our school through the eyes of our best asset - our families! The McLachlan, Jones, and Sonderman families were all gracious enough to write us an article about themselves and to talk about how they see Palm Valley School. As new and prospective families attend our events and visit us online, it's so powerful to see and hear from the families that make up our wonderful community. In reading them, I was so moved to learn more about these three families and hear their stories about why they chose PVS as their children's school and community. As such - we would like to invite ALL our families to participate in this new project. If you would like to be a featured family on the website (we will rotate the testimonials to include as many as possible), please email with your PVS story (Why did you choose PVS?) and include a photo of your lovely family! We want to hear from you!
Changes in Faculty and Staff are always bittersweet, but such is the life of a school. It is with sadness that I announce the intended departure of one of our faculty next fall. Kenton Buck has shared with me, that despite his long-standing enjoyment of his work and love of PVS, his six years here will come to an end this summer as he is seeking positions outside the Coachella Valley. He was very candid with me in stating that he recognized Palm Valley "took a risk on him six years ago" and how grateful he was for that opportunity because he truly loves teaching! Kenton has been a consistent bright spot in our Science department - our students love him. His innovation in the classroom and dedication to issues of diversity, equity, and justice through his Leadership in SEED, are just a few examples of what makes him so special. Kenton has brought much to our school, and he continues to model being a "life-long learner" who speaks openly about how he has grown and developed himself as an educator during his time at PVS. As an educator who is still very new in his career, however, I know this shift will be great for him professionally, and we wish him the very best as he seeks out new opportunities to learn and grow. Our loss is another school community's gain. We will certainly miss him! A full search is already underway to seek out qualified candidates through CAIS and NAIS.
On another note, our search for a Middle School Head came to a halt this weekend as we finalized an outstanding internal candidate that we felt could simply not be topped. Although we did interview several qualified external candidates, the committee felt strongly that having a highly qualified candidate from within our own ranks at PVS is a gift that can not be overlooked. A candidate who knows the school, the students, faculty, and families, who shares in and is dedicated to the vision of the school - and who we know and respect a great deal, as well. She brings with her a wealth of experience in discipline, best practices in teaching, in coaching and mentoring others, and just being a no-nonsense team player. As such, I am pleased to announce Mrs. Manuela Mulé will be taking over as Head of Middle School in July of 2018. Having been at Marywood/Marywood-Palm Valley/Palm Valley School since 2002, she has taught French and Social Studies to our students in K-12 (across three divisions), served as a Department Chair/Curriculum Coordinator for many of those years, and is a trained and effective No Bully Solution Coach. Prior to that, she was a French Teacher and Student Mediation Coach at Palm Desert High School. Manny brings more than 20 years of experience in education to this role. She holds a B.A. from the University of San Diego with a double major in French and Communications, and she completed CA credential coursework at Chapman University. She is also Mom to Jake and Max '16 and married to David, who sits on our Board of Trustees - the entire Mulé family are avid Palm Valley School supporters. We are so lucky to have Manny on our Faculty, and I am thrilled to welcome her to this new role on our Leadership Team. Manny will be assisting Mr. Brooks this spring to work together and facilitate a seamless transition for her official start in July.

Lastly, we are looking forward to our Annual Alumni Thanksgiving Event next week. I hope that if you are an Alumni yourself or the parent/family of an Alumni of Marywood, Marywood-Palm Valley, or Palm Valley Schools that you will join us and bring your families. A light lunch is served, campus tours are available, and we will have some memorabilia out to peruse and browse. Later in the afternoon, our Varsity Basketball Teams will be on hand to play our Annual Alumni vs. Students Basketball game. Whether you play or just watch, it's a great time to celebrate all our Alumni and have some time to be social and reminisce. You can RSVP here so that we have a good head count, or just show up that day - we want you to be there!

I am grateful for so much this week, and I hope that each of you has an engaging and fulfilling week followed by a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends!

With gratitude,

Susan Rice
Head of School

P.S. If you have not given yet to the Annual Firebird Fund, we will be hosting a special "Giving Tuesday" event on Tuesday, November 28th where you and your family can get a special Social Media Shout Out if you give online or in person to Palm Valley School. Giving Tuesday is a worldwide event to join in the movement of giving to non-profit organizations. Forget Black Friday and Cyber Monday and remember to donate HERE to Palm Valley School on #GivingTuesday and get a special social media acknowledgment and thanks.