Announcement from Head of School, 5/4

"Time may change me, but I can’t trace time.” - David Bowie

Dear Palm Valley families,

I am reaching out to share with you that today, May 4th, 2020 will be my last official day at Palm Valley School. It has been my great pleasure to serve the Palm Valley School community these last five years. I am grateful for the relationships I have built here and the joys that I have had opportunity to celebrate and share with you all, thank you.

As all schools look towards the future and the unknown challenges of re-opening campuses this fall or continuing with Distance Education programs, many are at the mercy of our Government and Health Department officials, and as such, we are all planning for a variety of scenarios. The Board of Trustees had the foresight to bring Dr. Sherman into that planning process before his tenure began. As the future leadership of Palm Valley School, it will be his vision and planning that will secure success in the path for students and families this fall. In any Head of School transition, there is a need for some crossover to ensure a successful handoff and planning for the subsequent year. I am stepping down as Head of School at the end of the day today, to welcome and support Dr. Sherman’s leadership in planning for the fall and executing a vision for success in whatever scenario may come. I am confident in his leadership and of his newfound love for this community. I leave knowing that all aspects of our Firebird Family are in the most skillful hands as you transition to the next important chapter. This is not a goodbye, but an expected and typical Head of School transition in unexpected and atypical times that needs to be facilitated sooner than later to secure the future. I know it is what’s best for our community at this time.

We have so much to be grateful for at Palm Valley School. Last Friday (May 1) was National College Decision Day. Our Class of 2020, along with so many other Seniors across the country, in the midst of this pandemic, made final decisions about where they will be attending next year. The list of Palm Valley School’s college acceptances this year is highly impressive, but it pales in comparison to the qualities of our seniors that bring my educator’s heart even greater joy; their resilience, their spirit, their love of each other, and their grit. The path ahead for them is uncertain, but they have fully embraced the attributes that a Palm Valley School education fosters beyond rigorous academics. The Class of 2020 are tenacious, reflective, caring, and committed to success - for themselves and for others. Regardless of what the fall of 2020 in their respective schools will look like for them - I know that they are prepared to take it in stride and do it with tenacity and grace. I am so very proud of each one of them. I know that this is just the beginning of their journey, and I can’t wait to follow what the future brings for each of them.

A prime example of the resolve and generosity in this community, are the results of the $50,000 matching grant from The Richard Brooke Foundation. I am so pleased to report that our generous Palm Valley School community raised $51,503.40 to unlock and earn the full matching grant! Additionally, the Richard Brooke Foundation gave us another $50,000 in emergency funds to address issues surrounding the school closure and loss of fundraising events this spring. That brings our grand total to $151,503.40 raised last month! This community can truly do anything they set their mind to. Donations large and small from families, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members made all the difference. Gifts ranged from $10 to almost $10,000 - and each one helped us take a step closer to our goal. In times like these, every dollar counts and in this case - counted double! Thank you to both The Richard Brooke Foundation and the entire Palm Valley Community for your generosity and support!

Thank you for the opportunity to lead and learn alongside this incredibly talented and committed Faculty and Staff, to grow as a school leader working with a dedicated Board of Trustees, and to take even a small part in the educational journey of your amazing children. I leave with gratitude in my heart and tears of joy in my eyes. I will always be a Firebird. I will forever remember with great fondness that Zella had her first teachers here, and my husband Tim, his first opportunity to coach and teach. There are many fond memories the Rice family hold of Palm Valley School.

I look forward to watching this community continue to soar!

With love,

Susan Rice