Our Wildwood, Winter 2017, Volume 40

g i v i n g v o i c e

Giving Voice In this issue of Our Wildwood, we launch a new section called “Giving Voice,” where two Wildwood community members engage in dialogue about our school. This first Q&A is between BOARD CHAIR-ELECT JOEL BRAND AND PAST BOARD CHAIR LYLE PONCHER, about Landis Green’s ten-year anniversary as head of school. If you have a suggestion about two people you’d like to see in conversation, please send their names to oww@wildwood.org with the subject “Giving Voice.” We look forward to hearing from you.

Q/ a JOEL BRAND: Landis is celebrating his 10th year as head of school. What is the biggest impact that you think he’s made on Wildwood? LYLE PONCHER: I think one of the most important things that he did was that he took a fledgling secondary program, which was only a few years old, and really made it shine. He understood and adhered to the basic principles of Wildwood’s existing program while embracing change— which I think is one of the hardest things for people to do, to strike that balance. He is a great school leader, and he’s not afraid of change. Q/ a JOEL: When Hope Boyd was retiring in 2007, you were a key part of the search for a new head of school. What was it about Landis that made him the right person for the job? LYLE: Part of picking a new head of school is a roll of the dice. You don’t know whether this person will be exactly the right person or will really jell with the community or with the teachers. The Board and the selection committee knew that Landis was definitely the guy. Why? Because there was a spirit about him. He really got what we were doing. Q/ a JOEL: What was the first thing you remember about meeting Landis? LYLE: That he was prepared for the job—that he had done his homework and was seriously ready to be our head of school. And that he was a bright guy. I don’t just mean intelligent; there was a brightness about him. There was an enthusiasm about him. He was a connective guy; he wanted to engage. And he actually listened. JOEL: It’s not just that he’s an experienced and visionary educator, but Landis brings with him a unique set of personal values. The values of our school are quite different from other schools’ values. And it’s really important that the head of school reflects that. I think that’s a part people don’t always appreciate—how the leadership’s values trickle down into every part of the school. LYLE: I think you’re absolutely right. The head of school sets the tone in so many ways, including for the kind of teachers who are attracted to Wildwood. We have a truly wonderful faculty, and he deserves a lot of the credit for that.

Our Wildwood /Winter 2017 6/7

Lyle Poncher

Joel Brand

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