November is a time of reflection, when The Albany Academies’ community gathers together in groups large and small to give voice to what we are thankful for. In preparation for these gatherings, I took a break from strategic planning to reflect on the blessings and bounties we currently enjoy. Here’s a partial list.
The Albany Academies coordinate single-sex and coeducational learning
environments to develop diligent students of high character who become curious, critical thinkers. This most recent iteration of our mission was honed in the strategic planning process and informed by a focus on our future and an understanding of our past. It is the wellspring of purpose that compels and energizes us. For over two centuries, The Albany Academies have been sustained by the soundness of our mission and the quality of its execution, and I am grateful for this touchstone.
CURIOUS STUDENTS & INVESTED FAMILIES
Students are our focus. Everything we do is aimed at providing them the best educational experience possible. I am exceedingly thankful to spend my days in the company of curious young minds and particularly blessed that I can hear a three-year-old’s perspective and an adolescent’s viewpoint within several minutes of each other. From these conversations it is clear that our mission attracts exceptional children from exemplary families who are deeply invested in their education.
We couldn’t ask for better partners in the work that we do.
FOCUSED FACULTY & EXCEPTIONAL STAFF
While students are our focus, it is our faculty members who bring our mission to life. I am humbled and amazed by their consistently excellent work. Our teachers are passionate experts within their particular disciplines who also have an amazing ability to build genuine relationships with their students. Their work is supported by an exceptional staff of professionals who are equally dedicated to making sure everything outside the classroom is also consistently excellent. I doubt they think of themselves as “relentlessly mission-focused,” but this is what I see and appreciate on a daily basis.
One of the interesting truths about leadership is that leaders are only as good as the teams who support them. I am thankful for the tireless work of the talented administrators throughout the School who are loyal to the mission and believe deeply in The Albany Academies’ promise and potential.
I could not do my work without the very accomplished Trustees who serve on our Board. I am forever grateful for these volunteer-leaders, past and present, who have so willingly given us their time, talent, and treasure. Each generation has quite literally held the School in trust for the next, and their critical friendship, thoughtful leadership, and commitment to the Academies has created a tremendous foundation
for future growth and success.
Each year, passionate volunteers devote hundreds, if not thousands, of hours to The Albany Academies. The list of things that volunteers do for the School— such as staffing open houses, planning fundraisers, working on committees, supporting theatre productions, hosting recognition dinners, and throwing class and team parties—could expand to fill this page and still not capture their impact on our community. Every hour a volunteer spends on behalf of the Academies adds something of value that we simply would not have without his or her involvement. We are better for their involvement and are grateful for it.
Alumnae and Alumni are the living embodiment of our mission and I am so appreciative that they remain connected to it and to one another. I am fortunate to travel the country meeting many of them, and they never fail to impress. They all seem to have been empowered to lead interesting lives filled with meaningful personal and professional pursuits too
varied to catalog here. When they return to campus for reunions and special events, I find myself being just a little bit envious of their special bond with one another, and thankful that I can provide this experience
to my own children.
A CARING COMMUNITY
All of these people—students, parents, faculty, staff, administrators, volunteers, alumni, and alumnae—come together to create an incredibly supportive community. This is one of The Albany Academies’ great strengths. Together we create a familial environment that allows
us to bring ourselves fully to the work of teaching and learning. When one feels truly supported, risk-taking and mistake-making becomes easier and learning flows most naturally. I feel fortunate to be part of a culture that allows me to be my true self, regardless of my faults, foibles, and imperfections.
We are profoundly grateful for the generous support of a community that fuels many of the ambitions we have for The Albany Academies. This was recently reinforced during the ribbon cutting for the new James E. Poole Athletic Facility, which would not have been possible without the outpouring of support for the building and the Academy icon for which it is named. This is just a recent example of how individual stakeholders
express their support, cumulatively creating a vibrant School celebrating its third century of transforming students’ lives. I know that we are one of many worthy organizations vying for our stakeholders’ support, which
makes it all the more humbling to receive it.
AN EXCITING FUTURE
In sum, I’m thankful that it’s a pretty great time to be the Head of The Albany Academies! The next formal communication you will most likely receive from me will be our new strategic plan, which sketches a vision for the continuous improvement and strengthening of our school. Until then, I wish you a wonderful holiday season from Academy Road!
Christopher J. Lauricella, Ed. M.
Head of School